Wear a mask while having sex, Canada’s top doctor suggests

September 3, 2020 - 1:10 PM
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Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, attends a news conference as efforts continue to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada March 23, 2020. (Reuters/Blair Gable/File Photo)

OTTAWA — Skip kissing and consider wearing a mask when having sex to protect yourself from catching the coronavirus, Canada‘s chief medical officer said on Wednesday, adding that going solo remains the lowest risk sexual option in a pandemic.

Dr Theresa Tam said in a statement there is little chance of catching COVID-19 from semen or vaginal fluid, but sexual activity with new partners does increase the risk of contracting the virus, particularly if there is close contact like kissing.

“Like other activities during COVID-19 that involve physical closeness, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of getting infected and spreading the virus,” she said.

Skip kissing, avoid face-to-face closeness, wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose, and monitor yourself and your partner for symptoms ahead of any sexual activity, Tam said.

“The lowest risk sexual activity during COVID-19 involves yourself alone,” she added.

Sexual health is an important part of overall health, Tam said, and by taking precautions, “Canadians can find ways to enjoy physical intimacy while safeguarding the progress we have all made containing COVID-19.”

Canada has reported 129,425 cases of COVID-19 and 9,132 deaths, as of Sept 1. New daily cases are far below peak volumes, but there has been a recent uptick, driven by more infections in certain western Canadian provinces. —Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Steve Orlofsky