Section 52
Chapter 51,754

Balancing risk and pleasure: sexual self-control as a moderator of the influence of sexual desires on sexual risk-taking in men who have sex with men

Adam, P.C.G.; Teva, I.; de Wit, J.B.F.

Sexually Transmitted Infections 84(6): 463-467


ISSN/ISBN: 1472-3263
PMID: 19028948
DOI: 10.1136/sti.2008.031351
Accession: 051753058

To assess the extent to which sexual risk-taking among men who have sex with men (MSM) is influenced by their sexual desires, as reflected in sexual sensation seeking, and to establish whether men's sexual self-control moderates the influence of sexual sensation seeking. An online survey in the Netherlands recruited 1613 MSM; 1129 men who had sex with casual partners and reported full data were included in this study. Potential sexual risk-taking in the preceding 12 months was indexed by number of casual partners (<10 vs > or =10), unprotected anal intercourse with casual partners (UAI-C; no vs yes) and sexually transmitted infections (no vs yes). Potential sexual risk-taking with casual partners was highly prevalent in this online sample of MSM; 51.0% had 10 or more casual sex partners, 38.8% had engaged in UAI-C and 22.9% reported having had a sexually transmitted disease. Multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that sexual sensation seeking was significantly related to more risk-taking according to each outcome variable, while all effects of sexual self-control were significantly protective. As expected, sexual self-control attenuated the effects of high sexual sensation seeking on UAI-C, but not on numbers of partners and infection with a sexually transmitted infection. Although MSM who are higher in sexual sensation seeking are more likely to engage in sexual risk-taking, some men successfully self-regulate the influence of their sexual desires on UAI-C. While men high in sexual self-control may spontaneously control their sexual desires, men low in sexual self-control may benefit from a generation of prevention tools that promote planning ahead of time.

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