Health And Wellness, Sex

Do Sex And Kissing Spread Coronavirus? How To Stay Protected From COVID-19

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Do Sex And Kissing Spread Coronavirus? How To Stay Protected From COVID-19

In a time when so much is uncertain and the world is becoming a foreboding place, we may be looking to connect physically in any way we can. 

Sex, of course, is the ultimate physical connection, but when we're supposed to be social distancing and self-quarantining, and not even shaking hands, is sex even an option? The short answer is, sadly, no.

But does sex spread coronavirus? And, more specifically, can you get COVID-19 from having sex?

RELATED: How We Must Reframe 'Social Distancing' To Truly Protect Ourselves & Others During The Coronavirus Pandemic

The mandate for safety right now, and for an unknown time to come, is social distancing. “That means staying six feet apart,” says OB/GYN and founder/director of the Integrative Medical Group, Felice Gersh, M.D.

Social distancing doesn’t exactly work if you’re having sex. Adds Gersh, “The coronavirus thrives in the nasal cavity, which contains large numbers of the virus during an infection, even prior to an individual becoming symptomatic, and viral transmission can occur.”

We know we can spread the virus from touching surfaces the viruses lives on, and that it spreads person-to-person between individuals who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Recently, though, researchers from MIT suggest that clouds and droplets can carry up to 27 feet.

According to the CDC, the virus is spread "through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs."

While the virus is not sexually transmitted, obviously there is a lot of close contact (even kissing) involved in sex. Still, there are questions people want answered, especially now that they are quarantined with their partners.

1. Is kissing during coronavirus quarantine safe?

While making out may be an even worse idea than sex, even without kissing, sex is very risky.

“Even without kissing, sexual activity involves lots of heavy breathing, allowing the virus to be exhaled and potentially infect another close-by individual!” says Gersh.

So, if your partner believes they are likely to contract coronavirus, you certainly want to remain at a distance and refrain from any physical contact. And, yes, that's definitely means kissing.

RELATED: Should You Stop Dating During The Coronavirus Pandemic?

2. Can monogamous couples have sex?

The unfortunate news is that for the next several weeks or possibly months, that means no hook-ups. But while it's appropriate to end any hook-ups in the near future, there is good news for couples.

“Only couples permanently residing together should have sexual relations, and even that should be reviewed on an individual basis, considering risk-benefit ratio,” advises Dr. Gersh. High-risk individuals should avoid such activities altogether.

3. Should you put hand sanitizer "down there"?

This has a simple answer: absolutely not!

Logically, it seems like it would make sense, but it’s a bad idea to put hand sanitizer anywhere other than where it's needed: your hands.

Says psychologist and sex expert Antonia Hall, “Do not use antibacterial soap or products on your genitals, which can cause irritations and even lead to an undesired yeast or bladder infection. Using antibacterial products to disinfect your hands then rinsing with plain water is a better way to keep yourself well and prevent any irritations that disinfectants could cause to your delicate parts."

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4. Can having sex boost immunity?

If neither you nor your partner have tested positive for coronavirus or are considered high-risk, and you are a couple who live together, sex does have some benefits. In fact, it can even boost your immune system. 

According to Dr. Britney Blair, a board-certified expert in sexual medicine and Chief Science Officer of the sexual wellness app Lover, orgasms boosts your immunity, and sex helps you sleep, which also boosts your immunity.

Says Blair, “Sex is one of the best ways to de-stress and to combat coronavirus anxiety, while also boosting your immune system.” Blair also points out that sex can help build your connection with your partner, which is just another way to reduce stress in such a panicked time.

So, while it's important to refrain completely from kissing or having sex with a non-monogamous partner, couples should also consider the risks of sex with a partner who may be at high-risk of contracting coronavirus.

In the mean time, practice safety precautions by washing your hands, staying home, and helping others as much as you can.

RELATED: How To Keep Your Stress Level Down & Immune System Up Until COVID-19 Is Contained

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.