COVID-19 and your sex life

COVID-19 and your sex life

by Janie Kleinberg, RCSW Office Administrator

I think it’s time to talk about the one thing that’s on everyone’s mind right now: COVID-19

Let us for a moment, recognize how profoundly this virus has affected and continues to affect us all.

For weeks, the world has been living in fear and uncertainty. There is no doubt that COVID-19 impacts every aspect of our lives, and yes, that includes our sex lives too.

First and foremost, we encourage everyone to have the knowledge and power to practice safe sex. This means having sufficient information about how COVID-19 is transmitted, and the tools to be conscientious of STIs, pregnancy, and COVID-19 while having sex. 

The virus is transmitted via droplet nuclei, sprayed from your nose or mouth. Because of this, the CDC recommends staying at least six feet away from people who are not in your household and wearing a mask when you’re outside of the house.

What do these recommendations mean for our sex lives? It means if you’re staying home by yourself or not in the same household as your partner, self-love is the safest way to go. Now is the time to invest in a new toy or try something creative and novel!

Unfortunately, we can’t tell who has COVID-19 and we don’t know of any ways to have “safe  sex” without transmitting the virus. Meeting up 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 while it is unclear if coronavirus can be transmitted through vaginal secretions or ejaculate, engaging in sexual activities with someone who is infected increases your risk of contracting the virus drastically.

If you are staying at home with your sexual partner, also known as a “household sex partner” or a “quarantine bonded partner,” 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. That being said, if your partner is an essential worker, you are immunocompromised, 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 infection. Make the lifestyle changes that are appropriate for your household, which may include using separate bedrooms/bathrooms if possible.

Safety aside, it 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. A lot of people are going through a difficult time right now and might not be in the mood for sex. If this is the case, please be patient and kind to yourself and your partner(s). Take time to communicate with each other and process your feelings. Even if you are together 24/7, you still might need to schedule some time to connect, physically and emotionally. Take time to appreciate one another. In stressful times like these, tensions may flare in relationships. It’s important to realize that it might be the situation driving your anger, and not your partner. 

Don’t forget to treat your body well. Pleasure can heal! Exercise, good food, and rest are critical. Even small actions like changing out of your pajamas, taking a shower, or dancing around to your favorite songs can make a world of difference- anything that feels wonderful and sexy!   

Stay tuned for our next blog post featuring ideas to help you stay connected with your romantic and/or sexual partner(s) during a time of social distance. We are talking about recipe swaps, nerdy game nights online, phone sex, live video sex parties, and everything in between!

Don’t be a stranger! RCSW is still offering services through secure video and phone appointments. Contact us at 585-865-3584 or for appointment information. 

This blog post is based, in part, on an article published in The New York Times by Jen Gunter, “Coronavirus and Sex: Questions and Answers,” linked here

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