In the context of the pandemic, government and public health measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus have been translated into media messaging by organisations that target the health of different groups.
Engaging experiences of the minority group, men who have sex with men (MSM), we provide evidence on the approaches and responses to these messages in relation to using digital platforms to connect for sexual purposes.
Dating and hookup applications, or apps, are a key area where sex and romance has been negotiated over the past two decades, a trend which continued during the pandemic. MSM are an ideal group to look at
the challenges posed here as they have been early adopters of these technologies for a variety of purposes, including the obvious ones related to dating and hooking up as well as for increasing more general sociality and reducing loneliness.
Due to this culture of engagement with digital media by MSM, and what
is known about their sexual cultures, digital platforms have been engaged by health educators in an attempt to improve the sexual health and wellbeing of this group. The question in the context of a pandemic therefore becomes: how are these sexual cultures affected, and how might health messaging be engaged with, or not?
Garwood-Cross, L., Katz, R., Light, B., Moore, K., Hinds, R., Hakim, J., …Upton, M. (2023). The Covid Sex Lives Project: Health Messaging, Hooking Up And Dating Among Men Who Have Sex With Men During The UK COVID-19 Pandemic. University of Salford: UKRI: AHRC