AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 159–170 | Cite as

Bringing Your Baggage to Bed: Associations of Previous Relationship Experiences with Sexual Risk

  • Trace Kershaw
  • Rachael Gerber
  • Anna Divney
  • Tashuna Albritton
  • Heather Sipsma
  • Urania Magriples
  • Derrick Gordon
Original Paper


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.


Relationships Sexual risk Presexual period Time to unprotected sex 



This study is supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (1R01MH075685) and (5P30MH062294).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trace Kershaw
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rachael Gerber
    • 3
  • Anna Divney
    • 4
  • Tashuna Albritton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Heather Sipsma
    • 2
    • 5
  • Urania Magriples
    • 6
  • Derrick Gordon
    • 2
    • 7
  1. 1.Yale School of Public HealthNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Yale Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDSNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Human Services Research InstituteCambridgeUSA
  4. 4.Department of Public HealthCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Global Health Institute, Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  6. 6.Department of Neonatal and Fetal MedicineYale School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  7. 7.The Consultation Center, Department of PsychiatryYale School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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