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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Risky business


The Effects of Increased Access to Emergency Contraception on Sexually Transmitted Disease and Abortion Rates

Christine Piette Durrance
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved access to emergency contraception through pharmacies without a prescription. Several states, however, had previously allowed pharmacy access to emergency contraception. In particular, Washington State was the first state to implement such a program in 1998. If emergency contraception is used as a substitute for a surgical abortion, then pharmacy access could reduce unintended pregnancy. Pharmacy access, however, could lead to an increase in risk taking, especially among teens or young adults, and hence lead to increased rates of sexually transmitted diseases. In this article, we use county-level data as well as specific timing of changes in pharmacy access to consider the intended and unintended consequences of pharmacy access to emergency contraception in Washington. The results indicate that while county-level access to emergency contraception was unrelated to trends in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and abortions before access changed, access afterwards led to a statistically significant increase in STD rates (gonorrhea rates), both overall and for females. We do not find, however, an impact of pharmacy access on abortion or birth rates. These results are robust to several specification tests (including use of Oregon counties as additional control counties) as well as several falsification tests.


Testing Putative Causal Associations of Risk Factors for Early Intercourse in the Study of Twin Adults: Genes and Environment (STAGE)

Kelly Donahue et al.
Archives of Sexual Behavior, January 2013, Pages 35-44

Adverse childhood experiences and substance use have been identified as potential causal risk factors for early-onset sexual intercourse. While it is possible that exposure to these risk factors directly increases the likelihood of engaging in early intercourse, an alternative explanation is that observed associations between these variables are due to shared familial confounds. These unmeasured confounds may increase the likelihood of being exposed to these risk factors and of engaging in early intercourse. Participants drawn from a population-based study of Swedish adult twins (ages 19-47 years; N = 12,126) reported on their history of exposure to early physical and sexual trauma, cigarette use, and cannabis use. We investigated the nature of the association between these risk factors and young age at first intercourse, using a comparison of twins differentially exposed to each risk factor. When compared to non-exposed, unrelated individuals, participants who reported adverse childhood experiences or who engaged in early cigarette use or cannabis use were more likely to engage in early intercourse. However, co-twin comparisons indicated that observed associations between these risk factors and early intercourse may be due to familial factors shared within twin pairs, and risk factor exposure may not lead directly to early intercourse. Our results suggest that preventing trauma exposure or preventing or delaying adolescents' cigarette smoking or cannabis use may not effectively delay intercourse onset; instead, other aspects of the adolescent's environment should be addressed.


Act with Authority: Romantic Desire at the Nexus of Power Possessed and Power Perceived

Paul Eastwick et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, March 2013, Pages 267-271

The social psychological literature and the evolutionary literature on power suggest different routes by which power might inspire romantic desire: The former highlights the appealing actions of the powerful, whereas the latter demonstrates that people desire powerful individuals upon learning of those individuals' powerful status. We predicted that, in an initial face-to-face interaction, both elements must align for the powerful to inspire romantic desire. In a live mixed-sex interaction, participants experienced the most romantic desire for an opposite-sex target who (a) actually possessed power and (b) was perceived by the participant to possess power. This interaction was mediated by observable behavior - the extent to which the target controlled the conversation and was given legitimacy by the group - indicating that the powerful do not behave powerfully around unaccommodating subordinates. Power manipulations implemented in only one person's mind may not approximate how power functions in real social interactions.


Women's physical attractiveness and short-term mating strategies

Carin Perilloux, Jaime Cloud & David Buss
Personality and Individual Differences, March 2013, Pages 490-495

The current study examined the relationship between women's physical attractiveness - as rated by themselves and a set of third-party raters - and their mating strategy and sexual experience. Male (N = 105) and female (N = 113) undergraduates rated the attractiveness of face and body photographs of 93 female undergraduates. Attractiveness ratings - particularly bodily attractiveness ratings - were significantly related to women's mating psychology and behavior. More attractive women reported more sexual experience and a less restricted sociosexual orientation. In addition, some traits better predicted women's perception of their overall attractiveness, and this pattern was further linked to mating strategy: more sociosexually unrestricted women showed a stronger relationship between bodily traits (i.e., body mass index) and overall attractiveness than less sociosexually unrestricted women. Discussion focuses on the findings that a woman's mating strategy is linked to both her self-perceived and objective measures of attractiveness, particularly bodily attractiveness.


Pornography Actresses: An Assessment of the Damaged Goods Hypothesis

James Griffith et al.
Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming

The damaged goods hypothesis posits that female performers in the adult entertainment industry have higher rates of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), psychological problems, and drug use compared to the typical woman. The present study compared the self-reports of 177 porn actresses to a sample of women matched on age, ethnicity, and marital status. Comparisons were conducted on sexual behaviors and attitudes, self-esteem, quality of life, and drug use. Porn actresses were more likely to identify as bisexual, first had sex at an earlier age, had more sexual partners, were more concerned about contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), and enjoyed sex more than the matched sample, although there were no differences in incidence of CSA. In terms of psychological characteristics, porn actresses had higher levels of self-esteem, positive feelings, social support, sexual satisfaction, and spirituality compared to the matched group. Last, female performers were more likely to have ever used 10 different types of drugs compared to the comparison group. A discriminant function analysis was able to correctly classify 83% of the participants concerning whether they were a porn actress or member of the matched sample. These findings did not provide support for the damaged goods hypothesis.


Risk Behaviors Among HIV-Positive Gay and Bisexual Men at Party-Oriented Vacations

Michael Fisher et al.
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, January 2013, Pages 158-167

Objective: This study examined substance use (intended and actual), unprotected sex, and HIV disclosure practices (disclosure and questioning) among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) at two party-oriented vacations, where substance use and sexual risk may be heightened.

Method: A random sample of 489 MSM attending one of two party-oriented vacations participated in PartyIntents, a short-term longitudinal survey. Nearly half (47%) completed a follow-up assessment at the event or online for up to 2 weeks after the event. We examined rates of baseline intentions to use substances, actual substance use, and unprotected intercourse among HIV-positive men in attendance. Rates among HIV-negative men were estimated for comparison. Multiple logistic regression was used to assess the impact of illegal drug use and HIV status on unprotected anal intercourse (UAI).

Results: HIV-positive attendees (17%) were significantly more likely than HIV-negative attendees to use nitrite inhalants (or "poppers") (24.3% vs. 10.7%). HIV-positive attendees were also significantly more likely to have insertive UAI (64.3% vs. 34.1%) and receptive UAI (68.8% vs. 22.2%). Multivariate models showed associations between HIV status and illegal drug use with UAI (for HIV status, odds ratio [OR] = 4.5, p = .001; for any illegal drug use, OR = 16.4, p < .001). There was no evidence that the influence of drug use moderated risk by HIV status. Rates of HIV disclosure and questioning did not differ by HIV status.

Conclusions: HIV-positive men attending these events engaged in higher rates of illegal drug use and sexual risk than HIV-negative men. Prevention campaigns targeting MSM at high-risk events should include messages geared toward HIV-positive men.


Age Preferences in Dating Advertisements by Homosexuals and Heterosexuals: From Sociobiological to Sociological Explanations

Kathryn Burrows
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Current sociobiological thought suggests that significant components of mate selection are based on indicators that correlate with the ability to produce and support offspring. Theorists have suggested that men tend to be attracted to and marry younger women, while women tend to be attracted to and marry older men. This behavior is referred to as age hypergamy. I complicate this picture by using gay men as a population in which to explore alternative components of mate selection as reflected in our behavior. Analyses of 120 dating advertisements from gay men and heterosexual men and women indicated that there exists a good measure of hypergamic age preference that is comparable to the heterosexual population and that relates to subjects' gender presentation. Data suggest that the biological-reproductive theory of age hypergamy is incomplete and support a cultural reproduction model of gender role behavior and preference in both heterosexuals and homosexuals.


Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate Use Is Not Associated With Risk of Incident Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Adolescent Women

Amy Romer et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, January 2013, Pages 83-88

Purpose: To determine whether depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) use is associated with an increased risk of acquisition of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in a cohort of healthy adolescents, for whom prospective evidence is sparse.

Methods: Adolescent women aged 14-17 years (n = 342) were recruited from clinical sites in the United States between 1999 and 2005. They returned quarterly for interviews and STI testing. During alternating 3-month periods, participants also completed daily diaries of sexual behaviors and performed weekly vaginal self-obtained swabs to test for STIs. Data collected through 2009 (median follow-up length = 42.2 months) were analyzed. Univariable and multivariable tests of association between STI acquisition during the 3-month diary period and covariates were calculated, using nonlinear mixed-effect logistic regression models to control for repeated measurements.

Results: In multivariable analysis, there were no significant associations between DMPA use in the current or previous 3-month period and incidence of Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, or Trichomonas vaginalis. The number of total or unprotected sexual events during the diary period was not associated with the risk of STI. Older age was a protective factor for the development of Chlamydia trachomatis (odds ratio = .85; 95% confidence interval = .76-.96). The only factor significantly associated with an increased risk of contracting all three STIs was a greater number of sexual partners during the diary period (odds ratio, range = 1.91-2.62).

Conclusions: In this U.S.-based cohort of adolescent women, we found no evidence that DMPA use was associated with increased STI risk. Efforts to curb STI transmission among adolescents should focus on education about the reduced number of sexual partners.


Descriptive and Injunctive Social Norm Overestimation in Hooking Up and Their Role as Predictors of Hook-Up Activity in a College Student Sample

Megan Barriger & Carlos Vélez-Blasini
Journal of Sex Research, January/February 2013, Pages 84-94

This study examined the presence of norm overestimation in both injunctive and descriptive norms about hooking up. An online survey was completed by 186 college students (127 women). Overestimation was examined for hooking up as a global category, as well as for six specific behaviors. The role of norms in predicting hooking up was also examined using hierarchical multiple regression analyses. The predictive role of sensation-seeking, sociosexual orientation, self-esteem, and alcohol drinking status was also examined. Injunctive norm overestimation was present for less intimate behaviors (kissing and non-genital touching); only women showed overestimation for more intimate behaviors (genital touching, receiving oral sex, giving oral sex, and intercourse). Descriptive norms were overestimated across the board. Injunctive norms were poor predictors of behavior. Descriptive norms were good predictors only for less intimate behaviors, a pattern similar to that observed for drinking status. Ultimately, participants' level of personal comfort was the best predictor of participation in the most intimate behaviors, including oral sex and sexual intercourse.


Playing Hard-to-Get: Manipulating One's Perceived Availability as a Mate

Peter Jonason & Norman Li
European Journal of Personality, forthcoming

‘Playing hard-to-get' is a mating tactic in which people give the impression that they are ostensibly uninterested to get others to desire them more. This topic has received little attention because of theoretical and methodological limitations of prior work. We present four studies drawn from four different American universities that examined playing hard-to-get as part of a supply-side economics model of dating. In Studies 1a (N = 100) and 1b (N = 491), we identified the tactics that characterize playing hard-to-get and how often men and women enact them. In Study 2 (N = 290), we assessed reasons why men and women play hard-to-get along with the personality traits associated with these reasons. In Studies 3 (N = 270) and 4 (N = 425), we manipulated the rate per week prospective mates went out with people they had just met and assessed participants' willingness to engage in casual sex and serious romantic relationships with prospective mates (Study 3) and the money and time they were willing to invest in prospective mates (Study 4). We frame our results using a sexual economics model to understand the role of perceived availability in mating dynamics.


"Although Quite Nice, I Was Somehow Not Attracted by That Person": Attitudes Toward Romantically Committed Opposite-Sex Others Are Immune to Positive Evaluative Conditioning

Nicolas Koranyi, Anne Gast & Klaus Rothermund
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Individuals who are motivated to find a romantic partner do not only have to detect desirable mating options but also have to prevent becoming committed to attractive but unpromising contacts. We thus propose that an acquisition of highly positive evaluations of already romantically committed opposite-sex others is prevented by self-regulatory processes. In two experiments, positive evaluative conditioning (EC) effects were obtained for facial photos (conditioned stimulus) of other opposite-sex singles when these pictures were paired with positive trait adjectives or odors (unconditioned stimulus). In line with our hypothesis, however, this positive EC effect did not obtain for faces of other persons who were presented as being already involved in a romantic relationship. The results demonstrate that the acquisition of positive attitudes during mate searching is modulated by self-regulatory processes that inhibit the emergence of futile commitments.


Pick me up: Ego depletion and receptivity to relationship initiation

Gary Lewandowski et al.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, December 2012, Pages 1071-1084

The success of a relationship initiation strategy, such as a pick-up line or opening gambit, may depend on the target's state receptivity. Self-control is a limited resource that, when depleted, can potentially influence interpersonal interactions. The present research examines whether ego depletion can influence receptivity to various types of opening gambits. To accomplish this, 99 currently single participants either wrote a story with several restrictions (ego-depletion group) or wrote without restrictions (non-depletion group), and then read direct, innocuous, or cute opening gambits. Following each type of gambit, participants rated their receptivity by indicating how likely they would be to continue to talk to the initiator, view the initiator positively, and give the initiator their phone number. As predicted, analyses revealed that those who participated in the ego-depletion task were significantly less receptive to cute opening gambits and there was a trend of being more receptive to innocuous opening gambits, relative to the non-depletion group. Ego depletion did not influence direct gambits.


Sexually Explicit Websites and Sexual Initiation: Reciprocal Relationships and the Moderating Role of Pubertal Status

Laura Vandenbosch & Steven Eggermont
Journal of Research on Adolescence, forthcoming

A two-wave panel study was conducted among adolescents (Mean age = 14.78; N = 639) to examine the relationship between using sexually explicit websites and sexual initiation with particular attention to adolescents' pubertal status. Structural equation modeling and logistic regression analysis indicated that frequent users of sexually explicit websites were five times more likely to initiate sexual intercourse than nonusers. Pubertal status moderated this relationship: an increased likelihood to initiate sex was found among adolescents in an early pubertal stage who frequently viewed sexually explicit websites. However, a lower likelihood to initiate sex was found among adolescents in an advanced pubertal stage. The possibility of a reciprocal relationship was also examined but was not supported.


Modernization, Sexual Risk-Taking, and Gynecological Morbidity among Bolivian Forager-Horticulturalists

Jonathan Stieglitz et al.
PLoS ONE, December 2012

Sexual risk-taking and reproductive morbidity are common among rapidly modernizing populations with little material wealth, limited schooling, minimal access to modern contraception and healthcare, and gendered inequalities in resource access that limit female autonomy in cohabiting relationships. Few studies have examined how modernization influences sexual risk-taking and reproductive health early in demographic transition. Tsimane are a natural fertility population of Bolivian forager-farmers; they are not urbanized, reside in small-scale villages, and lack public health infrastructure. We test whether modernization is associated with greater sexual risk-taking, report prevalence of gynecological morbidity (GM), and test whether modernization, sexual risk-taking and parity are associated with greater risk of GM. Data were collected from 2002-2010 using interviews, clinical exams, and laboratory analysis of cervical cells. We find opposing effects of modernization on both sexual risk-taking and risk of GM. Residential proximity to town and Spanish fluency are associated with greater likelihood of men's infidelity, and with number of lifetime sexual partners for men and women. However, for women, literacy is associated with delayed sexual debut after controlling for town proximity. Fifty-five percent of women present at least one clinical indicator of GM (n = 377); 48% present inflammation of cervical cells, and in 11% the inflammation results from sexually transmitted infection (trichomoniasis). Despite having easier access to modern healthcare, women residing near town experience greater likelihood of cervical inflammation and trichomoniasis relative to women in remote villages; women who are fluent in Spanish are also more likely to present trichomoniasis relative to women with moderate or no fluency. However, literate women experience lower likelihood of trichomoniasis. Parity has no effect on risk of GM. Our results suggest a net increase in risk of reproductive morbidity among rapidly modernizing, resource-stressed populations.


Sexting by High School Students: An Exploratory and Descriptive Study

Donald Strassberg et al.
Archives of Sexual Behavior, January 2013, Pages 15-21

Recently, a phenomenon known as sexting, defined here as the transfer of sexually explicit photos via cell phone, has received substantial attention in the U.S. national media. To determine the current and potential future impact of sexting, more information about the behavior and the attitudes and beliefs surrounding it must be gathered, particularly as it relates to sexting by minors. The present study was designed to provide preliminary information about this phenomenon. Participants were 606 high school students (representing 98 % of the available student body) recruited from a single private high school in the southwestern U.S. Nearly 20 % of all participants reported they had ever sent a sexually explicit image of themselves via cell phone while almost twice as many reported that they had ever received a sexually explicit picture via cell phone and, of these, over 25 % indicated that they had forwarded such a picture to others. Of those reporting having sent a sexually explicit cell phone picture, over a third did so despite believing that there could be serious legal and other consequences attached to the behavior. Given the potential legal and psychological risks associated with sexting, it is important for adolescents, parents, school administrators, and even legislators and law enforcement to understand this behavior.


Sexual Communication, Satisfaction, and Condom Use Behavior in Friends with Benefits and Romantic Partners

Justin Lehmiller, Laura VanderDrift & Janice Kelly
Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming

Although "friends with benefits" relationships (FWBRs) are common and have been the subject of significant media and research attention, relatively little is known about them, especially in terms of how they differ from other types of relationships. The present research sought to compare the sexual outcomes of FWBRs to those of traditional romantic relationships via an online survey. Results revealed that FWBR partners were less likely to be sexually exclusive, had a lower frequency of sexual interaction, were less sexually satisfied, and generally communicated less about sex than romantic partners did. However, compared to romantic partners, FWBR partners devoted relatively more of the time spent together to sexual activity, practiced safe sex more frequently, communicated more often about extradyadic sexual experiences, and reported a greater number of lifetime casual sex partners. These findings indicate that the sexual outcomes of FWBRs and romantic relationships are quite distinct and provide evidence of the potential public health implications associated with both casual and committed sexual relationships.


What Is an Attractive Body? Using an Interactive 3D Program to Create the Ideal Body for You and Your Partner

Kara Crossley, Piers Cornelissen & Martin Tovée
PLoS ONE, November 2012

What is the ideal body size and shape that we want for ourselves and our partners? What are the important physical features in this ideal? And do both genders agree on what is an attractive body? To answer these questions we used a 3D interactive software system which allows our participants to produce a photorealistic, virtual male or female body. Forty female and forty male heterosexual Caucasian observers (females mean age 19.10 years, s.d. 1.01; 40 males mean age 19.84, s.d. 1.66) set their own ideal size and shape, and the size and shape of their ideal partner using the DAZ studio image manipulation programme. In this programme the shape and size of a 3D body can be altered along 94 independent dimensions, allowing each participant to create the exact size and shape of the body they want. The volume (and thus the weight assuming a standard density) and the circumference of the bust, waist and hips of these 3D models can then be measured. The ideal female body set by women (BMI = 18.9, WHR = 0.70, WCR = 0.67) was very similar to the ideal partner set by men, particularly in their BMI (BMI = 18.8, WHR = 0.73, WCR = 0.69). This was a lower BMI than the actual BMI of 39 of the 40 women. The ideal male body set by the men (BMI = 25.9, WHR = 0.87, WCR = 0.74) was very similar to the ideal partner set by the women (BMI = 24.5, WHR = 0.86, WCR = 0.77). This was a lower BMI than the actual BMI of roughly half of the men and a higher BMI than the other half. The results suggest a consistent preference for an ideal male and female body size and shape across both genders. The results also suggest that both BMI and torso shape are important components for the creation of the ideal body.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM