A couple kisses as they pose for a photo at the top of the TKTS stairs, March 10, 2020, in New York's Times Square.
A couple kisses as they pose for a photo at the top of the TKTS stairs, March 10, 2020, in New York's Times Square.

NEW YORK - With 8.6 million residents cooped up at home indefinitely, New York City’s health department has offered graphic guidance on safe sex practices during the coronavirus pandemic.

“You are your safest sex partner,” the 2-page document says. It then encourages individuals to wash their hands and any pleasure devices they may use.

The city advises that other than masturbation, “the next safest partner is someone you live with.” But urges you to “skip sex if you or your partner is not feeling well.”

Health officials warn that kissing – which involves saliva -- can quickly spread COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the new coronavirus, but it has not yet been found in other bodily fluids associated with sex.

“We know that other coronaviruses do not efficiently transmit through sex,” the guidance says. SARS and MERS are examples of two earlier coronaviruses.

New York State is leading the United States with virus cases, with more than 10,300 as of Saturday. More than 8,000 are in the densely populated city.

People queue to enter a tent erected to test for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York City, March 19, 2020.

The state’s governor has ordered all non-essential workers to stay home and has told residents to only go out for groceries or the occasional exercise. That leaves people with a lot of free time.

After blizzards and hurricanes, many cities see baby booms, and perhaps it is with this in mind that health officials issued their guidance. They also recommend you “have an effective form of birth control for the coming weeks.”

Officials are also urging people to avoid online dating for now and keep your circle of contact as small as possible.

“If you usually meet your sex partners online or make a living by having sex, consider taking a break from in-person dates,” the city says. “Video dates, sexting or chat rooms may be options for you.”

And if you do go that route, health officials recommend that you disinfect keyboards and touch screens that you share with others.

Social distancing — staying 2 meters apart —  is still the order of the day.

But whatever route you go, always, always wash your hands.

Full NYC guidance on sex and the coronavirus can be found at: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/imm/covid-sex-guidance.pdf


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