Can You Have Sex If You Have The Flu? An Expert Weighs In

With winter in full swing across much of the world, that means that the flu is in full swing, too. While people say that rest and fluids are the key to getting well, you may wonder what else you can do while stuck indoors. Namely, can you have sex if you have the flu? While you may not necessarily have the energy to, you may still be wondering if it's an option, and if will pose a risk to you and/or your healthy partner.

This year's flu epidemic has been making headlines worldwide, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even released a "Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report" so you can see how prevalent it is, who's getting it the most, and so on. Of course, you first need to know what influenza signs to watch out for.

Naturally, your partner will want to help take care of you when you have the flu, and you two may want to get close — which brings sex back into the equation. Can you have sex if you have the flu? Yes, but there's plenty to consider first, including how you're feeling and whether you're contagious.

"Symptoms of the flu include: sneezing, coughing, fever, chills, muscle and body aches, runny nose, headache and fatigue, with the possibility of vomiting and diarrhea," Dr. Michael Krychman, Executive Director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine and co-author of The Sexual Spark: 20 Essential Exercises to Reignite the Passion, tells Bustle. "Those don't exactly set the stage for an erotic romp in the sack. Also, there is the consideration of being contagious — to your partner."

There Are Other Ways To Be Intimate With Your Partner

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Of course, you and your partner can still be sexual without having sex, per se. "Yes, one of you may be sick and the other healthy, and there is plenty of opportunity to maintain intimacy," Dr. Krcyhman says. "But gauge how you are feeling and plan your sexual interludes accordingly. Maybe you're up for cuddling or hugging, while others may prefer intercourse, erotic showers, or oral pleasure. Remember, you may be fatigued and your stamina may be affected. Also if you are just not well, listen to your body."

However, Sex May Boost Your Immune System

You may have heard how sex has a lot of health benefits, such as reducing stress and anxiety. "Sex may also boost your immunity, and the close contact of lovemaking may reduce the incidence of colds," Dr. Krychman says. Dr. Rachel Needle, licensed psychologist and Certified Sex Therapist in West Palm Beach, FL, and the Co-Director of Modern Sex Therapy Institutes, agrees about sex being a health benefit. "Sex is good for you," she tells Bustle. "Sex can: contribute to good cardiovascular health, boost immunity, relieve tension and stress, improve sleep, lower rates of depression and anxiety, and relieve pain."

Sex Is One Thing, But Kissing Is Another

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Even if you and your partner decide to have sex when one of you has the flu, there are other things you should avoid or be cautious about. "No kissing," Dr. Krychman says. "And I would say sharing a bed when one of you has the flu is a maybe. If your partner is really ill, then no. But if your partner is on the mend and they need some TLC, I'd say some cuddling and touching is OK."

To Dr. Krychman's point, I know a couple that has a couch policy — when one of them starts to feel ill, the other will start sleeping on the couch. They say it may seem unromantic, but it helps prevent the other person from getting sick, which is key in addition to the one with the flu getting better soon. All in all, while you *can* have sex with the flu, as Dr. Krychman says, you may want to think twice before you do so. After all, if you and your partner can lessen the chances of you both getting the flu, why not?