Thorne Harbour Health calls for community to stop having casual sex during COVID-19

Thorne Harbour Health – media release, 26 March 2020

For the first time in its four-decade history, Thorne Harbour Health is calling on communities to stop having casual sex in the face of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Thorne Harbour Health, formerly the Victorian AIDS Council, is calling on LGBTI communities and people living with HIV to limit their risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth said, “We’re faced by an unprecedented global health crisis. While COVID-19 is not a sexually transmitted infection, the close personal contact we have when during sex poses a serious risk of COVID-19 transmission. We need people to stop having casual sex at this stage.”

“But after four decades of sexual health promotion, we know abstinence isn’t a realistic strategy for most people. We need to look at ways we can minimise risk while maintain a healthy sex life.”

Last week, the organisation released an info sheet with strategies to minimise the risk of COVID-19 while having sex. Strategies included utilising sex tech, solo sexuality, and limiting your sexual activity to an exclusive sexual partner, commonly known as a ‘f*ck buddy’.

“You can reduce your risk by making your sexual network smaller. If you have a regular sexual partner, have a conversation about the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Provided both of you are limiting your risk by working from home and exercising physical distancing from others, you can greatly reduce you chance of COVID-19 transmission,” said Simon Ruth.

The organisation’s stance is not dissimilar from advice from the UK government. Earlier this week, chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries advised couples not cohabitating to consider testing their relationship by moving in together during the country’s lockdown.

Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth released a video message today addressing sex & COVID-19 following last week’s message about physical distancing.

Grey area: The fragile frontier of dementia, intimacy and sexual consent

The Globe & Mail (Canada), July 14, 2018

Amid ever-widening cultural conversations about sexual consent, dementia remains uncharted territory. As Canadians live longer, more are moving into long-term care with advancing dementia disorders. It’s a growing population with complex needs, not least of all in their intimate lives.

In the close-quarters environment of nursing homes, these people’s sexuality poses difficult ethical dilemmas for staff and for families

 

Casual Sex: Everyone Is Doing It

New Yorker,

Zhana Vrangalova has spent the past decade researching human sexuality, and, in particular, the kinds of sexual encounters that occur outside the norms of committed relationships. The Web site she started in 2014 began as a small endeavor fuelled by personal referrals, but has since grown to approximately five thousand visitors a day, most of whom arrive at the site through organic Internet searches or referrals through articles and social media. Vrangalova was offered an appointment at N.Y.U., where she remains, to further explore some of the issues surrounding the effects of nontraditional sexual behaviors on the individuals who engage in them.

  • Read more here
  • Access the Casual Sex Project here

 

STIs may have driven ancient humans to monogamy, study says

The Guardian, 13 April 2016

Based on insights from computer models, scientists argue that the shift away from polygynous societies – where men had many long-term partners, but women had only one – could be down to the impact of sexually transmitted infections on large communities that arose with the dawn of the agricultural age.

  • Read more here
  • Access abstract of journal article here

 

Study reveals complexity of gay men’s relationships

The Kirby Institute, 11 November 2015.

Results of a national survey of gay men’s relationships suggest that their partnerships are highly varied and far more complex than just whether they are monogamous or not.

Released today by the Kirby Institute at UNSW, the study examined how gay and bisexual men think about and conduct both romantic and sexual relationships.

  • Read more of the press release here
  • Download report (PDF) here

Third survey of sex in Britain – results summary

ABC’s The Science Show, Saturday 31 October 2015 12:53PM

When HIV and AIDS took hold in the late 1980s, British researchers knew very little about the sexual behaviour of the population. It made predicting how HIV might spread almost impossible. This prompted a national survey of sexual practice which has been carried out every ten years since. Soazig Clifton and Clare Tanton discuss some recent findings and changes over time.

  • Read transcript or listen to audio of The Science Show here
  • Access survey results summary from University College London here