The COVID-19 pandemic brought many people closer together. But the impact of togetherness on one’s sex life varied depending on their particular situation, according to Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at IU’s Kinsey Institute. The pandemic wasn’t experienced the same way by everyone -- lockdown restrictions, the degree of personal concern people had about COVID, relationship status, and living with a partner all affected individual experiences, he says. While many experts say couples having sex once a week is a common baseline, Justin Garcia, executive director of the Kinsey Institute, says that sexual frequency is different for every couple, and there are many reasons why individuals and couples might have modified that during the pandemic. In fact, a recent survey by Kinsey Institute and Lovehoney revealed that for single people, 38 percent said they were having sex less often than they did before the pandemic, compared to 36 percent who reported no change and 26 percent who reported more sex. And for those in relationships, 19 percent said they were having less sex than they did prior to the pandemic, while 35 percent reported no change and 46 percent reported more sex. The researchers say both singles and people in relationships might be less interested in sex during the pandemic because the world around us has been so threatening. There were also economic impacts as people stayed home from work. None of these things are the ingredients decades of research have shown to be conducive to sexual interest, they say. On the other hand, some people who are really stressed turn to sex as a form of stress relief. So how will the pandemic impact Americans’ long-term sexual activity? The researchers says that’s hard to predict. At the beginning of the pandemic, many said there would be increased sex and a baby boom. And while other findings published by Kinsey Institute researchers early on in the pandemic showed that did not happen, they say there has been a rise in sexual experimentation during the last year and a half.
In other news, an IUPUI researcher will soon be traveling to the Andes to investigate how changes in solar radiation impacted water resources over the last 10,000 plus years. At Lake Tota in Columbia, Broxton Bird, an IUPUI professor of earth sciences, and a team of researchers will, for the first time, collect sediment cores to develop proxy records of climate variables, including air temperature, precipitation amounts, isotopes and lakes levels. One of the main questions in South American paleoclimatology is how climate variability was phased between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, Bird says. Bird’s current research builds on previous work in the Peruvian Andes, where he worked to reconstruct the changes in the South American monsoon over the last 10,000 years. It was during this research that Bird says it became clear that there was a significant gap in understanding monsoon dynamics in the Northern Hemisphere Andes. The researchers will work at Lake Tota, the largest lake in the Columbian Andes and the second largest lake in the Andes, because it provides a Northern Hemisphere perspective of climate change that has not previously been available. Bird says the team hopes to determine the phasing of the monsoon and effective moisture between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, as well as the relative roles temperature and precipitation play on Andean effective moisture. Bird said this information will help researchers determine how continued warming is likely to impact water resources in the tropical Andes, which impacts the more than 300 million people who rely on the South American monsoon for their way of life. Tropical climate variability also directly impacts the midlatitudes, including North America, through atmospheric connections, so there are implications for how these regions will respond to climate change as well, he says. Bird says the research may significantly advance our understanding of tropical climate variability and also improve our understanding of Earth’s climate system as a whole.