Things That Matter

Puerto Rico Scraps Guidelines For Safe Sex During Covid Pandemic

Update October 29, 2020

There are few things that don’t stop during a pandemic. Sex is definitely one of them. The Puerto Rican Department of Health understood the need to give people a safe sexual option but their campaign offended conservatives so they scrapped it.

Puerto Rico’s Department of Health tried to keep residents safe.

In an attempt to slow the spread, health officials in Puerto Rico offered up safer sex practices during Covid. Close physical contact with people is one of the ways that Covid spreads among a population. This means that sex is a very risky activity as the virus sets off devastating second waves around the world.

Puerto Rico’s Department of Health offered masturbation as an alternative.

In a statement from the department, officials claimed they intended to offer people a way to be safe while being sexual. They quickly removed the campaign because some people were offended by the sexual nature of the campaign.

“Although our only intention is to educate and prevent, the publication was offensive to some sectors of the population,” the Health Department said in a statement.

Original: We’re all social distancing right now. And that begs the question: how do you have sex in the era of COVID-19 self-isolation? Is it even safe to have sex during the pandemic?

According to several public health agencies, the answer really depends.

Let’s start off with the facts about Coronavirus and sex.

Coronavirus, which causes Covid-19, is spread by direct person-to-person contact or by people who are close to (within six feet) each other—as it’s believed that the virus is expelled in respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You can also pick it up from contaminated surfaces if you then touch your face without washing your hands properly first and therefore introduce the pathogen into your body.

So, yes, sex can contribute to spreading the coronavirus. You’re clearly close enough to someone when you’re naked on top of each other, and you are also probably kissing, or at least breathing heavily. (

But let’s be clear: Covid-19 is not contracted directly from sex – it’s not an STI. That distinction matters, because safe sex during the pandemic depends on your current relationship situation and, well, why you’re having sex in the first place.

So what are some best practices according to experts? Start with some self-love.

Since the start of the pandemic, online sales of sex toys have skyrocketed. So you can take solace in the fact that you’re definitely not the only one enjoying a bit of self-pleasure.

According to EDC Retail, which calls itself Europe’s market leader in erotic toys, the sales of vibrators, dildos and other sex toys were 162 percent higher than in the same period last year. In fact, sales have been so strong that the supply of toys and accessories from factories in China threatened to dry up – leaving consumers high and dry. EDC Retail even warned of a possible shortage of sex toys in February.

Masturbation also ensures that you’ll be safe from contracting the virus as you’re following social distancing guidelines.

Some public health agencies have even suggested making sex a little more ‘kinky’ to make it safer.

Most public health agencies have released safe sex guidelines for the pandemic. In fact, just this week, “glory holes” was trending in Canada because the BC Centre for Disease Control listed it among the tips for safer sex during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Their guidelines say to “choose sexual positions that limit face-to-face contact. Use barriers, like walls (e.g., glory holes) that allow for sexual contact but prevent close face-to-face contact.”

And “glory holes” aren’t only recommended in British Columbia. In New York, health officials suggest to make sex “a little kinky.” The city’s public health agency suggests getting “creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact.”

Folks on social media are having a field day tweeting creative ways to use walls and barriers, even suggesting things like plexiglas shields (like those in grocery stores), holes in sheets, mail slots, doggy doors and donuts.

But if glory holes sound a little too raunchy for you, don’t worry, experts also recommend sexual positions that limit face-to-face contact, such as as doggy style.

And if you’re single or dating – you should definitely not be having sex right now.

Because of social distancing and state-mandated shelter-in-place guidelines, it’s not okay to go out on dates right now—unless those dates are over FaceTime or some other video chat app.

The New York City Health Department recently issued guidelines on Covid-19 safe sex practices, recommending against having sex with anyone outside of your household. (In other words, someone you already live with.)

And sorry but having a “quarantine sex buddy,” where you and they only have sex with each other during the pandemic, is not recommended, First of all, the idea goes against social distancing, and you don’t actually know how closely (if at all) they’re staying away from other people.

Or maybe, like so many others, you’re just not having much sex these days – and that’s totally normal.

According to an NBC News poll of roughly 11,000 people, at least 50% said that the coronavirus has negatively impacted their love life. That’s a lot of people not dating, not being intimate with others, and most likely not having sex.

According to Ian Kerner, PhD, a psychotherapist and sex counselor, “A lot of people in quarantine aren’t feeling their best, or feeling as sexy. If you’re home all day and you’re not changing out of your pajamas or applying as much self-care or going to the gym, your sexual self-esteem can start to go down.”

But that’s OK. You’re not the only person feeling this way. Between being stuck in tiny apartments or around family, working longer hours and feeling the mental and financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic, on top of anti-racism uprisings, our libidos have had way more lows than highs.

But if you do decide to engage in sexual activity, make sure you follow these expert tips on how to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19 along with following all other safer sex practices.

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Peruvian Woman Wins Battle Over Right To Die Request

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Peruvian Woman Wins Battle Over Right To Die Request

ANGELA PONCE/ Getty Images

No doubt about it, women have struggled more than anyone to convince the world that the right to make decisions about their bodies is theirs. Ana Estrada, a woman currently confined to her bed, knows this truth. After spending five years of attempting to convince Peruvian officials that she has what’s best for herself in mind, she has finally made a breakthrough.

Recently, Estrada was able to convince Peruvian officials to make a historic decision, regarding her own assisted death.

Euthanasia is largely illegal in the Roman Catholic country of Peru, but Estrada has been granted an exception.

Psychologist Ana Estrada, who has suffered from incurable and progressive polio since the age of 12, poses for pictures at her house in Lima, on February 15, 2020. – A Peruvian court on February 25, 2021 ordered the government to respect the wishes of Estrada to be allowed to die, a rare allowance for euthanasia in largely Catholic Latin America. (Photo by Angela PONCE / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA PONCE/AFP via Getty Images)

Euthanasia is a practice that is illegal in many countries across the globe including Peru where access to abortion and same-sex marriage are also banned. Still, Estrada made a decision for herself to commit to a five-year legal battle after she decided to end her own life “when the time comes.”

Recently, Peru’s government ruled not to appeal a court ruling which recognized her right to “a dignified death.”

“It is an individual case, but I hope it serves as a precedent,” Estrada, 44, explained to Reuters in a recent interview. “I think it is an achievement not only of mine, not only of my cause but also an achievement of law and justice in Peru.”

Estrada, who is a psychologist, has lived with the rare disease called polymyositis for three decades.

The painful disease progressively attacks her muscles and has resulted in her need to breathe with a respirator most of the time. According to NBC, a court ruling from last week granted that state health insurer EsSalud to provide “all conditions” needed for Estrada’s euthanasia. The court also ruled that the event must occur within 10 business days of the date that she decides to end her life. According to NBC, “EsSalud said a statement it would comply with the ruling and form medical commissions to develop a protocol for such cases. The court ruling also cleared anyone assisting Estrada in her death from facing charges, although local law still prohibits anyone from helping people to die.”

Estrada is the author of the blog “Ana seeks dignified death” which she began writing in 2016. In an interview with Reuters, she explained that she made the decision to end her life when she realized she was no longer able to write.

“My body is failing, but my mind and my spirit are happy,” she explained. “I want the last moment of my life to continue like this, in freedom, with peace, tranquility, and autonomy. I want to be remembered like that.”

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Women Are Savagely Knocking Gender Joke Norms Including The Outdated ‘She Must Be On Her Period’

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Women Are Savagely Knocking Gender Joke Norms Including The Outdated ‘She Must Be On Her Period’

picture alliance / Getty

It’s been said before that humor that mocks normative values can be funny only “if the humor is non-threatening.”

Truth be told, however, most of us known when sexist humor is more harmful than it is funny. According to Research Gate “jokes targeting women were perceived to be less funny, more offensive, and more sexist than jokes targeting men. Additionally, greater perceptions of threat were related to greater perceptions of jokes as offensive and sexist. However, women were not more threatened than men by sexist jokes. While these findings were not entirely consistent with our hypotheses, our findings suggest disparagement humor targeting lower-status groups is perceived more negatively than disparagement humor targeting higher-status groups and these perceptions may be inextricably rooted in threat posed to lower-status groups.”

Women and men of Reddit seem to be able to understand this truth because recently, they’ve been taking these jokes and calling them out for what they are: ridiculous and not so funny.

Check it out below!

“Downplaying how horrible periods can be. I’ve seen so many men act like women are being babies on their period and it’s just enraging.”- OverallDisaster

“To couple with this: downplaying our emotions because of periods. Anger or sadness can’t possibly be because of a bad situation, it it must be because sHe’S oN HeR pErIoD.”- InnocenceMySister

“Literally. And it’s funny because the hormone that increases during a woman’s period that apparently makes them so “emotional” is testosterone.

Edit- My comment has been getting a lot of upvotes so I just want to take this opportunity to tell you all this. I know it can be hard being a woman and things can feel really bleak/tiresome sometimes (especially since it’s 2021 and we haven’t made nearly as much progress as we should have in regards to gender issues) but just remember to keep your head up. Things won’t be like this forever. They have to improve. Hopefully.”- aetnaaa

“That time of the month when we act like a man.”- paisleyterror

“I have pcos which also causes painful periods. Before I knew I had it, I never understood how other women could just “get used to” having periods. Lots of women also downplay how bad periods can be because they don’t know how painful some of our periods really are.”- tropicalparadise27

“Oh man and the first time a cyst ruptures… you’re laying on the bathroom floor thinking this is the end ans now you die and why didn’t I clean the bathroom more since this is where my body will be found.”- TaysteePotayto

“Same thing happened to me dude. I was in college, my roomate thought I was dying and I was like naw, don’t you also vomit till the point of fainting crying because of the knives in your intestines on your period? Not normal I guess.”- porkbunasaurus

“Or when women with easier periods act like other women are lying! I’m very lucky and have never had a difficult period, it’s light with very few symptoms. But that doesn’t mean that I doubt other women when they share their experiences. Just because mine is generally okay doesn’t mean that others don’t have excruciating pain.”- shadesofpink44

“Everyone has different experiences so I can only share mine. I get PMS about a week before I start and I start to get irrationally irritated or sad. Sometimes my boobs hurt or I can’t go to the bathroom for several days. I actually get super hungry the few days before too. Then when I start my period I have horrible cramps in my pelvic region and lower stomach. Sometimes they’re so bad they take my breath away. Sometimes they wake me up in the middle of the night and they’re so bad I could cry. I also have (TMI) really bad digestive issues and constantly have to go to the bathroom. I also get migraines with mine + sometimes that causes nausea. Not to mention the fact it’s uncomfortable having to wear a pad or tampon which can cause irritation. For me the first two days of mine are super heavy so I’m bleeding a lot, and the more you bleed the worse your cramps are. Its bad when you start bleeding a lot and you stand up and it all just gushes out. It’s just honestly horrible for me, especially the first two days but then mine kind of tapers off and gets better, but mine used to last up to a week. I can’t say I block it out as I’m very aware of the pain but I try to take pain medication, wear comfy clothes, use a heating pad if necessary. Sorry this might all be TMI lol, but there’s just so much going on and I think it’s good to build awareness about it!

As far as tips the biggest thing is just to be understanding and patient, never diminishing someone’s experience or pain. I also like when guys don’t act grossed out by it, to me it’s a sign of maturity when a man is able to listen and have an open conversation about it.”- OverallDisaster

Indeed, I think that as a society we’re starting to grapple with the fact that pedophilia is far more common than people assumed. I remember that I was started to be catcalled at 11 and my teens and early 20’s were the highest, and now in my 40’s never happens and is awesome. Men know they’re sexually harassing children, and get away with it because people turn a blind eye, blame the kid, or chose the believe the obvious lie of: I had no idea she’s 12, she looks like a woman, I couldn’t tell her age, like wtf?!

ETA: They knew she’s 12, that’s why they catcalled her.”- dystopianpirate

“Yeah, it’s absolutely insane. I remember getting catcalled (very aggressively) as a 7th grader by grown ass men. I always thought it was because I looked older until I recently saw a picture of 12 year old me. Nope, looked like a child. I was utterly shocked, sad and disgusted at the same time.”-Shaboinker2

“This, just today I was catcalled and basically harassed to the point where I had to step back inside my house. I was simply standing in the front yard with my kids. That’s all I was doing.”- HumanAdhesiveness360

“That’s not it except for especially shitty guys.

It’s more likely that the men in question have had little to no experience with women and thus don’t have enough samples to distinguish between friendliness and flirting.

Plus, a shy woman’s flirting might be less obvious than an outgoing woman’s friendliness, so if they had a shy girlfriend before their calibration could be skewed.

Or they could just be interested and made a move in the hopes of success without assuming anything. Men have to approach frequently to get dates, so asking out literally anyone you find attractive is a fairly common strategy.

Men aren’t a monolith any more than women are and there are loads of explanations that don’t require the guy to be an asshole. Most of the time, the dude’s probably just lonely.”- Odinh153

“The way the medical community approaches female reproductive health in general is awful. A close friend wants to get sterilized because she already has two kids, gets awful depression during pregnancy, and post partum depression that makes her suicidal. She’s happy with her family and out of genuine concern for her daughters, wants to be sterilized so she can be the best mum possible to them. Basically no long-acting contraceptive methods are suitable for her… IUDs either cause persistent bleeding or keep dropping out, implants cause awful bleeding for months etc etc…

But my partner called up a vasectomy clinic, booked an appointment on the phone, and it was done in under a week. No questions asked, no “what if you change your mind”… my friend’s life is genuinely at risk if she gets pregnant again, and it would leave two kids without a mother, but years of trying can’t get her what a man can have for asking once.”- kellerae

“It is infuriating how women are treated during childbirth. Actually abused in other countries.

Also, what I hate is that women always say, well “it hurt but it’s okay”; usually when their tear or episiotomy is stitched up with either no local anesthetic or an insufficient amount. No, it is not okay! Would a man have a vasectomy without anesthetic?

Really annoying how we are expected to grin and bear it.”- Suse-

“I just went to the GP to get an extension for my time off work after having ovarian cyst removed. The male gp said to me “I used to be really stingy about giving time off work to my patients until I got a really bad chest infection myself” I was a bit taken aback in his comparison of a bad cold to my abdominal surgery.”- camelsdonthavetoes

“inappropriate behavior from men, especially from a young age. If a boy hits a little girl he “just likes her”. That little boy grows up thinking there’s no repercussion for violence, and keeps hitting women. The cycle just goes on.”-professional_joe

“I know way too many women who think it’s normal to have to do most of the housework and childcare, plus the mental and emotional load of household management, even if they also have an outside job. Also to manage their husbands as if they are children who can’t be expected to remember to make appointments or buy their own clothes or things for the children or holidays or take care of menial tasks without reminders and help.”-FranzLuciferdinand

“My mum managed my dad a lot when I was a kid, but he has genuine problems remembering things, and fortunately I internalized it as ‘Dad can’t remember things so Mom keeps track for him’, instead of believing that all wives manage their husband’s schedule and that’s the natural way of things. He did his fair share around the house and also in our housing co-op. Now that I’m older it makes me sad to know that my parents’ fairly equal arrangement is not the norm.”- ohdearsweetlord

”dressing little girls in a way that makes it difficult for them to move around. your four year old should not miss out on valuable play because she doesn’t want to mess up her clothes or hair. her appearance should be the last freaking thing on her mind. it makes me so angry to see little girls having to sit on the sidelines while their brothers and male cousins play rambunctiously because their parents put them in a dress and expensive shoes. i hate the bullshit propaganda that little girls “naturally” prefer playing quietly indoors and/or alone. sure, it may be true for some little girls (just like it’s also true for some little boys), but you cannot tell me that socialisation doesn’t play a massive role in what kind of play children “naturally” prefer.”-parezcounapina

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