Shutting down sex: COVID-19, sex, and the transformation of singledom

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This article examines the transformation of singledom during the COVID-19 pandemic, scrutinising the impact of rules and regulations governing proximity, touch and sex. I focus on government responses in Australia, situating the nation’s experience in a global context. National discussions were strangely sexless, presuming widespread coupledom and emphasising the lost, non-sexual intimacies of families and older people. I contrast this to broader theoretical claims of a ‘transformation of intimacy’ that posit a move to atomised relations across the Global North, including a growing tendency towards singledom. Yet assumptions of coupledom clearly persist in Australian policy and social life. I reflect on transformations of singledom and living alone during and prior to the pandemic, exposing tensions between theorisations, local realities, and the governance of sex and singledom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-13
JournalAnthropology in Action
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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