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Döring, N., & Walter, R. (2020). Wie verändert die COVID-19-Pandemie unsere Sexualitäten? Eine Übersicht medialer Narrative im Frühjahr 2020. [How is the COVID-19 Pandemic Changing our Sexualities? An Overview of Media Narratives in Spring 2020] Zeitschrift für Sexualforschung, 33(02), 65-75.
Open Access Article:
Introduction: On the occasion of the COVID-19 pandemic, far-reaching infection control measures were imposed in Germany and many other countries from March 2020. Their effects on individuals and society were immediately the subject of intense media debate.
Objectives: Against this background, the present study aims to elaborate the media narratives specifically on sexuality-related changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: To this end, a sample of N = 305 mass media contributions from February and March 2020 was analyzed with regard to 1) the aspects of sexuality dealt with (e.g., partnered sex, solo sex), 2) the corona-sex-narratives offered (e.g., more-partnered-sex-narrative; less-partnered-sex-narrative), and 3) the meta-narratives represented (e.g., crisis as opportunity, crisis as risk, crisis as opportunity and risk at the same time). In addition, selected contributions from social media were examined. The study follows the Open Science approach: sample, codebook, reliability coefficients and data set are accessible via the server of the Open Science Foundation ( https://osf.io/ew6t3/ ).
Results: It was shown that changes regarding partnered sex and solo sex as well as various issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights were on the mass media agenda. Corona-sex-narratives were offered in part for partnered sex and throughout for solo sex, which claim that the crisis has improved the situation in the sense that more and more pleasurable sex occurs. At the same time, the problem-related Corona-sex-narratives generally assumed that the situation has worsened, for example, that there is an increase in sexualized domestic violence, in access barriers to abortion, in uncertainties regarding pregnancy and birth, in threats to economic survival in sex work and in discrimination against LGBTIQ persons.
Conclusion: In the media discourse on sexuality-related effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, two striking tendencies became apparent: A very sex-positive, commercially friendly to almost glorifying appreciation of solo and online sex and a strong sensitization for certain restrictions of sexual and reproductive self-determination. It remains unclear to what extent the Corona-sex-narratives comprehensively and accurately depict actual changes, as empirical data are lacking.
content analysis - Coronavirus - COVID-19 - media representations of sexuality - sexuality
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