Let’s be real: We know many of you have been knocking the boots, even though you’re supposed to be social distancing. Truth be told, there isn’t much else to do. And when in quarantine …
TMZ recently spoke with alternative health advocate Dr. Mehmet Oz on the unusually empty streets of New York City and asked him what couples should do if they are cooped up due to the coronavirus?
His response? Sex.
“The best solution if you’re holed up with your significant other in quarantine is have sex,” he said. “You’ll live longer, you’ll get rid of the tension … maybe you’ll make some babies. It’s certainly better than staring at each other and getting on each other’s nerves.”
“What we do know is that the virus is transmitted through saliva and secretions, so as best as we can tell, the biggest danger in terms of sexual activity is just having your face close to the other person’s face,” Streicher said.
There has been no research on whether COVID-19 can be transmitted sexually, she said, and there’s no reason to think that it would be.
“When you look at coronaviruses and what we know about them in general, the risk is really about upper respiratory transmission, as opposed to sexual activity,” she said. “If you have someone you’re quarantined with — your spouse, your partner, or whoever — I don’t think there is any problem with having sex because you’re face-to-face all day anyway.”
If someone has the virus or has symptoms, they should be quarantined away from everyone else in the home — and not having sex. If that isn’t the case, then “having sex is no worse than sitting across the table from them, as best as we can tell,” said Streicher.
Kissing is likely going to be the highest-risk activity, Streicher said, while oral sex will potentially offer the least risk. “Oral sex is probably the best way to be away from the other person’s face,” she said.
But that doesn’t mean compromising the practice of protecting yourself and your sexual partners.
“Safe sex is safe sex,” said Streicher. “It’s far more likely — especially if it’s not your usual partner — that you’re going to get an STI than you’re going to get the virus if you’re not practicing safe sex.”
When it comes to your relationship, extra time together can lend itself well to a more intimate connection, said Jennifer Litner, a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist. It can also soothe those feelings of pandemic panic.
“Partners can embrace a sexy staycation, or really slow down some of their busy lives to connect with each other, and that can lend itself nicely to being sexual,” Litner said. “Oxytocin and dopamine really stir orgasms and can boost mood and connection, so that could be a great antidote to some of the anxiety that people are experiencing during this time of uncertainty.”
Then again, there is also the risk that too much time together could create a barrier to sexual connection, since novelty — which is “really great” for boosting desire — can be lacking, said Litner, who provides sex therapy and education through her Ravenswood-based Embrace Sexual Wellness center.
“Familiarity can actually not be so great for desire and arousal,” she said. “It’s possible, while people have the time to connect, they can get bored rather quickly.
For those of you starting to feel lonely, and getting an itch to reach out to an ex, Litner offers the reminder that you “don’t need a partner to be sexual.”
“Self-pleasure is a really wonderful way of connecting with oneself,” she said.
With more sex though, comes more caution. Streicher recommends having a surplus of contraceptives (especially if you’re not trying to have a quarantine baby come December or January).
“If you take birth control pills, get extra packs of months’ worth, because we don’t know what access will be a couple months from now,” she said. “If you’re relying on condoms, which can break, have emergency contraception (ready) just in case.”
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