To comply with social distancing, there's been a noticeable increase in sex toy sales and digital sex parties. But things are about to get a little closer (and steamier) for single people in the Netherlands after the release of new guidelines from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM).

The country's "targeted lockdown" began on March 23 and allows for citizens to have up to three visitors at a time with a 1.5-meter distance between them. However, in guidelines published on May 14, the RIVM suggests that single people could make arrangements with "a cuddle buddy" or 'sex buddy'" to remedy any lockdown loneliness.

"For example, meet with the same person to have physical or sexual contact (for example, a cuddle buddy or 'sex buddy'), provided you are free of illness," the RIVM wrote. Naturally, the internet took notice.

The published guidance has since changed, instead only suggesting that singles should minimize risk during lockdown sex. Reference to previously noted cuddle and sex buddies has also now been altered to include someone who is "not a permanent partner."

"It makes sense that as a single you also want to have physical contact," the RIVM explained. "It is extra important that you minimize the risk of the coronavirus during intimacy and sex. Discuss how best to do this together."

But singles are not the only ones in need of guidance for safe sex during the pandemic. For those deemed as "regular partners," the guidelines are clear: no sex if there is a chance of coronavirus infection.

"Don't have sex with your partner if they have been isolated because of (suspected) coronavirus infection," the RIVM advises. "Sex with yourself or with others at a distance is possible (think of telling erotic stories, masturbating together)."

If you are not in the Netherlands, though, don't fret: virtual dating exists, and you can get a taste of nostalgia while you cozy up to your quarantine cuddle buddy. For more information about sex during the pandemic, check out Harvard Health Blog's information on intimacy here.

Photo via Getty/ Thierry Monasse

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