Sex during COVID-19 – The Rules and Risks

October 03, 2020 3 min read

Sex during COVID-19

The world is a strange place right now. The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives in countless ways, impacting many things we previously took for granted. For the time being at least, we all have to make adjustments. One area that isn’t often discussed is what to do about sex during COVID-19. Should we be having it? How can we stay safe? And what are the health benefits of sex? We explore all of these questions in more detail.

Sex during lockdown

In England, the pandemic lockdown began back on the 23rd March 2020. Since then, there have been restrictions on households mixing and the number of people we can meet. What’s more, schools and workplaces were closed, meaning that everyone was home most of the time. Having a sexual relationship became increasingly difficult, especially with government guidelines.

Evidence from a study in June found that 84% of people were abstaining from sex outside their immediate household. People were instead turning to virtual methods of intimacy, as well as more solo pursuits. With people from different households having to avoid close contact and kissing, sex during COVID-19 was increasingly difficult for everyone.

What are the rules?

At the time being, the government’s rules on sex and coronavirus were more relaxed than previously. However, the rules aren’t necessarily all that clear and can vary depending on where you are.

In England, the guidance states that you don’t have to socially distance from anyone you’re in an ‘established relationship’ with. The same applies to anyone from your support bubble. So, if you’re in a relationship, you should be able to meet up with your partner to have sex.

However, household visits aren’t permitted in Scotland. Similarly, those living in cities/areas currently in a state of lockdown cannot have social visits from people outside of their support bubbles. Clearly, sex during COVID-19 is going to be impractical for a while at least.

Staying safe

There’s no evidence showing that the coronavirus is transmitted directly through sexual intercourse. However, as it’s passed through droplets of saliva. This means that things like kissing and touching can spread the virus. Obviously, these are two areas that form an important part of intimacy for many people.

To stay safe, the Terrence Higgins Trust suggests that people should avoid kissing and wear face coverings during sex. They also recommend choosing sex positions that aren’t face-to-face. Of course, you should also make sure to wear a condom and practise safer sex wherever possible.

Health benefits of sex

Of course, sex is an important part of peoples’ lives. There are many health benefits of sex. It can keep your immune system strong, boost your libido, and even lower your blood pressure. A recent study also showed that maintaining a healthy sex life within the first six months after a heart attack was linked to a 35% lower risk of death.

Evidently, having sex during COVID-19 is important to many people. Not only does it have all kinds of health benefits, but it also helps us to reduce stress and feel less anxious. These are all essential during these tough times. However, it’s vital that we’re safe and mindful of the risks. Follow the government guidelines while keeping on top of your physical and emotional needs. 


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