A Qualitative Examination of Men’s Condom Use Attitudes and Resistance: “It’s Just Part of the Game”
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the variability in young heterosexual men’s perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of condom use in their casual sexual relationships. Because men who perceive greater disadvantages of condom use may be more likely to resist using them, we also explored the tactics that men employ to avoid using condoms. Semi-structured focus groups were conducted with single men who have sex with women (n = 60), aged 21–35 years, all of whom reported using condoms inconsistently. Transcripts were analyzed using a framework analysis approach. As expected, participants reported advantages and disadvantages to condom use that pertained to the likelihood and quality of sex, physical sensations during intercourse, and the risk of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. Within each of these topics, however, participants’ appraisals of the relative pros and cons of condom use varied considerably. Additionally, participants reported that men use a wide range of condom use resistance tactics, including seduction, deception, and condom sabotage, and that the use of these tactics was viewed as normative behavior for men their age. These findings suggest that the effectiveness of sexual health prevention efforts could be enhanced by increasing young men’s motivations to use condoms and by targeting social norms regarding condom use resistance. Additionally, the issue of men’s condom use resistance clearly merits increased empirical investigation and intervention attention.
KeywordsCondom attitudes Condom use resistance Focus groups Inconsistent condom use
This research was supported by a grant to the first author from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (R01-AA017608).
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