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The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is not a sexually transmitted infection, but we know the virus is transmitted during close sexual contact. As a result, we're looking at ways we can stay sexy while limiting the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Our team on JOY 94.9's Well, Well, Well navigated this topic as they spoke to Bryony Cole (CEO & Founder, The Future of Sex), adult film performer and sex worker Max Arion, and Associate Professor Edwina Wright from The Alfred to discuss this issue - from sex tech to online sex work to what it means to be intimate.

Listen to Well, Well, Well - Sex, Intimacy & COVID-19

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

News and information around coronavirus and COVID-19 has moved very quickly. As a result, a lot of people have asked what this means for sex. Here are some frequently asked questions from the community.

Can I get COVID-19 from oral sex?
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We know that the virus is transmitted by droplets from the mouth or saliva. These can be transmitted by coughing, sneezing, laughing, and kissing.

Plus, if you touch a surface with droplets from the mouth or saliva on it and then touch your mouth or face, you can also transmit COVID-19. Due to the presence of saliva, oral sex can easily transmit COVID-19.

Can you get COVID-19 by kissing someone?
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We know that the virus transmitted by droplets from the mouth and saliva. So it makes sense that kissing will pass on COVID-19.

Can I get COVID-19 from anal sex or vaginal/front hole sex?
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COVID-19 is not a sexually transmitted infection. While anal, vaginal, and front-hole sex don't necessarily transmit the virus, the close contact and presence of saliva during sex both pose a risk of transmitting COVID-19.

Can PrEP or HIV medication prevent COVID-19?
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Antiretroviral drugs used to prevent and treat HIV do not prevent you from COVID-19.

Neither Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) or HIV medication will prevent you from acquiring COVID-19 or prevent you from transmitting it to others.

Can I have sex with my partner?
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Provided you're both well, you can certainly continue to have sex together.

Can I have sex with a 'fuck buddy'?
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Communication is key when it comes to sex with a regular casual partner (aka a fuck buddy). You need to have a clear and honest conversation about what potential exposure each of you has with others. You also need to let each other know immediately if either of you becomes unwell.

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FLYING SOLO

Whether you're dancing on your own or looking to hook up from a distance, there are a range of way risk-free ways to get off.

Here are a few strategies to get you going...

Party for One
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Masturbation and self-pleasure can be safely enjoyed by all of us at practically any time. Try new things to spice your masturbation habits. Have you tried to find different positions to masturbate in? Or have you tried someplace other than your bed?

Cybersex
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Are you separated from your partner or sexual networks and want to reconnect? Facetime doesn’t have to be *just* for faces. Connect with each other via photo sharing, webchat, or on the apps. You can use Zoom or Skype to help everyone come together without coming together.

If you are wanting to meet new networks, then maybe explore some of the online chat rooms. Explore what the internet has to offer when it comes to chatting with and watching others on camera, such as CAM4 and Chatturbate


Digital safety disclaimer: Always be mindful of what you post online, and keep digital consent mutual.

Just Push Play
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In the words of Avenue Q, "The Internet is for Porn." Revisit your old favourites or maybe now is the time to explore something new. You can also follow some of your favourite adult performers through Only Fans or Just For Fans. There are thousands of videos. It will cost you, but this is a way to support these performers and keep them making more content.

Talk Dirty to Me
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Whether its online sex or phone sex, you can heat things up by choosing the right words. If you need some encouragement on how to talk dirty, HuffPost offer some tips with How to talk dirty without being Awkward.

Toys, Toys, Toys
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Sex toys are a massive global industry with countless options out there for everybody and every body. With a sea of options out there - why not dive in and find out what gets you off!?

Want to get others involved? Check out options like 'teledildonics' or remote-controlled toys – your partner doesn't even have to be in the same country to turn the device (or you) on.

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BACK TO BUSINESS

With restrictions eased, we understand that people are keen to get their sex lives back on track. If you are going to start to have casual sex again, here are some ways to reduce your risk, but remember none of these are fail safe solutions for avoiding COVID-19.

  • Get contact details of people who you are having sex with – so that if you do get diagnosed or if they do, then you can let each other know.
  • Avoiding sex that involves the exchange of saliva, such as kissing, snogging or spit-play
  • Washing your hands and face in soapy water before and after sex
  • Showering before and after sex and not sharing towels with partners
  • Reducing the numbers of hook-ups that you have
  • Having sex that reduces the amount of body contact – we hear of some people making their own glory holes and having sex through them, or mutual masturbation, or spanking, or using condoms
  • Having an encounter that does not involve touching, and involves staying a distance away from each other – such as watching each other jack off, or dressing up
  • Having an encounter that does not involve face-to-face contact, such as doggy-style
  • Not sharing sex toys
  • Reduce your risk by making your sexual network smaller. If you have a tight-knit group, plan to just have sex among each other. Again, communication is key. Keep each other informed if that changes or if one of you feels unwell.

Selected tips adapted with permission from PrEPster.info

LET THEM KNOW

If you or a sexual partner become unwell. It's vital that you let each other know as soon as possible.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
  • shortness of breath

While regular colds and flu continue to circulate, having any of these symptoms should prompt you to get a COVID-19 test. While unwell, it really important to stay away from others to prevent passing on any illness. If you have COVID-19, you will need to self-isolate and let your sexual partners from the last two weeks know.

If you believe you have been exposed to or have acquired COVID-19, you can call the Coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398 (24 hours).

KEEP KIND AND CARRY ON

Obviously, this is not the first time our community has faced a health issue that has impacted our sexual pleasure and wellbeing. We are incredibly good at adopting effective health strategies - and that will be true of COVID-19. Let’s look out for ourselves and each other in a difficult time.

For more information go to your local state health department website.

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