While much has been said about mental health struggles brought on by the pandemic, the fear of catching COVID-19 may have benefited some couples when it comes to their sex lives, a new study suggests.
The study conducted by psychologists at the Lisbon University in Portugal and The Kinsey Institute in Indiana surveyed 303 romantically involved people (58.1% of them men) and found that lifestyle changes caused by the pandemic were associated with having positive sexual desire for participants most fearful 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, published in the Journal of Sex Research, said.
“Even though stress is usually negatively associated with sexual desire, negative experiences caused by the environment can, paradoxically, enhance it.”
However, the study’s findings appear to contradict previous research that noted a decline in sexual desire in most couples brought on by the pandemic.
The study published last year in the journal, Leisure Sciences, found that nearly half of the over 1,500 adults it surveyed online thought COVID-19 had a negative impact on their sex lives.
However, those who were sexually active during the pandemic said they had become more adventurous in bed, with one in five participants “expanding their sexual repertoire by incorporating new activities,” the study said.
“Being younger, living alone, and feeling stressed and lonely were linked to trying new things,” the study noted.