Dr. Nesochi discusses sexual health and COVID-19 on Cosmopolitan.

Sorry, But Doggy Style Sex Isn’t Really Safer Than Missionary When It Comes to Spreading COVID

And all your other questions about whether safe sex is possible while social distancing, answered.

by: Carina Hsieh


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

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.”

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 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.

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 risk involved in any close physical contact with a new partner irrespective of the sexual position,” she explains, adding that “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 and potentially dying doesn’t keep you from wanting to stick to FaceTime sex for a bit longer, please reexamine your priorities.

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.

For one, it’s important to remember that any COVID 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 elsewhere in the community, like on the subway ride, picking up essentials, etc., and then test positive afterwards.

Assuming you and your partner both tested negative for COVID and are only leaving your house to see one another exclusively, what is the ideal safest sex scenario during COVID? 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 spread.” she adds.


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