Couples who feared catching Covid-19 might have had a better sex life, study suggests

New research sheds light on how attitudes towards coronavirus impacted people’s relationships

Olivia Petter
Saturday 02 October 2021 17:06
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It’s no secret that the pandemic has had a seismic impact on people’s relationships.

However, a new study has found that fear of Covid-19 might actually have benefited couples when it came to their sex lives.

Conducted by psychologists at the Lisbon University and The Kinsey Institute in Indiana, the research, published in The Journal of Sex Research, looked at 303 romantically involved adults in a cross-sectional study.

It found various lifestyle changes were associated with positive sexual desire “but only for participants with high (vs. low) fear of Covid-19 infection”.

“For these participants, sexual desire was associated with positive changes in one’s sex life and wanting to spend time with one’s partner, but not with overall relationship quality,” the study noted.

It goes on to add that its results were consistent after controlling for pandemic-related anxiety and demographic variables.

“This study advances literature focused on the importance of romantic relationships in stress-provoking situations such as the Covid-19 pandemic by shedding light on the association between sexual desire and personal and relational wellbeing,” the authors conclude.

The findings go against previous research that has indicated the pandemic triggered an overall decline in sexual desire among couples.

In 2020, a study published in the Leisure Sciences journal found that nearly half of the 1,559 adults it surveyed had found coronavirus had a negative impact on their sex lives.

Those who were sexually active, however, were found to have become more sexually adventurous, with one in five participants “expanding their sexual repertoire by incorporating new activities”.

“Common additions included sexting, trying new sexual positions, and sharing sexual fantasies,” the study states.

It continued: “Being younger, living alone, and feeling stressed and lonely were linked to trying new things.

“Participants making new additions were three times more likely to report improvements in their sex life.

“Even in the face of drastic changes to daily life, many adults are adapting their sexual lives in creative ways.”

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