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Safe sex during a pandemic

Written By: Simone Sonnier, UT Physicians | Updated: October 25, 2020
mask with heart on it

Safe sex looks a little different during a global pandemic.

Sex is a natural and healthy part of life. However, after months into a pandemic where close contact with another person can seem scary and risky, the question arises – what does safe sex look like during a global pandemic?

Safe sexual activity

We’ve all heard the saying that the only safe sex is no sex; however abstinence just isn’t reasonable for many people.

Run Wang, MD
Run Wang, MD

Run Wang, MD, urologist with UT Physicians and former president of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America, agrees that intimacy may look a little different during the time of COVID-19.

“If your partner has notable symptoms, even without a positive diagnosis, protection should include both a condom and a mask,” said Wang, who’s also a professor in the Department of Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.

That’s right. Safe sex includes multiple protective barriers between partners. While condoms can prevent against many sexually transmitted diseases, masks may prevent against the transmission of the coronavirus during close encounters.

Experts also suggest avoiding kissing, as exchanging bodily fluids like saliva can transmit COVID-19 and washing your hands before and after intercourse.

Expert recommendations

In studies across the globe, other countries have been investigating the possibility that COVID-19 can be transmitted sexually, which reiterates the importance of proper and consistent use of condoms.

Additionally, Wang suggests that all male patients of reproductive age have their sperm examined if they’ve suffered from severe COVID-19 infection or underwent treatment for the virus, especially if there’s a plan to have children in the near future.

“Very preliminary studies are showing that patients who’ve had the active virus infection with fever are experiencing decreased quality of sperm compared to healthy individuals,” said Wang.

Wang recommends men seek out the care from a urologist to undergo evaluations and have a semen analysis before intentionally starting a family to assure sperm is functioning properly.

For additional information about UT Physicians Urology – Texas Medical Center or to schedule an appointment, visit their page.

As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.