Multiple factors explain why middle-aged heterosexuals with new sexual partners don’t use condoms

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New strategies and approaches are needed to address the sexual health needs of middle-aged heterosexuals starting new relationships, research published in Sexually Transmitted Infections suggests.

The UK study involved men and women aged between 40 and 59 years with, or considering, new sexual partners after the break-up of a long-term relationship. In-depth interviews showed that beliefs about sexual risk were frequently based on past rather than current circumstances and that individuals often felt that existing sexual health services were geared towards the needs of younger people.

Are We Blinded by Desire? Relationship Motivation and Sexual Risk-Taking Intentions during Condom Negotiation

The Journal of Sex Research, Shayna Skakoon-Sparling & Kenneth M. Cramer (2019) DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2019.1579888

ABSTRACT

Effective condom negotiation skills support better sexual health for both men and women. The current study explored relationship motivation (motivation to establish and maintain long-term romantic relationships), gender, and sexual orientation as factors influencing the condom negotiation process.

Participants (177 heterosexual women, 157 heterosexual men, and 106 men who have sex with men) read a vignette describing an encounter with a hypothetical new sexual/romantic partner and responded to embedded items and scales.

Stronger relationship motivation predicted increased willingness to have condomless sex among women who perceived greater familiarity with the hypothetical partner. Gender and sexual orientation predicted different preferences for condom insistence strategies.

The findings suggest that there are a number of conditions that make it more difficult to recognize risk during a sexual encounter and demonstrate how the process of condom negotiation can be impacted by gender, sexual orientation, and relationship motivation.