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By Kayla Kibbe / June 11, 2020 1:02 pm

A lot of people on the internet were talking about glory holes yesterday.

This happened because the New York City Health Department recently dropped a new set of guidelines for having safe sex in the time of coronavirus, and this time, they want us to “make it a little kinky,” which is in fact a direct quote from the official advisory notice posted Monday.

That’s right. From the people who brought you “You are your safest sex partner” back in March comes a slew of new suggestions urging folks to mix things up in bed while practicing coronavirus-safe sex, including one advising COVID-era copulators to “be creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact.” Obvious translation: Glory holes.

Sometimes encouraged, sometimes banned and other times vaguely condoned, sex has been a topic of much confusion since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Now that the virus has dragged on for months and appears to be on the verge of an increasingly likely second wave, however, New York health officials have decided that we can all have a little sex, as a treat.

“Sex is a normal part of life,” the guidelines assured us. “During this extended public health emergency, people will and should have sex,” officials wrote, like parents trying to give their already sexually active teen what everyone involved knows is a too-late sex talk and pretending to be cool with it.

Essentially, the New York City Health Department is everyone’s trying-hard-to-be-cool parents. They know we’re going to have sex, and they’ve got some opinions on exactly what kind of sex we should be having. In addition to the glory-hole guidelines, New York health officials have provided some helpful advice on everything from kissing to rimming to group sex.

Back in pre-COVID times, analingus as well as various other forms of butt play were still enjoying their 2010s surge in mainstream popularity. But according to the new COVID-19 sex advisory, our days of carefree rim jobs may be behind us. The new guidance doubles down on cautions against mouth-to-anus sex first issued back in March, warning would-be ass-eaters that the virus can be transmitted through feces.

Fortunately, the guidelines also suggest that sex-havers wear a face mask during intercourse — “maybe it’s your thing, maybe it’s not” — which should help prevent any accidental rimming. A mask will also keep you from kissing your partner during sex, a seemingly tame act which the guidelines warn can easily pass the virus. “Avoid kissing anyone who is not part of your small circle of close contacts,” the advisory urges.

Speaking of your small circle of close contacts: the New York City Health Department would very much like you to have sex with as few of them as possible, ideally sticking to ones you live with. But if you must “find a crowd,” the guidelines suggest keeping it “intimate” with a small guest list and hosting your orgies in “larger, more open, and well-ventilated spaces.”

None of this is to say that health officials have changed their minds about the joy and safety of masturbation. The new guidelines reiterate the famed “You are your safest sex partner” advisory, while also suggesting partnered masturbation — featuring masks and social distancing, of course — as a safer alternative to intercourse.

For those of us who usually have sex with strangers from the internet, the guidelines suggest taking a break from in-person dates in favor of video dates, sexting and other forms of remote sex. This advice was weirdly lumped into an extremely reductive advisory suggesting sex workers simply take their business online, which, as we’ve established, is much harder than influencers-turned-OnlyFans stars make it look.

The guidelines also threw in some general advice about safe sex in non-COVID times for good measure, including a few reminders to get consent as well as a refresher on preventing STIs and unwanted pregnancy.

In conclusion, the New York City Health Department knows you’re going to have sex — and they’re totally cool with it! As long as it doesn’t involve kissing, ass eating or anyone you don’t live with. Glory holes, however, are strongly encouraged.

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