Days before Valentine’s Day, the San Francisco Department of Health issued new guidelines on how to have sex as safely as possible during the pandemic.
The advice is specific and illustrative – and one might argue, very San Francisco.
“COVID-19 is spread when you breathe out, and particularly when you cough, sneeze and even sing,” the document reads. “Increased breathing, such as wheezing, moaning, groaning, or screaming, increases the amount of exhalation and probably increases the risk of spreading COVID-19 as well.”
Other pieces of advice, especially important for those who come into contact with others outside of their household, include:
• “Faster can be better.” The document states, “Either gender is considered close contact.” It’s within six feet, and it will likely take more than 15 minutes. But in general, the less time you spend with someone, the better.
• Avoid sucking: Since mucus and saliva can spread the virus, it means risky activities include licking, tasting, rubbing your lips or eyes or face, or on toys with mouth or spit, or even sucking your fingers and stuck Then put them in your own mouth, ”the document says.
• “More people, more risk”: It seems obvious, but the fewer people the better. “Some guidelines and sexual health experts have suggested finding a ‘sex buddy’ to help reduce your risk of developing COVID-19,” the document said. Another option, the document says, is to make changes only occasionally. “For example, you can only change or add a new or different partner once every four weeks,” it said. “Or you can try moving from mutual masturbation to something more physically for four weeks while you learn more about your partners and the risks in other parts of their lives.”
• ”Embrace dirty thoughts. And clean surfaces “: Since sex often means touching the damp, sensitive parts of the mucous membrane of ourselves, cleaning surfaces and then disinfecting them is a proven method of prevention.” The document also contains instructions for cleaning sex toys (as well as rings, Masks and collars), including making sure you clean them “after touching one body and before touching another.” It also says, “Alcohol-based disinfectants are effective in killing the virus that causes COVID-19. However, if you use alcohol-based disinfectants on sex toys, you’ll want to wash the toy with soap and water afterward too, or – ouch! – Disinfectants can cause stinging and inflammation and should not come into contact with sensitive genitals! “
• Mask yourself, excuse the kissing: “Wearing a well-fitting mask that covers your mouth and nose while you have sex with other people further reduces the risk,” the document says. Also, being outside is always the gold standard – for the few city dwellers who have a backyard – but when you are indoors you should aim for better ventilation. The department also suggests another option: “You might want to watch.”
Of course, sex with someone outside of your household is not strictly allowed right now. California’s “purple animal” counties, which encompass the entire Bay Area, state that people are only allowed to visit non-household members outdoors, masked, and within six feet of each other. That seems to rule out sex. But maybe a dose of realism is needed as Valentine’s Day approaches.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health was asked to comment on the document, noting that it “routinely issues and updates health guidelines that can help people control the COVID-19 pandemic in their workplaces, schools, and personal lives deal with. SFDPH first published this guide on safer sex in September 2020 because, like any close contact, sexual contact carries the risk of COVID-19 transmission and this risk can be reduced with a few simple precautionary measures. SFDPH also routinely updates its health guidelines as we learn more about the virus. The Safer Sex Guide was updated this week to reflect the latest science on COVID-19. “
Annie Vainshtein is a contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @annievain