We’ve Got To Come Up With a Game Plan To Make Casual Sex a Thing Again

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Photo: Stocksy / Alexey Kuzma
Because the potential of death overshadowed our desire for joy, 2020 is when f**king around became a huge f**king deal. Since the COVID-19 pandemic became widespread in March, we’ve been told to mitigate our risk by staying six feet away from each other at all times, wearing a mask when you can’t, not going to bars and restaurants, and staying home unless we absolutely need to go somewhere. While admittedly those measures are necessary in the fight against coronavirus, that also means the average, non-coupled person has not had sex or, really, any meaningful physical contact for nearly half the year.

Experts In This Article
  • Rachael Rose, Rachael Rose (she/her) is an educator, writer, and activist whose work focuses on sexuality, sexual health, and the intersections of chronic illness and sex. She’s a queer, polyamorous ciswoman who has been casually collecting chronic illnesses for the last decade...

As some areas begin to reopen and single people begin to venture out in the hopes of reconnecting, how does one even begin to maneuver casual sex ahead bravely and safely?

For starters, get ready to talk before anything else. "If you choose to have casual sex, your safer sex speech is probably going to have to be a lengthier conversation," says sex and relationship coach and educator Rachael Rose. Prepare to ask and answer questions about where you’ve been, who you’ve seen, if you could have been exposed to COVID-19, and if you’ve been tested recently. Or download Apple’s COVID-19 iOS app, which features a screening tool to determine how at-risk you are. "Casual sex isn't going to disappear from our culture entirely,” says Rose. “But I think there will be a shift in how folks get those needs met."

To get a handle on how your needs can be met, consider New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Safer Sex and COVID-19 guidelines. Yes, the list includes the token “you are your safest sex partner,” but it also acknowledges that we’ve been there, done that, and goes on to list some fairly helpful tips. Here, a few standouts to keep in mind when choosing your next sexual partner:

  1. Have as few trust-worthy partners as possible outside of your household. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s especially important to help limit the spread of coronavirus.
  2. Avoid kissing. Since kissing can easily spread the virus, the guidelines suggest limiting it or just skipping it altogether. Pretty Woman’s Vivian would be so proud.
  3. Mask up. Yes, they are suggesting wearing a face covering during sex. “Heavy breathing and panting can spread the virus further, and if you or your partner have COVID-19 and don’t know it, a mask can help stop that spread,” according to the guidelines.
  4. Switch up your positions. Limit face-to-face contact by making it, as the guidelines say, “a little kinky.” Or even try masturbating together.
    Remember protection. Condoms and dental dams can help reduce exposure to saliva, semen, or other body fluids, which helps reduce your and your partner’s risk.

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