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Here’s how you can avoid COVID-19: Stay inside. Limit interacting with people outside your household. When you have to venture outside, wear a face mask and stay 6 feet away from others. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Even when you’re taking those steps to protect yourself from COVID-19, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for your love or sex life. We get it — it can feel impossible to wait to go on a date or have sex when we don’t know when there will be a vaccine or cure for COVID-19. 

Fortunately, there may be ways to lower your risk if you decide to go on a date or have sex with someone who you don’t already live with.

If your area is lifting stay-at-home orders and opening up public spaces, it might seem like the risk is getting lower in your area. Unfortunately, there are very few areas in the US where the number of cases is currently 0, and some areas that have opened back up are already experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases. That means anytime you go somewhere where there are other people, there’s a chance that you could be exposed to the virus. 

If you do decide to go on a date, it’s important to take precautions to lower your risk of getting or transmitting COVID-19. Here’s how. 

Get tested for COVID-19. If you can, you and your date should get tested before you meet. In many places, COVID-19 tests are free. You typically get results in about a week. After you take the test, you need to self-isolate. Otherwise the results may not be true anymore when you meet up for your date. 

Talk about risk factors before you meet up. Getting a test might not be an option for everyone. In that case, here are some questions for you and your date to consider: have either of you had symptoms (like fever, cough, or shortness of breath) in the last 14 days? Have you been in close contact with anyone who has had COVID-19 lately? If the answer is yes, stay home.

Meet outdoors — like at a park, the beach, or a restaurant with outdoor seating. Transmission of COVID-19 is much lower in well ventilated, outdoor space. Wear a face covering, and don’t forget to bring hand sanitizer.

Avoid kissing. This one is truly a bummer. But unless you and your partner both test negative for COVID-19, kissing is one of the riskiest things you can do. That’s because COVID-19 can be passed through saliva, mucus, and breath. 

If you have sex, wear a mask. Sex with no kissing while wearing a mask might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s an option. So are mutual masturbation and phone sex. It’s also important to wash your hands and any sex toys you use before and after sex with soap and water.

Limit the amount of partners you have. In general, the fewer people you’re in close contact with, the safer you’ll be. 

Use condoms and dental dams for oral sex. COVID-19 has been found in both semen and feces (poop). Condoms and dental dams are great at protecting you from STDs, and they could come in handy protecting you from COVID-19, too.

Tags: sex, dating, covid, covid-19