COVID-19: Specific Advice

Updated Monday March 2

This is part of a series about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. See also:
COVID-19: What to Expect
COVID-19: General Advice

This post was written by Tornus (who has no professional qualifications but has an extensive amateur interest in epidemiology) and Dr Smartypants, who is a physician and infectious disease epidemiologist with extensive experience working at the CDC and public health departments. We have endeavored to provide accurate, concise, and actionable information here. However, the best source of information about COVID is the official CDC page. You should trust the CDC more than us (or anyone else).

This post is specifically addressed to the kink community in North America, although it may be of some use to other folks also.

What should individuals do?

We emphatically recommend the CDC’s standard advice for avoiding COVID-19.
Beyond those fundamental precautions, we have some specific advice for individuals in the kink community:

  • Take this very seriously, but don’t panic.
  • Absolutely don’t attend any events if you have any symptoms of respiratory illness.
  • Strongly consider not shaking hands or hugging. We know our people like to hug, but right now that’s not a great idea.
  • Strongly consider cutting back on snuggles with friends. We love snuggles just as much as you do, but we also love our friends and we want to keep them around.
  • Strongly consider cutting back on attending kink events, especially large and crowded ones. As professional kink educators we hate to say this, but our events are discretionary: in a pandemic, we should be among the first to close our doors.
  • Older individuals and people who are immune compromised are at very high risk from COVID-19. Even if you are young and healthy, be mindful of the safety of your friends and the people they live with and care for.

What should organizations do?

Our advice for individuals is fairly straightforward. For organizations, things are much more complicated. We have to balance the safety of our staff, attendees, and communities with the financial impact of canceling events.

These decisions would be easy if we knew for sure how the epidemic would progress. If we knew for certain that COVID-19 would be no worse than the seasonal flu, we could confidently keep our doors open. If we knew it was going to be as bad as the 1918 flu pandemic, it would be shockingly irresponsible for us to hold any events at all. As things stand, we have to do the best we can with limited information.

We think it’s very likely that we will have much more information by mid to late March. Under the circumstances, we recommend erring on the side of safety in the short run but not canceling big events prematurely if at all possible. Only you can decide what’s right for your organization, but we recommend:

  • Definitely ask people not to attend your events if they have any symptoms of respiratory illness.
  • Definitely do what you can to provide hand sanitizer to all attendees.
  • Strongly consider recommending that attendees reduce or eliminate casual physical contact like hugging and shaking hands.

Should you continue to hold events? That’s a really hard decision. Right now, we think we are very close to the point where the ethical and prudent choice is to stop holding kink events in the short run. There is still a chance that COVID-19 may not be catastrophic, but the evidence increasingly suggests this is a very fast-moving and dangerous pandemic. We’d rather cancel a few weeks of events prematurely than contribute to spreading it.

Leadership is hard and this is one of those times when whatever we do is guaranteed to make some people angry. We wish you well with whatever course of action you choose to take.