“Be creative with sexual postures and physical barriers, such as walls, that allow sexual contact while avoiding face-to-face contact,” says the guide published by New York City (United States) last June to maintain safe sex in times of coronavirus. “Wear a mask, avoid kissing and do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands without washing,” he recommends. “You are your safest sexual partner. The next safest person is someone you live with ”, continues the guide, which also offers advice if you choose the sex In a group: “Choose large, more open and ventilated spaces.”
“It makes sense that as a single you also want to have physical contact. It is very important that you minimize the risk of coronavirus during intimacy and sex, “he explains. The Guide Coronavirus and sexuality published by the Dutch Ministry of Health in May. “Always stay with the same person to have physical or sexual contact, as long as you don’t have the disease. Make it clear to how many people you are seeing. The more people you see, the more likely you are to spread the coronavirus, ”says the guide.
Nothing similar has been published in Spain. Both epidemiologists and sexologists doubt the usefulness of these recommendations and the existence of ‘safe sex’ in a pandemic. However, they know that people have continued and will continue to have sexual relations, whether or not coronaviruses are involved. Although (almost) everything will be different.
“It is very difficult to have sex safely without contagion,” says epidemiologist Pedro Gullón. “At the same time, I find it hard to think of putting barriers to it,” he adds. Javier Padilla, primary care physician and co-author of Epidemiocracia along with Gullón, agrees with his colleague. “It is clear that if you kiss someone, the risk of infection exists, but you also have to think carefully about the social role of Public Health and be careful about how far we get into people’s lives,” he says. “When I saw the New York guide it seemed like nonsense to me. I think it is out of place, for example, to talk about sexual positions in which there is no opposite face, “he says.
“We have to be very aware of scale. No one has sex with 30 people in a day, however you can have close contacts with 30 people in a day. For many sexual relationships you have in a summer, it will never be even minimally comparable to the risk of contagion that you will have if you do a ‘normal’ socialization without a mask, ”says Javier Padilla.
For Noemí Casquet, journalist specialized in sexuality and author of Foxes (Editions B), “The way we have sex has changed, just as our way of interacting with people has changed.” Francisca Molero, president of the Spanish Federation of Sexology Societies (FESS), corroborates: “LThe sex life of the Spanish has changed with the pandemic, and it will change more, depending on how long we are in this situation. ” “There is a before and an after, even if it is simply in the most superficial and visual part, with the mask, which makes bodies and expressions change,” he says.
Beneath that superficial part there is more. “During the pandemic, people’s sexual satisfaction has generally decreased,” says Molero. “From the International Academy of Medical Sexology, we did a survey online among more than 5,000 people, and it was seen that sexual satisfaction had decreased by 50% ”, he explains. Sexologists attribute it to various factors, including anxiety and stress. “It is also not the same to share a 200-square-meter house with two people as to live with five others in a 60-meter apartment. Nor is it the same to be accompanied by adolescent children as by young children, or directly alone ”, clarifies the sexologist.
However, the study revealed that even in couples living in ‘adequate’ conditions, sexual satisfaction had also decreased. “Uncertainty, anxiety, fear of death or contagion, concern for your family … that makes you not in the best conditions to enjoy sex,” says Molero.
One of the most curious conclusions from this survey is that the people with the highest sexual satisfaction were couples who did not live together. “This could occur for many reasons, but, among others, it was because they had virtual sex. New technologies allowed them to maintain and increase desire, desire and excitement, ”says Molero.
The ‘apps’ to flirt are not what they were
Noemi Casquet is not caught by surprise by these results. “The applications to link their use and downloads have increased during confinement. It seems that people were bored and went into these internet worlds, “she says. “Conversations have also been found to drag on. Before you used to say: ‘We talk, we’ll see each other and that’s it’. At that time, since the state of alarm prohibited leaving the house, something had to be discussed, ”she explains.
Carmela, a young woman from Madrid who had not used Tinder for two years, recognizes herself in this profile. Being confined to her parents and with little chance of socialization, an application was flipped to link to “talk to someone.” After three or four weeks of little activity, “a match interesting”. “We started talking a lot,” he recalls. “I think we were both so bored that we always had our mobile at hand. I’ve never spoken to a person that much about an application, “he says. During the de-escalation, they decided to see each other and, for the moment, the relationship continues.
Now it’s going to be very difficult for two people to have sex on the first date
“Before the pandemic, you had the feeling that flirting applications were only for sex, and this was almost mandatory from the first date,” explains Francisca Molero. “That pressure often created anguish and problems, and there were people who felt very insecure or who had grown tired of having unrewarding sex because they did not get to know the person they were sleeping with,” she says.
“Now, instead, it is going to be very difficult for two people to have sex on the first date, because people are less trusting of someone they don’t know and are afraid of contagion. And that, in some way, will allow time to get to know the other person a little better, “says Molero, who believes that this change can become” positive “.
Carmela agrees with the expert. “I think if I hadn’t liked the boy so much, we probably wouldn’t have met in person. If I took the risk, it was because I really liked it, “says the young woman.
Stable couples win
Francisca Molero is not convinced by the guides mentioned at the beginning of this article: “It’s not realistic to make a safe sex guide, at least for now. ” He also doubts that the recommendations to use a mask in sporadic sex come to the fore, although he trusts the “creativity” of the human being. “Surely proposals will come out to deal with this in an original way, and somehow the mask will have to be incorporated, although now it is hard for us to imagine,” he says.
That as for casual sex; For their part, stable couples “acquire a plus” in this situation, says Molero. “They are reinforced,” he adds. “If the couple has gotten along well, the confinement has served to increase the bond, in terms of receiving and giving support, in terms of caring and letting themselves be cared for. This is a plus of security. And when you value something, you try to enrich it ”, he argues.
“It is possible that the sexual relations of stable couples, at all ages, end up being more worked and more rewarding than they have been until now, because now they are given more value,” says Molero.
It is possible that the sexual relations of stable couples end up being more worked and more gratifying than until now
But there are as many types of relationships as there are people, recalls the FESS president. Specifically, in this pandemic situation, they are concerned about the youngest, the elderly singles and people from the LGTBI community, although for different reasons.
“We get very angry with teenagers and young people when we see them on the street in groups, together and without a mask. We think they are unconscious, and it is true, but they are in another vital process ”, explains Molero. “As adults, we have a mission to try to make them aware, but how are you going to tell a teenager not to touch someone when they fall in love? That is very, very difficult. It is going to be very difficult for these things to change, although they will probably do so over time, ”he says.
The dangers of isolation
The sexologist is also concerned that, by putting so much focus on young people, they “feel guilty” and affect them in a more profound way at a time when “they are not having a good time either.”
On the other hand, Molero thinks about homosexuals, transsexuals or intersexes who had not come out of the closet with their family and in March had to return home due to confinement. “They’ve had a really bad time,” he says. “Somehow, they have repressed who they are. And we also don’t know what kind of repercussion this will have ”, he warns.
“As in the matter of sexually transmitted diseases, there are adolescents who get carried away and run risks and others who, on the contrary, become very obsessive, and may even develop phobic behaviors, “illustrates the president of FESS, while He asks the authorities to take this into account “when sending messages.”
Many people will give up looking for a partner for fear of contagion, and these people must be counseled, their fear must be removed
“If a message is only based on fear, there will be people who serve it, but it blocks others. I think of the mature population, of people over 50 years old. In this age group, stable couples will be strengthened, but for separated people, widows or single people, it will be very difficult to find a partner ”, explains Molero. “Many people will give it up for fear of contagion, and these people must be counseled, their fear must be removed. It is about giving them scientific information without promoting isolation, “he says.
Javier Padilla also tries to put these fears in context. “Given a sporadic sexual relationship on vacation, it seems to me that today the spread of syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea and HIV is more worrying than that of coronavirus,” he points out. “The health impact would be much stronger if the effort spent in telling people to have more distant relationships were used to continue insisting that they use condoms,” says the doctor.
Noemí Casquet agrees with Padilla. “If we are so concerned about putting on a mask and washing our hands, we should also be very concerned and concerned about putting on a condom, because there are other viruses that you can contract and carry throughout your life,” he recalls. “Hopefully all of this will make us more aware of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and be more aware that viruses exist. And when we fuck, let’s fuck with more respect towards the person, towards their being, not only towards their genitals ”, she points out.
Faced with the fear of any contagion, masturbation can always be a good ally. Francisca Molero is convinced that “male and female masturbation is going to be reinforced.” “I think this time has served to make people more self-aware and value the importance of having healthy sexual activity,” he says. As the New York guide said, “you are your safest sexual partner ”.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.