Søren Brostrøm, the Director General of the Danish Health Authority, has alleviated many Danes' worries by explaining that the country's strict approach to social distancing does not include sex, be it in a steady relationship or the casual variety.
At a press conference, Brostrøm proclaimed that even singles who have a relatively high number of different sexual partners should not feel constrained by social distancing measures, notwithstanding the risk of infection.
“Sex is good. Sex is healthy. We are sexual beings, and of course you can have sex in this situation”, Brostrøm said, as quoted by Danish Radio “As with any other human contact, there is a risk of infection. But of course one must be able to have sex”.
Brostrøm referred to the Health Authority's website, which has covered all bases and includes a page on safe sex in the age of the coronavirus. The virus enters the respiratory tract by the inhalation of droplets produced by coughing, sneezing, or breathing and is not spread via semen or vaginal fluid. Still, the physical proximity clearly involves a risk of inhaling the virus.
At the same time, Kåre Mølbak, professional director at Denmark's State Serum Institute, the country's leading infectious diseases agency, has warned that Danes should be prepared to follow social distancing guidelines for at least a year. Mølbak said he doubted Danes would be able to shake hands, hug each other, or attend concerts or the theatre possibly for more than a year.
“This means that we don't need to get together for a Friday lunch at work, and it also means that we must refrain from giving each another handshakes, hugs and pecks on the cheek”, Mølbak explained to the newspaper Berlingske. “However, we can of course meet by other means, for example by Skype or Zoom, as many already do today”.
While quashing the popular hope that a vaccine will be ready in a matter of several months, Mølbak conceded that Denmark could not remain in full lockdown for as long as a year. In envisaging a gradual opening, he admitted, though, that “some things that cannot be resumed until we have a vaccine”.
Pelle Guldborg Hansen, a behavioural researcher at Roskilde University, doubted that Danes will maintain social distancing that long.
“We are social beings. Refraining from hugging and meeting and engaging in social activities such as sports, parties and café life, I find it difficult to imagine how you can stop this”, he said, predicting that strict adherence to social distancing guidelines will eventually slip.
However, Mølbak said explicitly that the social distancing guidelines in Denmark should nonetheless not discourage dating or even full-blown sexual encounters.
So far, Denmark has seen 7,515 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 364 fatalities and 4,312 recoveries. Following a month of strict lockdown, the Scandinavian country has begun gradually re-opening, starting with schools.