Now that many countries are slowly loosening restrictions and more outdoor events are happening again, people will go to concerts and festivals in droves to celebrate this newly gained freedom. While all of us have been occupied with thinking about the spread of COVID-19 for a long time now, it is understandable, that the concern for other transmittable diseases might have gone down. We as humans are only able to care about as much at one time. Keeping the social deprivation in mind, going back to festivals will be a breeding ground for free love and sexual expression.
One study has found that during the lockdown, more STI cases were being reported than before in an Italian town, explaining that younger people may have felt more secure due to not being as affected by COVID-19 as elders. Keeping that in mind, the environment of loud music and alcohol as well as substance use can lead to even more unprotected intercourse. But life needs to be celebrated and people should be able to finally engage in COVID friendly casual sex. How can you go about this?
Bring and use condoms. This is an obvious one, but condoms aren’t only useful to prevent pregnancy and protect you from STIs. Carry them in a way where they are not exposed to direct sunlight or heat and aren’t rubbing and bending against anything all the time, for example flying around loosely in your bag. If you are having oral sex with people with vaginas, you can turn your condom into an oral dam if you did not bring one yourself.
Check out a step by step guide here: https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/dental-dam#how-to-make-a-dental-dam-at-home
Stay clean and fresh
Showers can be few and far between. Keep that in mind when you want to stay fresh after doing the dirty. You can bring portable showers and toiletries with you, which will provide you with simple hygiene. If you have a favourite lube, why not pack it as well. Just be aware that condoms are made of silicone and can be weakened by oil-based products. This includes sun lotion and moisturizers.
Ask for, and insist on, consent
Consent is everything. Make sure to ask for consent and insist on your personal boundaries before committing to be intimate. Be aware that consent cannot be given when your partner is incapacitated from alcohol or under the influence of drugs. When it comes to your wellbeing, tell your friends where they can find you if you are planning on going further away from your tent or home base. If you are not feeling safe, most festivals have tents where you can get help or stay for a little bit with people, who will take care of you.
Enjoy your newly gained freedom and sexual liberty – safely! It will be more important than ever to take care of oneself and not engage in risky behaviour after this very long deprivation. Trust me, it’s so much more fun not having to deal with any negative consequences after a festival and simply being able to cherish the beautiful memories that you have made when you were there.
If you think you would benefit from professional support regarding sex and sexuality, you can find help here.
Sara Felber is a student of psychology from Graz, Austria and interested in a variety of issues concerning sex, relationships and LGBTQ+ topics. She is currently researching guidelines on the sexuality of psychiatric inpatients and is an intern at Willingness.
Cusini M, Benardon S, Vidoni G, et alTrend of main STIs during COVID-19 pandemic in Milan, ItalySexually Transmitted Infections 2021;97:99.
Healthdirect Australia. (2020, June). Top 10 safety tips for music festivals. healthdirect. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/top-10-safety-tips-for-music-festivals.
Holland, Kimberly. “Dental Dam: How to Use It and Why You Should.” Healthline. Healthline Media, 08 Mar. 2019. Web. 07 July 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/dental-dam#how-to-make-a-dental-dam-at-home.
Safe sex at festivals. The Mix. (2018, August 17). https://www.themix.org.uk/travel-and-lifestyle/festivals/safe-sex-at-festivals-10337.html.