By Dr. Heather Quaile, WHNP-BC, SANE
Is COVID-19 on your mind all the time? I know it has been for a lot of our patients. It is important to realize how much this virus has affected and continues to affect us all.For months, (over 4 to be exact) we have been living in fear and uncertainty and there has also been a great deal of judgement. COVID-19 has affected each of us in different ways as well as better or worse for people that we know and love. There is no doubt that COVID-19 impacts every aspect of our lives, and yes, that includes our sex lives too.
To start we encourage everyone to have the knowledge and know how to practice safe sex. This means having evidenced-based information about how COVID-19 is transmitted, and the tools to be conscientious of STIs, pregnancy, and COVID-19 while having sex. COVID-19 is transmitted via droplets from your nose or mouth. Because of this, the CDC recommends social distancing and staying at least six feet away from people who are not in your household and also wearing a mask when you’re outside of the home.
What do these guidelines mean for sexual relationships? If you are staying home by yourself or not in the same household as your partner, self-love is the safest method of having sex. Now is the time for self exploration and to possibly invest in a new toy or technique it is a time to become creative.
Unfortunately, there has been so much around testing whether for antibodies or direct testing and there has been some controversy in testing. We do not know of any way to have “safe sex” without transmitting the virus. Whether you are getting together with sex partners outside of your household, even if they are a trusted partner, can be dangerous. You need to treat everyone as a possible carrier of the virus. The virus has been found in fecal matter and saliva, and it is unclear if coronavirus can be transmitted through vaginal secretions or ejaculate. Therefore engaging in sexual activities with someone who is infected increases your risk of contracting the virus.
If you are staying/sharing a home with your sexual partner (you quarantine together) then it is okay to continue engaging in sexual activity with them. Having sex with your household partner(s) does not increase your risk of contracting coronavirus any more than sleeping in the same bed or sharing a meal. However it is important to be smart and weigh the risks and the benefits. If your partner is an essential worker, if you are immunocompromised, if your partner starts to show symptoms of being ill, or any combination of these, please be aware that continuing to have sex with them carries a risk of being exposed to COVID-19.
COVID-19 has caused a range of feelings and you may feel like you or your partner(s) have no desire to engage in any sexual activity. You are not alone! While this type of pandemic is unprecedented and unstudied, research shows that in times of crisis and natural disaster, sexual activity decreases significantly. Depression, anxiety, stress, and unemployment all can have a negative effect on libido. Our mind is a huge factor in the sexual response cycle and when our mind is in a 100 places and we are concerned about futures intimacy will take a back burner and many people might not be in the mood for sex. If this is the case, give yourself some space and be open to talk with your partner(s) about your concerns. Due to unemployment and other issues partners may end up being together 24/7, but again may not be motivated to have sex. They might need to schedule some time to connect, physically and emotionally. In stressful and unprecedented times like these, emotions may run high and it is important to understand this pandemic may be fueling your response and not your actual partner. Safe pleasure can be healing and cathartic. Make sure to be practice self-care and remember that this too shall pass….
Please stay tuned for more blogs and let us know what you want to hear. You can contact us at anytime!
Original Post: https://theshowcenter.com/2020/07/25/covid-19-and-sex/