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Scientists Warn Condoms Will Not Prevent COVID-19 + Tips To Keep In Mind During Sex

The use of condoms will not protect sex partners from contracting COVID-19 if one of them is positive for the virus, scientists warn. They say that although condom is effective against many sexually transmitted infections, it will not prevent contracting COVID-19 since transmission can occur through contact with an infected person’s mouth, nose, skin, or breath.

The researchers, numbering 12 and specialising in fields such as biological sciences, social sciences, evolution, psychology and gender, made this known in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of October 22.

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Physicians say an individual may not know if someone has coronavirus; noting that being sexually active with another person involves some risk of coronavirus transmission, especially as some people may have no symptoms while they are infectious.

Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical System say sex during the coronavirus pandemic requires a whole new set of precautions on top of those that prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV-AIDS, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea or herpes.

“The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is more contagious than any STD because it is spread by droplets in the air.

You can catch it just by being less than 6 feet away from an infected person. You can get it from touching a surface that was recently touched by a person who has COVID-19.

“Your risk goes up significantly with close contact, such as shaking hands. Simply getting close enough to have intercourse puts you at risk, regardless of whether you have sex.

Contact that involves direct transmission of bodily fluids, such as kissing, would put you at greater risk.

“Recently, coronavirus was detected in semen but has not been detected in vaginal fluids of infected patients. Coronavirus is also present in saliva and respiratory secretions such as coughs and sneezes, as well as in urine and faeces,”

the Maryland university researchers said.

Also, a New York City Health Guide states that the virus spreads through particles in the saliva, mucus or breath of people with COVID-19, even from people who do not have symptoms. While acknowledging that humanity still has a lot to learn about COVID-19 and sex, the guide states that the virus has been found in the semen and faeces (poop) of people with COVID-19.

Senior author and professor of psychology and communication studies at the University of California Los Angeles, Martie Haselton, says humans have an array of mating strategies as products of successful reproduction, including long-term pair bonds, short-term casual sex, and everything in between.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is influencing these mating strategies and will have a profound impact on the global mating and economic landscape,”

Haselton said.

Short-term mating is the most obvious strategy to be affected, the researchers noted, warning that

“novel sex partners are potential virus vectors, rendering the costs of casual sex steeper.”

While in-person sex is being replaced, perhaps temporarily, with online versions such as sexting, video cams, and virtual sex in COVID-19 endemic climes,  those who risk in-person sex may be exposing themselves to high risk of COVID-19 infection, they said.

According to the scientists, the use of condoms, although effective against many sexually transmitted infections, will not prevent contracting COVID-19, since transmission can occur through contact with an infected person’s mouth, nose, skin, or breath.

Especially at risk are those who pursue a fast-life history strategy — marked by short-term sex pursuit, frequent [sex] partner switching, and deceptive sexual tactics, the researchers warn.

Such people risk “becoming potential superspreaders” of COVID-19 infections, the research stated.

Lead researcher, who is also a psychology doctoral student at UCLA, with expertise in behavioral neuroscience, Benjamin Seitz, said the group used data from dating apps, sexually transmitted infection rates, and surveys to understand shifts in sexual behaviours as waves of COVID-19 outbreak, lockdowns, and economic downturns occur.

How you can help yourself during sex in an age of COVID-19:

• Kissing can easily pass the virus. Avoid kissing anyone who is not part of your small circle of close contacts.

• Rimming (mouth on anus) might spread the virus. Virus in feces may enter your mouth and could lead to infection.

• Wear a face covering or mask. Maybe it’s your thing, maybe it’s not, but during COVID-19 wearing a face covering that covers your nose and mouth is a good way to add a layer of three protection during sex. Heavy breathing and panting can spread the virus further, and if you or your partner have COVID-19 and don’t know it, a mask can help stop that spread.

• Make it a little kinky. Be creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact.

• Masturbate together. Use physical distance and face coverings to reduce the risk.

• Condoms and dental dams can reduce contact with saliva, semen or feces during oral or anal sex.

• Washing up before and after sex is more important than ever. o Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

• Wash sex toys with soap and warm water.

• Skip sex if you or your partner are not feeling well. If you feel unwell, or even start to feel unwell, avoid kissing, sex or any close contact with others.

• If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, avoid close contact with anyone outside your household and follow NCDC guidance about how to prevent exposing others. People exposed to COVID-19 should get tested for the virus.

• If you or your partner have a medical condition that can lead to severe COVID-19 illness, you may also want to skip sex. Medical conditions include lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, liver disease, cancer or a weakened immune system (for example, having unsuppressed HIV or a low CD4 count).

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