Austin Women's Health Center Blog&Inspiration

Let’s Talk Safe Sex During COVID-19

July 6, 2020
safe sex during COVID

Since the pandemic spread rapidly through our communities, preventive measures have been necessary to protect our health and the health of those we know and love. Putting safe sex into practice was previously necessary to protect against STIs and to prevent pregnancy, but since COVID-19 spreads through saliva and has been found in feces, it is important to learn about the new recommendations. Below are several tips from the New York City Department of Health and other professionals to keep in mind. So talk about safe sex during COVID-19!


Understand How COVID-19 Spreads


Coronavirus is a respiratory disease, so it is spread by respiratory drops and can be transmitted by someone who has the disease and who coughs or sneezes from 6 feet away, even if they show no symptoms. Although the virus has not been found in semen or vaginal discharge, it has been found in faeces. This means that COVID-19 can be transmitted by other direct contact we have with other people’s saliva, mucus, or feces — such as during the act of kissing or sex. So limit contact with yourself, with those you live with, and they are virtually some of the ways you can practice safe sex during COVID.


According to the NY Department of Health, other types of coronaviruses “are not actually transmitted through sex,” but there is still much to learn about safe sex and COVID.

For Now, Having Sex With Yourself IS The Safest Sex Type

Because COVID-19 is transmitted through saliva, mucus, and feces, self-pleasure (after washing your hands) is the safest way to protect yourself from the coronavirus during the pandemic. Masturbation is not going to cause you to spread the virus either, but so it is important to wash your hands (with soap for 20 seconds) after doing so.

Are you using sex toys? It is advisable to wash sex toys with soap and water as well. If you are using them for the first time, or are looking for additional ways to have self-pleasure, you can read a list of recommendations here!


While masturbation has long been culturally stigmatized, there is nothing wrong with doing it, and there are many benefits to this form of self-pleasure — like releasing endorphins that help fight stress, improve sleep, relieve colic during menstrual cycles. , and the opportunity to explore and learn more about our bodies and what we like. If you are new to masturbation, or want to learn something about it, check out this guide!


Limit Sex In Person With Those Who Live With You


Limiting sex in person with those who live with you lowers your risk of contracting the virus, and helps reduce the risk of spreading it too. Two people living together can decide whether having sex is worth the risk of possible infection, as there is a risk that the person will contract COVID-19 if the other has it — but if one of those people is immunocompromised, the risk It may not be worth the possible serious complications that may come from the virus.


If you have sex with people who do not live with you, it is recommended that you limit the number to as little as possible. You can protect yourself and your partner even more by using condoms, or dental holds (latex or polyurethane sheets between the mouth and the vagina or anus during oral sex), which can reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 (and ITSs).


Many sexual health and family planning clinics — especially those participating in the federal Title X grant program — provide free condoms. Due to the pandemic, clinics may limit their services to follow the recommendations for social distancing, and it is a good idea to call and ask about the services they are providing right now, and if you need to make an appointment. Most supermarkets and pharmacies sell condoms, and you may find dental dams too. But if you want to limit person-to-person contact with the public, you can receive free condoms shipped to you by Texas Wears Condoms, and Amazon sells dental dams at various costs. Be sure to check the expiration date!


Are you having video appointments? Having sex by text? Here Are Some Tips On Consent And Limits


The isolation as a result of COVID-19 means that the way of dating has changed for everyone. Some were starting relationships when the pandemic started and perhaps are looking for ways to maintain intimacy, and others whose source of income was sex work may be having changes in the type of contact they would normally have. Whatever the situation, if you are looking to interact with others via video or phone, it may be helpful to set limits that you feel comfortable with from the start.


Irma Garcia, a sex educator and manager of customer services with Jane’s Due Process, told her followers in one of her live videos on Instagram, that when dating by video or having sex by text, the limits must be individual and can mean limiting sounds for privacy, not showing genitalia on screen, or deciding whether or not to use sex toys. Consistent and open communication with mutual understanding helps ensure that the two are on the same page and that sex is with consent — whether in person, on video, or by text.


In an article about sex by text, Glamor shared that unless you’re in a stable relationship that works for the two of you, it’s important to ask for consent sooner because they may not be in the same place as you. Communicate what you would like from your partners, and be careful to share videos or photos that have identifiable details that could be shared at a later time without your consent. If you are under 18, this is not a legal option — even if you are both under 18 — as this may be considered child pornography.


Accessing Contraceptives and STI Testing During COVID-19


Contraceptives are an essential part of health, and while some clinics may be having changes in their operations, access to the full spectrum of methods is still possible. If you have already established health care with a doctor, they can offer you services online or by phone via Telemedicine. If you have not established care, they may want to evaluate you in person first. Contraceptive methods such as pills, patch, Depo injection, or ring may be accessible by Telemedicine, but long-term, reserved contraceptive methods (such as IUDs and implants) require an in-person visit for insertion.


People without health insurance or who are having financial problems as a result of COVID-19 can search for contraceptives (including emergency contraceptives, pills, IUDs and more) and STI tests at Title X clinics. These clinics must provide these services to any person regardless of age or how much money they have — meaning that teens ages 14-18 can receive confidential services without telling their parents. You can find your closest clinic here . 


Dr. Wu, a family medicine doctor in New Hampshire and a member of Doctors of Reproductive Health, told Rewire News that if you are at high risk and need to use contraception to treat a medical condition or to avoid a high risk pregnancy, it is a It’s a good idea to have at least 3 months of birth control on hand during quarantine — and some doctors have been issuing prescriptions without the need for in-person visits.


Nurx can also give you an online contraceptive consultation for $ 30, and can send you a prescription for certain methods directly to your pharmacy if you’re eligible. Emergency contraceptives can be purchased at most supermarkets and pharmacies, but some generic versions can be found on Amazon by searching for “My Choice” or “My Way.” To learn more about access to emergency contraception during the pandemic, you can see our guide for more tips. 


What if I need an abortion?

After weeks of our government messing with our reproductive lives during the public health crisis, the abortion service can resume in Texas by following the April 21 expiration of the restraining order. Abortion in Texas is legal until the 20th week of pregnancy (22 weeks if based on the last period), but medication abortions are restricted to 10 weeks by the FDA. If you need financial assistance, please ask us when you call to make your appointment and call the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity Monday-Friday 7-10am at 1-877-355-1461.


Austin Women’s Health Center is hopeful that canceled appointments and delays will stop soon, as we believe that everyone has the right to access essential health care on time as needed — especially during a pandemic.


You can contact our office Monday through Saturday from 8 am-5pm to schedule your appointment for a medical or surgical abortion, but we want you to be aware that due to the events of the last four weeks, you may see a time delay. may have her abortion appointment. We are doing everything we can to undo the damage caused by Governor Greg Abbott and District Attorney Ken Paxton, and we thank you for trusting us with your medical care. In the meantime, please remember to stay safe and practice safe sex during COVID-19.