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Sorry, But Doggy Style Sex Isn't Safer Than Missionary When It Comes To Spreading COVID-19

And all your other questions about whether safe sex is possible answered.
  • Some people believe that doggy style sex is safer than face-to-face positions like missionary when having masked sex during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • While the idea that you're not breathing in each others' faces seems logical, there are plenty of other ways for potential viral droplets to transmit during sex, even if you're taking every precaution and wearing a mask.
  • Doctors are still recommending you stay inside your own home and use a vibrator, masturbate, or have virtual sex, instead of going out and having sex with other people.
  • It's impossible to practice social distancing during sex, even if you're masked up, outdoors, and wearing goggles.

ICYMI, wearing a mask is not only recommended, it's the responsible thing to do for the sake of other people. Unfortunately, some people are venturing out of their households for sex with partners they haven't been quarantining with (which to be clear, is not recommended).

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Five people who have had masked sex recently spoke to Cosmopolitan about the experience and a few of them mentioned on their own that they opted for doggy style (instead of missionary) sex in an effort to minimize breathing on their partner. That got us thinking: Does the position make a difference when it comes to minimizing COVID-19 risk? So, we asked a few doctors if having sex in doggy style is actually any safer than missionary sex.

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Does facing different directions make a difference? Or is it all a moot point because your cloud of breath vapor is still in the same general area anyway? Here's what the experts had to say:

First things first, is it safe to go out and have sex with a new partner right now?

Hate to break it to ya babes, but no. As Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, a NYC area physician explains, "physical distancing is not at all possible," during sex. "Having any contact with a new sexual partner is not recommended during these times," she adds. "However, the reality is that some people will have sex with new partners during the pandemic."

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I get it—it sounds so depressing to hear that the most responsible thing to do is to not have any new sex partners during the pandemic, but when you consider the risks, it's just not worth it. Sex with a new partner can be dangerous for you, your partner, and anyone either of you may come into contact with when you consider the risk of transmission of viral particles from asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers, explains Dr. Igbokwe. No matter what sex position you use, "your bodies will still come in close contact and there may be potential shedding of viral particles in the process" she adds.

Is doggy style safer than missionary position if you're trying to minimize breathing on each other during sex?

You might think that facing away from each other in doggy compared to the face-to-face position of missionary might keep you safer, but you can still transmit viral particles without being face-to-face. Remember, during sex in any position, you might get caught up in the moment and breathe heavily, scream, moan, or yell, which could release potentially infectious respiratory droplets in your partner's direction, says Dr. Igbokwe.

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And while wearing a face mask is one added layer of protection, there's still some degree of risk involved when you are in such close proximity to someone, no matter the direction you're facing, says Dr. Igbokwe.

"If one must choose between masked doggy style versus masked missionary, first it is key for both individuals engaging in sexual intercourse to acknowledge that there is still COVID-19 risk involved in any close physical contact with a new partner irrespective of the sexual position," she explains. "With that said, there may be a slightly lowered risk associated with masked doggy style on account of the reduced face to face interaction as compared to masked missionary."

But come on, if you can choose between masked doggy versus masked missionary for a consensual hookup, you can also choose to just...not meet up IRL in the first place. If the thought of you, your partner, or anyone you might come into contact with getting COVID-19 and potentially dying doesn't keep you from wanting to stick to FaceTime sex for a bit longer, please reexamine your priorities.

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Would masked doggy style done outdoors be safer than indoors?

It's impossible to say, because no one knows how much viral load or viral particles someone is carrying with respiratory droplets still floating around, explains Dr. Kimberly Langdon, of Medzino, an online doctor and pharmacy company. It's "better if done outdoors or with a fan blowing in an open room towards the door opening," adds Dr. Langdon, but even then, wearing a mask, in doggy, outside, still poses potential risk.

Your eyes can be susceptible to viral particles, even if your mouth and nose is covered with a mask, says Dr. Langdon, and there could be droplets on the skin that could get picked up by the other person. "It is best to take an immediate shower or consider not having sex at all until this all settles down or people are vaccinated or can prove they are immune." Dr. Langdon adds.

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Imagining a scenario where you and your partner wear masks, goggles, are fully clothed except for cut outs for your genitals, and are outside, still doesn't mean you're risk-free. Viral particles can also be found in feces aka possibly on you or your partner's perineum unless you just showered, according to Dr. Langdon.

If my partner and I both test negative for COVID and are only leaving the house to see one another exclusively, is it safe?

Unlike STI testing where if you get tested and then don't have sex with anyone between testing and can presumably hook up with your new boo safely knowing you didn't spontaneously pick up anything on the ride over to their place, it's not quite the same with COVID-19.

For one, it's important to remember that any COVID-19 test results would be indicative of your status only at the time of testing, says Dr. Igbokwe. This means it's possible for you and your partner to test negative, only to have subsequent exposure to COVID-19 elsewhere in the community, like on the subway ride, picking up essentials, etc., and then test positive afterwards.

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For another thing, the virus' main transmission seems to be through respiratory droplets— a bodily fluid that is way harder to track down and monitor than sexual activity. So you and your partner's results may be negative, but that does not mean you have a free pass to have sex without fear of getting coronavirus, as either of you could've been exposed between testing. It's not like with STIs where if you abstain from sex after testing, you can assume your test results have stayed the same once you get your results. It's way harder to avoid other people's respiratory droplets while out and about.

Assuming you and your partner both tested negative and are only leaving your house to see one another exclusively, what is the ideal safest sex scenario during COVID-19? Doggy style, with masks on, in an open field?

The ideal safest sex scenario? Abstinence and other physically distanced options like virtual sex, says Dr. Igbokwe. "The bottom line is that if you are engaging in any form of sexual activity, you must absolutely try to minimize any risk of COVID-19 spread." she adds.

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While masks are an added layer of protection (and one that's your social responsibility to adhere to), it's kinda like wearing a seatbelt vs. not wearing one. Like seatbelts, masks can't guarantee safety, but they're way better than nothing.

Ultimately, "sexual intercourse inevitably requires physical contact, whether you have sex indoors or outdoors." says Dr. Igbokwe. As she said before, physical distancing is straight up not possible if you are having sex in a non-virtual scenario.

Bottom line, how do I have safe sex during COVID?

Virtually, or it's not really safe at all. While there's "no evidence that the virus is a sexually transmitted disease...the virus could be transmitted 'sexually'," as in, all the contact of sex without actual sexual contact (just being in close proximity to one another), says Dr. Langdon.

"Sex is the opposite of social distancing," says Dr. Langdon, explaining, "so if this is a new person, you have a higher risk of getting infected if you have sex with an asymptomatic but infected person."

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In a hypothetical scenario, an "N95 mask and face shield are better options, but still not foolproof," according to Dr. Langdon, who also notes that "exertion with a mask on could pose problems such as getting dizzy and passing out due to inhaling your own carbon dioxide," (But that's like, heavy exertion, like the grunting and sweating that comes with sex, not just like, walking around, so this is not an excuse to not wear one when you can.)

If you're having sex with your live-in partner and are both self-quarantining, it's "probably okay," Dr. Langdon says, but "again, anytime you go out in public, you risk bringing home the virus."

Otherwise, "it's best to sick with a vibrator for the time being," Dr. Langdon explains. There you have it. Doctor's orders! Now go forth and buy yourself a new vibe and feel good knowing you're truly exercising the safest sex option by staying alone.

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This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.