Based on current evidence, coronavirus – the virus that causes COVID-19 illness – is not present in the sexual fluids of someone with the virus. This means that the virus is not passed on through the sexual fluids involved in vaginal or anal intercourse.
However, coronavirus is passed on through contact with droplets from the nose and mouth, including the saliva of an infected person, which can happen through close contact with others. This means there is a significant risk of passing on COVID-19 through kissing and physical touching if one person has the virus. There is also evidence that the virus is present in poop (faeces), so licking around the anal areas (rimming) may also be a way the virus is passed on.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments are asking people to stay indoors to limit physical contact between people and the spread of the virus. Here are some things you should know concerning sex.
If you or your sexual partner are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 – a dry persistent cough, temperature, or difficulty breathing – you should limit all close physical contact to stop the spread of the virus. This means avoiding physical intimacy, such as kissing and cuddling, as well as anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
Having sex with yourself, masturbation, has no COVID-19 risk and is one of the best ways to keep enjoying sex during this pandemic. You can also explore other ways to have sex without anyone physically present, including through phone or webcam.
If you decide to go online, be aware of what you are sharing and who you are sharing it with. Remember to only do what feels right. Your partner may want to explore this new way of being sexual but you shouldn’t feel pressured to share sexual content over the phone or internet if you don’t want to.
If you live in the same house as a regular sexual partner and you both have no symptoms, then you can continue having sex (with consent) as normal for your relationship.
If your partner is having sex with other people who don’t live with you, then this increases your risk of getting COVID-19.
During the pandemic, some countries are actively discouraging hooking up or having sex with people you don’t live with. This is because there is a heightened risk of picking up COVID-19 or passing it on to others, which undermines public health efforts. See below for advice on what to do if you decide to have sex.