SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Well, if you didn’t think the COVID-19 pandemic was bad enough, you can add this to the list of misfortunes. A new study from an international research team — led by a Texas State University researcher, Rhonda Balzarini — found that stressors from the pandemic adversely affected people’s sex lives.

The researchers found a link between specific stressors brought out by the pandemic, such as financial concerns, loneliness and worry, and lower levels of sexual desire. Nearly 5,000 people participated in the research.

“It seems that one of the reasons that COVID-related stressors like financial strain, loneliness and worry can influence desire is because COVID-related stressors might trigger depressive symptoms and this might be particularly true as time goes on,” Balzarini explained in a press release.

This research could partially explain why the predicted pandemic baby boom never came to be. According to census data, the birth rate declined from 2020 to 2021. This trend is not necessarily unique to the pandemic, as the birth rate has been declining in the United States since 2008.

“When the pandemic first began, and much of the world went into lockdown, some speculated that couples isolated together might experience higher sexual desire and engage in more frequent sex given their increased time together, producing a year-end baby boom,” the researchers wrote in their article.  

“When we followed people over time, in most cases when people experienced more negative emotional reactions to COVID-related stressors than they typically did during the pandemic, they reported lower sexual desire for their partner,” they wrote.