You may not have considered wearing a face mask in the bedroom, but Harvard researchers recommend that people not quarantining together wear face masks and avoid kissing during sex.
They report that “it appears all forms of in-person sexual contact carry risk for viral transmission, because the virus is readily transmitted by aerosols.”
In their commentary, “Sexual Health in the SARS-CoV-2 Era” that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers provide guidelines healthcare providers can use when counseling their patients about the Covid-19 risks related to sex.
They have ranked sexual activity based on level of risk:
Abstinence – low risk, but not feasible for many
Masturbation – low risk for infection
Digital sexual activity – This includes cyber sex and phone sex, but researchers caution about the risk of screenshots and sexual extortion.
Sex with someone you are quarantined with – Risk of infection if partner is exposed outside the home; risk of infection from asymptomatic partner.
Sex with someone you are NOT quarantined with – Risk reduction includes limiting the number of partners, avoiding sex with partners who have evident symptoms consistent with Covid-19, avoiding kissing and behaviors with risk of fecal-oral transmission, wearing face masks, showering before and after sex, and cleaning the physical space with soap or alcohol wipes.
The New York City Health Department previously released a detailed guide about safe sex practices during the pandemic.
It echos the advice of the Harvard researchers saying you are your safest sex partner and the next safest sex partner is someone you live with.
It also urges consideration if you or your partner has any medical condition linked to more severe Covid-19 symptoms (such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc.) In these cases, health officials say you may want to skip sex.