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Safer Sex During COVID-19

Apocalypse-induced abstinence . . . not your idea of a good time? Our writing team demystifies safer sex practices that make sense during COVID-19. 

Have you heard the one about British Columbia’s CDC recommending glory holes to prevent Covid transmission? They’ve got a point. One of the difficulties with hooking up during a pandemic is that getting up close and personal with someone carries an extra layer of risk. Not only do you need to get up to speed on safer sex practices, you also need to pay attention to whether you might be spreading Covid-19 as well.

So how do you do it? Here are a few ideas for how to practice safer sex during a pandemic.  

Safe sex? Or safer sex?

Before we get stuck in, first it’s worth noting the term ‘safer’ sex. As a general rule the phrase ‘safe sex’ is one to be avoided, because all sex carries at least some element of risk. You can’t guarantee you won’t fall off the bed and twist an ankle, or that the condom won’t break partway through.

Even if you’re having sex across time zones, engaging in mutual masturbation over the phone for example, there are still risks involved – like the risk that someone could record your call or the NSA might be listening. Hence why most sex educators these days tend to use the term ‘safer sex’ rather than ‘safe sex.’ No activity humans engage in is ever entirely risk-free, so decent education means teaching people how to manage potential risks rather than giving them false hope they can be eliminated entirely. 

Safer sex during Covid: do it without touching

So how do you minimise the risk of catching Covid when you’re having sex? The first two possibilities take out infection risks altogether: 

Masturbation over webcam

Remain in the comfort of your own home but put on a show for your partner (s) and vice versa. Watching each other pleasure yourselves is a very safe alternative to in-person sex, and sex toys like the AMO bullet vibe or the PULSE SOLO LUX can enhance your show and give you extra props to play with. If you’re nervous about using webcams (because they carry their own kinds of risk), then there’s always the old-school… 

Phone sex

Tell each other sexy stories as you pleasure yourselves, or make plans for the amazing things you’ll do to each other when you finally get to meet in person. While some people are very visual and want images in order to get off, many find that the intimacy of audio gives an extra kick of hotness to a safely distanced shag. Perhaps that’s why erotic podcasts are so popular… 


Safer sex during Covid: socially-distanced shagging

If you’re keen to meet up in person, the first thing to do is to check the ever-changing government rules on what you may and may not do. At the time of writing, the ‘rule of 6’ is in force in the UK, so while twosomes, threesomes, and foursomes are acceptable, any orgy with six or more of your friends is definitely out of bounds. 

But even within a pair or small groups, there’s still a risk of transmission, so how about trying… 

Mutual masturbation: playing in the same room but safely socially distanced from one another. Pleasuring yourselves while watching your partner(s) do the same. Who’s to say that the ‘forbidden’ nature of touching each other wouldn’t add an extra hot frisson to the proceedings? Perhaps using sex toys, or telling each other hot stories, or planning what you might do when the risk level has died down and you can get up close and personal.      

If you’re not keen on these ideas and you’d prefer to be able to touch each other, then as the British Columbian CDC says, oral sex will have a lower Covid-19 transmission because you’re not swapping saliva or breathing too close to each others’ faces.

The Terrence Higgins Trust has some great advice on this topic too. You could also (though this is definitely riskier) try sexual positions like reverse cowgirl (or reverse cowboy) or doggy, which involve you facing away from each other. Keep your mask on for extra protection, and perhaps a hint of anonymity kink.  

There will be some people for whom none of this sounds particularly sexy, and you’d rather just have your sex and risks be damned. In this case, the things you want to consider when establishing your own risk levels (and those of your partners) are: 

How many people you have come into contact with in the last two weeks?

If someone lives alone, and only ever goes out to buy shopping once a week (with a mask and a thorough hand-washing routine), that person is going to be less of a Covid-19 transmission risk than someone who is out and about every day, eating out to help out or teaching in a school or doing some other activity that brings them in close contact with a lot of individuals. 

How many people you are likely to come into contact with in the next two weeks?

If your key concern is spreading Covid-19 to people you know who may be vulnerable, and you’re willing to sacrifice a little freedom, then limiting your contact with others after you’ve played might be something you’d like to consider. Note that this will do nothing to prevent you from catching Coronavirus, but it may mean that if you do catch it you are less likely to pass it to those around you. 

Safer sex during Covid: stay safe!

We at Hot Octopuss aren’t here to tell you that you shouldn’t be having sex. We know that for many people the first lockdown was a huge strain on their mental health, and there are many for whom intimacy can provide important comfort when life is hard. Equally, we don’t want to tell you to forget the risks, as safer sex during Covid definitely requires a lot more consideration than safer sex in pre-pandemic times.

But we think if you are reading this article, you’re already taking care to make sure you don’t contract (or give) Covid-19 to your partners, so you’re already off to a good start. If you have any other tips for safer sex during Covid-19, please do leave them in the comments. 

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