Bringing your baggage to bed: associations of previous relationship experiences with sexual risk

AIDS Behav. 2014 Jan;18(1):159-70. doi: 10.1007/s10461-012-0349-0.


Delaying sexual intercourse after initiating a relationship (i.e., increasing the presexual period) and delaying unprotected sex can reduce HIV/STI risk. Past relationship and risk experiences may influence sexual decisions in a current relationship. We examined how past relationship and risk experiences of both members of 296 young pregnant couples influenced length of presexual period and time to unprotected sex. Forty-six percent of couples had sex within the first month of seeing each other and had unprotected sex within 1 month of having sex. Length of presexual period and time to unprotected sex were significantly shorter in their current relationship than their previous relationship for both men and women (all p < 0.05). Female past relationship and risk factors were more strongly associated with length of presexual relationship than male past relationship and risk factors. Both male and female past relationship and risk factors were associated with time to unprotected sex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Connecticut
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Abstinence* / psychology
  • Sexual Abstinence* / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Behavior / ethnology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Unsafe Sex / psychology*
  • Unsafe Sex / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult