Wear a mask during sex, skip kissing, Canada's top doctor suggests

Photo of two face masks laying on a pillow. (Photo by Jordan Smith/FOX Television Stations)

People should skip kissing and consider wearing a mask when having sex to reduce your chances of being exposed to the novel coronavirus, according to Canada's top doctor on Wednesday.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief medical officer laid out the sexual ground rules during a statement that covered the best ways to keep yourself and your partner safe from COVID-19 while engaging in sexual intercourse.

"Sexual health is an important part of our overall health," she wrote. "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."

Tam said current evidence indicates there is little chance of contracting the novel coronavirus through semen or vaginal fluids, however, sexual activity with new partners can increase your risk of contracting the virus, especially through "close contact, like kissing."

"If you choose to engage in an in-person sexual encounter with someone outside of your household or close contacts bubble, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk," Tam wrote.

She advised to skip kissing, avoid face-to-face contact, and consider using a mask that covers the nose and mouth. You should also limit the use of alcohol or other substances so "you and your partner(s) are able to make safe decisions."

"The lowest risk sexual activity during COVID-19 involves yourself alone," Tam said.

She also recommended not having sex if your partner or yourself, are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and said that the most important step is having a trusting relationship with your sexual partner.

Tam added that your partner is at a higher risk for serious complications from the virus if they have an underlying medical condition, compromised immune system, or are obese.

"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.

In her statement, Tam said 129,425 people have contracted the virus in Canada, with 88.5 percent recovering so far. At least 9,132 have died from the virus and during the past week, an average of more than 490 new cases across the country have been reported each day.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has seen more than 6,113,510 total cases, and at least 185,720 deaths from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University on Thursday.