Previous studies show that pandemics have an impact on individual’s health, social life, finances, livelihood, and overall well-being. But how do pandemics impact intimacy? Very little research has sought to examine the ways in which a pandemic impacts sexual and romantic intimacy, precisely the aim of this study. Through an online Qualtrics open-ended survey (n=229) and a convenience sample of three in-depth semi-structured interviews, this thesis seeks to answer, “How have people managed romantic and sexual intimacy during the COVID-19 pandemic?” The data collected shows that respondents reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened loneliness and difficulty to engage in both romantic and sexual intimacy, along with an increased craving for non-sexual physical touch. Overall, I found that among my sample, people in committed, cohabitating relationships self-reported being the most impacted by the pandemic. The most common sentiment was that their romantic and sexual satisfaction decreased due to the increased amount of time confined with their partner. People in non-cohabitating, committed relationships self-reported a bit less of an impact, but still experienced strain with not being able to as frequently or readily see their partner in-person. Single participants expressed feeling the least impact, largely because the pandemic did not hinder their romantic or sexual life being that they were single both before the pandemic and during.


Dennis Waskul

Committee Member

Aaron Hoy

Committee Member

Eric Sprankle

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)

Program of Study

Sociology: College Teaching Emphasis


Social and Behavioral Sciences



Rights Statement

In Copyright