The question of the hour from inquiring minds everywhere is whether to have sex or not during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. There is so much talk of minimizing contact with folks and keeping a safe distance. There is no way to determine, if your partner has been infected unless they show symptoms, or if asymptomatic, they’ve been tested. All of the pandemic warnings are making our heads spin but there is no chatter about sex during these times. While this can be a great time to connect or reconnect with your mate, you may have questions about how much intimacy is safe.

According to medical experts, you can have sex during this pandemic but you must do so safely.

Whether an infected person sheds the coronavirus in saliva, or vaginal fluids isn’t known. However, recently, traces of the COVID-19 coronavirus have been found in the semen of some severely infected men, raising the possibility that the virus might be sexually transmitted, according to a new study from China. Although the virus has also been found in feces, transmission of the virus this way appears to be rare, if at all. Generally, being within six feet of someone infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 for longer than a few minutes can put you at increased risk of getting the virus. But this absolutely does not mean you have to isolate yourself or put the brakes on sex.

If you and your partner have followed all of the guidelines put forth by the medical community and are feeling fine, practicing social distance, have no known exposures to the virus, then having sex will likely be safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some folks might be infected with the virus and be presymptomatic (symptoms coming down the pike) or asymptomatic (never developing the obvious symptoms). In either case, spreading the virus through sex is then quite possible.

What if a partner is ill with the virus? Abstain, abstain, abstain from sex until the coast is clear! The coast is clear at least seven days after symptoms first started and other symptoms have improved. The stricken partner also has to be at least 72-hours fever-free without swallowing fever reducers. However, one study suggested that the virus may shed for up to 14 days, so you may want to minimize contact for up to 14 days to play it safe.

If you are starting a new romance with someone, put it on ice. Social distancing is the order of the day to ensure that you remain safe. Can’t be in the same space then try sexting, go at it old school style with phone sex, or consider taking your hot romance to FaceTime, Zoom or Skype to keep it sexy. “Just because you can’t see each other, doesn’t mean you can’t get off together,” says Dr. Jill McDevitt, Ph.D., resident sexologist at CalExotics. “Really make use of dirty talk, moans, vibrators, heavy breathing, and more,” she recommends.

If you decide to have sex during this pandemic here is what you should know as per the CDC. Kissing is a quick way to get COVID-19. Avoid kissing anyone who is not a live-in partner. Condoms and dental dams can reduce contact with saliva or feces, especially during oral or anal sex. Washing up before and after sex is crucial now more than ever. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to scrub any sex toys that are used with soap and warm water. Masturbation is the safest form of sex to have during this time because it is healthy, orgasmic and most importantly, it does not spread the virus. Steer very clear of anal play as the virus has been found in feces.

Do not have sex if either you or your partner are not well, especially if you are experiencing fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath which are the typical signs of the virus. You might also want to reconsider having sex if either you or your mate has a medical condition that can lead to more severe COVID-19 like a lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or a weakened immune system.

The bottom line–abstaining from sexual intercourse during the pandemic is the safest and healthiest way to go for now.