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Illuminating the Context and Circumstances of Male Couples Establishing a Sexual Agreement in Their Relationship.

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Mitchell JW, Lee JY, Woodyatt C, Bauermeister J, Sullivan P, Stephenson R,


Mitchell JW, Lee JY, Woodyatt C, Bauermeister J, Sullivan P, Stephenson R, (click to view)

Mitchell JW, Lee JY, Woodyatt C, Bauermeister J, Sullivan P, Stephenson R,

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American journal of men’s health 2016 6 22() pii

Abstract

A sexual agreement is an explicit mutual understanding made between two partners about which sexual and relational behaviors they agree to engage in within and/or outside of their relationship. Factors that prompt male couples to form a sexual agreement and under what circumstances remain underinvestigated, yet are important considerations for development of couples-based sexual health and HIV prevention interventions. By using thematic analysis with qualitative dyadic data from a convenience sample of 29 HIV-negative male couples, the present study sought to describe the timing and investigate the context and circumstances that led male couples to establish a sexual agreement in their relationship at both the individual and couple levels, and by agreement type. Themes identified for when a sexual agreement was formed included within the first 6 months, and after 6 months in the relationship. Themes related to context and circumstances of couples’ sexual agreement formation were as follows: (a) desire for sexual exploration, (b) arisen circumstances or events with other men, (c) influences from past relationship(s) and/or other couples (i.e., peers), (d) to protect against HIV, and (e) purposeful conversations versus understood. Findings suggest HIV prevention efforts should include skill-building exercises to help improve communication and promote sex positivity within male couples’ relationships.

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