“In a ‘pre-lockdown’ world, this patient likely (and hopefully) would have come to seek treatment much earlier, potentially improving outcomes,” the doctors wrote.
The remaining two cases appeared to be unfortunate accidents. A 45-year-old man suffered a testicular rupture while riding an ATV with a friend after the lockdown restrictions had eased. And a 26-year-old man suffered a dog bite from a German shepherd to the scrotum and penis while visiting a friend.
The Star contacted two urologists — one in Calgary and one in Toronto — to see if any of them had observed similar trends in urologic injuries during the pandemic. Neither had.
However, Dr. John Aquino, medical director at the Ontario Men’s Health clinic, said he had noticed an increase in requests to refill prescriptions for Viagra and Cialis, causing him to wonder at one point: “Did your dog eat your prescription?”
Aquino said patients have typically fallen into one of two categories during this pandemic: men who were experiencing dysfunction in their relationships and whose sexual activity had declined due to physical distancing measures and men who were experiencing greater intimacy with their partners.
Research from around the world appears inconclusive as to whether the pandemic has altered people’s sex lives.
An online survey by Indiana University researchers in April found that nearly half of all adults reported some kind of change, most commonly a decrease, in their sexual behaviour in the past month.
A survey of married individuals in Bangladesh, India and Nepal found that respondents had sex one to five times a week before the lockdown. This remained mostly unchanged after the lockdown. Three per cent of respondents, however, reported that sex had increased from one to five times a week to more than five times, perhaps “due to seeking intimacy and reassurance, or simply having more time to spend with their partner.”
Meanwhile, an online survey in China found that 25 per cent of respondents experienced a reduction in sexual desire and 37 per cent reported having less sex. While there was a “rapid reduction” in risky sexual behaviour, researchers noted that 32 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women indicated they were likely to increase the number of sexual partners or risky sexual behaviours once the epidemic ended.
In their article, Spooner and his colleagues noted that guidance from public health officials on interpersonal relationships has varied during the pandemic.
“The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment has proposed finding a ‘sex buddy’ during the pandemic. In British Columbia, Dr. Bonnie Henry (Provincial Health Officer) has made more subdued recommendations, including a focus on online dating, and stated that ‘now is not the time for rapid serial dating.’ There remains a lack of consensus.”
Douglas Quan is a Vancouver-based reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @dougquan