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Stop kissing and wear a mask during sex to prevent COVID-19, says Tam

Start with trust and monitoring for symptoms. Then wear a mask, use a condom and no kissing.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The head of Canada’s public health agency has offered some tips for safe sex in a pandemic, suggesting that in-person contact doesn’t have to mean face-to-face.

Acknowledging that “sexual health is an important part of our overall health,” Chief Public Health Officer Teresa Tam said in a written statement to first consider “yourself alone” as the best low risk solution to sexual activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But if set on an in-person sexual encounter outside your bubble, there are other ways to reduce the risk. That starts with establishing a trusting relationship and monitoring for symptoms of the disease beforehand, said Tam in the statement Wednesday. 

Avoid drinking excessively as it’s a recipe for making bad decisions, she said. Moreover, wear a mask, use a condom and no kissing.

Finally, it’s important to be aware of whether your partner is in a high-risk category for COVID-19, and those with underlying medical conditions, weakened immune systems and problems with obesity should exercise particular caution. 

The good news? 

“Current evidence indicates there is a very low likelihood of contracting the novel coronavirus through semen or vaginal fluids,” read a statement from Tam’s office. 

Tam’s tips come after the B.C. Centre for Disease Control made international headlines in July after it published detailed best practices for those looking to take the plunge with a new partner. 

While also suggesting lovers avoid kissing, the BCCDC gained particular attention for suggesting partners “Choose sexual positions that limit face-to-face contact" and "Use barriers, like walls (e.g., glory holes), that allow for sexual contact but prevent close face-to-face contact."