How to enhance your intimacy as Covid-19 hits 

It would be good to have a Covid-19 test before exposing yourself to each other. PHOTO | COURTESY 

What you need to know:

  • When the time comes to go physical after all the virtual wooing, a clear procedure should be followed.
  • It would be good to have a Covid-19 test before exposing yourself to each other.
  • You definitely want to protect the person you love and this is a small price to pay for it.

Trouble started when Jerry, an emergency relief worker, went for a food distribution event in one of the worst Covid-19 hit estates in Nairobi.

"I took all precautions that are humanly possible, had my mask on throughout, washed my hands frequently, and tried to keep social distance," Jerry explained.

"What distance can you keep when crowds kept surging physically rubbing on you?" Jane his wife asked later. "You need to self-isolate for the next 14 days and get tested, meanwhile just don't touch me!" she mused.

Well, this incident made me reflect on the on-going discussions around Covid-19 and intimacy. Can Covid-19 be sexually transmitted? First thing, sex demands for touching of bodies. There is therefore no physical distancing.

Secondly, during sex, there is a natural tendency to kiss or to breathe on each other's face. Fluids from the mouth and nose are easily exchanged. This makes transmission of Covid-19 very possible.

The third is whether Covid-19 is present in semen or vaginal fluids of those infected. A number of studies have been done on this. Some studies identified the virus in semen, especially among the very sick. Most studies however failed to identify the virus in sexual fluids. Theoretically, therefore, it's possible that there may be a few cases where Covid-19 can be transmitted sexually.

These observations have serious implications on how intimacy should be handled in this era of Covid-19. It is important to note that the huge majority of people infected with Covid-19, as high as 80 percent of cases, do not have symptoms. They can however transmit the infection. It is therefore important to view everyone around you as possibly infected and take the necessary precautions.

In essence, what this means is that you should only have sex with a partner whom you are living within your house and that you should take precautions when outside the house to remain uninfected. Intimacy with people outside your house could pose a danger to you and your household.

What about people whose jobs pose a risk of infection, for example, people like Jerry who have to deal with huge crowds? What about cases where partners live in different towns and they have to meet once in a while to be intimate? In these cases, the hope is that everyone is taking all the necessary precautions not to acquire the infection. If there is a possibility of exposure, it is better to self-isolate and get tested before resuming intimacy.

"That is what I have been telling Jerry but he just won't listen," Jane said.

The people at worse risk are even those who are not married, the ones looking for a partner. Traditionally people would be happy to see each other's face to face.

Well, internet connectivity and mobile phone is actually godsend at a time like this. Instead of meeting in a restaurant at 1.5m distance with a mask on and being forced to shout. You may be better off video chatting. At least you will see the other person's full face without risking infection.

When the time comes to go physical after all the virtual wooing, a clear procedure should be followed. It would be good to have a Covid-19 test before exposing yourself to each other. You definitely want to protect the person you love and this is a small price to pay for it.

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