Sex, intimacy, etiquette during the coronavirus pandemic

Sex, intimacy, etiquette during the coronavirus pandemic, IU experts available to comment

 During the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends putting distance between yourself and others, which complicates sex, intimacy, dating and social etiquette. How can technology be used to create connection when physical closeness is compromised? How should dating be navigated in a time of social distancing? How can social interactions be handled when you feel pressure to shake hands or hug? Experts from Indiana University are available to comment on these topics.

Navigating intimacy in a time of social distancing

Justin R. Garcia is the Ruth Halls Associate Professor of Gender Studies and associate director for research and education at The Kinsey Institute at IU Bloomington. Garcia holds an M.S. in biomedical anthropology and Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from Binghamton University. His research interests focus on the evolutionary and biocultural foundations of romantic and sexual relationships across the life course. Garcia and colleagues have conducted research on a variety of topics related to love and sex, including sexual behaviors, monogamy, intimacy, courtship, dating, desire, satisfaction and reproductive strategies. Since 2010 he has been scientific advisor to the online dating company Match.com. 

Using technology to create a physical connection

Amanda Gesselman is a social psychologist. She is head of research analytics and methodology core at the Kinsey Institute and is the inaugural Anita Aldrich Endowed Research Scientist at IU Bloomington. Her research examines dating and sexuality of single adults, with an emphasis on technology and health behaviors; the psychology, sexuality and health of romantic couples; and the intersection of human development, stigma and sexuality. She was the principal investigator on the Kinsey Institute/Clue SexTech survey — the largest survey to date of sexuality and the use of technology.

Maintaining social etiquette while keeping your distance

Zoe Peterson is a clinical psychologist and maintains a dual appointment with the Kinsey Institute and the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology at IU Bloomington. She also is director of the Kinsey Institute’s Sexual Assault Research Initiative. She is a licensed psychologist with an emphasis in sex therapy. She researches sexual consent, sexual assault, sexual coercion and unwanted sex.

Peterson has studied men’s and women’s experiences as both victims and perpetrators of sexual aggression. Her most recent research has focused on sexual assault victims’ cognitive appraisals of their nonconsensual sexual experiences, on improving self-reporting measurement of sexual aggression, and on developing and evaluating a sex-positive sexual assault prevention intervention. She is the president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (2019-21).

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