Lockdown has been a long old haul for us all, not least for anyone who lives in a different household from the person they have sex with. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it's currently illegal for two (or more) people from different households to have sex. Yup, there's been a legally-enforced sex ban for non-cohabiting couples, and I imagine 'frustrating' doesn't quite cover it.
Human rights barrister Adam Wagner laid out the law on Twitter when the rules first came into force on 1 June, 2020. "From tomorrow sex between two (or more) people in a private place who do not live in the same household is a 'gathering' between 2 or more people and is therefore illegal," he wrote.
He added that the wording specifically outlawed indoor gatherings "when two or more people are present together in the same place in order to engage in any form of social interaction with each other, or to undertake any other activity with each other." And we all know what "any other activity" meant...
Since then, the rules have chopped and changed, but as we're currently in full national lockdown (and will remain that way until 8 March at the earliest), sex is still illegal. But with Prime Minister Boris Johnson having now announced a four-stage plan to guide England out of social restrictions owing to COVID-19, what does that mean for your sex life?
Sadly, it doesn't look like sex with a non-member of your household will be allowed until mid-May at the earliest. The government has earmarked 17 May as the earliest date at which stage three of their four-part plan may be implemented.
Under the stage three easing of restrictions, up to six people or two households will be allowed to meet indoors. So whatever goes on indoors is, I guess, up to the individuals. Prior to the May date, outdoor meetings between two households are allowed to take place, but seeing as - COVID aside - sex is illegal outside, that one's obviously a no-go.
There's no doubt the past year has been a struggle for everyone, but for those who have been unable to seek physical intimacy with their partner for months at a time, it has been a particularly rough ride. While provisions have been put in place for those who live alone, there have been no exceptions to the restrictions for couples who live separately - possibly because it would have been harder to prevent people bending the rules, and it has been so, so important to get infection rates down.
But for anyone currently struggling as a result of these rules, try to see this as light at the end of the tunnel - even if there are a few more months to wait.
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