Lockdowns and COVID-safe advice remind us to stay at home to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19. While in lockdown, we advise people to not have casual sex. However, we recognise that abstaining from sex doesn’t suit everybody and that sex will still happen. These are some ways for you to reduce your COVID risk and decide what will work best for you and your partners.
Know The Facts
Understanding how COVID-19 spreads helps us to know how to navigate hook-ups more safely. COVID-19 isn’t an STI, but we know that it can be transmitted by close contact with other people. The virus spreads by infected saliva, mucus, or respiratory particles entering the nose, eyes, or mouth or being inhaled. This can happen between people within around 1.5 metres apart from each other and can be transmitted during sex. The virus has also been found in the faeces and semen of people who have COVID-19, but more research is needed before we know for sure if the virus can be transmitted through things like oral sex/rimming.
For more information about COVID-19 in different languages, click here.
Even if you don’t intend on hooking up with anyone face-to-face for now, getting the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible is the most effective way to protect yourself and future partners from COVID-19, potential hospitalisation and death.
While we encourage everyone to get vaccinated, we highly recommend it for people: who are at an increased risk of severe COVID-related illness; attend large intimate gatherings such as sex parties; engage in group sex with unknown people; have sex with multiple casual partners; or are sex workers.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccination, click here.
Masturbation has always been the safest route to sexual pleasure, whether we’re in lockdown or not. Self-pleasure removes the risk of STI transmission and most importantly, keeps you away from close contact with others while there’s COVID in the air. You can use your time in lockdown to explore past your regular routine; invest in body safe sex toys, branch out from your usual porn/erotica intake, follow and pay an adult performer/sex worker online, or learn about mindful masturbation.
If you still want to connect with others for sexual pleasure in lockdown, phone sex, cam/video sex, sexting and pic sharing are all great options that do not involve any risk of COVID transmission.
Safety disclaimer: Be mindful of the messages/images of yourself that you send to others. Avoiding pictures of your face or any characteristics that can identify you (like tattoos and objects in the background) is a great way to keep your identity more private. Just like in-person hook-ups, online hook-ups are all about consent. That means, consent needs to be given before an image/video is received and before anything is shared. Sharing intimate images without consent is called image-based abuse.
Find out more information about image-based abuse on the eSafety Commissioner website.
Meeting up with people for hook-ups increases the risk of COVID transmission to you or your partners. If you want to meet up with someone for sex, it’s important that you are aware of the COVID safe restrictions in your area before doing so. If you choose to hook-up in person, we recommend limiting your sex partners to people in your household or who are in your social/household bubble. If you want to create a bubble with a sex partner, make sure to set some rules to keep yourselves and everyone in your households safe. Thorne Harbour Health have a great resource about negotiating safety in a ‘Sex Bubble’.
If you are having sex with people outside of your household, there are some ways to reduce your risk of COVID-19. Remember, none of these tips are 100% effective of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Tips include:
- Reduce the number of people that you have sex with.
- Avoid kissing and wear a mask.
- Be creative with sexual positions or masturbate together, using distance and masks to reduce the risk of transmission.
- Have sex in well-ventilated locations.
- Use condoms and dental dams to reduce contact with body fluids like saliva, semen, vaginal fluid, or faeces during sex/oral sex/rimming.
- Shower, and wash your hands and sex toys before and after sex.
- Avoid sex parties, other sex gatherings, and casual sex with inconsistent/unknown partners.
- Practice safer sex. Sexual health services are limited in lockdown, so it’s important that you take extra precautions during this time.
- Avoid sex if you or your partners are feeling unwell.
- Share contact details with your sexual partners to make sure you can let each other know if you get symptoms, are a close/casual contact, or are diagnosed with COVID.
- Monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. Visit the COVID-19 testing page for more information.
Be Kind to Each Other
Finding new ways to reduce risk during sex isn’t new. History has shown us that our community is particularly well versed in adapting to health issues that impact our sexual pleasure and overall wellbeing. We are in a difficult time, and it’s important to look after ourselves and each other to make it through.
For more information about COVID-19, go to your local state/territory health department website.