The recent escalation of racism in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic points to the importance of examining the association between experienced racism and sexual health. Based on data from a nationally representative survey conducted in the U.S. in October 2020 (n = 1,915), Chi-square tests and multivariable logistic regressions were estimated to examine the association between experience of racism and changes in sex life during the pandemic. We further performed a causal mediation analysis using the bootstrap technique to assess the mediating role of psychological distress in the observed association between the experience of racism and changes in sex life. Among the respondents, the proportions reporting better, worse, or no change in sex life were, respectively, 15%, 21%, and 64%. Experiencing racial discrimination during COVID-19 was significantly associated with worsening sex life (adjusted odd ratio [AOR] = 1.53; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.04, 2.25). Respondents with experienced racism were also more likely to report psychological distress (AOR = 1.68; 95% CI = 1.09, 2.59). About one-third (32.66%) of the observed association between experienced racism and worsening sex life was mediated through psychological distress. Addressing racism and its association with psychological distress has the potential to improve sexual health and reduce related racial and ethnic disparities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Sociology and Political Science
- Psychology (all)
- History and Philosophy of Science