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COVID-19 isn’t an STD. But you can get it if you have close physical contact with someone who has COVID-19. Luckily, the COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you and your partners from COVID-19. 

Can you get COVID-19 from sex?

You can get COVID-19 if you’re within 6 feet of someone who has it when they cough, sneeze, or breathe out. And COVID-19 is also spread through direct contact with saliva (spit) or mucus. So intimate activities that involve being physically close to someone can easily spread COVID-19. 

Some people with COVID-19 might not have symptoms, or their symptoms may be mild. So you can’t know for sure if someone has COVID-19 based on how they look or feel.

How can I safely have sex without getting COVID-19?

The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to get the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters. If you’re fully vaccinated and boosted, it’s mostly safe for you to have sex and other types of close physical contact with other people who are also vaccinated and boosted. If you’re not vaccinated, try to avoid close, physical contact — including sex — with people who don’t live with you (especially if they’re also unvaccinated).

There are a few situations where you may need to take extra precautions — like avoiding close, physical contact and wearing masks around others indoors — even if you’re vaccinated:

Talk with your nurse or doctor if you, your partner, or someone in your household is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. 

If you or your partner are feeling sick or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, get tested for COVID-19. And you may have to quarantine or isolate, depending on the situation. 

The safest person to have sex with is yourself: masturbation doesn’t spread COVID-19, or any other infections. Just make sure to wash your hands and sex toys with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after. The safest sexual partners are people who already live with you, or people who are fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.

Remember, you still need to ask for consent every time you want to have any kind of sex. Even if you’ve had sex before, and even if you’re in a relationship, live together, or are married. If your partner doesn’t want to have sex for any reason — including being worried about COVID-19 — it’s important to respect that.

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