The COVID-19 pandemic is currently having a great impact on sexuality, especially among young people. One of the main concerns raised by the Public Health Agency of Catalonia is precisely whether COVID-19 can be contracted through sexual activity. However, there is no evidence that the disease can be transmitted through vaginal or anal sex. The COVID-19 virus has been found in the semen and faeces of sick people, but it is known that coronaviruses are unlikely to be transmitted through sex.
Sexual and reproductive health should promote emotional, intellectual and social well-being and development. Sexual health is essential for developing the personality, communication, affectivity and love, and should always be free of any kind of coercion, discrimination or violence. It is a key element in a person's life, which affects their physical, mental and emotional health.
The Hospital Clínic gives a few tips to bear in mind, which can help you enjoy pleasurable and safe sexual experiences:
Self-esteem is essential for choosing the right person and also for understanding ourselves as sexual beings and learning to express our erotic side. Knowing one’s own body, loving it, valuing it, and accepting it as it is to feel freely and confidently.
Communication with one’s partner is essential for the preferences, tastes and boundaries that each person establishes, and learning to do this openly, without fear of any judgment the other might make. Good communication is the key to good sexual relations.
Sometimes, routine and stress leave no room for us to enjoy ourselves. Therefore, setting aside time for practising breathing, muscle relaxation and mindfulness helps regulate our emotions and increase sexual desire. Find moments to enjoy your own intimacy and let your imagination run wild.
In order to practise safe sex, it is essential to keep up a daily intimate hygiene routine, using intimate hygiene soap and water (especially after sex), and to use contraception (barrier methods, hormonal methods, IUDs or surgical procedures) so as to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unplanned pregnancies. It is important to remember that the withdrawal method is not a form of contraception and is therefore not safe to use.
Difficulties with sexual health can appear at any age. Taboos must be eliminated if a health problem arises. It should be treated like any other illness. Therefore, recognizing and identifying the problem and consulting a doctor is of key importance, so as to make a diagnosis and find a solution. Behavioural and sexological treatments, with or without medication, and surgical procedures all produce good results.
Looking after our sexual health also involves seeing the right medical specialist. Women are recommended to visit a gynaecologist regularly and have a complete check-up and a smear test in order to look for candidiasis, breast cancer, cervical cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. They should also visit a gynaecologist from the first time they have sexual intercourse. Men should visit a urologist if they have any discomfort, erectile dysfunction, impotence or in the event of male infertility.
A healthy diet rich in macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) and fibre, will provide the essential elements required for the optimal functioning of our organism and will help achieve a hormonal balance. Physical exercise will also help reduce stress and ensure emotional well-being, which will in turn increase libido. Quitting smoking, leading an active life, and leaving time for leisure are healthy habits that improve your sex life.
Accredited medical and sexual health centres are the best channel for accessing trustworthy, information of high quality, since what we find on the Internet is not always reliable. A lack of information or unverified information regarding sexuality and our body can affect sexual health. Improving self-knowledge and psychoeducation promote well-being and erotic and sexual growth.