Sex In The Time of COVID-19

by Erin Brandt

How do you have sex when practicing social distancing?

The short answer is you don’t have sex.

Of course, the world and how we interact with it is not black and white. It is important to remember that I am not a medical doctor and you should absolutely be listening to doctors, epidemiologists, and other health officials first, when it comes to your health and safety. My job is to highlight the information from doctors and help you navigate your sexual needs during this time.

All by myselfIf your social distancing practice does not include a sexual partner that you already share a space with, then you are part of the solo sex club. Until we have flattened the curve, my first recommendation is going to be masturbation. You can’t get sick touching yourself! If you are using toys, be sure to clean them with soap and water after every use. If you have a toy that is difficult to clean, set that one to the side, especially if you plan on sharing toys in the future.

If masturbation isn’t your thing: (Really? Let’s talk about that.) You can spend your extra time looking into tantric practices. There is an aspect of tantra that turns sexual needs inwards through meditation and not touching yourself. Fair warning, tantra is a practice and takes time … lots and lots of time to master. Or you can take your horniness out on your living space and clean everything with a toothbrush. Two birds with one stone, if you ask me.

Quarantined with your loversYou may be part of the group that is social distancing with your lovers. You are already sharing space and taking the necessary precautions to avoid getting sick – washing your hands while singing “Afternoon Delight” ­– so get your groove thing on! There is no evidence I’ve read or heard that COVID-19 is spread through genital fluids. Please practice all the regular protections you do when engaging in sexual activities – condoms, birth control, and dental dams, because STIs and pregnancy are not on a vacation.

The evidence shows that COVID-19 is in our saliva, mucus, and feces. If you engage in sexual activities and are concerned about getting or spreading the virus, avoid swapping spit and lay off the anal play for a bit. If you choose to engage in anal play or anal sex, use protection like dental dams or condoms. After sex, avoid touching your face and wash your hands while belting out “Let’s Get It On.” Better yet, enjoy a steamy shower together, because it’s so nice to have someone help you clean those hard to reach places.

Close but so far awayMaybe you are living away from your lovers and you know that you all are doing your best to social distance and flatten the curve. You can probably negotiate a way to hook up during this time. Be mindful that some places are asking folks to shelter in place because health services are overwhelmed. In that case, stay the fuck home. Otherwise, talk with your lovers about how you are going to work together to limit the spread of COVID-19. Instead of taking public transit for the booty call, you can walk, or whoever has a car makes the trip.

It is important to remember that some people will show no symptoms of having the virus and they can spread it without knowing they’ve been sick. This is important to talk about with your lovers. Also, not everyone can stay home. Some folks have to work and it is crucial that they limit their exposure. You can help by not calling them up for a booty call.

Do you have roommates? Please talk with them if you plan to break the seal on your space and invite someone in for the night, or if you will be leaving and coming back. Come up with ways to keep the space clean, including washing your hands as soon as you walk in the door. Try it while singing “Like A Virgin.”

Healthy and willing to risk itHmmmm … no one is recommending you jump on Tinder and hook up with the nearest available human. As I understand it, the work to flatten the curve is the most important. It’s less about keeping infections from happening at all, and more about lessening how quickly people are infected because the hospitals need time to prepare. Also, you may be healthy, but someone you have sex with may have a friend or family member that has a weakened immune system. Again, I’m not a doctor, so I encourage you to read up on your local health department’s website and seek out science-based information while you stay the fuck home.

Also, no one has ever died from not having sex.

Sexting, virtual sex, and sticky keyboardsYour horniness is taking over your life and if you don’t do something you will explode! Might I suggest that you:

• Masturbate or clean your grout

• Ask for consent and then sext your lovers

• Schedule a video call with your lovers and enjoy each other online

• Watch some porn (email me if you need recommendations that don’t include PornHub)

• Get creative!This is a forced opportunity to re-evaluate your life, your lovers, your sexual needs, and what is really important to your happiness. It’s not easy to critically look at yourself. I can tell you that the COVID-19 pandemic is not a time for selfishness. We have to put aside what may feel like the only things that matter and look at how our choices affect others. We are in this together.

On a personal note, this pandemic has affected my family through business closures. If you are able, buy gift cards to The Bookcase and Barber and check out Le Platt’s Pond for your future parties and events. Thank you.

Erin Brandt (she/her/hers) has been a sexologist for 15 years. When she’s not spreading sexual knowledge, Erin can be found learning from her child, hiking with her partner, cuddling with her pitbull, knitting with her cat, dancing with friends, and searching for the nearest hammock and ocean breeze. Want more? Visit


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