‘Every man I’ve spoken to on Hinge has invited me round to his during lockdown, literally every single one,’ says Kate*, 25 from Cheshire. ‘Their go-to pick-up line is always “I’d risk corona for you” as if I’m meant to be swept off my feet that they’d potentially kill another human being just for a shag.’
Kate had been off dating apps altogether for months when lockdown started. But, like many of us, was pulled back in to endless mindless swiping to combat the boredom and stress of a global pandemic. Quickly though, she realised the error of her ways when none of the men she spoke to seemed to be taking the whole life-or-death situation we have going on right now seriously, at all.
She’s not the only one. Countless people on social media have shared their instances of men asking them to come over during lockdown.
According to new research from sex and intimacy brand LELO, 23% of people have admitted to breaking lockdown rules to see a partner with under-35s more likely than any other group. When it comes to men specifically, 26% said they had broken lockdown for this reason compared to 20% of women.
It was brought to the public attention just this week when Professor Neil Ferguson, the scientist formerly advising the government on Covid-19, admitted he broke lockdown rules twice to see his partner – a married women living in another home with her husband and two children. It seems then that it’s not just the ignorant breaking the rules.
‘I’ve been talking to a guy who is quite well-known in the entertainment industry,’ says Emma*, 24 from Birmingham. ‘I hear him tell his followers every week “make sure you’re staying home and staying safe” and by the nighttime he’s messaging me asking me to come over. I told him it makes me uncomfortable as we both live with other people – his being his young son – and he still tries to convince me. He’s offered to pay for my Uber, come to me, you name it.’
‘One [man] was really pushy about me coming over, accusing me of being a “goodie goodie” and said “everyone was doing it”’ says Sarah*, 32 from Essex. ‘It made me then feel like I had to be the boring one constantly saying no but I didn’t want to do it.’
He tried to imply I wasn’t serious about dating him because I’d refused to meet.
‘The boy I’m talking to stopped speaking to me because I wouldn’t meet up with him,’ says Lily*, 28 from London. ‘He’d asked me a few times and tried to imply I wasn’t serious about dating him or didn’t like him because I’d refused. Our last conversation I had sent him a sexy picture and all he replied was “I don’t want nudes, I want actual sex” and when I reminded him “we are in lockdown” he never responded. The same day he unfollowed me on all social media and blocked me on WhatsApp.’
So, why are men seemingly ready to risk it all for a casual sex session? According to sexual and relationship psychotherapist Kate Moyle, it’s all to do with the way different people – men or women – respond to stress.
‘The difference with how people are coping with this stressful situation depends on who they are as an individual,’ she says. ‘Some people when they are stressed might reach out for more contact with others or might be more willing to take risks. Whereas others might respond by shutting down, locking themselves away and being in protection mode.
'Also, when there's a threat to our health, like in the situation at the moment, what people seek quite a lot of them time are things that make them feel alive,' Moyle continues. 'Even though it goes against government advice, some people may get a kick out of it, it's a bit like when you're a child and told not put your hand in the cookie jar, it's more exciting to do something you're told not to.'
It’s not necessarily then that men are hardwired to put horniness above the health of themselves and everyone around them, but they do tend to indulge in more health-damaging habits overall. Men are more likely to smoke or drink to excess, for example, and are considerably less likely than women to seek healthcare advice. Statistics also show that young white men are the most likely to break lockdown rules in general, based on data gathered by police forces across England and Wales.
Ultimately, it seems that when you add a desire for sex to a cavalier attitude towards rule breaking and times it by a lack of health-consciousness, the sum of the equation is f*ckboys on dating apps.
Read more stories about life in lockdown...