Table 1

Overall results of the online survey displayed as total and according to PrEP use reported

Total sample (n=814)PrEP users (n=612)No PrEP users (n=202)P value
Median, years (IQR)40 (33–48)41 (34–49)38 (30–46)<0.001
White ethnicity, n (%)678 (83.3)520 (85.0)158 (78.2)0.03
Reported PrEP use, n (%)612 (75.2)
Individuals reporting to have been sexually active, n (%)621/814 (76.3)475/612 (77.6)146/202 (72.3)0.12
Individuals reporting to have been sexually active only within household, n (%)146/621 (23.5)98/475 (20.6)48/146 (32.9)<0.001
Median number sex partners, n (IQR)3 (1–5)3 (1–6)2 (1–4)<0.001
Number of sex partners reported during lockdown and compared with a period long 3 months prior lockdown was
 Fewer, n (%)465/621 (74.9)363/475 (76.4)91/146 (62.3)<0.001
 Same number, n (%)82/621 (13.2)50/475 (10.5)32/146 (21.9)
 More, n (%)67/621 (10.8)54/475 (11.4)13/146 (8.9)
Individuals who reported having done more ‘sextin’ during lockdown, n (%)321/814 (39.4)205/612 (33.5)73/202 (36.1)0.49
Individuals who reported having done more ‘videosex’ during lockdown, n (%)158/814 (19.4)97/612 (15.8)41/202 (20.3)0.14
Individuals feeling their sex drive increased during lockdown, n (%)307/814 (37.7)233/612 (38.1)74/202 (36.6)0.71
Individuals feeling their sex drive decreased during lockdown, n (%)214/814 (26.3)166/612 (27.1)48/202 (23.8)0.35
Individuals feeling they had less sex than they would have liked due to fear of being judged by others, n (%)344/814 (42.3)277/612 (45.3)67/202 (33.2)0.002
Individuals who engaged in chemsex during lockdown, n (%) (total)157/814 (19.3)132/612 (21.6)25/202 (12.4)0.004
 Individuals reporting more chemsex than usual during lockdown, n (%)42/157 (26.8)38/132 (28.8)4/25 (16.0)0.24
 Individuals reporting less chemsex than usual during lockdown, n (%)105/157 (66.9)87/132 (65.9)18/25 (72.0)
 Individuals reporting to have tried chemsex for the first-time during lockdown, n (%)10/157 (6.4)7/132 (5.3)3/25 (12.0)
Of those who had sex with someone outside their households, the reasons contributing to have sex were
 Chemsex use, n (%)67/475 (14.1)61/377 (16.2)6/98 (6.1)0.01
 Feeling bored, n (%)136/475 (28.6)119/377 (31.6)17/98 (17.3)0.10
 Feeling stressed and/or anxious, n (%)128/475 (26.9)106/377 (28.1)22/98 (22.4)0.26
 Feeling isolated and/or lonely, n (%)229/475 (48.2)192/377 (50.9)37/98 (37.8)0.01
 Being a sex worker, n (%)5/475 (1.1)5/377 (1.3)
 Having started sex work as a result of financial hardship, n (%)8/475 (1.7)6/377 (1.6)2/98 (2.0)0.78
 Having a high desire for sex (feeling ‘horny’), n (%)33/475 (6.9)23/377 (6.1)10/98 (10.2)0.16
Individuals who discussed the risk of COVID-19 transmission with a sexual partner outside their household, n (%)345/475 (72.6)276/377 (73.2)69/98 (70.4)0.58
Measures taken to limit COVID-19 transmission during sex, among those who have been sexually active
 Having sex with only people living in the household, n (%)121/621 (19.5)83/475 (17.5)38/146 (26.0)0.01
 Having sex with only one person not part of the household, n (%)131/621 (21.1)94/475 (19.8)37/146 (25.3)0.07
 Meeting sex partners who are close geographically (ie, a neighbour), n (%)174/621 (28.0)145/475 (30.5)29/146 (19.9)0.006
 'Hosting' instead of travelling to another persons’ home to have sex, n (%)111/621 (17.9)90/475 (18.9)21/146 (14.4)0.1
 Moving in with someone in order to have sex with them (ie, forming a 'bubble'), n (%)38/621 (6.1)28/475 (5.9)10/146 (6.8)0.34
Steps taken during sex to try and reduce the transmission of COVID-19
 Wearing PPE (face masks and gloves), n (%)34/621 (5.5)27/475 (5.7)7/146 (4.8)0.68
 Using condoms (where previously their use was inconsistent), n (%)47/621 (7.6)30/475 (6.3)17/146 (11.6)0.03
 Washing hands before sex, n (%)298/621 (48.0)233/475 (49.1)65/146 (44.5)0.34
 Washing hands after sex, n (%)280/621 (45.1)216/475 (45.5)64/146 (43.8)0.73
 Having sex in positions which reduce face-to-face contact, n (%)86/621 (13.8)69/475 (14.5)17/146 (11.6)0.38
 Using cruising spots or other outdoor areas, n (%)72/621 (11.6)60/475 (12.6)12/146 (8.2)0.14
 Attempting physical distancing measures (ie, using ‘glory holes’), n (%)13/621 (2.1)11/475 (2.3)2/146 (1.4)0.48
 Avoiding contact with bodily fluids such as spit or semen, n (%)44/621 (7.1)32/475 (6.7)11/146 (7.5)0.74
 Avoiding kissing, n (%)86/621 (13.8)69/475 (14.5)17/146 (11.6)0.38
 Not taking any steps, n (%)12/621 (1.9)10/475 (2.1)2/146 (1.4)0.58
Individuals intending to adapt their sexual practice to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission as lockdown eases, n (%)420/814 (51.6)312/610 (51.1)108/202 (53.5)0.57
Feelings triggered after having had sex during lockdown
 Guilt, n (%)120/621 (19.3)93/475 (19.6)27/146 (18.5)0.77
 Regret, n (%)87/621 (14.0)65/475 (13.7)22/146 (15.1)0.67
 Worry of having been exposed to COVID-19, n (%)199/621 (32.0)162/475 (34.1)37/146 (25.3)0.05
 Worry of having transmitted COVID-19, n (%)149/621 (24.0)125/475 (26.3)24/146 (16.4)0.01
 Nothing different than usual, n (%)285/621 (45.9)214/475 (45.1)71/146 (48.6)0.45
Accessing SHS during lockdown
Individuals who accessed SHS (either online testing or sexual health clinics), n (%)293/814 (36.0)248/612 (40.5)45/202 (22.3)<0.001
Individuals who were seen in a SHS and felt able to honestly discuss details about their sex experiences while in lockdown, n (%)273/293 (93.2)230/248 (92.7)43/45 (95.6)0.49
Individuals who experienced difficulties in access testing and/or treatment in an SHS during lockdown, n (%)81/268 (30.2)59/226 (26.1)22/42 (52.4)<0.001
Individuals who received a STI diagnosis during lockdown (among those who accessed SHS), n (%)225/293 (76.8)191/248 (77.0)34/45 (75.6)0.42
  • PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis; SHS, sexual healthcare service.