According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 2,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox across 37 different countries in 2022. While it’s true we might not be ready for monkeypox, the CDC is prepping anyone who will listen on how to lower your risk of getting monkeypox while having sex.
How is monkeypox spread?
Before diving into how to reduce the chance of getting monkeypox during sex, it’s important to know how monkeypox spreads. There is a misconception that monkeypox is a sexually transmitted disease; this is not true. While monkeypox can be spread during sex, the CDC notes that it can “spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact.”
The CDC believes the most common way monkeypox is being spread right now is through direct contact with monkeypox rash, sores, or scabs from a person with monkeypox, though it also mentions contact with objects like clothing, bedding, or towels that have been used by someone with monkeypox is attributing to the spread, as well. It also lists kissing and other face-to-face contact as a form of transmission.
How to reduce the chance of spread of monkeypox while having sex
It should be noted first and foremost that if you’ve tested positive for monkeypox, the CDC recommends you “not have sex of any kind (oral, anal, vaginal) and not kiss or touch each other’s bodies while you are sick, especially any rash or sores.” Additionally, it recommends not sharing towels, fetish gear, sex toys, and toothbrushes.
Having said that, the CDC acknowledges adults are adults, and some of them are going to have sex regardless. If you have monkeypox and still insist of getting down and dirty with your partner, the CDC recommends taking the following steps to reduce your chance of spreading the virus:
- Masturbate together at a distance of at least 6 feet, without touching each other and without touching any rash or sores.
- Consider having sex with your clothes on or covering areas where rash or sores are present, reducing as much skin-to-skin contact as possible.
- Avoid kissing.
- Remember to wash your hands, fetish gear, sex toys and any fabrics (bedding, towels, clothing) after having sex.
- Limit your number of partners to avoid opportunities for monkeypox to spread.
In the event you end up developing an unexplained rash, sores, or other symptoms after sex, the CDC recommends avoiding sex or being intimate with anyone until you’ve been checked out by a healthcare provider. You should also avoid gatherings that involve close contact. In the event you test positive for monkeypox, tell everyone who you’ve had close contact or sexual contact with in the past 21 days, to help stop the disease’s spread.