Two cults with mutually exclusive beliefs join forces

St. Olaf College Wellness Center wants students to avoid kissing during sex to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is fully insane. Whether they kiss or not, if one sexual partner has an easily transmissible respiratory virus, the other one will get it whether they are kissing or not. Here is a better idea: Do not have one night stands. This will protect you not only against COVID-19 by avoiding close contact with someone who could potentially be infected, it will also protect you against sexually transmitted diseases.

It is astonishing that health officials in higher education do not understand how viruses work. But it actually gets worse. The same “educational” poster told students to wear a mask during sex. Wearing a mask during sex will do nothing to prevent the spread of a highly contagious respiratory virus. Being that close to someone else for an extended period of time will transmit the virus regardless of whether people engaged in sexual activity are wearing masks or not. Masks work in combination with social distancing, and it is impossible to maintain social distancing during sexual activity. Sex and social distancing are mutually exclusive.

This is what happens when the cult of COVID-19 meets the cult of sexual licentiousness. Masks have become iconography of this new religion – a way to signal one’s virtue. But pandemic mitigation also involves reducing unnecessary contact. That is why so many stores have painted lines to encourage people to stay apart. But the cult of sexual licentiousness will not allow any advice to encourage people to restrain their sexual impulses. This is mutually exclusive with pandemic mitigation. The two positions cannot be reconciled.

I have been supportive of pandemic mitigation policy when most of my friends have been opposed. The thing that frustrates me about these utterly absurd guidelines surrounding sexual activity is that it destroys people’s trust in health authorities and makes them not take pandemic mitigation recommendations seriously. If we want to slow the spread of the virus until people are vaccinated, prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed and protect vulnerable populations, people have to trust public health officials. When those officials are beclowning themselves, it undermines an important message.

If you are wearing a mask or advocating wearing a mask for public health reasons combined with other strategies such as social distancing, then you are doing pandemic mitigation correctly. I was wearing a mask in public places before it was mandatory. However, if you are wearing a mask or advocating wearing a mask to proclaim your own righteousness, you are committing idolatry. Stop it.