Special Issue "Sexual Health in the Time of COVID-19"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Women's Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Dariusz Kałka
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Cardiosexology Unit, Department of Pathophysiology, Wrocław Medical University, 50-368 Wrocław, Poland
Interests: sexual health; sexual activity; sexual dysfunction; sexual function after myocardial infarction; cardiac rehabilitation; erectile dysfunction; treatment of sexual dysfunction; epidemiology of sexual dysfunction; andrology; effect of exercise on sexual health
Dr. Clemon George
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Exercise, Health, and Sport Sciences, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME 04103, Canada
Interests: HIV; HPV; sexually transmitted infections; LGBTQI health; minority health; community based participatory research

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Stressful events negatively affect all domains of well-being, including sexual functioning, and cause long-term health consequences. Since February 2020, Coronavirus SARS-Cov-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, has been rapidly spreading around the world. The contagiousness of this virus, along with its mutations, successfully penetrated public health measures established to control pandemics, such as mandatory quarantine or isolation, physical and social distancing, and wearing of facemasks. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lifestyles of many people due to the implementation of public health measures to curb its spread, which resulted in stigma of COVID-19 positivity, social isolation, loss of income and earning opportunities, deterred seeking health improvements, and other burdens amplified by the pandemic. In particular, adolescents have missed important opportunities for socializing and dating, which are important in normal sexual health development. Among those who have not been infected by COVID-19, there is evidence of a decrease in sexual satisfaction, increased rates of sexual dysfunction, and reduced libido leading to lower sexual activity during the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic time. There is also some evidence of generalized health impairment among individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 (called long haulers syndrome) and erectile dysfunction among some men who have recovered from COVID-19.  All these factors increase anxiety, depression, limit health-promoting behaviours, exacerbate existing disorders and lead to stress-related illnesses.

With increasing vaccination, fewer infections and decreasing hospitalizations, public health restrictions are being lifted, and people are getting back to a new normal. Will this new normal lead to hypersexual activities, and an increase in sexually transmitted infections such as HIV? Will individuals become more socially cautious leading to loss of intimacy and even more sexual dysfunction?  There is a need for more research on how individuals are coping with the shifting pandemic-related factors, including how they evaluate sexual risks, how they process pandemic related stress, and the impact of these stressors on their sexual health. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, researchers can observe not only the impact of negative factors on health but they will also have a chance to develop programs that can address sexual health in times of COVID-19 and other future pandemic crises. We, therefore, invite authors to submit work that addresses the topic of sexual health during the COVID-19 pandemic to this Special Issue. Of particular interest are papers that link scientific knowledge with its practical application and improvement of people's quality of life.

Dr. Dariusz Kałka
Dr. Clemon George
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
“Making Peace” with Bodies and Sexual Selves: Changes during COVID-19 among Adults in the United States
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11063; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182111063 - 21 Oct 2021
Viewed by 422
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the physical and mental health of many and has necessitated widespread societal shifts, including changes to work and family activities. These changes have impacted individuals’ identity, including their sexual self-image and body image, yet research on perceptions [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the physical and mental health of many and has necessitated widespread societal shifts, including changes to work and family activities. These changes have impacted individuals’ identity, including their sexual self-image and body image, yet research on perceptions of these changes is missing. This study reports on quantitative and qualitative data from an electronic survey with adults in the United States (N = 326) to examine these perceptions. Body appreciation did not significantly differ between demographic groups. Themes emerging from the qualitative results included changes in general self-image (becoming more restricted or disempowered), changes in sexual self-image (deepening, becoming more sexy/sexual, or less sexy/sexual), and changes in body image (positive, negative, and neutral). Our findings point to positive, negative, and neutral effects on sexual self-image and body image, implying that nuanced approaches are needed to understand how identity has transformed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Health in the Time of COVID-19)
Article
Association between the Desire for Breast Augmentation and Instagram Engagement: A Cross-Sectional Survey among Young Polish Women
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10317; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph181910317 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 599
Abstract
The impact of social media on the eagerness to undergo aesthetic breast surgery is unknown. We aimed to evaluate the association between Instagram engagement and the willingness to undergo breast augmentation. Women aged between 19–34 years old participated in an online survey. Of [...] Read more.
The impact of social media on the eagerness to undergo aesthetic breast surgery is unknown. We aimed to evaluate the association between Instagram engagement and the willingness to undergo breast augmentation. Women aged between 19–34 years old participated in an online survey. Of the 1560 respondents, 1226 (78.59%) met the inclusion criteria. BMI, bra type, bra cup size, education, and level of activity on Instagram increased the willingness to undergo breast augmentation (OR = 1.520, p = 0.020). Moreover, concurrent Snapchat use (OR = 1.348, p = 0.024) and the number of published posts on a respondent’s Instagram accounts (reference, n > 26; 0 < n ≤ 26; OR = 0.708, p = 0.009; lack of posts (n = 0): OR = 0.702, p = 0.155) were significant drivers of the respondents’ willingness. Fashion (OR = 0.730, p = 0.021), design/architecture (OR = 0.730, p = 0.022), and models (OR = 0.623, p = 0.004) were the searched content categories that increased the desire for breast augmentation. Positive and negative feeling scores that were triggered by Instagram content were correlated with BREAST-Q scores. We concluded that Instagram is a commonly used social network service among young women, and it may drive a desire for breast augmentation. Further analyses of Instagram preferences may help assess the willingness to undergo breast surgery, and in turn assist in tailoring marketing campaigns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Health in the Time of COVID-19)
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