What Is Coronalingus & Should You Be Having It?

Photographed by Jessica Xie.
The pandemic has introduced a ton of new vocab words into common discourse. There's social distancing, Zoom (as a verb), COVID — and don't get me started on “Quarantini.” But here's one that was new to me: coronalingus.
Though at first I assume the word had something to do with oral sex (after all, "lingus" comes from the Latin word lingere, "to lick"), it's actually not that specific. Urban Dictionary defines coronalingus as “sex during the coronavirus time of social distancing.”
Here, The Economist demonstrates how it could be used in a sentence: “Has a friend told you about their evening spent engaged in ‘coronalingus’ just as you were recovering from a brutal ‘zumping?’” (We'll leave zumping for another time.)
So that's what coronalingus is. Now: Is it safe?
It depends on your circumstance, but there is a measure of risk involved, explains Nan Wise, PhD, sex therapist, neuroscientist, and the author of Why Good Sex Matters. It’s pretty difficult to engage in coronalingus, cunnalingus, or any other linguses in between without getting within six feet of another person. “And it’s not realistic to think people are going to wear masks through love making,” Wise says. (She'd be surprised.)
“I wouldn't say [sex during COVI-19] is completely safe,” as  Erica Smith, M.Ed., a sexuality educator in Philadelphia. “If you're going to have sex during the pandemic, think about the following: does my partner or partners take precautions against COVID in their lives, including mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing? How many people do they live with and are they exposed to? Have they traveled to an area with high infection rates lately?” 
As a general rule of thumb, masturbation is the safest way to get off during the pandemic. (As The New York City Department of Health said in a memo in June, “You are your safest sex partner.”) Sleeping with a person who's in your "social pod" or quarantine crew is your next best bet. That includes someone you already live with, or someone you've been seeing often and trust to be following strict social distancing restrictions with everyone besides yourself and a few select others.
If you're interesting in bringing a new person in to your social pod (say, someone you've been on a few virtual dates with), the standard "When were you last tested?" talk should now include COVID. “Ask them straight up," Smith suggests. "It's just as important a conversation as the STI risk one."
If you skipped all that and got hot and heavy with someone outside of your social pod, consider self-quarantining for a few days, then getting a COVID-19 test to make sure you don't spread the virus to others.
To sum up, coronalingus should be taken seriously — but it still can be pretty hot. “This is a fantastic opportunity to take things slow and really get to know the other person before you enter into, dare I say, a courtship,” Wise notes. “If you want to learn if they’ll be a good sex partner or life partner, you’ll want to get to know them and spend time penetrating each other’s minds first. Now, that’s sexy.” 

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