Written by lifeathumber On the

Are you worried about the level of risk involved with engaging in sexual activity?

The Consent Peer Education Program (CPEP) recognizes there are many reasons why someone may choose to participate in sexual activity during COVID-19 and that there are folks who may be at more risk than others. Sexual activity is a part of our overall well-being and while there are risks involved, the benefits of engaging in sexual activity for one’s mental and emotional well-being may outweigh those risks. To help folks stay safe during the pandemic, here are things we have to know about consent and safe sex during COVID-19.


Consent during a global pandemic is in many ways the same as it is when we’re not in a pandemic; the same principles apply.

  • We want to ensure that we’re getting a clear, vocal indication from our partners that they’re agreeing to the sexual activity.
  • Consent can be revoked at any time, and we should be checking in with our partners throughout to ensure they’re enjoying the experience; everyone involved should be sober and conscious.
  • We made a really great video about consent that you can watch on our YouTube channel.

    • If we’re going to meet up with someone in person, we should also be honest about our level of risk we’re engaging in during the pandemic. You and your partners should know whether you’ve been wearing masks when going out, maintaining your bubble of 10 people or not, and abiding by other guidelines health professionals have been sharing with regards to COVID-19.

      If we’re not meeting up in person, but engaging in behaviours like sex over video calls or sending nude photos and videos, again, the principles of consent remain the same. Just because someone is being flirty over messaging or sending winky face and eggplant emojis, doesn’t mean that they want to receive a nude photo: we can’t assume, and still need to ask. And it doesn’t have to be awkward; for instance, we could ask, “How about I show you?” And then our partners can say yes or say no, and we proceed from there. Even if we’re on hookup apps or have been seeing someone for a long time, we still need consent!

      Safe Sex

      If we’re engaging in sex in or out of a pandemic, there is risk involved, and there isn’t a foolproof way to manage that. The COVID-19 pandemic does add risks to engaging in sexual activity, and the number one way to reduce your risk of getting coronavirus from sexual activity would be to not participate—but we know that’s not realistic for everyone and it’s not necessarily healthy for everyone. Some things to consider if engaging in in-person sexual activity:

      • Group sex is riskier than single partner sex, and you will be safer if you’re engaging with a lower number of sexual partners.
      • If you or your partners are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, do not engage in sexual activity and ensure you get tested.
      • Wash your hands and any sex toys you use before and after with soap and water, and don’t share your sex toys.
      • Use condoms.
      • Kissing is riskier than some other sexual behaviours. Use barriers that limit face-to-face contact but still allow sexual activity; there were a lot of laughs about British Columbia recommending glory holes, but using them could reduce risk as there is no swapping of saliva for folks.
      • Continue to get regular STI testing.

      For folks who are not meeting up in person and are choosing to engage virtually, there are still some considerations we should make. For instance, when sending nude photos or videos, it is advisable to keep your face and identifying features (such as tattoos, scars, birthmarks) out of the photo or video; while we are hopefully engaging with people we can trust to respect our nudes and keep them private, removing identifying features is an extra layer of protection for us.

      If you’re newer to engaging in sexual activity online or virtually, take some time to learn about different methods (sexting, video calls, phone calls, chat rooms, etc.) and figure out what is within your comfort zone.

      We encourage folks to stay updated with new information about COVID-19 as it is released.

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