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An investigation of sexual and relationship adjustment during COVID-19

Gauvin, Stéphanie E. M., Mulroy, Maeve E., McInnis, Meghan K., Jackowich, Robyn A. ORCID:, Levang, Samantha L., Coyle, Shannon M. and Pukall, Caroline F. 2022. An investigation of sexual and relationship adjustment during COVID-19. Archives of Sexual Behavior 51 (1) , 273–285. 10.1007/s10508-021-02212-4

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The COVID-19 pandemic and the mitigation measures put in place have resulted in universal disruption in the usual ways of life for individuals. The current study sought to investigate how aspects of sexual health (well-being and functioning) and relationship satisfaction changed or remained stable during the pandemic. During two separate time points (Time 1 including Time 1 and a retrospective baseline, Time 2), participants completed online measures of sexual well-being (sexual pleasure, partnered and solitary orgasm frequency, sexual distress), sexual functioning, and relationship satisfaction. Participants reported slight declines in sexual pleasure, frequency of orgasms with a partner, and frequency of solitary orgasms from pre-COVID-19 (retrospective baseline) to Time 1, with no significant differences in sexual distress and relationship satisfaction. For individuals with vulvas, sexual functioning improved from Time 1 to Time 2, whereas no significant differences in sexual functioning were observed for individuals with penises. Aspects of sexual health and relational satisfaction did not sufficiently change across time points to be considered meaningful health outcome changes. Given that minimal disruptions were noted in pre-COVID-19 to COVID-19 sexuality, these results highlight the potential resiliency of individuals’ sexuality when facing sudden changes in their daily lives. Implications of COVID-19’s effects on sexual well-being and relationship satisfaction research are broadly discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0004-0002
Date of Acceptance: 28 October 2021
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2023 08:45

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