Sex in the Era of COVID-19

Right now around the world, a lot of things are changing very quickly. But one thing that hasn’t necessarily changed is our desire.

The COVID-19 alert has changed our daily routines, affected our finances and shopping habits, and prompted us to adjust how we interact with others—and this includes our sex lives.

In Australia, health experts are recommending social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and while COVID-19 is not a sexually transmitted infection, physical contact during sex carries a high risk of transmission.

Because of this, at this time, casual sex is strongly discouraged. But that doesn’t mean the end of sexual pleasure altogether.

The advice from health experts is to stay at home if you’re able. But that doesn’t mean we should stop thinking about pleasure, connection, and getting in (virtual) touch with each other.

It’s really important to remember that even if we are physically alone, we are all in this together. We’ve always found inventive ways of achieving pleasure sexually and now’s the time to let your creativity flow!


You may be in a monogamous, polyamorous or any other exclusive relationship with one or more people and choose to continue to have sex together. Whether you live with them or not, unless you are completely isolated inside together in a controlled setting with zero interaction with the outside world (AKA Jim Carrey in the Truman Show), there is still a risk of one of you unknowingly coming into contact with the virus outside your home and then bringing it into the household.

Talk to each other, assess your situation and make that decision together. You may choose to continue having sex with a partner however this is only recommended for:

  • A partner, or partners, you are currently living with.
  • A regular partner where you have both been practising social distancing from other people.

The circumstances change if either of you have symptoms, or are self-isolating – in this case you should avoid close contact until given the all-clear. Patience is a virtue!

If you decide to continue having sex with your partner/s, make sure you’ve washed beforehand. A full body shower is best to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria, but at the very least you should each wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before you get started.

Having an honest conversation about what exposure each of you has had to others is a good idea too. And if either of you become unwell, let each other know straight away. If that happens, you might want to check with the online Symptom Checker or call your GP or the National Coronavirus Helpline. It is probably best to self-isolate until you can get medical advice.

In the instance of casual sex, while it is strongly discouraged at this time, there are other community groups, such as Prepster in the UK, who have some advice on how to help keep you safe. Carefully consider if this is the right thing for you and the impact it may have on yourself and others.

Government advice and law enforcement around non-essential movement in public spaces are in place, and can sometimes change. So, if you are thinking of visiting your partner, be sure you know what the latest advice is, either from the Government or a reputable news source, before you step out. You wouldn’t want to turn a visit to your partner’s place into possibly getting a fine, let alone the health risk to both of you!


You can still get your freak on without venturing out of the house – there are many ways of keeping things juicy that don’t involve physical contact. While there may be challenges, overcoming fear and discovering new ways of experiencing sexual pleasure just happens to be something that our community are pretty good at.

- Get a hand on it

First stop: masturbation station! Masturbating or having a solo session is not only a safe way of practising social distancing, but this can be a good moment for rediscovering ways to please yourself. Run a scan of your body, see what feels good, try something new, challenge yourself. Whether it’s a new position, a new toy, changing where you do it in the house, or what you fantasise about – the possibilities are endless.

Take the time to enjoy yourself—you don’t have to rush. After all, what else do you have to do? Netflix can chill on its own for a while...

- Is it an APP-ropriate time...?

While it’s definitely not the time to be arranging dates, hook-ups, or the ever-ambiguous “grabbing a coffee sometime,” having a scroll through dating apps isn’t a bad idea at all.

This could be the perfect time to (virtually) meet the future-love-of-your-life / best-sex-ever. Start a conversation, have a chat, get to know them online now. Think about it as laying the groundwork for future bliss.

This situation will end – why not plan ahead with some swiping and typing?

- Remember when phones were for calling people?

In the olden days, there was something called “Phone Sex”. Many dating and messaging apps allow you to share audio, either through calls or recordings, and most of us have a mobile phone so we can do this almost anywhere. Before, you dial 69 and start working your “sexy phone voice”, remember to establish consent and boundaries.

Not sure what to say when you get on the line? Caller, it’s all about the power of description. Describe what you are doing and where you are going with your audio hook-up. Into the bedroom, up the wall, onto a sling? Use your senses to help describe it – “my hand is slowly sliding up your…” or “the taste of you on my tongue…” You get the picture.

- Lights, camera, action!

You’ve heard of FaceTime, but like a good moisturiser, it’s not just for your face... Video is a format where you can capture anything from the simplest tease of skin to a stunning cinematic...climax.

Feeling creative? Add a filter, add a cheeky emoji, add a soundtrack – you’re the director, producer and star! Just be mindful of what you’re posting or sharing – the world-wide web can be an unforgiving place.

Think about who you’re sharing your images with and how comfortable you truly are. Don’t let #QuarantineBoredom interfere with your usual boundaries! #screenrecord

- Oi, why not try a toy?

The time for sex toys is now. You might even be able to find something that is wifi-enabled and remote controlled to let you partner play with you from a distance. Remember to wash up after – especially if you think it may be shared or reused in the future.

You can find out more about different types of sex toys and what they’re good for here.


It’s too early to tell how the COVID-19 will impact us or how long the situation will last. But by keeping a keen and strong sense of hygiene and safety, a positive mindset and by continuing to be informed and aware, we can help ‘flatten the curve’ of this public health emergency and get back to sex as it was meant to be – free of fear and full of fun.

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