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"Physical Sex Is Over for Now": Impact of COVID-19 on the Well-Being and Sexual Health of Adolescent Sexual Minority Males in the U.S.

Nelson KM, Gordon AR, John SA, Stout CD, Macapagal K. "Physical Sex Is Over for Now": Impact of COVID-19 on the Well-Being and Sexual Health of Adolescent Sexual Minority Males in the U.S. The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine. 2020 Dec 1; 67(6):756-762.

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PURPOSE: This study aimed to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing measures have impacted the well-being and sexual health among adolescent sexual minority males (ASMM) during the initial phase of physical distancing mandates in the U.S. METHODS: From March 27, 2020, to May 8, 2020, U.S. ASMM (N  = 151; aged 14-17 years) completed the online baseline survey of a sexual health intervention trial. COVID-19-related closed- and open-ended questions were included. A mixed-methods approach assessed COVID-19-related changes in well-being and sexual health by outness with an accepting guardian. RESULTS: The majority (57%) of participants reported being worried about COVID-19. Almost all (91%) were physically distancing. Participants noted that COVID-19 changed school, home, work, and family life. Participants highlighted that COVID-19 reduced their ability to socialize and had a deleterious effect on their mental health. In the past 3 months, participants reported seeing sexual partners in person less often, masturbating and viewing pornography more often, and sexting and messaging on men-seeking-men websites/phone applications about the same amount. Many described being physically distanced from sexual partners, and some noted an increase in their use of virtual ways to connect with partners (e.g., video chatting). There were no differences by outness with an accepting guardian in quantitative or qualitative responses. CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide a snapshot of the initial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic among a convenience sample of U.S. ASMM and underscore the need to provide access to resources sensitive to their social, developmental, and sexual health needs during this crisis.

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