'Appropriate' male and female safer sexual behaviour in heterosexual relationships

AIDS Care. 1997 Oct;9(5):549-61. doi: 10.1080/713613196.


This paper is an attempt to explore how traditional gender role socialization runs counter to safer sexual practices. Structured interviews (N = 448 sexual encounters) were conducted with heterosexual young adults in 'natural settings' such as summer music festivals and youth houses/youth clubs. Congruent with a perspective of gender role theory, females were found to care more about safer sex. The data do not suggest that females are forced to rely on less efficient ways of practising safer sex, but they have to try harder to be successful. Males may implement safer sex in an encounter without negotiation, because it is obvious, or they just have to mention it at the moment of sexual intercourse. Females have to start negotiating safer sex long before the actual encounter in order to be as successful as males. There is one important critical situation for females, notably the encounter in which they perceive the male to be dominant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Dominance-Subordination
  • Female
  • Goals
  • Heterosexuality*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior*