While the department still urges people to stay home as much as possible and minimize contact with others, the guidance says that during the pandemic people “will and should have sex.”
The guidelines were created to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19. They’ve been updated periodically to reflect the changing understanding of the disease.
Other coronaviruses do not easily spread through sex, according to the New York City Health Department.
Since Covid-19 can spread through saliva and breathing, the agency suggests people may want to wear a face covering or mask while having sex.
“Make it a little kinky,” the guidelines say. “Be creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact.” Or people can masturbate together and keep physically distant, the guidelines suggest.
The department reminds people that “you are your safest sex partner.” The next safest option is a consenting adult in the same household. If, however, there is an interest in sex with someone outside the household, the guidelines advise picking a partner one trusts to talk about their Covid-19 risk factors just like they would discuss condoms and other safer sex topics.
Keep sex to two people since “large gatherings of any type are not safe during Covid-19.” If one desires to “find a crowd” for sex, pick larger, more open, and well-ventilated spaces, wear a face covering, and bring hand sanitizer.
For people seeking sex online, the department advises people to take a break from in-person dates and stick to “sexy ‘Zoom parties'” or other video dates.
For those who want to “hook up” or have sex outside their close circle of contacts, the guidelines advise watching for symptoms, and getting tested for Covid-19 on monthly basis or within five to seven days after the hookup. Also, take precautions interacting with people at risk for getting a severe form of the disease. People older than age 65 or people with serious medical conditions need to be even more careful.
The agency also reminds people that having antibodies against the virus or a prior positive diagnosis does not mean that they will be immune to the disease for good. It says people should be cautious in using the test to make a decision about who to have sex with and what kind of sex to have since an antibody test is not definite proof that the person is immune.
New York isn’t the only local health department encouraging people to take precautions during the pandemic.