After a rocky end to the last school year, college students have many new things to consider if and when they return to campus. Not only changing requirements for physical distancing, masking, hygiene and remote or in-person education, but also a possible return to a live dating scene. How can students keep safe and social during COVID-19? Here are some suggestions:
If you do decide to meet in person:
- Before the date, ask how they’re feeling. If they have potential COVID-19 symptoms, postpone the date for at least 14 days.
- Limit exposure (for example, meet only one new person per week).
- Choose outdoor activities where you can easily keep six feet of physical distance between you and your date, like biking, fishing, hiking, Frisbee, walks or roller skating. If you want to be closer, consider a picnic or patio dining.
- As the weather gets cooler, consider dates in public indoor spaces where you can maintain distance (such as museums or shopping malls).
- Limit dates in your home in the same way you would limit other visitors to your home during COVID-19, and let your date know your expectations.
Back to college: What about intimacy?
Sex and intimacy can occasionally be awkward, and they may be most awkward now, thanks to the pandemic. If you’re a college student, here are some facts that may help:
- The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid close, physical contact with anyone who doesn’t live with you. This includes kissing, sex and any other acts where you’re likely to exchange bodily fluids.
- The safest person to have sex with is yourself. But if you do plan to start a new sexual relationship outside your home, there are ways you and your potential partner can stay safe.
First, share the risks you’ve taken that may have exposed either of you to COVID-19, your current health status, your personal risk levels and interest in getting closer.
- If both of you are healthy, feeling well and taking all precautions to avoid exposure to COVID-19, intimacy is likely to be safe.
- If either of you have doubts about your health or potential exposure to COVID-19, it may be time to postpone intimacy or change your definition of safe sex to “safer sex” as seen in recent guidance for residents of New York City and British Columbia. You can find more tips in this image from our partners at End HIV Oregon.
No matter what level of risk you are willing to take with COVID-19, it’s always important to also protect yourself from an unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease.
To learn more, see: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intimacy-sex-and-covid-19-2020041519550
Ms. Jenn Landers | Patient Advocate Alliance LLC Edited by Dr. Justin Groode
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