Could COVID-19 and a lack of sex be the reason why young people are protesting?

Over the weekend, the New York Post published a piece titled, "College students aren't having enough sex — so they're turning to anti-Israel protests." The article focused on recent comments made by NYU professor Scott Galloway — first on Real Time with Bill Maher, and later reiterated to Don Lemon — that actually, the kids are all just way too horny right now, which is why they're not content to sit back while tens of thousands of people are being killed in the Gaza Strip.

"We need to enjoy sex," Galloway offered to some initial confusion during an appearance on "Real Time" with Bill Maher Friday.

"I think part of the problem is young people aren't having enough sex so they go on the hunt for fake threats and the most popular threat through history is [antisemitism]."

The next day, the Post published a similar piece — this one titled, "'Long-withheld rage' from COVID shutdowns to blame for pro-Palestine protests." As the headline suggests, this article also posits the theory that the recent experience of watching hordes of people die unnecessarily while those in power profit may have somehow radicalized young people into thinking that watching hordes of people die unnecessarily while those in power profit is bad, or undesirable.

The pro-Palestinian cause allows discontented youth to express "long-withheld rage," said forensic psychiatrist Carole Lieberman. It gives them an "opportunity to identify with the 'oppressed' against 'oppressors.'"


The communal aspect of the demonstrations may also give demonstrators — denied socialization at a key point in their lives — comfort, said psychologist Jennifer Gittleman.

"The protesters may feel angry for the pandemic taking away pivotal, highly anticipated experiences for them — for example socialization in college and missing graduations — and, thus, they are using protesting as a way to release their anger," she said.

Hamilton Nolan, author of The Hammer: Power, Inequality, and the Struggle for the Soul of Labor, made a much more astute observation in his How Things Work newsletter, in which he wrote:

College campuses are little bubbles that exist outside of "the real world." That is, of course, how they are designed. Getting mad at college kids for this fact, in the form of criticizing them for being sheltered, is sort of an upscale version of getting mad at prison inmates for being in prison. We put them there! That's where they they are! What else are they supposed to do? Political protests on college campuses are set pieces, yes, but that is a very deliberate result that was engineered not by college students but by their institutions.

Previously: Toronto incel who murdered woman is jailed for life