News and Commentary

NYC Publishes Guide To Safe Sex During Coronavirus Lockdown
VENICE, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 21: Artist Pony Wave paints a scene depicting two people kissing while wearing face masks on Venice Beach on March 21, 2020 in Venice, California. California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a ‘stay at home’ order for California’s 40 million residents in order to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Californians may still go to the beach without violating Newsom’s order as long as they maintain social distancing and adhere to other public health measures related to the coronavirus. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

New York City may be lagging in its coronavirus response, but they’ve at least taken the time to publish a very graphic pamphlet on how to handle sex and love in the time of COVID-19.

The NYC health department released a brochure this week, the New York Post reports, on “ways to stay COVID-19-free when the birds and bees beckon amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

It gets pretty specific, directing New Yorkers to avoid most sexual contact with others in favor of self-love (as long as you also abide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines about hand-washing and general hygiene).

“You are your safest sex partner,” the document reads. “Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after.”

If you simply can’t limit yourself during a fourteen-day lockdown, the New York health department suggests that you limit yourself to one partner that you’d be willing to quarantine with if it become necessary, and use appropriate birth control.

“The next safest partner is someone you live with,” it goes on. “Having close contact– including sex — with a small circle of people helps prevent spreading COVID-19.”

The Post reports that New Yorkers should studiously avoid using dating apps for random hookups, avoiding incidents of group sex or anonymous sex, and focusing on more…digital…options if you simply must engage.

“Video dates, sexting or chat rooms may be options for you,” the department suggests.

Things get even more graphic from there as the New York City health department explains which particular sexual acts carry with them the greatest risk of disease spread.

“We certainly want people to know that yes, it’s ok to have sex, and encourage them to be aware of the risks and ways to protect themselves,” the NYC health department told Buzzfeed, apparently in defense of the pamphlet, well after many on social media made fun of the materials.

New York City has been widely criticized for its coronavirus response. NYC mayor Bill de Blasio refused to make any major changes to stem the spread of the disease among Manhattan residents until Monday, only after his staff threatened to quit, according to a New York Times report from earlier in the week. Even now, as New York City remains the hardest hit by the virus, De Blasio is struggling to keep up with demands and much of the responsibility of handling New York City’s crisis response has fallen to New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

“New York City is now in dire straits, with more than 7,500 confirmed cases in the city alone as of late Friday, according to the city’s Department of Health. As of last week, the entire state had confirmed fewer than 800 cases,” National Public Radio reported Saturday.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump was forced to declare New York City a “disaster area.”

“Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of New York and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing,” the Trump Administration said, per a report from the Daily Wire. “The President’s action makes Federal funding available for Crisis Counseling for affected individuals in all areas in the State of New York.”