With the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, a lot has changed in each of our lives. Countries have begun to take some measures to prevent the spread of the virus and to reduce the disease-death rate, quarantine practices have started. As is known, COVID-19 is a disease that occurs due to corona virus and occurs primarily after contact with droplet tract, saliva or infected surfaces. The rule of physical-social distances between persons is also applied because this transition is minimized. At this point, people’s work and social life are changing, they stay more at home, and there are some changes in bilateral and family relations.
On the other hand, studies on sexuality have accelerated all over the world in recent years, and new publications on COVID-19 and sexual health / life have also come to the fore. The available data are not enough to show that COVID-19 is a sexually transmitted disease. In addition, new information has started to come about that it can be transmitted with sperm. In addition, the existence of parts such as kissing and physical contact in sexuality caused some warnings about sexual life and health in the COVID-19 pandemic.
A healthy sexual life is possible with both sides establishing closeness with their own will without coercion. This proximity can create opportunities for COVID-19 transmission. Situations where the routine is disrupted, such as physical restrictions, increased time spent in the home, moving home or spending more time with a partner can sometimes bring negativity in sexual life and close relationships. Also, psychological effects such as changes in the individual’s own mood, existential anxieties, confrontation with illness and death also affect the level of sexual desire or cause changes in sexual functions. So, what should we pay attention to in order to protect our sexual health and safe sex life, which is one of the parts of our existence in this unfamiliar life period?
First of all, if you don’t already have a partner, you are not in a safe time to meet a new partner and have sex. Our main recommendation for individuals in this group will be to stay away from partnered sexual life for now. On the other hand, sometimes it may not be possible for individuals to suppress sexual urges. Rather than seeking a new partner, we can consider this period as a time to discover our own individual sexuality and to return to ourselves and establish a good relationship with our own body. Therefore, masturbation activities and the use of safe sex toys for individuals who are not partners are suitable methods for sexual satisfaction.
There may also be changes in sexual intimacy for individuals who have partners and live separately. Corona virus contact from outside should be considered in individuals living in different environments. Therefore, we recommend activities such as sharing sexual fantasies by phone or texting and masturbation for sexual intimacy to these couples. Let’s not forget that sexuality is shaped by physical, visual, auditory or psychological stimuli, and other stimuli may come into play with the lack of physical proximity.
For partners living in the same household, if individuals do not show symptoms of COVID-19 and follow the pandemic rules, sexual intimacy and activity do not seem to be a problem. Symptoms of one of the couples require sexuality to be stopped. A study conducted in April 2020 in couples living in the same household showed that 72.5% of the couple had sexual intimacy between 1 and 5 times a week. It is also known that sexual intimacy is beneficial to mental and physical health in individuals and increases happiness and general life satisfaction. In addition, a decrease in sexual desire and satisfaction or sexual dysfunction can be seen in couples due to both the fear of contamination and the psychological effects arising from the current situation.
As a result, although COVID-19 is not a sexually transmitted disease, it should be known that it will cause changes in sexual behavior and satisfaction as it can be transmitted by contact. The effect of this process on human sexual health and life will become clearer in the coming years.
Lopes GP, Vale FBC, Vieira I, da Silva Filho AL, Abuhid C, Geber S. (2020). COVID-19 and Sexuality: Reinventing Intimacy. Arch Sex Behav. Nov; 49 (8): 2735-2738.
Arafat, S., Alradie-Mohamed, A., Kar, S. K., Sharma, P., & Kabir, R. (2020). Does COVID-19 pandemic afect sexual behavior? A cross-sectional, cross-national online survey. Psychiatry Research, 289, 113050
Jacob, L., Smith, L., Butler, L., Barnett, Y., Grabovac, I., McDermott, D., Tully, M. (2020). COVID-19 social distancing and sexual activity in a sample of the British public. Journal of Sexual Medicine
Muise, A., Schimmack, U., & Impett, E. A. (2016). Sexual frequency predicts greater well-being, but more is not always better. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7 (4), 295–302