Europe

Swedish Masturbation Report Reveals Porn, Sex Toys on the Rise as Sexual Contacts Decrease

As social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions have put a damper on opportunities to meet someone new, people have started exploring alternatives, including dating apps, porn and sex toys, a comprehensive report has found.

In a new Swedish survey, as many as 60 percent state that their “digital sex habits” have changed in various ways during the pandemic. For men, it is mainly about increased porn watching while women have used more sex toys.

Social distancing has meant that traditional meeting places such as the pub and gym declined, giving way to digital alternatives. According to the Masturbation Report by the intimate lifestyle brand Lelo, it has become four times more common to meet new sexual contacts online or via dating apps than at the pub.

Intimacy

At the same time, social distancing and restrictions have put a damper on opportunities to meet new people. Wholly 45 percent of Swedes have not had any new sexual contacts during the pandemic, as traditional meeting places such as pubs have been largely replaced by apps and other digital alternatives. As a result, as many as one in ten goes in for online dating. And merely 2 percent have met new people at a restaurant in the past year.

This has prompted the Swedish public into exploring alternative methods, according to the survey. For men, interest in porn has soared. More than one in ten men watch more porn now than before the pandemic. Among women, however, interest in porn has not increased significantly. Instead, sex toys received more attention than before. Only 1 percent of women reported watching more porn during the pandemic. Five times as many, by contrast, discovered sex toys.

“The fact that our sexual contacts have decreased during the pandemic is not surprising. Restrictions and fear of infection have reduced our physical contacts. Especially with new people”, Elvira Eriksson, marketing and communications manager at Lelo, said in a statement. “We think it is interesting that the pandemic has contributed to more women daring to explore sex toys and all the positive things about it”, she added, calling masturbation “an important tool for getting to know oneself and developing one’s sexuality”.

The survey was conducted by the opinion and market research company Kantar Sifo on behalf of Lelo. The statistics were collected online from respondents aged 18 to 79, with the result considered nationally representative.

Numerous countries, including Sweden’s Scandinavian neighbours, previously reported a rise in the sales of sex toys amid dwindling sexual contacts due to lockdowns and social restrictions.

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