Sexual Health Implications of COVID-19 Pandemic

Corina Pennanen-Iire, Mário Prereira-Lourenço, Anna Padoa, André Ribeirinho, Ana Samico, Marina Gressler, Noor Ahmed Jatoi, Mehri Mehrad, Abby Girard

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Introduction: A novel coronavirus (COVID-19) reached pandemic levels by March 11th, 2020, with a destructive impact across socioeconomic domains and all facets of global health, but little is known of its impact on sexual health. Objective: To review current knowledge on sexual health-related containment measures during pandemics, specifically COVID-19, and focus on 2 main areas: intimacy and relational dynamics and clinical effects on sexual health. Methods: We carried out a literature search encompassing sexual health and pandemic issues using Entrez-PubMed and Google Scholar. We reviewed the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on sexual health regarding transmission and safe sex practices, pregnancy, dating and intimacy amid the pandemic, benefits of sex, and impact on sexual dysfunctions. Results: Coronavirus transmission occurs via inhalation and touching infected surfaces. Currently, there is no evidence it is sexually transmitted, but there are sexual behaviors that pose a higher risk of infectivity due to asymptomatic carriers. Nonmonogamy plays a key role in transmission hubs. New dating possibilities and intimacy issues are highlighted. Sexual activity has a positive impact on the immune response, psychological health, and cognitive function and could mitigate psychosocial stressors. COVID-19 pandemic affects indirectly the sexual function with implications on overall health. Conclusion: Increased awareness of health-care providers on sexual health implications related to the COVID-19 pandemic is needed. Telemedicine has an imperative role in allowing continued support at times of lockdown and preventing worsening of the sexual, mental, and physical health after the pandemic. This is a broad overview addressing sexual issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As this is an unprecedented global situation, little is known on sexuality related to pandemics. Original research is needed on the topic to increase the understanding of the impact the current pandemic may have on sexual health and function. Pennanen-Iire C, Prereira-Lourenço M, Padoa A, et al. Sexual Health Implications of COVID-19 Pandemic. Sex Med Rev 2021;9:3–14.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalSexual Medicine Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 International Society for Sexual Medicine


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Pandemic
  • Quarantine
  • Sexual Dysfunctions
  • Sexual Health


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