Special Issue Article

Sexuality Research & Social Policy

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 27-37

First online:

Personal safety and sexual safety for women using online personal ads

  • Paige M. PadgettAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology, University of Texas School of Public Health Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


This study examined the impact of the Interneton personal and sexual safety for women meeting men through online ads. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected with an online survey. Of the 740 women who completed the survey, 568 reported having met in person with a man who answered their online personal ad. Results revealed that women used e-mail communication prior to a face-to-face meeting to negotiate such issues as safety, boundaries, sexual preferences, history of sexually transmitted infections, and condom use. Thirty percent of respondents engaged in sexual activity on their first encounter. Seventy-seven percent of respondents who met an online partner did not use condoms for their first sexual encounter. The high frequency and intensity of e-mail communication prior to meeting in person cultivated acceleration of intimacy for the individuals involved and may have affected women’s decisions to engage in risky sexual behaviors.


women’s sexual health the Internet condom use sexual risk taking Internet dating