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Casual Sex Continues During Pandemic

Casual Sex Continues During PandemicFor many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we interact with others, professionally, socially, and even sexually.

A new study from Israel describes how COVID-19 has impacted men who have sex with men (MSM) in that country.

Researchers surveyed over 2,500 MSM in March and April 2020, when the Israeli government had declared a state of emergency and put social distancing rules into place. For example, people were not supposed to go more than 100 meters (about 328 feet) from their homes. They were also advised to keep 2 meters (roughly 6 feet) from people outside their household.

During this time, almost 40% of the men surveyed said they did were still having casual sex encounters. In this group, about 72% said they had fewer partners than they did before the pandemic. Many said they were less likely to kiss their partners or engage in anal or oral sex. They were more likely to use condoms or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) – medication that may prevent HIV transmission.

More participants perceived COVID-19 to be a bigger threat than HIV, the researchers reported.

They added that loneliness and the lack of emotional support and intimacy could be driving MSM to have casual sex during the pandemic.

“Social isolation defeated the fear of COVID-19,” one participant said.

Learn more about COVID-19 and sex with these links:

Sex and COVID-19

Semen Might Contain Coronavirus

Men and COVID-19: Are Androgens a Clue?

Impact of COVID-19 on Relationships: What Isn’t Being Talked About


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


(Page last reviewed: September 18, 2020)

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Shilo, Guy, PhD and Zohar Mor, MD, MHA, MPH

“COVID-19 and the Changes in the Sexual Behavior of Men Who Have Sex With Men: Results of an Online Survey”

(Full-text. Published: August 10, 2020)