We spoke to Melbourne-based Dr. Kieran Kennedy to find out if you can catch COVID-19 via getting down and dirty.
“It’s important to clarify first and foremost that COVID-19 (like other Coronviruses) is a respiratory virus,” he tells Men’s Health.
“As such, it’s primarily spread through airway, nasal and oral secretions – like those expelled when we sneeze or from droplets left on surfaces that might transmit from hands to eyes, nose and mouth. Spread of the virus by respiratory droplets is thus the major source of transmission, and why close contact with those outside the home needs to be limited right now.”
Interestingly, Dr. Kennedy notes that the art of sex itself won’t transmit the disease, however, being in close proximity to the person puts you at risk.
“Currently, however, there’s no evidence that COVID-19 is spread in semen, vaginal fluid or other sexual fluids. The virus is not a sexually transmitted disease, and so intercourse itself (at least in terms of the most basic mechanics) doesn’t appear to offer risk of transmitting the virus genitally,” he continues.
“What CAN and DOES lead to COVID-19 spread however is close contact, and (let’s face it) sex is about as close as contact gets.”
Dr. Kennedy also adds that other bodily fluids commonly found in kissing such as saliva can carry the virus.
“Saliva or airway secretions left on objects or other parts of the body that then might come into contact with the mouth, nose or eyes (by way of a then touching the face for example) is another means of spread – this means that oral sex could also potentially lead to spread,” he says.
And his thoughts on teeing up a bit of hanky panky?
“People shouldn’t be seeking out new sexual partners right now to reduce the risk of transmission. Now’s a good time to get creative with dating and other forms of getting intimate that don’t involve actual physical contact.
“If we live with a partner and both are feeling well, have no symptoms and don’t have risks for infection (like travel or contact with a known case) then it’s of course ok to keep having sex. If one partner in a household was in isolation for possible or suspected COVID however, then close contact within the house should be avoided as much as possible and this would (of course) make sex a no go unless results are back as negative.”