Pandemic tampering with love life of the youth
The coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent social restrictions are getting in the way of young people gathering sexual and romantic experiences, according to a study by research centers Rutgers and Soa Aids Netherlands conducted among 4 thousand people aged between 16 and 20.
Young people are turning to dating apps like Tinder and Grindr, but these are no replacement for meeting someone in person, the researchers concluded. The number of young that went on a date dropped from slightly over 50 percent in pre-Covid-19 times to 21 percent during the pandemic.
“Limiting the social interactions of young people also puts a stop to their love life. The youth, therefore, have fewer possibilities to experiment and enjoy sex, despite this being very important during this time in their lives”, researcher Hanneke de Graaf from Rutgers said in the report.
“This is especially worrisome because the lockdown already has been going on for a longer period. At the same time, we see the mental health of young people being negatively affected which is also connected to the lack of love and sex in their lives.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic, 50 percent of young people reported feelings of sadness. That number rose to 66 percent during the second lockdown. Additionally, up to 80 percent of respondents reported feelings of loneliness during the second lockdown. In comparison, prior to the coronavirus outbreak, 65 percent of young adults reported feeling lonely.
Normally, young people would get to know each other,for example, during school or at parties. Now, the majority of the youth meet each other online.
If a date is arranged, couples still prefer to meet offline. During the first lockdown, most people met in parks or, when it was possible, in a bar or café. Currently, during the colder months of the second lockdown, most dates take place in someone’s home.
Even sexting, sending sexually provocative pictures or messages, has seen a decrease since the coronavirus crisis began; especially among single people. Before the pandemic, 39 percent of single boys and 28 percent of single girls claimed to have sexted at least once. The report by Rutgers and SOA shows that currently 28 percent of single boys and 17 percent of single girls said they have sexted during the second lockdown.
This week is the Week of Love in the Netherlands. During this week Rutgers, Soa Aids Netherlands, and municipal health service GGD will encourage secondary educational facilities and MBO schools to devote attention to the sexual development of the youth.