UBC researcher says most getting less sex, not more, during pandemic

COVID baby boom a myth

A UBC researcher is busting the myth of a post-COVID baby boom.

In fact, Dr. Lori Brotto, a professor in the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at UBC’s faculty of medicine, says most people are getting less sex, not more, despite having much more time together at home.

Brotto is leading a national survey to measure changes in sexual health and the prevalence of gender-based violence during the pandemic.

"In the early days of the pandemic, there was an assumption that because most people would have more time on their hands, there would be a COVID-19 baby boom in nine months," she says. "But if anything, because people are experiencing more stress and more anxiety, the pandemic is likely leading to less sex among couples in Canada."

As to whether the pandemic is behind a rise in domestic violence, Brotto says because people have been spending much more time in their homes, for some, this meant more time with an abusive or violent partner.

"In some countries, we have seen a three-fold increase in the prevalence of gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to before the crisis. And we saw similar spikes around the world, including in Canada, during the H1N1 flu outbreak a decade ago. As part of our study, we will be examining this in a Canadian context, and exploring social and gender-based predictors of gender-based violence," she says.

The burning question many may be afraid to ask: Is COVID-19 a sexually transmitted disease?

The answer: maybe.

"Despite misperceptions in some circles ... the available evidence suggests that both the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease are not transmitted sexually. However, recent research has found COVID-19 in semen, so further research is required before health-care professionals can fully answer this question," says Brotto.

More BC News