Oregon Health Authority: "U up?"

These are strange times, and for proof, look no further than our government agencies using the peach emoji on Twitter as a stand-in for your buttocks.

This goes back to the height of the first wave of COVID-19, when New York City’s health authority released a steamy two-page PDF about the dangers of butt stuff and urged New Yorkers to bang their roommates instead of strangers for the foreseeable future. The goal, of course, was to curb risky sexual behavior in a city of 8 million people where a still-new-and-terrifying virus was spreading fast.

The Oregon Health Authority took notice and upped the ante, adapting the Big Apple’s text-only guidelines into an illustrated graphic titled “Sex in the Time of COVID-19,” featuring toys, a rainbow of condoms, and (most memorably, in the lower-left quadrant) a deeply suggestive peach positioned underneath a pause button. “Rimming (mouth on anus) might spread COVID-19,” reads the caption, which traveled far and wide on social media. “Virus in feces may enter your mouth.” Knowledge is power!

At press time, New York had just updated its guidelines to allow for distancing while you expand your intimacy bubble, keeping face masks on (a win for Pretty Woman’s Vivian “no kissing on the lips” Ward) or using glory holes. Oregon illustrators: the balls are in your court.

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