New study from researchers at University of Georgia suggests condom use sends positive message to partner

r females) and others made it clear the partner proceeded with sex without use of a condom.

Those in the study were then asked to rate how they felt after the encounter. Each participant was asked if they felt confident-insecure, responsible-irresponsible, desirable-undesirable, physically attractive-physically unattractive, in control-out of control, scared-calm, moral-immoral, at risk-risk free, and at ease or worried. They were also asked to evaluate their imaginary partners on the basis of being responsible-irresponsible, promiscuous-chaste, heterosexual-bisexual, attractive-unattractive, care about me-does not care about me, physically attractive-physically unattractive, moral-immoral, someone I respect-someone I do not respect, likely to have a sexually transmitted disease-not likely to have an STD.

The results of the study were consistent and surprising to the researchers.

"Those participants whose partners insisted on condom use evaluated those partners as more deserving of respect," said Hocking. "Insistence on condom use also led to feelings of greater safety and less regret following the sexual encounter. And the use of a condom had no apparent effect on beliefs about the partner's perception that the participant had an STD."

Thus it may well be that both males and females would prefer condoms be used but that the issue is just never discussed. Males may fear their partner's negative perception of them if the subject is brought up.

"The response of the partners clearly showed that people feel much better in many ways if a condom is used," said Turk.

While the authors admit that the "role-play nature of the present research cannot be generalized with complete confidence to an actual sexual encounter," they suggest that the study gives powerful clues about why condoms are too infrequently used. They note that further studies on the issue should be done, especially in regard to the relationship between condom use and socioecono

Contact: John Hocking
University of Georgia

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