OTTAWA, Canada – Having safe sex during the COVID-19 pandemic may now involve wearing a mask and skipping the kissing, according to a statement from Canada’s chief public health officer Wednesday.

“Sexual health is an important part of our overall health,” Dr. Theresa Tam said in the news release. “However, sex can be complicated in the time of COVID-19, especially for those without an intimate partner in their household or whose sexual partner is at higher risk for COVID-19.”

Canada’s top doctor pointed out that the “lowest risk sexual activity during COVID-19 involves yourself alone,” but suggested several precautionary steps for sex outside one’s “household or close contacts bubble.”

  • Monitoring yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 and not having sex if you or your partner is experiencing symptoms;
  • Limiting your use of alcohol and other substances so you and your partner(s) are able to make safe decisions;
  • Skipping kissing and avoiding face-to-face contact or closeness;
    • consider using a mask that covers the nose and mouth;
  • Being aware if you or your partner may be at higher risk for more severe outcomes of COVID-19. This includes:
    • people of any age with underlying medical conditions;
    • people with compromised immune systems; and
    • people living with obesity.
  • As usual, engaging in safer sex practices, including using condoms, knowing your own STI status and the status of your partner.

Dr. Tam said current evidence shows “a very low likelihood” of catching coronavirus through semen or vaginal fluids, but close contact with new people – even if they aren’t showing symptoms – comes with risk.

“By taking these precautions and staying conscious of the risks we assume, Canadians can find ways to enjoy physical intimacy while safeguarding the progress we have all made containing COVID-19,” Tam said.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, as of Thursday afternoon Canada has tallied 132,308 cases and 9,188 deaths from COVID-19.