Why you shouldn’t meet someone for sex during lockdown

One of the many things which has been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown is our sexual wellbeing. Whether you’re married, single or currently have a partner (or several even), the current circumstances across the world will be impacting this part of your life to some degree.

Keeping your sexual health in good condition remains as important as ever, and some new and creative solutions may be needed in the current climate. This especially applies if you and your sexual partner are not living together.

If you and your partner are living separately, then government guidelines require you to keep your distance from one another. Any kind of non-essential trip is prohibited. No matter how tempting it may be, it is a risky gamble to breach these guidelines for the sake of some intimacy.

If someone in a relationship has COVID-19, then it is practically impossible for them to avoid passing it on to their partner during sex or other kinds of intimate/sexual action. While there’s no solid evidence that coronavirus can be passed through genital contact, it can be passed through saliva and mucus, meaning kissing and other types of close contact are enough to spread it. Just breathing near someone when you have COVID-19 can easily pass on the disease.

Getting creative with sex at a distance (in a responsible way)

If you’re currently living separately from your partner or you’re dating someone, then meeting them for sex is out of the question for legal and safety reasons. But with modern technology, there are digital methods you and your partner can try for achieving sexual pleasure from a distance.

Things like flirting over text, sexting and phone sex are examples of ‘digital sex’ which may have become more appealing with the lockdown in place. These virtual methods of showing affection can be fun and don’t require you or your partner to do any travelling. Smartphones, webcams and computers are what are typically used for these methods of digital sex.

Ultimately, these so-called digital sex methods may prove far less satisfying than real, physical contact. But at least there’s zero risk of spreading coronavirus this way, and it can help deal with any sexual frustration you may currently carry.

If you are considering doing things like sexting or phone sex with a partner, then it cannot be overstated how important it is to do such things in a manner which is fully legal and as safe as possible. This always applies whether it’s your first time or you’ve done such activity before.

Couples who partake in sexting or phone sex should be aware of what the law says about such activity. Before partaking, rules should be established between you and your partner in advance regarding what is ok and not ok to do. For instance, you can both agree not to save any of the videos or images which you send to each other. In the UK, only consenting adults aged 18 or above can legally engage in sexting.

If it is possible, use an encrypted connection to prevent anyone from possibly hacking into your connection or device. It’s not worth going ahead with digital sex if your partner does not agree to the rules you require to feel comfortable. Even if you have full trust in your partner, a cautious approach should always be taken to minimise personal risk.

The sad reality is that there have been many cases in the past of people using explicit images sent by an ex-partner as a way of humiliating them - by sharing such images and videos online in places where anyone can access them. This is known as ‘revenge porn’ and there are laws which make it a criminal offence in many countries including the UK. That, however, won’t necessarily deter some people and if an explicit image or video of yourself is shared online by someone you know, then it can be easily saved and shared around by other internet users anonymously.

If you ever partake in any digital sex activities like sexting, it is best to avoid showing your face in any explicit video or images you send to someone. It will be easier to achieve this if you are sharing still images or pre-recorded video, because you can take your time to position the camera in a way that shows only what you want your partner to see.

If you expose yourself during a live recording, there is more risk that you could unintentionally show your face or other things you didn’t mean to show. Taking such precautions can allow you to retain some precious anonymity, even if something unfortunate were to happen like if a hacker accessed and shared your picture/video in the future.

Sex when living together in lockdown

If you and your partner are living together during this period of lockdown, then getting intimate with one another is not breaching lockdown guidelines. But the lockdown could still be hampering opportunities. If you have kids, or you’re sharing your home with other people (such as family members), then finding enough private time with your partner can prove tricky.

For a lot of people, the lockdown means there aren’t clear boundaries between, work, home and family. If you and your partner are keen for some private time, it may prove necessary to negotiate certain arrangements. For instance, you could set specific times for when you and others in the house should go to bed. It may seem quite boring to schedule sex like this, but it’s a way of securing the private time you want. Also, knowing you have a window of opportunity for it coming up may actually help to build anticipation and excitement just before the moment.

Access to contraception

If you and your partner wish to have penis in vagina sex and want to avoid pregnancy, then you may be wondering how accessible contraceptives are during the lockdown. The good news is that contraception medicines are still easily accessible, particularly from online services such as Doctor-4-U. We continue to offer a wide range of contraceptive products which can be ordered with an online prescription and delivered to your home in a discreet package.

With the lockdown in place, you may be particularly worried about possibly entering a scenario where emergency contraception becomes necessary.

But it’s worth pointing out that many pharmacies, including Doctor-4-U do offer emergency contraception products and these remain available during the lockdown without the need for a face-to-face consultation.

Besides contraceptive pills, other barrier methods such as condoms are highly recommended to minimise the risk of unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections during intercourse.

Access to PrEP for HIV prevention

The current lockdown and the need to avoid hooking up for sex has also had an impact on people who use PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). People who take this medication may be wondering if they need to continue taking PrEP even if they are not having sex nowadays and whether they can even get access to it like normal.

In terms of access, PrEP remains available from pharmacies and you can order it like usual from Doctor-4-U. Pricing on our website starts from £64.99 for 30 tablets and next day delivery is available (although due to the ongoing lockdown, delivery services may be running slower than usual in your area).

You do not have to take PrEP all the time if you are not having sex anytime soon, but it’s also ok to keep using it if it makes you feel safer. The best way to stop PrEP and then restart it later depends on your gender. The HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust has detailed recommendations on how to use PrEP during the ongoing lockdown.

Is lockdown changing our sex drives?

There’s evidence that the current lockdown situation is impacting on how much sexual desire people have. While some are experiencing an increase in sexual desire, many are actually experiencing a reduction instead.

Health experts have been commenting recently that for many people, the current situation caused by COVID-19 and the lockdown are making a lot of people feel anxiety and stress. Anxiety and stress are both known to lower sexual desire. These emotions can lead to high levels of cortisol in the body. When it kicks in, this natural, stress-related steroid hormone suppresses your sex hormones.

If the home is currently full of distractions like work and family, then thoughts and interest about sex may end up getting pushed aside. That is not necessarily a bad thing if you have important things to be getting on with. On the other hand, some people do find sexual activity an effective stress relief and a welcome distraction particularly when the current reality outside is rather downbeat.

Sexual health services available during lockdown

If you have an issue with your sexual health, then the ways you can access professional help may be different than normal circumstances. But the pandemic should not discourage you from looking into how you can get appropriate support if you currently have an issue related to sexual health.

Sexual health clinics near you may be unable to take visitors or are running fewer appointments, but many are offering telephone consultations. Many services like these are working with pharmacies to post out appropriate medication when needed. You can still order medicines that treat sexually transmitted infections from online services including Doctor-4-U.

If you are eligible for home STI testing services, many are still operating as normal. Your results may take longer than usual due to kits taking longer to arrive by post.

Abortion services are still being provided across the UK, but your local clinics may be relying on video or telephone services to minimise contact and risk of COVID-19. Sexual assault referral centres are still operating across the country. If you need the support, you can use the official NHS search function for health information and support services near you and look online or make a call to determine the current accessibility of nearby clinics.