Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck share a masked kiss at Met Gala. Is smooching with a face mask on a good idea?

·3 min read

The Met Gala was held in New York City on Monday night, and it was packed with big names in high-fashion looks. One couple who showed up on the red carpet? Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, who shared a kiss through their face masks for the cameras.

Plenty of people on Twitter had thoughts about the move. "Truly obsessed with the Bennifer mask kiss," one wrote. "Romance, but make it safe!" another chimed in. "Bennifer doing the Speidi mask kiss feels so right," another said

But Bennifer is hardly the first famous couple to kiss with masks: Lady Gaga and her boyfriend Michael Polansky shared a masked moment at the presidential inauguration in January. 

Lady Gaga kisses Michael Polansky during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Lady Gaga kisses Michael Polansky during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only suggests that you handle your face mask by the ear loops — and not touch the mask itself — is kissing with a face mask on really a good idea? 

If you've tried this with your partner or are considering it, don't panic: Doctors say it's fine under most circumstances. "It's not that big of a deal," Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Yahoo Life. "It's just two people brushing their masks together. If you're sticking your tongue through the mask into another person's mask, that's different."

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, agrees. "I don't think it will reduce the effectiveness of the mask, but it will reduce the effectiveness of the kiss," he says. "Kisses with masks on are momentary shows of affection rather than prolonged passionate interactions."

The reason the CDC recommends not touching your mask, and handling it only by the ear loops, is to reduce the risk that you'll contaminate your mask with your hands — or your hands with your mask, Adalja says. But if you're already wearing a mask when you're brushing up against your partner's mask, it's really not a concern, he says. 

There's also this to consider, per Adalja: "You'd probably only kiss someone with a mask on that you're already kissing without a mask on."

But Dr. Richard Watkins, an infectious disease physician and professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, tells Yahoo Life that he really doesn't recommend this — especially if you, your partner, or both of you are wearing surgical masks. Locking lips with these disposable masks on could cause excess moisture to form and make your mask less durable, he points out. "You don't want to get a surgical mask wet," he says. "That could cause it to tear."

Overall, though, if you're out with your partner and you want to do a brief peck with your reusable masks on, doctors say you're probably OK to do so. "I don't think we should make too much of this," Schaffner says. "There are many more important things to worry about with COVID-19."

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