(Making) Love in the time of Corona: Health Unit says aim for a “mutually exclusive arrangement”

Medical Officer of Heath urging people to maintain safe physical distancing despite need for intimacy

Physical distancing guidelines have been in place for about two months now, meaning many people who live alone might be feeling a certain itch that needs to be scratched.

There are no rules against fulfilling a need for physical intimacy during the pandemic, of course, but the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is still recommending caution, and to be choosey. “I have reflected before in the past of people who are completely alone, people who are single and live alone,” said SMDHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner, “And in particular, if they don’t have work right now that takes them out of the home, and just how profoundly lonely that can be,”

Simcoe Muskoka Medical Officer of Health recommends forming a “mutually exclusive” arrangement

“Perhaps it would be a reasonable thing for them to identify another couple or another individual that they would be able to visit exclusively, that’d be a mutually exclusive arrangement, to help them help alleviate that kind of profound loneliness,” he added.

Dr. Gardner says this type of limitation, combined with all the other factors in dealing with a global pandemic, can take its toll. “There’s evidence of hardship on people, there’s evidence on hardship on their mental health,” he said, “There’s no doubt in my mind that there is a harm associated with these physical restrictions,”

The SMDHU maintains a site filled with advice on sexual health despite the threat of COVID-19

“It will certainly be a blessing for us when we get to the point that we can relax some of them and allow people to interact better, more freely with others in the future,” concluded Dr. Gardner, “There is a cost to this. It’s needed, but there is a cost,”