Love in the time of COVID-19 | Sponsored | Reader: Planned Parenthood Illinois (sponsored advertising) | Chicago Reader

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Social distancing can be rough on your sex life. Whether you're in a long-term relationship, starting something new, or just looking to keep it casual, here are four tips on how to navigate love in the time of COVID-19.

1. Practice safe sex.

COVID-19 or not, we should all practice safe, consensual sex every time. Be sure to use protection to avoid unwanted pregnancy and to take precautions against STIs. If you need birth control, Planned Parenthood can help—and you don’t even have to come into a health center to get it. Here are some suggestions for staying safe in these uncertain times:

  • Exercise caution with someone new. People can have COVID-19 without knowing it or showing any signs. Now is not the best time to meet people in person, even if you both feel healthy.
  • Reconsider one-night stands. Instead, try virtual sex, phone sex, or sexting. It’s a safe, fun way to keep social distance.
  • Avoid kissing. Even though kissing is great, it’s an easy way to spread COVID-19 because the virus is spread by droplets. Find other ways to express intimacy, like compliments and conversations.
  • Masturbation is not a dirty word! It’s safe, healthy, and a good way to get to know your body.
  • Go on a virtual date. Jump on Google Meet and watch a movie, share a meal, play a video game or virtual board game, or listen to an album or playlist with that special someone.

    Finally, since we’re all stuck inside, if you want to become pregnant, call PPIL at 1-877-200-PPIL (7745) to discuss your options.

    2. Discover PPIL telehealth services via video, phone, and app.

    PPIL has launched video appointments with clinicians. Call to schedule an appointment for:

    •    Contraceptive counseling
    •    Emergency contraception
    •    Urinary Tract Infection
    •    Sexually Transmitted Infection treatment
    •    Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy
    •    Pregnancy options counseling
    •    HIV prevention (including PrEP and nPEP)
    •    Depo Provera

    Planned Parenthood Direct lets you order birth control, get refills, get treatment for UTIs, and ask questions. The app is free to download, but there is a visit fee for those who are eligible for online services.

    Finally, PPIL nurse practitioners and social workers are also available for phone consultations for birth control prescription extensions, recurrent vaginal infection treatment, UTI treatment, and continuation of Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy.

    3. Planned Parenthood is there for you.

    Even though these are difficult days, PPIL's physical and virtual doors remain open for essential health care. They continue to monitor and respond to guidelines and best practices from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Health.

    You can still get abortion care and other reproductive health care at numerous health centers across the state. Visit www.ppil.org or call 877-200-PPIL (7745) to find the health center nearest you.

    4. Take care of yourself.

    Finally, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself. Take a walk, enjoy family time, meet up with friends virtually, or enjoy some fun, safe sex. Enjoying things that make you happy can go a long way while we all figure out how to navigate this new normal.

    For the latest updates on PPIL’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, or for additional information, please visit www.ppil.org.
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