Keep your COVID-19 personal protective gear on during sex, insists a new study on masks and intimacy by researchers at Harvard University.
We spent almost the entirety of the ’80s trying to get people to use condoms all the time, and now this? Even worse, the CDC and WHO can’t even agree whether masks work for less-intimate activities, like grocery shopping.
Please tell me your grocery shopping is less than intimate.
Anyway, here’s the relevant section of the study. If you decide to read the whole thing, there are certain sentences that read better if you squint, preferably hard enough to blur them into complete illegibility.
The study notes that “the sexual health implications” of the coronavirus “have received little focus” from the medical community, even though “it appears all forms of in-person sexual contact carry risk for viral transmission.”
With seeming regret, the authors admit that “complete abstinence from in-person sexual activity is not an achievable goal.” Therefore, “having sex with persons with whom they are self-quarantining is the safest approach.”
That goes for a lot of things, and not just COVID-19 infections.
Even married sex is still not without risks, however, with or without masks. The New York Post’s Zachary Kussin noted that the study suggests that everyone “shower before and after, and clean the space with alcohol wipes or soap,” apparently even for old married people like me.
Isn’t it romantic?
There are other activities the authors recommend against, but I am totally not even going to hint at what they might or might not be.
So I guess it’s OK to have sex with someone you aren’t exactly intimate with — but no kissing. And I can think of a couple of other fun activities you really can’t engage in wearing masks that would get you and your partner some cross looks from doctors Jack L. Turban, Alex S. Keuroghlian, and Kenneth H. Mayer.
What are they doing watching you, anyway?
The study includes recommendations treating physicians can give their patients, including that they “be counseled to engage in sexual activity with partners via the telephone or video chat services.”
Just don’t use Zoom, because at least for a short while they were beaming videos straight into China.
The authors admit that “further research is needed to know if this will be an effective strategy,” which just goes to show you they need to get out of the lab more often. It doesn’t take a degree from Harvard to understand that people engaging in risky behaviors engage in risky behaviors.
Whether wearing masks applies to spittle-shouting rioters who have already broken quarantine does not appear to be within the scope of the study.