1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. References

This study sheds light on an important topic emerging in the sexual health debate – identifying the interpersonal nature of sexual relationships which influence condom use. Using the principles of grounded theory, in-depth interviews were conducted with heterosexual men and women to understand the impact of the dyadic context of ‘heterosex’ on decisions to use condoms, condom availability and partner support and receptivity to cooperate in safer sex practices. The study found that condom dialogues occur at two levels - ‘the interpersonal condom dialogues’ and the ‘internal or discursive condom dialogues’. These dialogues shape condom use/non-use negotiations and the sexual encounter. Individuals also enter into sexual relations with a dislike of condoms and a perception of condom sex as ‘other sex’, which sets the context for their sexual experiences. Gender constructions of socially ‘appropriate’ sexual behaviour for men and women are implicated in the decisions to use condoms. The study highlights the importance of promoting condom sex as good and pleasurable sex if education and public health intervention programmes are to be effective in changing attitudes towards safer sex practices.


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. References
  • Ballard, J. (1992) Australia: participation and innovation in a federal system. in D.Kirp and R.Bayer (eds.) AIDS in the Industrialised Democracies. New Brunswick , N.J. : Rutgers University Press.
  • Basch, C. (1989) Preventing AIDS through education: concepts, strategies, and research priorities, Journal of School Health, 59, 2969.
  • Becker, N. and Huggins, R. (1991) Methodological and research issues in the study of sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS, Venereology, 4, 303.
  • Boldero, J., Moore, S. and Rosenthal, D. (1992) Intentions, context and safe sex: Australian adolescents responses to AIDS, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 22, 137496.
  • Bonawit, V. (1992) Argument for the use of personal construct theory and models based on conflict theory and threat appraisal in the investigation of teenagers' negotiation of condom use, Venereology, 5, 526.
  • Borland, R. and Lewis, V. (1989) Changing behaviour to prevent the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus, The Medical Journal of Australia, 151, 3056.
  • Boudon, R. (1982) The Unintended Consequences of Social Action London : Macmillan.
  • Brooks-Gunn, J. and Furstenberg, F. (1990) Coming of age in the era of AIDS: puberty, sexuality and contraception, The Millbank Quarterly, 68, 5981.
  • Chapman, S. and Hodgson, J. (1988) Showers in raincoats: Attitudinal barriers to condom use in high-risk heterosexuals, Community Health Studies, 12, 97105.
  • Chapman, S., Stoker, L., Ward, M., Porritt, D. and Fahey, P. (1990) Discriminant attitudes and beliefs about condoms in young, multi-partner heterosexuals, International Journal of STDs and AIDS, 1, 4228.
  • Connell, R., Crawford, J., Dowsett, G., Kippax, S., Sinnott, V., Rodden, P., Berg, R., Baxter, D. and Watson, L. (1990) Danger and context: unsafe anal sexual practice among homosexual and bisexual men in the AIDS crisis, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, 26, 187208.
  • Davies, P. and Weatherburn, P. (1991) Towards a general model of sexual negotiation. in P.Aggleton, G.Hart and P.Davies (eds.) AIDS: Responses, Interventions and Care. London : Falmer Press.
  • Davies, P., Hickson, F., Weatherburn, P. and Hunt, A. (1993) Sex, Gay Men and AIDS London : Falmer Press.
  • de Beauvoir, S. (1953) The Second Sex Harmondsworth : Penguin.
  • Dowsett, G. (1990a) Reaching men who have sex with men in Australia. An overview of AIDS education: community intervention and community attachment strategies, Australian Journal of Social Issues, 25, 18690.
  • Dowsett, G. (1990b) Safe sex, National AIDS Bulletin, November p. 28.
  • Dowsett, G. (1991) Social research on AIDS: examples from Macquarie University, Sydney, Venereology, 4, 3842.
  • Fraser, S. and Minichiello, V. (1991) The agenda and challenge for STD research in the 1990's, Venereology, 4, 268.
  • Gerrard, M., Breda, C. and Gibbons, F. (1990) Gender effects in couples' sexual decision making and contraceptive use, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 20, 44964.
  • Goggin, M. and Hee, A. (1990) Say yes to reaching out, National AIDS Bulletin, October p. 1718.
  • Greig, R. and Raphael, B. (1989) AIDS prevention and adolescents, Community Health Studies, 13, 21117.
  • Hingson, R., Strunin, L., Berlin, B. and Hereen, T. (1990) Beliefs about AIDS, use of alcohol and drugs and unprotected sex among Massachusetts adolescents, American Journal of Public Health, 80, 2959.
  • Holland, J., Ramazanoglu, C., Scott, S., Sharpe, S. and Thomson, R. (1990) Sex, gender and power: Young women's sexuality in the shadow of AIDS, Sociology of Health and Illness, 12, 33650.
  • Holland, J., Ramazanoglu, C., Scott, S., Sharpe, S. and Thomson, R. (1991) Between embarrassment and trust: young women and the diversity of condom use. in P.Aggleton, G.Hart and P.Davies (eds.), AIDS: Responses, Intervention and Care. London : Falmer Press.
  • Holland, J., Ramazanoglu, C., Scott, S., Sharpe, S. and Thomson, R. (1992) Pressure, resistance, empowerment: Young women and the negotiation of safer sex. in P.Aggleton, P.Davies and G.Hart (eds.), AIDS: Rights, Risk and Reason. London : Falmer Press.
  • Ingham, R., Woodcock, A. and Stenner, K. (1992) The limitations of rational decision-making models as applied to young people's sexual behaviour. in P.Aggleton, P.Davies and G.Hart (eds.), AIDS: Rights, Risk and Reason. London : Falmer Press.
  • Kelly, J. and St. Lawrence, J. (1990) The impact of community-based groups to help persons to reduce HIV infection risk behaviours, AIDS-CARE, 2, 2535.
  • Kippax, S. (1990) AIDS and ostriches: the heterosexual response to HIV, National AIDS Bulletin, April p. 1925.
  • Kippax, S., Crawford, J., Waldby, C. and Benton, P. (1990) Women negotiating heterosex: Implications for AIDS prevention, Womens Studies International Forum, 13, 53342.
  • Laing, R. (1966) Interpersonal Perception: A Theory and a Method of Research Perennial Library : Harper & Row.
  • Lawler, J. (1991) Behind the Screens: Nursing Somology and the Problem of the Body Melbourne : Churchill Livingstone.
  • Lloyd, G. (1990) AIDS and philosophy, Australian Journal of Social Issues, 25, 16776.
  • Macdonald, G. and Smith, C. (1990) Complacency, risk perception and the problem of HIV education, AIDS-CARE, 2, 638.
  • Macey, L. (1991) What is the relationship between intention and behaviour with regard to condom use for female and male adults, Melbourne : Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne, Unpublished Honours Thesis.
  • Minichiello, V., Aroni, R., Timewell, E. and Alexander, L. (1990) In-depth Interviewing: Researching People Melbourne : Longman Cheshire.
  • Moore, S. and Rosenthal, D. (1991) Adolescent invulnerability and perceptions of AIDS risk, Journal of Adolescent Research, 6, 16480.
  • National AIDS Bulletin (1991) The News, July, p. 8.
  • Pateman, C. and Gross, E. (eds.) (1986) Feminist Challenges: Social and Political Theory Sydney : Allen & Unwin.
  • Pintos-Lopez, H. (1990a) Promiscuity and the metaphors of sexual control, National AIDS Bulletin, September, p. 4.
  • Pintos-Lopez, H. (1990b) A conversation with Gary Dowsett, National AIDS Bulletin, October, p. 278.
  • Pintos-Lopez, H. (1990c) The 1990 AIDS media campaign, National AIDS Bulletin, August, p. 259.
  • Rosenthal, D. and Moore, S. (1991) Risky business: Adolescents and HIV/AIDS, Youth Studies, 10, 205.
  • Salt, H., Boyle, M. and Ives, J. (1990) HIV prevention: Current health promoting behaviour models for understanding psychosocial determinants of condom use, AIDS-CARE, 2, 6975.
  • Sheeran, P., Abraham, S., Abrams, D., Spears, R. and Marks, D. (1990) The post-AIDS structure of students' attitudes to condoms: age, sex and experience of use, Psychological Reports, 66, 614.
  • Strauss, A. (1987) Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientists Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.
  • Tindall, B., Swanson, C., Donovan, B. and Cooper, D. (1989) Sexual practices and condom usage in a cohort of homosexual men in relation to human immunodeficiency virus, The Medical Journal of Australia, 151, 31822.
  • Tulloch, J. (1990) Evaluating the Government media AIDS campaigns 1986–1990, National AIDS Bulletin, December/January p. 1822.
  • Turner, C., Miller, H. and Moses, L. (1989) Sexual behaviour and AIDS. in C.Turner, H.Miller and L.Moses (eds.), AIDS: Sexual Behaviour and Intravenous Drug Use. Washington : National Academy Press.
  • Turtle, A., Ford, B., Habgood, R., Grant, M., Bekiaris, J., Constantinou, C., Macke, M. and Polyzoidis, H. (1989) AIDS-related beliefs and behaviours of Australian university students, The Medical Journal of Australia, 150, 716.
  • Waldby, C., Kippax, S. and Crawford, J. (1990) Theory in the bedroom: a report from the Macquarie University AIDS and heterosexuality project, Australian Journal of Social Issues, 25, 17785.
  • Watney, S. (1990) Safer sex as community practice. in P.Aggleton, P.Davies and G.Hart (eds.), AIDS: Individual, Cultural and Policy Dimensions. London : Falmer Press.
  • Wilton, T. and Aggleton, P. (1991) Condoms, coercion and control: heterosexuality and the limits to HIV/AIDS education. in P.Aggleton, G.Hart and P.Davies (eds.) AIDS: Responses, Intervention and Care. London : Falmer Press.