Changes in sexual desire and behaviors among UK young adults during social lockdown due to COVID-19

Abstract

This study examined self-reported changes in young adults? sexual desire and behaviors during the most significant social restrictions imposed to deal with COVID-19. Drawing on a survey of 565 British adults aged 18?32 collected at the peak of social lockdown restrictions, we document an overall decrease in sexual behaviors consistent with abiding by social restrictions. We found that the levels of sexual desire reported by women (but not men) decreased compared with reports of pre-lockdown levels. Participants in serious relationships reported more increases in sexual activity than people who were single or dating casually, and there were significant differences according to gender and sexual orientation. The perceived impact of subjective wellbeing of people with high sociosexuality scores was disproportionately associated with social lockdown but there was no effect for general health. Thus, the impact on sexuality and general wellbeing should be considered by policymakers when considering future social restrictions related to COVID-19 or other public health emergencies.

Publication
In The Journal of Sex Research
Click the Cite button to download a bibtex for importing into a reference management system.
Cory J. Cascalheira
Cory J. Cascalheira
Doctoral Candidate in Counseling Psychology

Research interests include (1) the examination of stress-based, multilevel determinants and mechanisms conferring risk for LGBTQ+ health disparities (e.g., substance misuse); and (2) the use of computational methods (i.e., artificial intelligence) and big data to understand LGBTQ+ health behaviors and outcomes. Clinical interests include ACT, CBT, CPT, and MI.