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Face masks among Canada's top doctor's tips on getting intimate

Last Updated Sep 3, 2020 at 10:30 am PDT

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Summary

Canada's top doctor is out with some new tips for being intimate with a partner during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Theresa Tam says sexual health is an important part of our overall health, but now romance has gotten complicated

Tam is recommending wearing a mask is if you're having sex with someone new during this pandemic amid other tips

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Canada’s top doctor is acknowledging sex can be challenging amid the COVID-19 pandemic, so she’s recommending you skip the kissing and wear a mask to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19 or spreading it.

Through a statement Wednesday, Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam says she understands being intimate during the pandemic is complicated, “Especially for those without an intimate partner in their household or whose sexual partner is at higher risk for COVID-19.”

But she says sexual health is an important part of our overall health.

“Like other activities during COVID-19 that involve physical closeness, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of getting infected and spreading the virus.”

If you are engaging in sexual activity with a partner in person, Tam says, “The most important step is to establish a trusting relationship with your sexual partner.”

When engaging in sex, limit the number of sexual partners and not drinking too much on your date, “so you and your partner(s) are able to make safe decisions.”

She also recommends using a mask that covers the nose and mouth to avoid “face-to-face contact or closeness.”

Also, monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms, don’t have sex with someone experiencing symptoms, and be aware if you or your partner are at a higher risk for more severe outcomes of COVID-19, Tam adds.

People who are high risk include obese people, anyone with underlying medical conditions, and those with compromised immune symptoms.

Lastly, as usual, practice safe sex. Use condoms and know your and your partner’s STI status, she says.

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But of course, at this time, the lowest risk sexual activity involves just yourself.

“Current evidence indicates there is a very low likelihood of contracting the novel coronavirus through semen or vaginal fluids. However, even if the people involved do not have symptoms, sexual activity with new partners does increase your risk of getting or passing COVID-19 through close contact, like kissing. Remember as with all social interactions, try to keep your number of close contacts low if possible,” she says.

“By taking these precautions and staying conscious of the risks we assume, Canadians can find ways to enjoy physical intimacy while safeguarding the progress we have all made containing COVID-19.”

This is not the first time B.C. has been given tips on being intimate during the pandemic.

In July, the BC Centre for Disease Control suggested using glory holes as a way to limit physical contact during sex.