Arousal Loss Related to Safer Sex and Risk of Pregnancy: Implications for Women's and Men's Sexual Health
Article first published online: 3 SEP 2009
Copyright © 2009 by the Guttmacher Institute
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Volume 41, Issue 3, pages 150–157, September 2009
How to Cite
Higgins, J. A., Tanner, A. E. and Janssen, E. (2009), Arousal Loss Related to Safer Sex and Risk of Pregnancy: Implications for Women's and Men's Sexual Health. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 41: 150–157. doi: 10.1363/4115009
- Issue published online: 3 SEP 2009
- Article first published online: 3 SEP 2009
CONTEXT: Few studies have examined arousal loss associated with safer-sex practices or the perceived risk of unintended pregnancy, let alone its associations with sexual risk practices.
METHODS: An Internet survey conducted in 2004–2006 among 2,399 men and 3,210 women asked respondents about arousal loss related to the use of condoms or other safer-sex products and perceived unintended pregnancy risk. Regression analyses gauged associations between arousal profiles, unprotected sex in the last year and lifetime experience of unintended pregnancy.
RESULTS: Many respondents reported arousal loss related to the use of safer-sex products (34%) or the risk of unintended pregnancy (46%). Participants who strongly agreed that use of safer-sex products can lessen their arousal were significantly more likely to have had unprotected sex in the last year than were those who strongly disagreed (odds ratios, 1.8 for men and 3.7 for women); those who strongly disagreed that pregnancy risk can lessen their arousal were significantly more likely to have been involved in an unintended pregnancy than were those who strongly agreed (2.0 for men and 1.4 for women). Arousal loss related to safer-sex practices was more strongly associated with unprotected sex among women than among men, whereas arousal loss related to pregnancy risk was more strongly associated with unintended pregnancy among men than among women.
CONCLUSIONS: Some men and women are turned off by safer-sex practices or by pregnancy risk. Given arousal profiles' potential contributions to unintended pregnancies and STD transmission, they should be integrated into sexual health behavioral models, research and programming.