‘Sizable’ Number of College Students Say Partners Have Attempted to Dissuade Them From Condom Use
A "sizable" number of college students have either tried to "talk their sex partners out of using a condom" or have had a partner try to dissuade them from condom use, according to research published in the August issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior, Reuters Health reports. The study surveyed more than 900 undergraduate students on their sexual history and condom use. Among the participants, 30% of men and 41% of women said they have had a partner try to dissuade them from condom use, while 17% of men and 14% of women said they have tried to convince a partner not to use a condom. In addition, those who "admitted" to trying to dissuade a partner from using a condom were "much more likely" to have had 10 or more sex partners, a finding that the study authors called "particularly troubling." They write, "The combination of multiple sexual partners and active dissuasion of partners from the couple using condoms poses a serious challenge to educators in HIV/AIDS prevention programs." The researchers stated that the discrepancy between the number of participants who have used dissuasion tactics and the number of people whose partners have used dissuasion strategies can be attributed to the "respondents' desire to 'make themselves look good.'" The "most popular" reasons given by individuals trying to convince a partner not to use a condom were that sex "feels better" without it and that "going without one will not raise the odds of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases." The researchers stated, "Obviously, sex educators are going to have to address the physical gratification aspect of condoms, and not just their role in STD and pregnancy prevention." Students who said that a partner had tried to convince them to forgo a condom also stated that these attempts were "unsuccessful more often than not," although the "self-proclaimed dissuaders" said they had "high success rates" in convincing partners not to use a condom. The study revealed, however, that women were "more successful than men" at both dissuading condom use and "resisting dissuaders' attempts," leading researchers to conclude that "women, not men, seem to dominate condom 'negotiation.'" The survey also found that although 93% of participants said they have used condoms, only 20% used them "consistently" and only 50% said they "always used them with a new partner" (Reuters Health, 7/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.