Students seek therapy after Covid robbed them of the chance to lose virginity
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Frustrated students are seeking counselling claiming Covid has robbed them of the chance to lose their virginity.
Counsellors say university folks in their late teens and early 20s are suffering anxiety because coronavirus and the restrictions brought in to combat its spread has kept them celibate.
Those aged 18 to 24 reported the biggest decline in sex in the first year of the pandemic, according to the National Survey Of Sexual Attitudes.
Professor Kirstin Mitchell, a survey investigator from Glasgow University, said: "We found that after one year of the pandemic people reported fewer partners, fewer new partners and less frequent sex. This was especially the case for young people.
"In any given year there are a cohort of young people who would have started having sex in that year. When you're in midlife one year can look much like the next.
"But when you're a young person each year brings key developmental experiences. And so there is that cohort of young people for whom that period of sexual development and gaining new sexual experiences is a lost year.
"What effect that will have in the longer term we just don't know.’’
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Message boards on the Student Room online forum feature people despairing at the pandemic's role in ruining their sex life. One 22-year-old man wrote: "There is no hope for me.
"This pandemic destroyed my social life and college experience. Covid has destroyed in-person socialisation permanently.’’
Another said: "I am 24 and still a virgin and haven't started dating. I missed the opportunity whilst at university. Now I have graduated I am alone at home with not many connections to anyone and nobody wants to be social due to the pandemic.
"How do I meet women in this situation knowing I am already behind in life?’’
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Jo Coker, of the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists, said Covid had had a "devastating influence" on young people because they were "pretty much locked up" for so long.
"Some feel that they've lost out on social experiences that may have led them to the partner that they might have wanted to lose their virginity to. A lot of them feel robbed,’’ she said.
Sex therapist Cate Campbell said the stigma attached to delaying first encounters caused some to panic.
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"I've had men in particular saying, 'I've lost two years and by the time I'm on track, I'll be in my twenties and it's too late,' and they feel a lot of shame about that,’’ she said.
"Their social lives have been cut off at the knees. So there's not been much opportunity to develop and you do need to keep your confidence going. You do need to be interacting socially with other people to feel it's OK and to not feel like you're a weirdo.’’
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Prior to the pandemic people were leaving sex until later than their parents' generation.
One in eight millennials had not had sex until they were 26 compared with one in 20 in their parents' generation, according to official data.
The trend had been attributed to intimacy fears sparked by unrealistic body images in porn and social media.
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