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Coronavirus and sex: Can I have sex?

Coronavirus cases worldwide have surpassed 247,000 since first emerging in China in December. Italy overtook China in terms of total deaths on March 19 with 3,405 while there have been more than 10,400 fatalities across the world.

Coronavirus and sex – can I have sex?

The UK Government has asked people presenting with symptoms of coronavirus – a new, continuous cough and/or a high temperature – to self-isolate for seven days if you live, or in some cases where you live with others, 14 days.

That means some people will be cooped up with their partners for an extended period of time.

Coronavirus can spread through sneezing, coughing, from coming into close contact with an infected person and touching contaminated surfaces.

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So what does that mean for sexual relations?

Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Carlos Rodríguez-Díaz – a professor at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health – said: “There is no evidence that the COVID-19 can be transmitted via either vaginal or anal intercourse.

“However, kissing is a very common practice during sexual intercourse, and the virus can be transmitted via saliva.

“Therefore, the virus can be transmitted by kissing.

“There is also evidence of oral-fecal transmission of the COVID-19 and that implies that analingus may represent a risk for infection.”

For those presenting with symptoms it is therefore not advised to kiss or get close to your partner as that would likely lead to the transmission of the virus.

The Government advice on self-isolation states: “If you have been told to self-isolate, you will need to get to the place you are going to stay using your normal mode of transport, once there remain indoors and avoid contact with other people.

“This will prevent you from spreading the disease to your family, friends and the wider community.

“Self-isolation is about protecting others and slowing down the spread of COVID-19.

“It is very important that anyone who has the virus, or might have been exposed to it, limits the number of people they come into contact with for 14 days.”

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For Dr Julia Marcus – an infectious disease epidemiologist and professor in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School – sex can be a good way to have fun in self-isolation but only if both parties’ exposure to the virus has been unlikely and their symptoms have not been apparent.

She told The Guardian: “For people who don’t have symptoms and don’t have any recent likely exposure and have been staying close to home, I think that, if it’s within your own household, it’s a different story.

“If you live with a regular sexual partner and you don’t have any symptoms, or likely exposure, sex might actually be a really great way to have fun, stay connected and relieve anxiety during this potentially stressful time.”

The COVID-19 outbreak doesn’t seem to have put people off having sex in China, where the illness originated and where there are more than 81,000 cases.

Reuters reported that sales for condoms have gone up in China.

Sales of condoms were so high in China, they ranked as one of the more popular items purchased from e-commerce sites.

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