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A charity has published advice on how to reduce the risk of catching coronavirus during sex, including not kissing, wearing a face mask and picking positions where you are not face-to-face.
Sexual health charity the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) also recommends “sticking with a regular partner or limiting the number of sexual partners” and washing your hands for more than 20 seconds before and after sex.
Masturbation, using sex toys, or participating in phone or online sex are also advised as safe options to limit the spread of Covid-19.
It also showed 84% of people had abstained from having sex with people outside of their immediate household because of the restrictions.
But the charity said indefinite abstinence was no longer realistic and people needed to find a way “to balance our need for sex and intimacy with the risks of the spread of Covid-19”.
While the best sexual partner is yourself or someone you live with, it recommends having one regular partner or limiting the number of partners.
Potential sexual partners should ask if they or anyone in their household have had symptoms of tested positive for coronavirus, and anyone who is feeling unwell or showing Covid-19 symptoms should self-isolate and not have sex.
Condoms and dams for oral sex should also be used, as the virus can spread through “virus particles in saliva, mucus or the breath of those who have it” and has been found in semen and faeces.
Dr Michael Brady, medical director of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “We’re clear that abstaining from sex is the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus, but we hope by issuing this advice we will help people to manage the risks of Covid-19 while also being able to have and enjoy sex.
“Sex is a very important part of life and, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, we all need to find ways to balance our need for sex and intimacy with the risks of the spread of Covic-19.
“As there are increasing concerns about a ‘second wave’ of Covid-19 your best sexual partner during the pandemic is you or someone you live with. Having said that, there are ways to make your sex as safe as possible.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.