How Lockdown Affected People’s Sex Lives

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Over 6,500 people took part in the web-panel study, which saw Glasgow academics partner with researchers from University College London and the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen).

A study involving academics from Glasgow University has found that lockdown affected people’s sex lives in the UK ‘in a variety of different ways’.

Young people and those not living with a partner reported the greatest changes, according to the research – the largest national study of sexual behaviours since the beginning of the pandemic.

Over 6,500 people aged between 18 and 59 took part in the web-panel study, which saw Glasgow academics partner with researchers from University College London and the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen).

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Data was collected between July and August 2020 and participants were asked a series of questions about their sexual behaviour (including physical and virtual activities) during the first four months of lockdown.

Altogether, 63% of adults reported having physical sex with someone after lockdown started, and of those people, three quarters (76%) said they were in cohabiting relationships.

When participants were asked how often they engaged in sexual activities, just over half (57%) of those sexually experienced (defined as those who reported ever having partnered sex) said there was no change in the number of times they had sex with a partner compared to the three months before lockdown.

However, among sexually-experienced young people aged 18-24 were more likely to report a change in their sexual frequency – around 60% reported this – and of these, two-thirds (66%) perceived this to be a decline. A similar pattern for young people was seen in how they perceived changes in their sexual satisfaction.

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ByCraig Williams

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