Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-3-2023

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Amy Moors


The first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic limited people’s interactions as a result of social distancing and stay-at-home orders across the U.S., and research documented declines in partnered sex during this time (Hensel et al., 2020). It is unclear if people who were single during the first few months of the pandemic found sexual connections with ex-partners or roommates. In the present study, we examined the prevalence of people contacting ex-partners and non-romantic roommates to engage in sex.

We analyzed data from a national sample of people who were currently single in the U.S. as part of The Kinsey Institute’s annual Singles in America study (N = 4,264; 57.3% women; 42.5% men). Data was collected in June-August of 2020 when most states issued social distancing guidelines. Results show that 15% of people initiated re-engagement with an ex during these months. Of 736 people (out of 4264) who reached out to their ex, 55% texted or direct messaged, 26.5% phone/video chatted, 8.2% met in person, 5.8% sexted/had phone sex, and 2 people had sex in-person with their ex. Eleven percent of single people had sex with their platonic roommate for the first time, 13% said that they had sex with their roommate prior to lockdown, and 76% said that they did not have sex with their roommate.

In the future, we plan to examine potential gender and orientation differences in engaging in sexual activity with ex-partners and roommates. We hypothesize that LGBTQ individuals will show a higher frequency of initiating sexual contact with ex-partners or roommates because gay individuals have reported higher levels of post-breakup connectedness than heterosexuals (Harkless & Fowers, 2005).


Presented at the Spring 2023 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.

This scholarship is part of the Chapman University COVID-19 Archives.

Included in

Psychology Commons