Among dating couples
(7-15) More research now stresses the importance to STD risk of couples relationship characteristics, such as length and type of relationship, (10,17) gender and power dynamics within relationships (18-22) and partner support of condom use.
(23) Most of these studies, however, have limited findings because of the specific populations available for analysis.
(2,21) Power also emerges from differences between partners in their level of commitment to the relationship.
The more highly committed a partner is, the more dependent, and thus less powerful in sexual decision making, he or she will be.
Individuals who have an egalitarian gender role orientation are more likely than others to adopt traits and behaviors that are nontraditional for their gender.
(32,33) As such, they will have more balanced dependencies in their relationships, and each partner's sexual preferences will have a similar level of influence in the decision making.
(36) Similarly, when individuals believe they have little trouble in attracting potential partners, they will perceive more alternatives to their current partnership, be less dependent on it and thus have greater power.
METHODS Data and Study Population Our data are from the dating couples sample of the National Couples Survey, conducted in 2005-2006.Despite the many emotional and social benefits of sexual behavior in relationships, there is also the threat of contracting STDs, including HIV Rates of heterosexual transmission of these diseases remain unacceptably high.The need for STD prevention is especially great for nonresidential partners (unmarried and noncohabiting dating couples), who are less likely than married or cohabiting couples to be monogamous and who may engage in riskier sexual behaviors.An exception to these generalizations is the "couples sample" of Wave 3 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health).(24) There are good reasons to adopt a couples perspective to gain a better understanding of sexual behavior in general, and of sexual risk-taking in particular.