Couples living in Nairobi were most unhappy with sex.
“These factors could have been enhanced in Nairobi by having children at home because schools were closed, working from home, restrictions in public transportation and stringent enforcement of all other Covid-19 control restrictions in Nairobi compared to other parts of Kenya.”
The findings are not unique to Kenya and align with other studies conducted in the United States, Italy, Turkey and China during the pandemic.
“I think a big part of the reason for that is because so many people were just too stressed out,” Justin Lehmiller, social psychologist and research fellow at The Kinsey Institute, which conducted the US-based study told the BBC in April this year.
He noted that initially, the lockdown gave people the opportunity to reconnect better. But as the pandemic wore on, it began to take its toll on intimate relationships, and sexual desire took a nosedive.
“A similar study done in China among men found increased rates of erectile dysfunction and quick ejaculation. Authors related the findings to increased anxiety and depression,” Prof Osur says in the Kenyan study.
Many Kenyans also lost their jobs, or lived on reduced salaries last year, leading to a lower quality of life.
Previous studies have also found that sexual satisfaction correlates with satisfaction with life generally so that if circumstances of life change, it also changes.
The authors say the findings cannot be generalised because of various limitations. The study is limited by recall bias as people had to fill in their historical data on sexual satisfaction prior to Covid-19.
Although the study had an anticipated sample size of 300, it ended up with 197, probably because it can be difficult for people to give information on their sexual habits.
“The study only carries benefits since the information obtained can be used to improve sexual health and psychological services in the current and any future lockdowns,” the authors say.
In a separate analysis, the Ministry of Health reported that as a result of people forced into their homes last year, cases of domestic violence also increased.
In July 2020, at least 16,000 cases of domestic violence were reported in Kenya, compared to 11,000 in July 2019.
“Women and girls were disproportionally affected as communities were forced to stay home,” says the report from the District Health Information System.
(edited by o. owino)