Semen Doesn’t Spread COVID-19, Says New Study (But Risks Still Exist)

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A new study tells us that you can’t contract the coronavirus from the direct act of sex. But, that doesn’t mean you should jump into sex without any fear.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, researchers at the University of Utah published a study in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility. Science has shown that similar airborne pathogens to COVID-19, like Ebola and Zika, have primarily spread through breathing in respiratory droplets from the infected. But, in these earlier cases, people could also contract diseases through sex. As part of a larger study into the coronavirus, the University of Utah looked to see if you could contract COVID-19 through other bodily fluids like semen.

“If a disease like COVID-19 were sexually transmittable, that would have major implications for disease prevention,” said researcher James Hotaling, who specializes in male urology.

Conducting the study involved examining the semen and testes of men who had contracted the coronavirus. Specifically, 34 adult men in Wuhan, China ranging from 18 to 55 were tested.

In the end, none of the collected sampled showed traces of the coronavirus. But, researchers still recommend that you stick to social distancing guidelines. After all, the disease can spread through other forms of intimate contact.

“It almost certainly would be transmitted if you’re kissing someone,” said Hotaling. Hotaling and his colleagues recommend that you stick to sexual partners who are isolating in your household. Meaning, you want know for sure if your partner hasn’t been exposed to the coronavirus.

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This advice mirrors the words of other health experts. For instance, Dr. Anthony Fauci said over a SnapChat interview with Good Luck America that people are free to have sex with strangers at this time. Though, they are putting themselves at risk. The question is, who much of a risk are you willing to take?

“You know, that’s tough. Because it’s what’s called relative risk. If you really feel that you don’t want to have any part of this virus, will you maintain six feet away, wear a mask, do all the things that we talk about in the guidelines?” Dr Fauci said, adding: “You know, everybody has their own tolerance for risks. And it depends on the level of the interaction that you want to have.”

“If you’re looking for friends, sit in a room and put a mask on and, you know, chat a bit. If you want to go a bit more intimate, then that’s your choice regarding a risk.”

In addition, the New York City Department of Health issued guidance in March. Their advice was to focus on masturbation or a single committed partner.

“You are your safest sex partner,” the document explained. “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.”

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

Sources: Salt Lake Tribune, Good Luck America

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