As we know, whether we are residing on the sunbaked campus grounds or in the comfort of our own homes, COVID is a very real and very prevalent problem in the United States and throughout the world. Masks, frequent sanitizing, and washing, as well as social distancing, are important tools in keeping us safe and healthy. Nonetheless, we may find ourselves entangled with a significant other (or for some of us, just another) and want to go south in a good way. 

After months of lectures from the health community, we should all know by now that COVID-19 is spread via saliva and mucus particulate from an infected party, which is why we are advised to wear facial coverings when in public and maintain a 6-foot distance from others. This may be difficult when you’re having dinner downstairs. The act itself can psych someone out, but paired with a pandemic, nerves can run high. Just remember that if you feel uncomfortable at any time, in any way, you can retract your consent. Pandemic or not. You can do this by saying no, stopping, using a safe word, or another way that works for you and your partner(s). Consent and safewords should be talked about with all partners before sexual activity to ensure everyone remains safe and happy throughout any encounter. 

Now, down to business on how to get down to business

Oral sex is defined as sexual contact between the mouth and the genitals or anus, so whether you are giving or receiving, there’s going to be some saliva involved. In order to best protect you and your partner from diseases which include STD’s and COVID-19, you can use barrier protections such as dental dams or condoms. If you don’t know what a dental dam is, to put it simply, they are sheets used between the mouth and vagina or anus during oral sex and they’re available at Planned Parenthood health centers and drugstores.

Even without COVID terrorizing the globe, you are your safest sexual partner. What I mean by this is you cannot give yourself a communicable disease, STD, COVID, or otherwise. However, masturbation isn’t for everyone and I don’t know many people who can successfully go down on themselves. So, when you’re ready to listen to Beethoven’s 69th Symphony, keep in mind that partners within your domestic circle—someone you live with or share close intimate contact with on a regular basis—are the safest people to boogie with aside from yourself. And if you are the type to find sexual partners online or when out and about, you might want to put a hold on in-person sexual activity and defer to sexting. 

Oral sex can (and often should) be apart of sex.  Whether or not it is foreplay or the big shebang is up to you, and making this act fun and pleasurable for everyone involved should be your goal. Flavored lube, dental dams, or condoms can alleviate the bitter experience some people may have, but it’s best not to overuse this method, as flavored sexual items often have irritants and sugar in them that can lead to infection or discomfort. If you’re not opposed to the natural flavor of the human body then going scuba diving shouldn’t need these added elements. It is highly recommended that any and all parties should wash their hands, bodies, cracks, crevices, and brush their teeth before and after all sexual activity, especially that which involves the mouth, to cut back not only on bacterial transmission but also to cut down on the saltiness of the situation. Some other ways to make facetime better are to include sex toys in your routine (which is both gender-neutral and sensational), play with temperatures using breath or objects such as ice, or get hands-on when you’re tired or need to switch things up. However you experience oral sex, remember that comfortability sets the mood, you never have to do anything you don’t want to, and you don’t have to perform in a conventional sense. So the next time you find yourself giving or receiving a throat culture, COVID or not, keep this article in mind—it might just save your (sex) life. — Haley Berger

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Haley Berger is a Pacific Sophomore and public health major. She enjoys painting, listening to 1970’s R&B, and spending time with her beloved cat, Moose.

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