digital technologies, social isolation, sexual behavior, psychiatric symptoms, mental disorder


Digital technologies are popular means of exchanging, communicating, and accessing information, and their use has been increasing in recent years. Studies of changes in society's behavior are observed because of the new way of communicating and relating. To evaluate the sexual behavior of couples during the period of social isolation imposed by the pandemic and the frequent use of Digital Technologies (DTs), an online cross-sectional survey was carried out to obtain information on sexual behavior and the use of TDs. A total of 1,357 individuals were interviewed using the Google Forms tool, of which 616 were eligible to participate in the survey. According to the data obtained, DTs were used by 24.02% of the study participants, in which a change in sexual behavior was observed in this group that has the habit of using DTs. The logistic regression analysis verified an association between the variables that predicted significant and positive changes in the sexual behavior of individuals, which points to a tendency towards change in sexual behavior given the greater use of DTs.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Isabela Melca

Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro - UFRJ.

Rachel de Moraes Ferreira

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz - Fiocruz.

Antonio Egidio Nardi

Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro - UFRJ.

Anna Lucia Spear King

Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro - UFRJ.


ANAND, N.; THOMAS, C.; JAIN, P. A. et al. Internet use behaviors, internet addiction and psychological distress among medical college students: A multi centre study from South India. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, v. 37, p. 71–77, 2018. DOI:

ANSHARI, M.; ALAS, Y.; HARDAKER, G. et al. Smartphone habit and behavior in Brunei: Personalization, gender, and generation gap. Computers in Human Behavior, v. 64, p. 719–727, 2016. DOI:

BALHARA, Y. P. S.; SINGH, S.; SAINI, R. et al. Should Internet gaming disorder be considered a subtype of generalized problematic internet use? Findings from a study among medical college students. Perspect Psychiatr Care, v. 57, p. 272–278, 2021. DOI:

BAUMEISTER, R. F. Social psychology and human sexuality: essential readings. Psychology Press, 2001.

BAUMEISTER, R. F.; CATANESE, K. R.; VOHS, K. D. Is There a Gender Difference in Strength of Sex Drive? Theoretical Views, Conceptual Distinctions, and a Review of Relevant Evidence. Pers Soc Psychol Rev., v. 5, p. 242–273, 2001. DOI:

BE KNOWN THERAPY. The rise of virtual intimacy: pros and cons of digital connections. Be Known Therapy, 2023. Accessed 27 Dec 2023

BOONVISUDHI, T.; KULADEE, S. Association between Internet addiction and depression in Thai medical students at Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital. PLoS ONE, v. 12, p. e0174209, 2017. DOI:

BRANDT, L.; LIU, S.; HEIM, C.; HEINZ, A. The effects of social isolation stress and discrimination on mental health. Transl Psychiatry, v. 12, p. 398, 2022. DOI:

BZDOK, D.; DUNBAR, R. I. M. Social isolation and the brain in the pandemic era. Nat Hum Behav., v. 6, p. 1333–1343, 2022. DOI:

CABELLO, F.; SÁNCHEZ, F.; FARRÉ, J. M.; MONTEJO, A. L. Consensus on Recommendations for Safe Sexual Activity during the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic. JCM, v. 9, p. 2297, 2020. DOI:

CAI, H.; XI, H.; ZHU, Q. et al. Prevalence of problematic Internet use and its association with quality of life among undergraduate nursing students in the later stage of COVID‐19 pandemic era in China. Am J Addict., v. 30, p. 585–592, 2021. DOI:

CAPETILLO-VENTURA, N.; JUÁREZ-TREVIÑO, M. Internet addiction in university medical students. Medicina Universitaria, v. 17, p. 88–93, 2015. DOI:

CÁRDENAS GARZA, S. A.; JANSSEN AGUILAR, R.; RUÍZ CHOW, Á. A. Problematic Internet Use and Personality Traits: Results in Working Age Adults. Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría S0034745022000270, 2022. DOI:

CARLI, V.; DURKEE, T.; WASSERMAN, D. et al. The Association between Pathological Internet Use and Comorbid Psychopathology: A Systematic Review. Psychopathology, v. 46, p. 1–13, 2013. DOI:

CASTRO, Á.; BARRADA, J. R. Dating Apps and Their Sociodemographic and Psychosocial Correlates: A Systematic Review. IJERPH, v. 17, p. 6500, 2020. DOI:

CDC. WHO downgrades COVID pandemic, says it’s no longer a global emergency. [S. l.]: CDC, 2023. Accessed 21 May 2023

CHING, S. M.; HAMIDIN, A.; VASUDEVAN, R. et al. Prevalence and factors associated with internet addiction among medical students - A cross-sectional study in Malaysia. Med J Malaysia, v. 72, p. 7–11, 2017.

CIPRIANO, M.; GIACALONE, A.; RUBERTI, E. Sexual behaviors during COVID-19: the potential risk of transmission. Archives of Sexual Behavior, v. 49, p. 1431–1432, 2020. DOI:

CONRADIE, C. The impact of technology on modern marriage. [S. l.: s. n.], 2023. Accessed 27 Dec 2023

COURTICE, E. L.; SHAUGHNESSY, K. Technology-mediated sexual interaction and relationships: a systematic review of the literature. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, v. 32, p. 269–290, 2017. DOI:

DÖRING, N. How Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Affecting Our Sexualities? An Overview of the Current Media Narratives and Research Hypotheses. Arch Sex Behav., v. 49, p. 2765–2778, 2020. DOI:

FALEK, I.; ACRI, M.; DOMINGUEZ, J. et al. Management of depression during the perinatal period: state of the evidence. Int J Ment Health Syst., v. 16, n. 21, 2022. DOI:

GAVIN, B. The Beginner’s Guide to Google Forms. How-to Geek [Viitattu 2210 2019] Saatavissa [s. n.], 2019. https://www howtogeek com/434570/the-beginners-guide-to-google-forms

GEDAM, S.; GHOSH, S.; MODi, L. et al. Study of internet addiction: Prevalence, pattern, and psychopathology among health professional undergraduates. Indian J Soc Psychiatry, v. 33, p. 305, 2017. DOI:

GEDAM, S. R.; SHIVJI, I. A.; GOYAL, A. et al. Comparison of internet addiction, pattern and psychopathology between medical and dental students. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, v. 22, p. 105–110, 2016. DOI:

GONÇALVES, L. L.; NARDI, A. E.; KING, A. S. Home office in the COVID-19 pandemic: Impacts on human behavior. Computers in Human Behavior, v. 29, p. 140–144, 2020.

GUEDES, E.; NARDI, A. E.; GUIMARÃES, F. M. C. L. et al. Social networking, a new online addiction: a review of Facebook and other addiction disorders. Medical Express, v. 3, 2016. DOI:

HARRIS, K. M.; ABOUJAOUDE, E. Online Friendship, Romance, and Sex: Properties and Associations of the Online Relationship Initiation Scale. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, v. 19, p. 487–493, 2016. DOI:

IBARRA, F. P.; MEHRAD, M.; MAURO, M. D. et al. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sexual behavior of the population. The vision of the east and the west. International braz j urol., v. 46, p. 104–112, 2020. DOI:

LI, G.; TANG, D.; SONG, B. et al. Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Partner Relationships and Sexual and Reproductive Health: Cross-Sectional, Online Survey Study. J Med Internet Res, v. 22, p. e20961, 2020. DOI:

LOMANOWSKA, A. M.; GUITTON, M. J. Online intimacy and well-being in the digital age. Internet Interventions, v. 4, p. 138–144, 2016. DOI:

LOPES, G. P.; VALE, F. B. C.; VIEIRA, I. et al. COVID-19 and Sexuality: Reinventing Intimacy. Arch Sex Behav., v. 49, p. 2735–2738, 2020. DOI:

MBOYA, I. B.; LEYARO, B. J.; KONGO, A. et al. Internet addiction and associated factors among medical and allied health sciences students in northern Tanzania: a cross-sectional study. BMC Psychol, v. 8, p. 73, 2020. DOI:

MEIER, A.; TUNGER, D. Survey on opinions and usage patterns for the ResearchGate platform. PLoS ONE, v. 13, p. e0204945, 2018. DOI:

MELCA, I. A.; NARDI, A. E.; GONÇALVES, L. L. et al. Sex, digital devices, social media, and social isolation: A study on sexual behavioral during COVID-19 pandemic. Clinical practice and epidemiology in mental health. CP & EMH, v. 17, p. 235, 2021. DOI:

MORENO-GUERRERO, A-J.; GÓMEZ-GARCÍA, G.; LÓPEZ-BELMONTE, J.; RODRÍGUEZ-JIMÉNEZ, C. Internet addiction in the web of science database: a review of the literature with scientific mapping. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, v. 17, p. 2753, 2020. DOI:

NOGUERA NOVOA, C. N.; SARMIENTO-MELENDEZ, Y. T.; SIERRA-HINCAPIÉ, G. M.; GONZÁLEZ-DÍAZ, J. M. Síntomas depresivos en trabajadores de la salud dos años después del inicio de la pandemia COVID-19 en Bogotá, Colombia. Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría, S0034745023000392, 2023. DOI:

PAESTRY, R. I. Navigating digital intimacy: building meaningful connections in the digital age. [S. l.: s. n.], 2023. Accessed 27 Dec 2023

PAUL, G. M.; NASCIMENTO, B. C.; AFIF-ABDO, J. et al. The psychiatric impact of COVID-19 pandemic on sexual health. Braz J Psychiatry, v. 43, p. 109–109, 2021. DOI:

RAMO, D. E.; RODRIGUEZ, T. M. S.; CHAVEZ, K. et al. Facebook recruitment of young adult smokers for a cessation trial: Methods, metrics, and lessons learned. Internet Interventions, v. 1, p. 58–64, 2014. DOI:

RAZAVI, T. Self-report measures: An overview of concerns and limitations of questionnaire use in occupational stress research. [S. l.: s. n.], 2001.

SFOGGIA, A.; KOWACS, C. Sexualidade e novas tecnologias. Revista brasileira de Psicoterapia, v. 16, p. 4–17, 2014.

SHI, M.; DU, T. J. Associations of personality traits with internet addiction in Chinese medical students: the mediating role of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms. BMC Psychiatry, v. 19, p. 183, 2019. DOI:

SJETNE, I. S.; IVERSEN, H. H.; HOLMBOE, O.; HELGELAND, J. Response probabilities and response-mode preferences in a self-administered survey. BMC Res Notes, v. 12, p. 289, 2019. DOI:

VASANTHA RAJU, N.; HARINARAYANA, N. Online survey tools: A case study of Google Forms. [S. l.: s. n.], 2016.

WHITAKER, C.; STEVELINK, S.; FEAR, N. The Use of Facebook in Recruiting Participants for Health Research Purposes: A Systematic Review. J Med Internet Res., v. 19, p. e290, 2017. DOI:

WHITE, G. Technology Use and Mental Health Disorders: Dueling Aspects of Technology as a Problem and a Solution for Mental Health. [S. l.: s. n.], 2023. DOI:

WIJAYA, R. P. C.; BUNGA, B. N.; KILING, I. Y. Socio-emotional struggles of young children during COVID-19 pandemic: Social isolation and increased use of technologies. Journal of Early Childhood Research, v. 20, p. 113–127, 2022. DOI:

ZATTONI, F.; GÜL, M.; SOLIGO, M. et al. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on pornography habits: a global analysis of Google Trends. Int J Impot Res., v. 33, p. 824–831, 2021. DOI:

ZUBAIR, U.; KHAN, M. K.; ALBASHARI, M. Link between excessive social media use and psychiatric disorders. Annals of Medicine & Surgery, v. 85, p. 875–878, 2023. DOI:




How to Cite

Melca, I., de Moraes Ferreira, R., Nardi, A. E., & King, A. L. S. (2024). STUDY OF CHANGES IN SEXUAL BEHAVIOR IN COUPLES FACING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES. Journal Health and Technology - JHT, 3(1), e3146.