Sexual Health in a Time of “Social Distancing”

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There is not much known about coronavirus (COVID-19) and sex, but we do know that the virus can be spread by coming in close contact with someone who has it. This means that any sexual contact could cause transmission. It’s also important that we all follow guidance from Governor Newsom and federal and local health authorities to stay at home with just the people we live with to protect our health and the health of others at this time.

TeenSource put together some important reminders about how you can stay safe and take care of your sexual health while we all spending a lot more time at home.

Self love is the safest love

Masturbation or self-love is always no risk. Since you are not interacting with another person, it is not possible to spread an STD or cause a pregnancy. It is also safe from coronavirus because you are not getting in close contact with another person. However, if you practice self-love, remember to wash your hands before and after with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. (About the length of saying the ABC’s or singing happy birthday twice!)

Keep your distance

During this time, the safest thing is NOT to have sex or any physical interaction with other people (such as kissing, hugging, cuddling, etc.), even if you or your partner feel well. Social distancing (keeping 6 feet apart) is important to protect yourself, your family, and your community. That includes distancing yourself from EVERYONE! If you are thinking about spending time with a friend or partner, consider the risks. If you or your partner live with, or spend time with friends or family members who are high risk for COVID-19 (or are at high risk yourselves) consider their safety before interacting with other people. The best thing to do at this time is abstain from sex and any other physical intimacy. That doesn’t mean putting a total pause on your relationship! You can still work on emotional intimacy by trying things like Facetime dates, Netflix Watch Parties, sharing playlists, etc. This is a challenging time, but remember – it is just temporary.  Think of ways to still connect with your favorite people, while keeping your distance to protect your health and others.

Consider cyber safety

As many things are moving online, remember to keep yourself, your friends, and your partners safe. Remember that photos or text messages can be shared with more people than you intended. Also, if you are under 18, sexting or sending nude photos of yourself or someone else is illegal and can be considered child pornography. This can put both you and the person you are sending the photos to at risk. Consider these risks before engaging in any sexual behavior online. Also, don’t forget that consent is needed in person, on the phone, and online! If you do engage in any digital sexual activity, be sure to get consent from your partner. Also, if someone shares sexual images or messages with you, keep those private and consider deleting them. If you receive unwanted images or messages, that violates consent and is considered illegal.

Do you have other questions about staying safe? Let us know on Instagram (@teensourceorg). Share with us what you are doing to keep busy at home!