British women most likely in Europe to turn down sex if their partner has a cold

A woman crosses her arms in front of her, indicating she is saying no
British women are most likely to say no to sex if their partners have cold or flu-like symptoms. (Getty Images)

Got the sniffles or a cough? Stay far away, British women say, as a new study finds that the majority (82%) would say no to sex if their partner has cold or flu symptoms.

The survey also revealed that it’s not just sex that’s off the cards if you’ve got a runny nose. 78% of female respondents also said kissing is a no-no if they think they might catch a cold off their poorly partner.

Among the 32,000 respondents across 16 countries who participated in the survey, which was carried out by Thornton & Ross, a member of pharmaceutical company STADA, British women were the most likely to be put off having sex if it meant potentially catching a cold.

Meanwhile, British men were less averse to having sex with someone with a cold or flu-like symptoms. But even so, 71% of men said they would say no, while 74% said they would turn down a kiss on the cheek with an ill partner.

Women in the Czech Republic were the second most likely (81%) to say no to sex with a romantic partner with a cold, followed by Poland and Serbia (both 80%) and Romania (78%). Amongst men, those in Poland were the most likely to turn down sex if someone has a cold (74%), followed by the Czech Republic (73%) and then the UK.

A young man squeezes his eyes shut as he blows his nose into a tissue
As the festive season approaches, many people may be reluctant to date others who are feeling under the weather. (Getty Images)

The study comes as many Britons report experiencing a “brutal” cold that has left people house- and bed-bound for days or even weeks. On social media, those who fell sick said they had symptoms including headaches, blocked sinuses and fatigue.

As we move into the colder months, Britons are more wary of falling ill, particularly if it means catching the flu or Covid and potentially missing out on the upcoming festive season.

Kayleigh Castle, a TikTok life coach and dating strategist, said the findings “highlight the growing emphasis individuals place on health and wellbeing in the context of relationships, especially during the bustling Christmas season”.

“The dating dilemma highlighted in the statistics prompts a crucial question about balancing the desire for connection with health concerns,” Castle continued.

“In my approach and advice to women, honesty is key. Communicate if you have the sniffles, allowing the other person to decide. I’ve had dates decline, while others weren’t bothered. Understanding and respecting each other’s health boundaries contribute to a more respectful dating experience.”

Boyfriend talking with girlfriend discussing plans on weekend resting on comfortable sofa in own apartment, serious couple in love spending leisure time together talking on couch in stylish room
Being honest with one another while dating can help both parties manage their expectations. (Getty Images)

She added: “Global studies since 2017 indicate a moderate decline in sexual activity, a trend that began pre-pandemic, suggesting a broader shift in intimacy patterns, not just health worry-related. While caution is understandable, in my own dating experience and working with clients, I’ve noticed that the fear of illness often revolves around disrupting precious time off work rather than the ailment itself. With the current cost of living crisis, the prospect of spending sick days in bed adds an extra layer of reluctance.”

Nigel Stephenson, general manager of STADA UK, makers of Knect personal lubricant, said: “In a post-pandemic society, recent events have reminded us of the paramount importance of good health, whether that’s physical or mental.

“Delivering this and improving healthcare contributing to everyone’s wellbeing requires a broad range of people and organisations acting together based on reliable and verifiable information and data. This light-hearted snapshot of self-preservation is a small part of the much more serious research we undertake caring for people’s health as a trusted partner.

“British men and women ranking in the top two positions in Europe, according to our research, for taking precautions to avoid cold, flu and Covid this year, even at the cost of ruining a romantic rendezvous, surely indicates a social distancing message remains at the back of many minds.”

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