Sex dating in Severy

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Knowledge of sexual and contraceptive behaviors as risk factors for STDs is largely based on women's or men's separate reports of their attitudes and behaviors. Little research has been based on couples. Data from the — National Couples Survey were used to examine the sexual risk-taking behavior of dating couples.

Associations between each partner's characteristics and the couple's probability of recently having had anal sex and of having done something to protect themselves from STDs were assessed using logistic regression analyses. Models included measures of power dynamics and partners' perceptions of who controls sexual and contraceptive decisions. Couples in which the female partner reported that her male partner made the decisions about sex and contraception had increased probability of having had anal sex during the four weeks prior to the interview.

In addition, partners' relationship power and their perception of control over sex and contraception moderated associations between couples' behavior and partners' characteristics, experiences and beliefs. For example, although couples in which the male partners had known someone with AIDS were less likely than others to engage in anal sex, that association was much greater for males with high income—and thus greater power—than for those with low income. Sexual behaviors are not controlled by any one individual in a relationship; characteristics of each partner are important.

Couples-based interventions that take into consideration relationship—especially power—dynamics may enable individuals to initiate and sustain safer-sex practices. Despite the many emotional and social benefits of sexual behavior in relationships, there is also the threat of contracting STDs, including HIV.

Rates of heterosexual transmission of these diseases remain unacceptably high. The need for STD prevention is especially great for nonresidential partners unmarried and noncohabiting dating coupleswho are less likely than married or cohabiting couples to be monogamous and who may Sex dating in Severy in riskier sexual behaviors.

Much of what we know about sexual and contraceptive behaviors as risk factors for STDs, as well as pregnancy, is based on women's or men's separate reports of their attitudes and behaviors. Relatively little research has been based on reports obtained from both partners in a couple, even though sexual behavior is inherently dyadic.

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At most, studies obtain proxy reports from one partner about the other partner's characteristics, behavior and attitudes. Here, we address this limitation by using data from the National Couples Survey to examine how the self-reported characteristics, attitudes and behaviors of each partner are related to dating couples' sexual risk-taking. Specifically, we examine whether the couple had anal sex during the four weeks prior to the interview and whether they did anything during that time to protect themselves from STDs. Our analyses advance prior research in two other important ways.

First, we include measures of the respondent's and partner's prior sexual risk-taking behaviors and perceptions of AIDS risk and severity, to examine the extent to which these framing events and perceptions are associated with recent sexual risk-taking. Second, we examine how relationship power, defined along several dimensions, and perceived level of control over sex and contraception moderate, or condition, the associations between respondent and partner characteristics and sexual and contraceptive behaviors.

One reason for the prior research focus on individuals' sexual and contraceptive behavior is the lack of couples data. The few studies that have had couples data have tended to be based on small, purposive samples of mainly white, middle-class, married, college-age or young at-risk minority couples. There are good reasons to adopt a couples perspective to gain a better understanding of sexual behavior in general, and of sexual risk-taking in particular.

First, most sexual behavior occurs Sex dating in Severy a close relationship and cannot be separated from that relationship. Third, adopting a couples perspective allows examination of the effects on sexual risk-taking of a range of potentially important factors, including power within the relationship. In general terms, power refers to the relative ability of one partner to act independently, to dominate decision making, to engage in behavior against the other partner's wishes or to control a partner's actions.

Individuals who have an egalitarian gender role orientation Sex dating in Severy more likely than others to adopt traits and behaviors that are nontraditional for their gender. In contrast, in a traditional gender role orientation, the man's power may be greater and decisions about sex may therefore be more strongly influenced by his preferences. Nor has gender role ideology been considered tly with other dimensions of power within the relationship. Structural power may arise from individual characteristics that are linked to inequality in the larger social structure, such as education or income.

The more highly committed a partner is, the more dependent, and thus less powerful in sexual decision making, he or she will be. In this article, we examine how power weights the decision-making process toward one partner or the other, by elevating or reducing the importance of a person's beliefs or characteristics. Power differences between partners in gender role ideology and other dimensions of power can also lead to differences in beliefs about level of control over sex and contraception. Hence, we also examine how these beliefs moderate the impact of each partner's characteristics on the couple's sexual risk-taking behaviors.

Our data are from the dating couples sample of the National Couples Survey, conducted in — Both partners of dating heterosexual couples completed interviews; dating was defined as currently being in an unmarried, noncohabiting sexual relationship of at least one month's duration. Because the primary purpose of the survey was to provide information on couples' decisions about contraception, females were eligible if aged 20—35 the ages during which most childbearing occursnot sterile and not pregnant or trying to get pregnant; male partners had to be not sterile and 18 or older, so that both partners were adults and parental informed consent was not necessary.

Computer-assisted self-interviewing was used to collect data from an area probability sample of household residents in four cities Baltimore; Durham, NC; St. Louis; and Seattle and the U. These sites provide diverse populations with respect to race, ethnicity, economic status and other factors associated with sexual and contraceptive decision making.

Within the four study sites, we stratified segments by the percentage of population who were black and oversampled segments with high minority concentrations. This procedure yielded a large enough sample of couples in which one or both partners were black to provide stable estimates of both their behaviors and the antecedents of those behaviors. Participants were recruited through door-to-door visits from female interviewers; where possible, the race of the interviewer was matched with that of the respondent. Partners were scheduled to take the survey contemporaneously and were restricted from communicating about their answers.

The questionnaires for males and females were nearly identical. Analysis weights were constructed for each study site; the sampling weights reflected the probability of selection of each sampled address and of the couple sampled from that address, and were adjusted to for nonresponse.

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The weights were then readjusted such that each site impacted the analysis equally. We examined two couple behaviors that increase a person's risk of STD infection. The first was whether the couple had had anal intercourse during the four weeks prior to the interview. Even though anal intercourse is generally recognized as being riskier than vaginal sex in terms of HIV transmission, 38, 39 it has received little research attention in heterosexual populations.

The second outcome concerned whether a respondent and his or her partner had decided to do anything in the last four weeks to protect themselves against STDs. We considered the following socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of both partners: age in Sex dating in Severyrace and ethnicity -Hispanic, non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic othercompleted education in yearspersonal income logged during the last calendar year and religiosity a dichotomy defined as not religious at all versus somewhat or very religious.

Measures for three personal framing events—behaviors or experiences that may affect an individual's subsequent STD risk-taking behavior—were examined. Lifetime of sex partners was a continuous measure, truncated at the point where the distribution became highly skewed. STD infection prior to first sex with the current partner and ever having known someone with AIDS were dichotomous measures.

The higher the score, the greater the perceived severity. We included several measures of the underlying sources of relationship power. First were measures of structural power based on personal education and income defined above. Traditional gender role ideology was measured using items from the Sex Role Egalitarianism Scale.

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The higher the score, the greater the traditionalism. Finally, two variables captured the strategies the respondent and his or her partner used to gain compliance from each other. They were then asked about the tactics they used with their partner, using parallel questions and the same response set.

Responses were factor-analyzed, and we formed two scales, one reflecting the respondent's strategy and one reflecting the partner's strategy.

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The higher the value, the more often coercive tactics are used. The higher the score, the greater the control over sex. The higher the value, the greater the likelihood that the respondent's partner makes the decisions. To maintain the couple as the unit of analysis and to be able to assess the impact of each partner's characteristics on the couple's sexual risk-taking behavior, we selected the female partner as the index respondent. We then examined how her characteristics and reports and those of her male partner were related to her report of each outcome.

Multivariate models of the dichotomous measure of anal sex were estimated using the logit procedure in STATA. Models of the trichotomous STD protective behaviors outcome were estimated using the multinomial logit procedure. To deal with this issue, we employed multiple imputation procedures 44, 45 to estimate our models over the full Sex dating in Severy of dating couples.

For each outcome, we first estimated a main effects model that included relationship duration as reported by the female, both partners' social and demographic characteristics, their reports of framing events, and their perceived risk and severity of AIDS. Next, we interacted each variable in the main effects models with each power measure, to determine how relationship power conditioned associations between the independent variables and outcomes.

We then derived a final model that included the ificant power interaction terms, which most succinctly describe how the multiple dimensions of power condition the associations of the other variables with the outcome, as well as all the ificant main effect terms. To maintain a minimum level of social and demographic background control, relationship duration and the female respondent's age and race and ethnicity were retained regardless of ificance level.

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In additional analyses, we repeated the same procedures, except testing for interactions between each partner's characteristics and his or her beliefs about his or her control over sex and contraception. Doing so allowed a comparison with the model containing power interactions, to see how similarly measures of relationship power and beliefs about controlling sex and contraception are associated with each risk-taking behavior.

Although the coefficients in these models adequately convey the direction of the effects and whether they are statistically ificant, they are difficult to interpret substantively. Thus, we calculated predicted probabilities of the extent to which a couple with a certain characteristic engaged in each risk-taking behavior.

As noted above, the outcome measures in the multivariate analyses reported here are based on the female partner's reports. The average relationship duration was 34 months as reported by the female partner and 35 months as reported by the male partner. Nearly half of the couples were black, as defined by either partner; the rest were mostly nonblack and non-Hispanic. On average, both women and men had had 13 years of schooling; distributions with respect to parental education were similar.

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The mean lifetime of sexual partners was 14 for women and 22 for men. Females' perception of AIDS severity was only slightly higher than males'. Females and males had similar average commitment to making their relationship last and perception of relationship alternatives.

Sex dating in Severy tended to report having a more traditional gender role ideology than females. On average, females were less likely than males to report that their partner uses more coercive tactics to get what he wants; they were also less likely than males to report that they use those tactics themselves.

On average, females reported having more control over sex and less control over contraception than males; females were less likely than males to say that their partner makes the decisions about sex and contraception. The probability that a couple had had anal sex in the prior four weeks was not associated with relationship duration, the female partner's age or her race and ethnicity Table 2. In addition, a couple's probability of anal sex decreased with increased education of the male partner's father from 0. Furthermore, the probability of anal sex was higher if the male partner held a more traditional Sex dating in Severy than less traditional gender role ideology 0.

The associations between two other characteristics and anal sex were conditioned by the male's power in the relationship. Furthermore, although male partners who had known someone with AIDS were less likely than those who had not to report anal sex, the difference in probabilities was much larger among males with high income 0.

In analyses including partners' beliefs about level of control over sex and contraception, the probability that a couple had had anal sex in the prior four weeks was again not associated with relationship duration, female partner's age or her race and ethnicity Table 3. It remained associated with the education level of the male's father and was marginally associated with the female's perceived risk of AIDS. In addition, male's education was inversely related to the probability of reporting anal sex 0. Furthermore, a couple's probability of having had anal sex was higher with the female's increased lifetime of sex partners 0.

The probability of anal sex was greater if the female believed that her partner made the decisions about sex and contraception than if she believed that she made them 0. However, the data suggest that the female's perceived control over sex conditions the relationship between perceived severity of AIDS and anal sex. Among women who reported low control over sex, the probability of anal sex was similar regardless of their perception of AIDS severity 0. The male's perception of control over sex also seems to be important.

A couple's probability of anal sex was similar if the male partner reported low control over sex—regardless of his high or low perceived risk of AIDS—and if he reported high control over sex but a high perceived risk of AIDS 0. However, if a male partner reported high control and a low perceived risk of AIDS, the couple had a much greater probability of anal sex 0.

The probability that a couple had decided to take measures to protect themselves from STDs in the prior four weeks was not ificantly associated with relationship duration or female partner's age Table 4. Compared with women who had had one sexual partner, those who had had 10 had a greater probability of reporting that they and their partners had decided to engage in less risky sex practices 0.

Increased male partner's education and income were associated with greater probabilities of having done nothing to prevent STDs and lower probabilities of having decided to engage in less risky sex practices.

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Pleasure, Power, and Inequality: Incorporating Sexuality Into Research on Contraceptive Use