“Some experts say to isolate away from your partner should you start showing symptoms,” says SKYN Condoms sex and intimacy expert, certified sex coach, and sexologist Gigi Engle. “Be there to support each other if one of you is sicker than the other. This is a highly infectious virus, and it's not anyone's fault if they pick it up.”
If you want to have sex with someone outside your household or with a live-in partner when one of you is sick or high-risk, the safest way is to get creative and experiment with cyber sex, sexting, and remote-controlled sex toys.
“If you can expand your definition of what ‘sex’ is — beyond the physical acts you can do in person with another — it is very possible for individuals isolating alone to have a great sex life during this time,” says says Neil Mehta, M.P.H., founder of Royal.
The good news is, if you want to be completely safe, you can't get the virus from touching yourself. “Self-pleasure decreases the stress response and anxiety and improves mood, self-confidence, and immune function,” says sexologist and naturopathic doctor Dr. Jordin Wiggins.
Read: 11 Expert Tips for Phone Sex Beginners
How can you practice safer sex?
Even if you’re only having sex with one person and you’re isolating with them, you should still wash your hands after you go outside and after you have sex. You should also wash your hands and any toys you use after you masturbate.
Spend at least 20 seconds each time you wash your hands, and use soap and hot water, says Toler. “While it’s nice to stay in bed to enjoy the after-sex glow, right now it’s best to wash up right away,” she adds.
According to the CDC, best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to anyone with the virus. If you have sex with anyone outside your own household, Engle advises only engaging with people who have been self-isolating and don’t take public transportation to see them.
Wiggins also suggests asking them if they’ve made contact with anyone who has tested positive. And if you get sick, tell your partners immediately — even if you weren’t symptomatic when you were with them, you could have been a carrier.
Read: A No-Fuss Guide to Video Sex
Should you stock up on contraception?
With drugstore shelves under-stocked, it’s a good idea to have extra supplies around. At the same time, you don’t want to hoard everything so that nothing’s left for other people.
“Stockpiling of any item leads to anxiety and uncertainty for those unable to procure that item,” says Toler, so she suggests keeping just a two-month supply around.
What if you can’t get to the doctor’s to get birth control?
If you can’t go to the doctor in person because of social distancing or because they’re unavailable, you should still call your doctor — they may be able to see you virtually or just call in a prescription, says Toler. Otherwise, you can use an online service like Doctor on Demand or Amwell.
Once you get a hold of a doctor, you can ask for a three- or six-month prescription so that you don’t have to worry about getting your next one for a while. If you can’t get an appointment in time to get a prescription, you can usually get condoms and spermicide at the drugstore.