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To have or not to have sex? COVID-19 and sexual activity among Chinese-speaking gay and bisexual men in Hong Kong

Suen, Yiu Tung, Chan, Randolph C.H. and Wong, Eliz Miu Yin (2021) To have or not to have sex? COVID-19 and sexual activity among Chinese-speaking gay and bisexual men in Hong Kong. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 18 (1). 29 - 34. ISSN 1743-6095

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2020.10.004

Abstract

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has fundamentally changed daily routine, including sexual activity. However, most research on sexual activity during the COVID-19 pandemic focused on heterosexual individuals. The only study so far on men who have sex with men was conducted in the United States. Aim: Our study expands the understanding of sexual activity during the COVID-19 pandemic by studying gay and bisexual men in Hong Kong. Although sexual desire and sexual activity continue to be important aspects of one's life during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are COVID-19–related barriers to having sex. This study therefore examined the association between sexual desire, COVID-19–related barriers, and whether to engage in sexual activity or not during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: 857 cisgender sexual minority people in Hong Kong participated in an online survey study, and for this article, only male participants were included in the analysis, yielding an analytical sample of 376 gay and bisexual men. Outcomes: Participants were asked to assess their sexual desire (ie, sexual drive and sexual motivation), COVID-19–related barriers (ie, perceived difficulties to have sex with another person during the pandemic and perceived risk of COVID-19 infection), and sexual activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: It was found that while sexual desire remained prevalent among the gay and bisexual men, COVID-19–related barriers were also commonly observed. Sexual drive and sexual motivation were positively associated with sexual activity. Perceived difficulties to have sex with another person during the pandemic and perceived risk of COVID-19 infection were negatively predictive of engaging in sexual activity, after controlling for general sexual desire. Clinical Implications: Understanding the ambivalence and driving and inhibiting factors for having sex during the COVID-19 pandemic can provide a new framework for understanding people's sexual activity during an unprecedented scale of the pandemic. It is likely that abstinence would not work as the respondents expressed strong sexual desire and that the pandemic is going to last for a long time. Governments, policy makers, and sexual scientists need to work together to come up with practicable, feasible, and easy-to-follow guidelines for having sex during the pandemic. Strength & Limitations: This is one of the first studies to examine the impact of COVID-19 on sexual activity among gay and bisexual men. The results should be interpreted with caution because of the use of cross-sectional design and nonprobability sampling. Conclusion: Sexual desire and COVID-19–related barriers serve as driving and inhibiting factors in explaining whether or not people have sex during the COVID-19 pandemic. Suen YT, Chan RCH, Wong EMY. To Have or Not to Have Sex? COVID-19 and Sexual Activity Among Chinese-Speaking Gay and Bisexual Men in Hong Kong. J Sex Med 2021;18:29–34.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.jsm.jsexmed.org/
Additional Information: © 2020 International Society for Sexual Medicine
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 06 May 2022 10:24
Last Modified: 12 May 2022 10:39
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/115049

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