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After spending months keeping our distance from others outside of your household, having the urge to be intimate with others is understandable and something single people are grappling with. Find out what the experts have to say about dating, kissing, and having sex during the age of coronavirus.
The prevailing consensus from experts and the medical community is not the most optimistic when it comes to being intimate and the spread of COVID-19 because the virus can be easily spread via saliva and breathing, so things like kissing, cuddling and sex do pose a potential risk if someone has the virus. Some health experts say there is a level of "calculated risk" when engaging in intimate activities with those you do not already live with.
Dating: The safest way to currently date is virtually or going on dates where you are safely distanced while wearing masks, preferably in an outdoor setting. If you are considering going further, Teen Vogue suggests you, "discuss your partner’s habits prior to seeing them -- make sure they’re staying home when possible, washing their hands, and taking other precautions."
They go on to note that there is still a level of risk that both people will need to take on. "If you don’t live together, it’s hard to know exactly how much exposure your partner might have had through others they’ve come in contact with, like their family members. It’s certainly a calculated risk if you do decide to be intimate with your partner, and one that should take into consideration the moral responsibility we all have to reduce the spread of the virus and protect the more vulnerable among us."
Kissing: If you are single, you might fear that kissing right now is something to avoid. Bustle spoke with Dr. Natasha Bhuyan who said, "The pandemic does not mean the end of kissing. Instead, it’s important to be safe about how we approach kissing, just like we do with any other behaviors during the pandemic." These are things she says to keep in mind before kissing someone new:
- Consider who you are kissing (are they kissing others as well?) and learn about the COVID prevention methods they follow and possible risky behaviors they may be engaging in
- Have an honest and open discussion about your risk factors and theirs before kissing
- Understand and accept that "kissing during the coronavirus comes with some risk of contracting it"
Sex: Like dating and kissing -- which pose a certain level of risk right now for catching the virus -- sex with someone you do not currently live with does as well. If you are going to have sex with someone outside of your household, consider the following tips on possible ways to reduce your risk of being infected from sex and health experts who spoke with KQED:
- Consider wearing a mask during sex. Yes, this might seem absurd, but it may be one way to reduce the transmission of saliva, mucus, and breath
- The sex experts say choosing sexual positions that minimize face-to-face contact may also help
- Make sure to wash your hands (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds) before and after sex
- Use barriers like condoms and dental dams, which will limit the exchange of body fluids
And if you have been intimate with someone new, you might be wondering how long you should wait to get a COVID test, KQED reports it is "between five and 14 days after the encounter" noting "the median average time from exposure to coronavirus symptom onset is 5 days," but also keep in mind that symptoms might not show for up to 14 days.