“Masturbation and your personal sex toys are your partners of choice during level 4.”

Body Positive’s Executive Director Mark Fisher says ‘no’ to casual sex during lockdown and suggests giving your body a break from PrEP while in your self-isolation bubble.

Level 4 requires people to stay at home and stop all physical contact with people outside of your household (or isolation bubble) which means no casual sex in real life. COVID-19 isn’t transmitted through sex but through physical intimacy – like kissing, making out or transmission from surfaces that make it to your face. The safest person to have sex with at this point is yourself. Masturbation and your personal sex toys are your partners of choice during level 4. This is a good time to explore our sexy selves and deepen your understanding of what turns you on. You’ve got some time on your hands so have some fun. Try some podcasts like Just Sex or Youtube Watts the safe word. Remember to wash your hands and toys for 20 seconds to minimize any risk.

The next safest partner is someone you live with – as long as it’s consensual. During level 4 there is no physical contact with people outside of your self-isolation bubble so no casual sex in real life. Video dates, chat rooms and sexting are all options… again these need to be consensual and remember that what goes on the internet can easily be shared.

The self-isolation bubble is defined as the people in your household and anybody they may be in physical contact with. Ideally, this is no one but if one of your household works in an essential service this may introduce risk. If COVID-19 is brought into your bubble and your sharing physical space and possibly a bed with that person it’s likely that you have been exposed to it before sex even comes into the picture.

If you are using PrEP as your HIV Prevention tool for casual sex you may want to take a break. For men who sex with men, you can stop taking PrEP 48 hours after your last sex that included risk.  You can start up again once the isolation restrictions are relaxed. Double dose at least 2 hours before sex to start again. For everyone else, you need to take PrEP for 28 days after the last sex with risk and then have a 7 day start-up period.

If you have picked up an STI and symptoms have only now appeared you can still contact sexual health for treatment. It may take longer than usual to get access as health systems are redirected to COVID-19 but they can still assist you with treatment. Call first and follow the process.

We note that public health officials have distinguished between interactions with the general public and personal contact with partners and others in your home environment. Sexual relationships in your usual domestic situation are not being advised against, however, good hygiene practices are important at this time.