10 ways to reduce health risks during sex

Currently government public health guidance and localised legislation is in force to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce health risks to individuals. In some parts of the country, including Greater Manchester, a fine could be issued for socialising in private gardens or homes. Guidance also states that people should not socialise with anybody who is not part of their household or support bubble in indoor public venues.

Despite this significant risk, we understand that  some continue to have sex with people outside of their household and so below are 10  ways to reduce the risk;

1. The fewer people, the better

Limit the number of people you have sexual contact with and the number of times you have sex. The more time you leave between sexual or non-sexual physical contact with other people, the less likely you are to pass on the virus to others.

2. Keep it clean

You should ensure you thoroughly wash both before and as soon as possible after, ensuring you don’t share towels. Your clothing should be washed after contact with other people.

3. Where to do it

Consider the surfaces that will be touched during the activity, consider using an easy to wipe surface or using a towel that can be thoroughly washed afterwards.

4. Make time for masturbation

Consider less risky sexual activities such as mutual masturbation, ideally at a distance.

5. Safer sex is key

Continue to practice safer sex, whether it is through using condoms, PrEP, or both. Using condoms and lube is as important as ever in protecting you and your partner(s). We’re providing free postal condoms and lube to Greater Manchester residents, which you can order here.

6. Avoid spit

As the virus is thought to be passed on through saliva, avoid sexual activity that exchanges saliva such as kissing and spit play. Try to avoid oral sex, or reduce the risk by using barrier protection such as a condom or internal condom for oral sex.

7. Shit talk

As it is thought the virus transmits through faeces, anal sex and in particular rimming increases your risk. If you do have anal sex, the receptive partner should thoroughly douche beforehand. You could use a dental dam when rimming as a barrier between you and your partner.

8. Try out new positions

Choose a sexual position that isn’t face-to-face. Consider having sex in front of a mirror if you want to see your partner’s face whilst having intercourse.

9. Don’t share your toys

Sharing sex toys increases the risks of passing on the virus and STIs, but may be safer than having sex. If you do use sex toys, ensure they are thoroughly cleaned before and after use.

10. Look after your gear

Limit the use of any fetish clothing or gear. Clean any gear thoroughly before and after use. Remember that many items, such as fetish gas-masks, are designed for sex play rather than protection from infection.

You can find more information about sex during the COVID-19 pandemic here. As always, if you want to talk to someone about the type of sex you’re having, or the sex that you want to have, you can contact our sexual health team for non-judgemental sex positive discussions at [email protected]. If you prefer to have this discussion over the phone, send us your number and we will arrange to call you back.

The most up-to-date information and advice on coronavirus can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19