Aspects of gay male couples' sexual agreements vary by their relationship length

Jason W. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Few HIV-preventing interventions exist for gay male couples in the USA, yet estimates indicate that between one-and two-thirds of US men who have sex with men acquire HIV while in a primary relationship (e.g., gay male couples). In response to these statistics, research has been conducted to better understand gay male couples' relationships, including their sexual agreements. Many gay male couples in the USA establish a sexual agreement, which is an explicit mutual understanding between two main partners about what sexual and other behaviors they agree to engage in and with whom while in the relationship. Although some research about sexual agreements has been conducted, little is known on whether aspects of gay male couples' sexual agreements (e.g., establishment, type, and adherence) vary as a function of their relationship length. The present study aimed to fulfill this gap of knowledge, which may lead to a better understanding of how agreements can be used for developing HIV/sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention interventions. A national, cross-sectional, Internet-based study was used to collect dyadic data from 361 US gay male couples. Men in each couple completed the questionnaire independently. All analyses were employed at the couple level. Our findings showed that the longer the couples had been in their relationship, the more likely they would concur about having a sexual agreement. As relationship length increased, the proportion of couples who disagreed about their current agreement type increased. No direct trend was found for recent adherence to an agreement; however, the likelihood of ever breaking an agreement increased as relationship length increased. Findings from this study indicate there is a need to help gay male couples' establish and maintain their agreements, particularly for those who are in their early formative stages, as well as, for those who are experiencing challenges and/or changes in their relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1164-1170
Number of pages7
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Volume26
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2 2014

Keywords

  • adherence to a sexual agreement
  • dyadic data
  • establishment of a sexual agreement
  • gay male couples
  • relationship length
  • type of sexual agreement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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