Interviews were conducted with 56 young men and women aged 16–19 within the Southampton Community Health NHS Trust to explore difficulties in talking about contraception. Concern about a partner's hostile or negative reaction to any discussion about contraception was central to explaining why some people found it so difficult to initiate such discussions. Admitting the intention to have intercourse, together with a perceived association between condom use and disease prevention, were the main concerns. There was some indication of gender differences in these findings. Furthermore, this negative reaction is perceived to be exacerbated according to the partner's reputation, the potential for harming one's own reputation and whether there is a desire for a longer-term relationship with this partner. The most important outcome of the interviews was that these concerns about a partner's negative reaction were largely unjustified, with the vast majority of participants showing only positive responses to scenarios of future partners initiating discussions with them about contraception. In addition to the need to improve communication skills, the data suggest that greater awareness about the positive reactions towards such discussions should be encouraged.
Coleman, L.M.; Ingham, R. Exploring young people’s difficulties in talking about contraception: how can we encourage more discussion between partners? Health Education Research (1999) 14 (6) 741-750. [DOI: 10.1093/her/14.6.741]