Sex, Social Distancing and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

posted by: Sophia Davies

Updated 06.04.20

Our professional society, the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) have released guidance on sex and social distancing in the time of COVID, which is available in full here.

The guidance basically outlines that sexual contact should only take place if:

  • Sexual partners live within the same household
  • Sexual partners have not been exposed to COVID-19
  • Sexual partners are not in a high-risk group

Sex with yourself if the safest option! Masturbation (“wanking”) is excellent for your physical and mental wellbeing!

You should avoid close contact — including sex — with anyone outside your household.  Avoid physical group sex; video dates, phone sex, sexting or chat rooms may be options for you.  Irrespective of symptoms, if you or sexual partner has a medical condition that may lead to a more severe illness with COVID-19, you should avoid sex.

If you do end up having sex, there are ways you can make it safer, such as using condoms and dental dams, avoiding kissing and rimming (mouth to anus), and washing before and after sex.

If you have symptoms that you think are related to an STI, or that you might need PEP (HIV post-exposure prophylaxis) you can access advice here.

Make sure you have an effective form of contraception sorted for the next few months: further advice here.

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Accessing our service during the COVID pandemic

How to access our service:

We have now implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. This system will be in place for the duration of the pandemic. Please contact our services to access this triage system. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus please do not attend the clinic. Clear advice for people with symptoms of coronavirus is available at nhs.uk/coronavirus .

Advice from our service:

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception during this pandemic here.

If you need the combined contraceptive pill please try (if you can) to get updated measurements of your height, weight and blood pressure before calling us.

We are currently prioritising these groups for coil and implant (LARC) fits:

  • Those with vulnerabilities including but not limited to those who are: <18, attending abortion and maternity services, homeless, sex workers, victims of sexual assault, people with language barriers, drug and alcohol problems, learning disability, serious mental illness
  • Those aged <30 years

More details on LARC fittings at our service are found here

There is also specific advice on coronavirus available for People Living with HIV here, and for pregnant women here

Self-requested Sexual Health screening by post is available for for under 25s only - more info here

For others with testing requirements please contact the service on 0300 303 3989.

Information is now also available to advise on sexual contact during a time of social distancing here.

Alternative provision:

Please be aware that we may have to cancel, rearrange or shut clinical services in response to changing clinical and staffing pressures created by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - at your local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills and LARC procedures - obtained from your GP
  • HIV postal testing - available to at-risk groups for a small fee -  more info
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info