Lockdown restrictions have completely changed how we live our lives, and for many people, this includes sex.

Social distancing rules require the majority of us to keep two metres away from others not in our household. For the hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ+ people who don't live with their significant other, or someone who they can hook up with, this has put a stop to any sexual contact.

For people who thrive on physical contact, or live away from their partner, this has meant great sacrifices over the past few months. It also presents significant problems for those who’ve just come out, or were in the process of exploring their sexuality. With avenues of sexual contact, or even traditional dating closed, many people find themselves stuck in first gear.

But what does the real picture look like? We ran a (frankly enormous) LGBTQ+ Lockdown Survey to find out about the lives of LGBTQ+ people during lockdown. This asked questions about everything from depression and anxiety to homelessness, and though we asked about people’s sex lives, we didn’t have enough room to fit the results in our final findings.

So, let’s take a look at what people told us. For the purposes of this article, we’re only looking at those survey respondents who are aged 18+.

We asked: Since lockdown, have you had sex?

28% said yes

72% said no

So, under a third of people, by the time of the survey in late May, had sex during lockdown. But that tells us very little about who they’re having sex with. So we asked the people who said yes (the lucky 28%) to tell us more.

We asked: Was this with someone you live with?

77% said yes

23% said no

At the time of the survey, physical contact with people outside of your household was prohibited, but this does mean that only a small number of LGBTQ+ people (around 6%) broke lockdown rules to have sex.

We also thought it important to identify the person’s relationship to the other party they were having sex with.

We asked: Who was the sex with?

47% said a boyfriend or girlfriend

24% said husband or wife

7% said someone they’re dating

7% said a friend

7% said stranger / hookup

4% said a civil partner

3% said a housemate

14% said other

So it appears that most people were having sex with a significant other, and very few people engaged in hookups.

But who is having the most sex? When dividing the data by sexual orientation there is a clear leader: those who identified as gay were most likely to report having sex (27%). This was followed by bisexual people (20%) and pansexual people (19%).

Rather surprising results appear when breaking down the same response by age. The group least likely to report having sex was 18-24 year olds (19%). Those most likely to report having sex were 25-34 year-olds (41%), closely followed by 45-54 year olds (38%). Undoubtedly the large numbers of young people being forced back into their parent’s homes plays a part in these numbers.

As lockdown eases further, people’s sex lives may be able to move closer toward normality. Until then, it once again, it seems that young people have borne the brunt of harmful effects of lockdown.

If you’re still having sex during lockdown, it’s important to look after your sexual health. Although many sexual health clinics have paused their face-to-face services, many are still operating online-only services. Postal STI testing kits are available from a variety of sources, often for free, and there’s never been a better time to test of HIV. If you have any questions about your sexual health, helplines like THT Direct, or Switchboard are still open, and will be glad to answer your questions.

What Next?


The OutLife Forums are also a great place to seek support around relationships, sex, sexuality and more. We have a friendly, non-judgmental community where you can talk about how you're feeling.

If you have questions about sex or sexual health, THT Direct is a helpline that can answer your questions. Tel 0808 802 1221, open 10am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm, Saturday and Sunday.

Switchboard, the LGBTQ+ helpline is also available to talk to you about your sexual health, or anything else that's on your mind. Tel 0300 330 0630, webchat here, email [email protected].