Is this the full return of casual sex in Britain?
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced the date when indoor mixing restrictions will lift. Starting on May 17, groups of six or two households will be allowed to meet indoors for the first time in months. In addition, groups of up to 30 can meet outdoors and overnight stays, hugging, and kissing will be permitted. Plus, couples who live apart and are not in support bubbles will also be allowed to meet indoors for the first time since January.
This essentially gives Britons permission to have casual sex again. Though, Johnson warned that Brits should “carry out caution and use their common sense.”
Johnson made these comments during a Downing Street press conference on Monday. He called this recent announcement a “very considerable step on the road back to normality.” Backed by science chiefs Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, Boris Johnson also noted that health experts will wait and see how this wave of loosening affects the situation. Only then will Johnson and his team seriously consider another loosening milestone on June 21.
Though, Boris Johnson did take the time to thank the public for their commitment to safety. Johnson noted how infections are now at the “lowest level since last July.”
“The data now support moving to step three in England from next Monday 17th May,” he added.
Keep in mind, the lockdowns didn’t stop all UK citizens from having casual sex. A survey from last year found that 24% of Gay UK men had casual sex during lockdown. The survey was conducted by the University of Westminster and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Researchers asked participants a series of questions about their sexual experiences during the pandemic. 57% of respondents said they could last up to six months without having sex because of the pandemic. 30% said they’d wait three months and 10 percent said they could only last four weeks.
Meanwhile, 24% said they’d already had casual sex while in lockdown. With that group of men, more than half said they’d only been with one partner. But for 5% of the men who’d had casual sex, they’d done it with more than five people.
“As social restrictions ease, it is highly likely that increasing numbers of men who have sex with men will re-initiate sexual activity with casual partners,” Dr Charlie Witzel of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine commented. “Our research shows we’re nearing the time-point when many felt their ability to abstain would decrease. Criminalisation of sex, while being unenforceable practically, may also prevent people from accessing sexual health care during the pandemic.”
It seems the researchers were right. Now that there’s an official date for when the government will allow it, many citizens have gotten vaccinated, and condom sales are rising, it seems that casual sex is back on the table.