Research to explore sexual activity and male dating experiences during pandemic

A new academic study will explore the experiences of men who have sex with men (MSM), during the coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom.

The research is a collaboration between Birmingham City University, the University of Salford, Kings College London and Newcastle University and will focus on uses of dating and hook-up apps, sexual activity and how this has changed during the pandemic as restrictions such as social distancing and lockdowns have been introduced.

Collecting data though online surveys, the study will also analyse perceptions of public health messaging and online conversational data relating to MSM dating and sexual practices during the pandemic.

“We are conducting this research with a view to helping improve policy and practice around MSM sexual wellbeing and public health messaging, to shed light on what to look for where MSM are concerned, and to provide learning about Covid-19 public health messaging that will benefit MSM and the general population,” said researcher John Mercer, Professor of Gender and Sexuality at Birmingham City University.

Research participants will be asked questions about dating and hook-up app usage, as well as their opinion about people having sex during the pandemic.

Recent data published by dating app Tinder highlighted that online dating conversations during the pandemic were 32 per cent longer than they had been pre-pandemic and that user profiles were being updated 50 per cent more than they were before the pandemic.

“Lockdown restrictions have privileged monogamous, cohabiting partners and posed serious challenges to anyone who deviated from that norm to pursue their desired forms of sex and intimacy,” explained researcher Dr Jamie Hakim, who teaches at Kings College London.

Men who have sex with men have specific cultures of sex and intimacy that this project hopes to address.

For more information and to participate in the research, click here or search ‘MSM’ at hub.salford.ac.uk/health-and-society-research