ONTARIO, CANADA – Mask debating has been taken to a new level in Canada. Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said on Wednesday that couples should wear face masks when having sex.
“There have been 129,425 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,132 deaths. 88.5% of people have now recovered. Labs across Canada tested an average of 46,000 people daily over the past week with 0.9% testing positive. An average of over 490 new cases have been reported daily during the most recent seven days,” Tam said. “Sexual health is an important part of our overall health. However, sex can be complicated in the time of COVID-19, especially for those without an intimate partner in their household or whose sexual partner is at higher risk for COVID-19. 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.”
She said the lowest risk sexual activity during COVID-19 involves yourself alone. If you choose to engage in an in-person sexual encounter with someone outside of your household or close contacts bubble, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk. The most important step is to establish a trusting relationship with your sexual partner. When engaging in sexual activity you can reduce your risk by:
- Monitoring yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 and not having sex if you or your partner is experiencing symptoms;
- Limiting your use of alcohol and other substances so you and your partner(s) are able to make safe decisions;
- Skipping kissing and avoiding face-to-face contact or closeness;
- consider using a mask that covers the nose and mouth;
- Being aware if you or your partner may be at higher risk for more severe outcomes of COVID-19. This includes:
- people of any age with underlying medical conditions;
- people with compromised immune systems; and
- people living with obesity.
- As usual, engaging in safer sex practices, including using condoms, knowing your own STI status and the status of your partner.
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.
“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,” Tam said.