As the UK steps into Christmas, the post pandemic path to a tinselled-up tinder date or office party opportunity this festive season looks beset with even more moral issues in 2023, with new research revealing British women top the European table as most likely to turn down sex or intimacy of any kind if their partner admits to having a cold. And British men aren’t far behind.  

So, the dating dilemma this December is – if we’ve met the man or woman of our dreams, yet we’re full of cold, should we hold our hands up to needing a hanky, more than hanky-panky, and risk our love life? 

Certainly, practising safe sex when it comes to coughs and sneezes, more than 8 out of 10 British women (82%) say it would be “No way, Jose!” to getting jiggy with it if their would-be bedfellow had cold or flu symptoms. Even just a quick kiss under the mistletoe is off the cards for 78% of women if they detected the seasonal smacker would come with a case of the sniffles.  

British men are less put off by the likelihood of encountering a runny nose when faced with the prospect of intimate relations. But still 71% of men would say “no sex please, we’re British” and 74% would turn down even a peck on the cheek with a partner who had cold or flu like symptoms. This is according to independent research carried out with 32,000 respondents across 16 countries, including 2,000 Brits, on behalf of STADA, Thornton & Ross, makers of Knect personal lubricant

When isolation and free Covid testing kits are a thing of the past, making it difficult to tell if it’s just a cold, or flu, or worse still a dose of Coronavirus you could be tangling tonsils with, who can blame them? It’s a sign of these post pandemic times that people aren’t prepared to take the risk this Christmas of seeing in the New Year popping pills and downing cough medicine instead of corks and cocktails.  

Where does this leave dating etiquette in 2023, then?  

According to leading TikTok life coach and dating strategist, Kayleigh Castle, author of ‘The 1st Dates Formula’ (@queenkayleighcastle) “The findings highlight the growing emphasis individuals place on health and well-being in the context of relationships, especially during the bustling Christmas period—a time often dubbed as the ‘cuffing season’ in the dating world. 

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

“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. 

“In my eBook, “The 1st Dates Formula,” I advocate for a proactive dating approach—dating multiple men simultaneously without physical contact. While it may sound unconventional, it allows women to make logical choices for a lasting connection, steering clear of hormonal influences that often accompany physical touch. It’s an alternative approach for those seeking improvements in their dating experiences as when women come to me, what they are doing isn’t working and they are frustrated! So, with my advice, there is no issue, unless he sneezes all over you!” 

Nigel Stephenson, general manager of STADA UK, makers of Knect, commenting on the findings, 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.” 

European Top 5 countries least likely for love if you’ve got the lurgy 

Top 5 European countries where women wouldn’t have sex with a romantic partner with a cold 

            RANKING           COUNTRY           % 
          1         UK         82% 
          2         Czech Republic         81% 
          3         Poland         80% 
          3         Serbia         80% 
          5         Romania         78% 

Top 5 European countries where men wouldn’t have sex with a romantic partner with a cold 

            RANKING           COUNTRY           % 
          1         Poland         74% 
          2         Czech Republic         73% 
          2         UK         71% 
          4         Serbia         70% 
          5         Belgium         69% 

Top 5 European countries where women wouldn’t kiss a romantic partner with a cold 

            RANKING           COUNTRY           % 
          1         UK         77% 
          2         Germany         72% 
          2         Italy         72% 
          4         Poland         71% 
          5         Portugal         69% 
          5         Romania         69% 
          5         Spain         69% 
          5         France         69% 

Top 5 European countries where men wouldn’t kiss a romantic partner with a cold 

            RANKING           COUNTRY           % 
          1         Germany         75% 
          2         UK         74% 
          2         France         74% 
          4         Poland         73% 
          5         Romania         72% 

Knect: Knect is a water-based lubricant which perfectly complements your natural moisture. Knect is suitable for recently after childbirth, when experiencing dryness as a symptom of the menopause or to enhance intimate moments. Water-based lubrications are the most similar to the body’s natural wetness, providing hydration and helping to ensure lubrication and comfort during sex. And because Knect contains no perfumes, parabens or flavourings, it’s gentle enough for daily use.