Your Covid-19 questions answered

Can I get Covid-19 from having sex?

17 November 2021 - 07:00
By Unathi Nkanjeni
Skip kissing and wear a mask during sex, says Canada’s chief medical officer.
Image: 123RF/lanych Skip kissing and wear a mask during sex, says Canada’s chief medical officer.

With mandatory mask-wearing, sanitising and social distancing becoming the norm during the pandemic, the question remains: can Covid-19 be sexually transmitted?

In short, there is no evidence either way. 

Covid-19 is a respiratory disease and spreads by droplets released through coughing, sneezing, or breathing out. So direct contact with saliva, through kissing, can easily pass the virus. 

A study conducted by scientists in Beijing found there is no evidence that the Covid-19 virus is transmitted through semen or vaginal fluids, but the virus has been detected in the semen of people who have or are recovering from the virus.

There are also no published reports of transmission from giving or receiving oral or anal sex. 

At the height of the pandemic last year, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr Theresa Tam advised new couples to consider wearing a face mask and avoid kissing during sex. 

Tam said the lowest-risk sexual activity during Covid-19 “involves yourself alone”.

“Sexual health is an important part of our overall health,” she said in a statement.

“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 contracting the virus.

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