While the world grapples with Covid-19 and most countries have instituted necessary lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus, the Dutch government through the Netherlands’ National Institute for Health and Environment, a department of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, has issued new guidelines titled “Coronavirus and sexuality” for people wishing for close contact with another person while under the social distancing regulations brought in to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
These guidelines seek to minimise the risk of the coronavirus during intimacy and sex and follow the “intelligent” or “targeted” lockdown strategy of the Dutch government to battle the virus. The guidelines cover both single people as well as those in long-term relationships.
The thought process involved in the issuing of these guidelines is seemingly the acceptance that citizens will seek physical contact and intimacy with one another to combat loneliness during these difficult times, and seeks to address possible issues pertaining to their mental health.
To this effect, the guide advises having sex only with regular partners. Singles are further advised to find a singular partner who is not suspected to have contracted the virus. People are advised to make good arrangements with this person about how many other people they both see. The more people they see, the greater the chance of spreading the coronavirus.
Further suggestions include “sex with yourself or with others at a distance is possible (think of telling erotic stories, masturbating together)”; sexting either one to one via the telephone, or in a group via Skype, Zoom or Teams; watching porn; performing a striptease and so on.
Clearly, these proposed measures seek to limit the ill effects of long term loneliness, which can lead to increased stress and advance the risk of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.