The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people used to live, as well as the daily lifestyle, caused an economic crisis, and forced people to live with stressful situations. But as per experts, it could change sexual and social behavior in young people.
Laura Lindberg, a researcher at the Guttmacher Institute clearly states that the young people "are not OK." The pandemic has caused a barricade around them that has separated the young people from their peers and special friends with whom they feel comfortable. According to Dr. Lindberg, a high number of young adults are reporting suicidal thoughts and the "constraints on developing and sustaining intimacy in the pandemic are hitting young people hard," reported The New York Times.
Many young adults are currently living with their parents almost 24/7 and other relatives, which is not only triggering mental stress but also causing pressure due to increased family responsibilities.
A professor of pediatrics and population and family health at Columbia University Irving Medical Center Dr. David Bell, who co-authored an article along with the lead researcher Dr. Lindberg, said, "Once they get in their parents' home, obviously their autonomy and privacy changes."
According to the expert, in some cases, people have moved closer to their families, but for others, it has caused more stress. So, how this pandemic can be good for anyone?
Effect of the Coronavirus Pandemic
Dr. Bell, who is the medical director of the Young Men's Clinic at Columbia University Irving Medical Center has explained that "most of our young people aren't having sex at the same frequency we used to think they were," and during the pandemic "if they had had multiple partners in the past, they are definitely trying to pare it down to some degree."
Dr. Lindberg said that today's teens have been training themselves for this pandemic time as they are comfortable in "sustaining relationships online, in digital space." She also explained that now when some colleges students are going back to their campus, "what we see are guidelines that say, no guests allowed in your room," but young people will "break that rule, and then we're going to be mad at them."
These guidelines should not be as strict as it is right now, these should emphasize careful decision making, both with respect to sex and the Coronavirus situation. "You need to have empowered them and given them the skills"— how they will make decisions, how they will take their actions wisely, said Dr. Lindberg.
She also pointed to the New York Department of Health guidelines for sexual behavior for more understanding. According to her, at this tough time, parents should discuss the issues with their children—make them understand what a socially distanced date would be and how they can make progress in their relationship.
Colleges and universities have tried and failed to teach students about sexual behavior around issues like sexual assault. But as per Dr. Bell, the pandemic may give them new opportunities to help students make those good decisions and to promote healthy sexual behavior on campus.