Reminiscent of some strange guidelines released during the early COVID-19 pandemic by the UK government, the CDC has published new guidelines on keeping yourself safe from monkeypox when having sex. As expected, they are remarkably un-sexy.
In a document published online called "Social Gatherings, Safer Sex, and Monkeypox", the CDC outlines a few ways that you can enjoy intimacy while avoiding spreading monkeypox. Although it is not an STD, monkeypox is spread through close contact, which includes sex.
According to the document, the best course of action is essentially no action at all – where possible, try virtual sex instead. If that’s not possible, stay a minimum distance of six feet apart and masturbate together, “without touching any rash or sores.” Nothing is sexier than the mention of rashes and sores.
If you insist on getting intimate, the CDC recommends keeping the clothes on for minimal skin contact and avoiding kissing altogether.
Interestingly, at no point in the recommendations does the CDC propose actual sexual protection like condoms to keep yourself safe – it focuses on avoiding any scabs or rashes the partner may have. It is also worth noting that the guidelines are only for those who believe they have monkeypox, and not for everyone.
Monkeypox case numbers are currently growing steadily, with the most recent reports placing cases above 2,500 in the US. It appears to be spreading most in men that have had sex with other men, though it is not considered a sexually-transmitted disease. It is currently not considered a significant threat to the public.
"The outbreak of monkeypox continues to primarily affect men who have sex with men who have reported recent sex with new or multiple partners [...] The unexpected appearance of monkeypox in several regions in the initial absence of epidemiological links to areas that have historically reported monkeypox, suggests that there may have been undetected transmission for some time,” said the WHO in a recent update.