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31st Mar 2020

The HSE issues guidelines on sex during the Covid-19 outbreak

James Fenton

The HSE has issued a series of guidelines on people having sex during the coronavirus outbreak.

Through its official sexual wellbeing portal, the HSE has released information on best sex practices during the coronavirus outbreak and how to minimise the risk of contracting the illness.

In a post on the portal yesterday, the HSE said that ‘while there is no evidence that coronavirus can be sexually transmitted, it can be passed on through close contact with someone who has the virus,’ clarifying that ‘being sexually active with another person involves some risk of getting the virus.’

If you’re still unclear, the following advice should be adhered to:

  • Only be sexually active with someone you live with who does not have the virus or symptoms of the virus.
  • Avoid being sexually active with anyone outside your household.
  • Avoid kissing anyone outside of your household and anyone with symptoms. Kissing can easily pass on coronavirus.
  • Taking a break from physical and face-to face interactions is worth considering, especially if you usually meet your sex partners online or make a living by having sex. Consider using video dates, sexting or chat rooms. Make sure to disinfect keyboards and touch screens that you share with others.
  • Masturbation will not spread coronavirus, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after.
  • While the current advice is not to have sex with or kiss anyone outside of your household, if you do, it is important to limit it to as few partners as possible. Remember close sexual contact with anyone you are not living with can put you and others at risk of coronavirus. Use condoms and dental dams to reduce contact with saliva or faeces, especially during oral or anal sex and avoid rimming (mouth on anus) as it might spread coronavirus.
  • Wash before and after sex. This is more important than ever. Wash hands thoroughly and often with soap and water.

People are also advised to ‘avoid sex and especially kissing if you or your partner has symptoms of coronavirus, for example fever, cough or shortness of breath.’ As well as that, ‘avoid sex if you or your partner has a medical condition that can lead to a serious illness because of coronavirus. Medical conditions include lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or a weakened immune system.’

The full list of the HSE’s guidelines on sex during the coronavirus outbreak can be found here.

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