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History of Forced Sex and Recent Sexual Risk Indicators Among Young Adult Males



CONTEXT: It is unclear whether young adult men who have ever been forced to have sex are at increased risk for sexual risk-taking, and whether their risk differs according to the gender of the perpetrator.

METHODS: Data from 1,400 males aged 18–24 who participated in the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth were used to determine the prevalence of a history of forced sex and the context of each respondent’s most recent experience with such assaults. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between victimization and having a recent indicator of sexual risk (e.g., having had sex in the past year with five or more female partners, a female injection-drug user or an HIV-positive female). Separate analyses were performed for coercion by females and coercion by males.

RESULTS: Six percent of men reported having been forced by a female perpetrator to have vaginal intercourse, while 1% said they had been forced by a male perpetrator to have oral or anal sex. Men had an elevated likelihood of having had one or more recent sexual risk indicators if they had ever been forced to have sex by a male (odds ratio, 6.9) or female (3.3). Verbal and physical forms of coercion and provision of alcohol and drugs were commonly used by perpetrators of both genders.

CONCLUSIONS: A better understanding of the pathways linking sexual victimization to sexual risk-taking among men is needed. Clinicians working with young men should screen them for victimization and provide STD testing and referrals for counseling if abuse is suspected or disclosed.