If there’s anything people should understand about sex education by now, it’s that preaching abstinence never works. People, by our very nature, are horny creatures. When two humans become blinded by lust and skin and sweat, consequences are often the last thing on their minds.

But now, in the era of COVID, sex (at least, sex between strangers and acquaintances) has become even riskier. When there’s a pandemic on the loose, doing the dirty with someone you don’t know too well, is a roll of the die.

Which is exactly why New York City has released the “Safer Sex and COVID-19” guidelines. It’s a three-page guide to getting frisky without getting COVID, and it is a goldmine for sexual advice filtered through the COVID zeitgeist. I have never read a government document that has made me chuckle so hard.

It’s riddled with fantastic and enlightening pieces of guidance, such as “You are your safest sex partner. Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after sex.”

Bet you didn’t know that huh?

There’s also a brief section on orgies and threesomes. Obviously, City officials don’t want huge groups of people getting together to get their rocks off, but you also can’t tell people that they’re limited to a single sexual partner at once. That would be un-American. It’s a delicate line to walk, but one that the NYC Health did their best to tip-toe along.

“If two is company then three (or more) is definitely a crowd.” The document reads. The City suggests limiting the size of orgies if you must have them; hosting them in large well-ventilated areas, wearing a mask the whole time and bringing alcohol-based hand-sanitizer to stay clean while you’re getting dirty.

Perhaps the most creative suggestion these guidelines offer, though, is to “Make it a Little Kinky.”

“Be creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact.”

Yes, that’s right. NYC just recommended that people use glory holes in order to maintain social distance from others, while you’re banging them. Personally, I have never thought of a glory hole as a safer, cleaner option for sexual intercourse — but these are strange times and we clearly must resort to strange measures. (Especially if we’re trying to get weird.)

The guide continues, explaining that rim jobs (“mouth on anus” as they so eloquently describe) are also unsafe. The virus has been transmitted between people through feces; so, while you might think you’re safer off making out with someone’s butthole rather than their face, you would be incorrect.  

Besides, the guide suggests wearing a mask during all sexual intercourse, which would make rimming a very challenging and awkward ordeal.

There’s a lot more to this three-page document, released by NYC Health — this is only the tip. There’s some very down-to-Earth advice — like, try virtual orgies instead of in-person ones; or if you feel unwell, avoid sexual contact. But those reasonable suggestions are interspersed with some of the most interesting and hilarious suggestions I’ve ever seen come out of a public health organization.

But what were they supposed to do? NYC has 8.4 million horny people living in it — all of whom have been shuttered up in their homes and apartments for nigh on two and a half months. They’re getting restless, they’re getting frisky and bored and they’re ready to get out and get down.

If the City hadn’t at least tried to release some kind of guidelines for sex in the time of COVID, their second wave might have been borne on orgies, flings and swinger parties.