Sex, Drugs and COVID-19

Be safe with coitus and cannabis

The Oregon Health Authority safe sex guide

There are things I consider essential, and then there are things that Oregon considers essential. As it turns out, weed and liquor are essential in the Beaver State, and those businesses remain open under the shelter-in-place order. And as long as many of you folks are staying home, sex is probably a necessity, as well.  

So how do you engage in what have always been very social or up-close-and-personal acts like lighting up or nookie in the time of six-foot social distancing? 

Let’s start with weed.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws sent out a handy guide to partaking during the pandemic. Essentially, it starts off with “puff, puff, but don’t pass,” or as NORML puts it, “Avoid direct sharing and keep your personal consumption devices clean.” 

Basically, COVID-19 means don’t share your bong or joint, and if you want to partake socially, do it on Zoom or FaceTime. If someone else does happen to put their lips on your pipe, NORML suggests using at least 90 percent isopropyl alcohol to clean it.

Cannabis review site Leafly points out that despite dispensary precautions, packaging could also be a source of transmission and suggests alcohol — not the the drinking kind, even Tito’s, as it’s not strong enough — hydrogen peroxide or a solution of four teaspoons of bleach per quart of water, in addition to the very long list of EPA approved chemicals that kill the virus. Don’t mix cleaning products; that never ends well.

Then of course there is the obvious precaution — given coronavirus is a respiratory disease, now more than ever is the time to really watch what you put in your lungs.

NORML suggests “alternative delivery devices, such as vaporizers to mitigate smoke exposure,” but given that just a couple months ago we were freaking out about vape-induced lung issues, you may consider going with NORML’s other suggestion: Use of edibles or tinctures. 

As anyone will tell you who’s had one too many pot brownies: Go slow when it comes to edibles. But for those of you with free time and a knack for baking, instead of bread, maybe now is the time to perfect your cannabis culinary skills? 

No matter the manner in which weed is being consumed, one thing is certain — folks are definitely consuming it. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which oversees Oregon’s cannabis sales, reported that Oregonians bought $84.5 million worth of cannabis products in March when the governor’s stay-at-home order was enacted.That’s the most in one month since Oregon legalized the devil’s lettuce back in 2015.

Cannabis sales are not the only virus-induced boom; media reports across the country and the world —  I’m looking at you, Denmark — say that sex toy sales are taking off. The Oregon Health Authority issued a handy little sheet to let you know how to have sex safely in the time of COVID-19, reminding us to practice “selective kissing” and that “you are your safest sex partner.”

Kim Marks, proprietor of As You Like It — A Pleasure Shop, takes issue with OHA’s suggestion to “press pause” on activities like rimming because the presence of the virus in feces could risk spread. 

While fears of spreading the virus are real, the agency should advise using a barrier like a dental dam or nonporous Saran Wrap, she says. Also, she points out that the agency should be reminding people to use gloves for some sex acts and that “people without penises have sex,” so the OHA should let folks know about dental dams in general. 

Dental dams are latex or polyurethane sheets used between the mouth and vagina or anus during oral sex. Don’t have one on hand? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cutting off the tip and bottom of a condom and cutting down one side to lay it flat.

Orgasms reduce stress and can help with insomnia, Marks says, and are part of mental health. She says if intimate touch is too much right now, think about mutual masturbation. 

Some people find themselves sheltering in place taking care of parents and not with a partner, Marks says, and some polyamorous folks are sheltered with one partner and not the other. Luckily, you don’t have to run the risks of Zoom to see each other’s face while getting off. Marks recommends WeVibe, a vibrator that comes with an app allowing couples to control each other’s toys and even has a secure video feature.

An added benefit to a vibrator, she says, is you can use it on your non-erogenous zones because “our entire body needs attention right now.” 

Pick up some cannabis- or CBD-infused lubricant or massage oil and get ready to relax, coronavirus or not.

For where to get weed, check out our story this issue on curbside pickup and delivery. For sex toys, in addition to online shopping, As You Like it is offering its nontoxic, sweatshop-free products via scheduled private shopping hours. Go to or call 541-606-0553.

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