Article

Young women and limits to the normalisation of condom use: a qualitative study

MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, Glasgow, UK.
AIDS Care (Impact Factor: 1.6). 06/2009; 21(5):561-6. DOI: 10.1080/09540120802301857
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Encouraging condom use among young women is a major focus of HIV/STI prevention efforts but the degree to which they see themselves as being at risk limits their use of the method. In this paper, we examine the extent to which condom use has become normalised among young women. In-depth interviews were conducted with 20 year old women from eastern Scotland (N=20). Purposive sampling was used to select a heterogeneous group with different levels of sexual experience and from different social backgrounds. All of the interviewees had used (male) condoms but only three reported consistent use. The rest had changed to other methods, most often the pill, though they typically went back to using condoms occasionally. Condoms were talked about as the most readily available contraceptive method, and were most often the first contraceptive method used. The young women had ingrained expectations of use, but for most, these norms centred only on their new or casual partners, with whom not using condoms was thought to be irresponsible. Many reported negative experiences with condoms, and condom dislike and failure were common, lessening trust in the method. Although the sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention provided by condoms was important, this was seen as additional, and secondary, to pregnancy prevention. As the perceived risks of STIs lessened in relationships with boyfriends, so did condom use. The promotion of condoms for STI prevention alone fails to consider the wider influences of partners and young women's negative experiences of the method. Focusing on the development of condom negotiation skills alone will not address these issues. Interventions to counter dislike, method failure, and the limits of the normalisation of condom use should be included in STI prevention efforts.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Helen Sweeting, Jul 07, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
134 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The oral contraceptive pill remains the most widely used contraceptive method. We consider The Pill’s depiction as variously revolutionary and liberating, oppressive for women, and more recently, a ‘lifestyle drug’. Drawing on discourses of (hetero)sex, heterosexuality and gender performance, we discuss how contraceptive use has been feminised and consider the current gap in understanding how women negotiate their positioning as responsible for contraception. To begin to fill this gap, we conducted a thematic discourse analysis using 75 free-text responses (to a general question in a wider contraceptive survey) to explore how women account for their agency and responsibility in discussions of accessing contraception. We identified two themes: responsibility for education and information and ‘finding contraceptive fit’. Women’s discussions of responsibility for education and information highlight the need for transparency from educational bodies, which are positioned as lacking in their delivery of contraceptive information. Women describe ‘finding contraceptive fit’ as an embodied process of experimentation with contraception to ultimately find one with minimal negative side effects. We situate our findings within critiques of the gendered nature and production of health, conceptualising contraceptive use as a distinctly feminine practice, which promotes self-surveillance and embodied awareness.
    Feminism &amp Psychology 12/2014; 25(2). DOI:10.1177/0959353514562802 · 0.58 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Advance provision of emergency contraception (EC) has increased use but not impacted on pregnancy or abortion rates. Here we describe young women's EC use and experiences of unprotected sex to explore why this difference occurs. In-depth interviews with twenty 20-year-old women from eastern Scotland. The majority (16) had used EC; 10 reported some experience of unprotected sex. EC use followed contraceptive failure and unexpected or unplanned, but not frequent, unprotected sex. Acknowledging the need for EC requires recognition of pregnancy risk. Those reporting frequent unprotected sex misperceived their pregnancy risk and did not use EC. This group was from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, and all became pregnant. EC remains an important "backup" contraceptive and should continue to be widely available. With high levels of unprotected sex, nonuse of EC and unintended pregnancies, further efforts are required to improve the sexual and reproductive health outcomes of disadvantaged young women.
    Contraception 05/2009; 79(4):310-5. DOI:10.1016/j.contraception.2008.10.014 · 2.93 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article presents research on the topics of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/ AIDS and teenage pregnancy in the sixth-grade natural science book. Based on a genealogical presentation of the approach to sexual education in the history of free textbooks in the natural sciences, a critical analysis is made of the 2009 version of this text.
    01/2011; 16(49):471-488.