The effects of covid-19 on dating and sex

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An study conducted by the French Institute of Public Opinion (Ifop) reveals how much the sexuality of French singles has changed since deconfinement, in particular because of the reduced opportunities to meet a partner and the fear of being infected.

Contrary to what one might think, the lifting of health restrictions linked to Covid-19 in France has not boosted the sexuality of the French people. According to a study* carried out by the “Gender, sexualities and sexual health” pole of Ifop for Pornhub, the sexual activity of singles resumed timidly: 33% of singles had sex the month after confinement (while they were 13% in this case during confinement), but this proportion remains below that observed before March 17 (44%).

The need for sexual and emotional stability

These figures mark the difficulty of singles in meeting people, in particular because of the reduction in meeting opportunities due to the closure of dance spaces (eg: night-club, bars, parks, etc…) and to the risks involved in meeting people in the midst of a health crisis, while the fear of a second wave is increasingly felt. 25% reported that they have had sex with an ex-partner (28% of men and 22% of women) and 7% with a person they already knew but with whom they had never had sex before. Singles are ultimately only 5% to have had sex with a person they met after May 11, in transport, in a business or at their workplace.

The majority of both sexes (57%) agree that “for a single person, it is now more difficult to meet people than before”, but 38% of women believe that the problem also comes from the fact that “men are more inclined than before to annoy a person they like in public places “, attitudes which have a negative effect for them.

While abstinence imposed by confinement could have caused “sex bulimia” in singles, this survey puts into perspective a completely different trend: 90% of them need “sexual and emotional stability” and “prefer to look for a single partner to establish a stable relationship” rather than chain partners (82% of men and 96% of women).

The fear of being infected with Covid-19

“Covid-19 is an obstacle to the sexual freedom of singles not only as a factor limiting the opportunities for meetings but also as a source of fear and anguish, in particular towards people working in sectors exposed to viruses or having already caught it who now seem to have a ‘new stigma'”, notes Ifop.

For example, one in two single people have avoided going to a place where they could have met potential partners (43%) or kissing someone they liked (45%). According to survey data, 59% of single people would refuse to have sex with a person likely to be exposed to the virus (ex: health professionals…) and 58% categorically refuse a relationship with an individual who has been infected with Covid-19.

“While the impact of COVID-19 on the sexual and emotional life of singles will therefore be particularly interesting to observe in the long term, for the time being, there remains a hindrance to their sexual freedom as a source of coercion and fear, in particular towards people working in sectors exposed to viruses or having already caught it who are subject to massive rejection which is reminiscent of the stigmatization of HIV patients in the “AIDS years”, analyzes François Kraus, director of the “Gender, sexualities and sexual health” pole of Ifop.

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