There are alternatives to traditional sex during a pandemic

Want to save lives? Masturbate

Sex toys and virtual masturbation are a few alternatives to close-contact sex during a pandemic. PHOTO: Chris Ho / The Peak

by Dev Petrovic, Staff Writer

It’s been 10 months since Canada declared a state of emergency to combat the spread of COVID-19. These 10 months have been a time of utmost social deprivation: no hugging friends, going on dates, and no sex — for those following COVID-19 guidelines, of course. Look, I get it, we are all touch-starved and lonely. But the truth is that we are still in this pandemic because these guidelines have not and are still not being strictly followed. I am absolutely sick and tired of hearing about people still going through with Tinder hookups when people are dying of COVID-19. If you’re going to engage in sexual activity, use alternatives to direct human contact so you aren’t putting people’s lives at risk. 

This past summer, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) put out pandemic sex guidelines to help alleviate this risk. Among other suggestions, the guidelines mentioned glory holes as a means of safe sexual contact. This was met with a plethora of memes about how ridiculous the concept seemed. However, it isn’t something to joke about. This is a serious situation and engaging in any sort of risky contact — especially sex — is dangerous and completely unnecessary. Using glory holes as an alternative to conventional sex is not ridiculous as it actually minimizes the human contact during sex. While it is still so much safer to save any close-contact sex for after the pandemic, taking precautions for the good of the community should be everyone’s priority. 

While the virus can’t be contracted genitally, it can be contracted through the sharing of saliva — which can be given during sex. Even though experts have recommended wearing a mask during intercourse, this precaution does not take away the risks that come with not socially distancing. Essentially, now is not the time to be looking for loopholes for having sex when there are significant consequences for breaking the pandemic guidelines. 

I understand that sex isn’t going to stop with a pandemic. After all, it is a natural human need for some folks. I also understand that personal pleasure (for example, masturbation) cannot be as fulfilling as engaging with another person. But I urge those who aren’t in the same household or bubble as their partner(s), to actively practice COVID-safe sex and to explore alternatives for the good of the public’s health. 

The BCCDC outlined that masturbation and virtual sex are the absolute safest ways to go about sexual contact. Instead of hooking up with a stranger off of a dating app, perhaps try virtual, mutual masturbation, sexting, or a video date. As unconventional as these alternatives may feel, virtual means of interaction have become the new normal in several other aspects of daily life. There’s no reason that this should not apply to sex as well. 

These guidelines are not just suggestions, they are restrictions recommended by medical professionals and are based on scientific fact. No one is special or immune from transmitting COVID-19 via sex, so don’t be an asshole and skip that Tinder sex date. The innovation of technology means that you can have just as much fun from the comfort of your own home.