Coronavirus News: Wear a mask? NYC offers guidelines for safer sex amid pandemic

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The New York City Department of Health is offering new guidelines on safer sex in the era of COVID-19, including wearing masks and asking potential partners if they've experienced any coronavirus symptoms in the past 14 days.

The health department still recommends all New Yorkers should stay home as much as possible and minimize contact with others to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, but the new guidance aims to offer strategies to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 during sex.

Many of the guidelines are staples of safe sex, including the use of contraceptives, knowing your partner, and limiting the number of new partners.

But some of the new guidance includes:
--Wearing a mask: 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.
--Avoid kissing: Kissing can easily pass the virus. Avoid kissing anyone who is not part of your small circle of close contacts.
--Talk about COVID-19 risk factors: Ask if a potential partner has had symptoms in the last 14 days. Fever, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath are symptoms to ask about.
--Limit the size of sex parties and choose larger, open, well-ventilated spaces.
--If you usually meet your sex partners online or make a living by having sex, consider taking a break from in-person dates. Video dates, sexting, subscription-based fan platforms, sexy "Zoom parties" or chat rooms may be options for you.
--Testing and monitoring: Closely monitor yourself for symptoms and consider getting a swab or saliva test for COVID-19 on a more frequent basis.
--Use physical barriers: Be creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact.
--Increased washing: Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, wash sex toys with soap and warm water, disinfect keyboards and touch screens that you share with others.

Health officials say it is still unknown if COVID-19 can be spread through sex, but that other coronaviruses do not spread easily during intercourse.

CLICK HERE for the full list of sex guidelines from the New York City Department of Health.

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