Couples should wear face masks during sex to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to each other, experts at Harvard University have recommended in a new report.
Guidelines for staying healthy at work, in churches, at home have saturated the web but very little has been said about intimacy between couples who are keen on adhering to social distancing.
While the sexual transmissibility of COVID-19 hasn’t been rigorously researched, it had been established that the contagious disease spreads through droplets like coughs, sneezes, and spit.
In a report published in Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers, who have offered up a guide on sexual health in the era of COVID-19, examined the likelihood of infection in a number of sexual activities if couples haven’t been isolating together.
Aside from wearing face masks, they suggested people should reduce their number of sexual partners and avoid sex with people who show symptoms like fever, cough, fatigue, and loss of taste or smell.
According to the guide, abstinence, masturbation, and sexual activity using digital platforms carry the lowest risk for infection with COVID-19.
“Sexual health implications of these recommendations received little attention. It appears that all forms of in-person sexual contact carry a risk for transmission,” said Jack Turban, the lead author.
Among other recommendations also made were showering before and after sex, avoiding sex acts that involve the oral transmission of bodily fluids, and cleaning up the sex area afterward with wipes.
“Data are lacking regarding other routes of sexual transmission. Two small studies of SARS-CoV-2–infected people did not detect the virus in semen or vaginal secretions,” the researchers added.
“An additional study of semen samples from 38 patients detected the virus by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction in 6 patients (15.8 percent).
“However, the relevance regarding sexual transmission remains unknown. Until this is better understood, it would be prudent to consider semen potentially infectious.”
The study comes at about the same time when the UK government announced new regulations making it illegal to have sex with a person who lives outside your home.