Sexual Health Sexual Health Society
Publishing on sexual health from the widest perspective
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Contraception – what about the men? Experience, knowledge and attitudes: a survey of 2438 heterosexual men using an online dating service

Mary Stewart A B , Todd Ritter A , Deborah Bateson A , Kevin McGeechan A and Edith Weisberg A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Family Planning NSW, 328–336 Liverpool Road, Ashfield, NSW 2131, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: marys@fpnsw.org.au

Sexual Health - https://doi.org/10.1071/SH16235
Submitted: 16 December 2016  Accepted: 5 May 2017   Published online: 16 June 2017

Abstract

Background: There is little research on men’s contraceptive knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, yet the male partner is known to influence contraceptive choices. This study investigates contraceptive experiences, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of a sample of sexually active, heterosexual men via an online dating site. Methods: An anonymous online survey was sent to men who had logged onto an online dating site within the previous year. Results: We analysed 2438 survey responses. A contraceptive method was used at last intercourse for 82% of men <50 years old versus 69% of men ≥50 (P < 0.0001). Condoms (35%), vasectomy (22%) and the contraceptive pill (21%) were the most commonly used methods. Older men were less likely to use condoms than younger men (P < 0.0001). More than 80% of participants had heard of each method. The greatest perceived harm was with the emergency contraceptive pill, with 32% responding that it was ‘harmful to the health of the user’ and 37% not sure. Belief that contraception decision-making should be shared between partners increased from 57% in a ‘one-night stand’ to 75% in a casual relationship, to 92% in a long-term relationship. Conclusion: Among this sample there is high contraceptive use, especially vasectomy in older men and a desire to share contraceptive decision-making with their partners, especially in long-term relationships. However, low awareness of some methods and misperceptions about hormonal contraceptive method safety, especially the emergency contraceptive pill, highlight the need for education for men.


References

[1]  Fennell J. Men bring condoms, women take pills: men’s and women’s roles in contraceptive decision making. Gend Soc 2011; 25 496–521.
Men bring condoms, women take pills: men’s and women’s roles in contraceptive decision making.CrossRef |

[2]  Grady WR, Tanfer K, Billy JOG, Lincoln-Hanson J. Men’s perceptions of their roles and responsibilities regarding sex, contraception and childrearing. Fam Plann Perspect 1996; 28 221–6.
Men’s perceptions of their roles and responsibilities regarding sex, contraception and childrearing.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK2s%2FktFCqtg%3D%3D&md5=7323810d7664ce1886db26e692d64deeCAS |

[3]  Grady WR, Klepinger DH, Nelson-Wally A. Contraceptive characteristics: the perceptions and priorities of men and women. Fam Plann Perspect 1999; 31 168–75.
Contraceptive characteristics: the perceptions and priorities of men and women.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK1MzmsVSksQ%3D%3D&md5=fa674c665de0b8727536c658a6eaa649CAS |

[4]  Grady WR, Klepinger DH, Billy JOG, Cubbins LA. The role of relationship power in couple decisions about contraception in the U.S. J Biosoc Sci 2010; 42 307–23.
The role of relationship power in couple decisions about contraception in the U.S.CrossRef |

[5]  Forste R, Morgan J. How relationships of U.S. men affect contraceptive use and efforts to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Fam Plann Perspect 1998; 30 56–62.
How relationships of U.S. men affect contraceptive use and efforts to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK1c3it1KrsA%3D%3D&md5=2d8746605da81de80a31244d53f5f495CAS |

[6]  Fortunati LN, Floerchinger-Franks G. Men and family planning: what is their future role? J Am Assoc Nurse Pract 2001; 13 473–9.
Men and family planning: what is their future role?CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD387pslyitw%3D%3D&md5=c2aeedec0358410a06a801e57bdbd72cCAS |

[7]  Kavanaugh ML, Lindberg LD, Frost JJ. Factors influencing partners’ involvement in women’s contraceptive services. Contraception 2012; 85 83–90.
Factors influencing partners’ involvement in women’s contraceptive services.CrossRef |

[8]  Pile JM, Barone MA. Demographics of vasectomy – USA and international. Urol Clin North Am 2009; 36 295–305.
Demographics of vasectomy – USA and international.CrossRef |

[9]  Family Planning NSW. Reproductive and sexual health in Australia. Ashfield: Family Planning NSW; 2013.

[10]  Holden CA, McLachlan RI, Cumming R, Wittert G, Handelsman DJ, de Kretser DM, Pitts M. Sexual activity, fertility and contraceptive use in middle-aged and older men: men in Australia, telephone survey (MATeS). Hum Reprod 2005; 20 3429–34.
Sexual activity, fertility and contraceptive use in middle-aged and older men: men in Australia, telephone survey (MATeS).CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD2MnmtlSlsw%3D%3D&md5=68500a13d916f5fd5c2ab98a07c051d1CAS |

[11]  Smith J, Fenwick J, Skinner R, Hallet J, Merriman G, Marshall L. Sex, condoms and sexually transmissible infections: a qualitative study of sexual health in young Australian men. Arch Sex Behav 2012; 41 487–95.
Sex, condoms and sexually transmissible infections: a qualitative study of sexual health in young Australian men.CrossRef |

[12]  Ritter T, Dore A, McGeechan K. Contraceptive knowledge and attitudes among 14–24-year-olds in New South Wales, Australia. Sex Health 2015; 39 267–9.
Contraceptive knowledge and attitudes among 14–24-year-olds in New South Wales, Australia.CrossRef |

[13]  Dempsey AR, Billingsley CC, Savage AH, Korte JE. Predictors of long-acting reversible contraception use among unmarried young adults. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2012; 206 526.e1–5.
Predictors of long-acting reversible contraception use among unmarried young adults.CrossRef |

[14]  Holton S, Rowe H, Kirkman M, Jordan L, McNamee K, Bayly C, McBain J, Sinnott V, Fisher J. Long-acting reversible contraception: findings from the Understanding Fertility Management in Contemporary Australia survey. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care 2016; 21 116–31.
Long-acting reversible contraception: findings from the Understanding Fertility Management in Contemporary Australia survey.CrossRef |

[15]  Rissel C, Badcock PB, Smith AM, Richters J, de Visser RO, Grulich AE, Simpson JM. Heterosexual experience and recent heterosexual encounters among Australian adults: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships. Sex Health 2014; 11 416–26.
Heterosexual experience and recent heterosexual encounters among Australian adults: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships.CrossRef |

[16]  Richters J, Grulich AE, de Visser RO, Smith AM, Rissel CE. Sex in Australia: contraceptive practices among a representative sample of women. Aust N Z J Public Health 2003; 27 210–6.
Sex in Australia: contraceptive practices among a representative sample of women.CrossRef |

[17]  Finkel EJ, Eastwick PW, Karney BR, Reis HT, Sprecher S. Online dating: a critical analysis from the perspective of psychological science. Psychol Sci 2012; 13 3–66.
Online dating: a critical analysis from the perspective of psychological science.CrossRef |

[18]  Henry-Waring M, Barraket J. Dating and intimacy in the 21st century: the use of online dating sites in Australia. Int J Emerg Technol Soc 2008; 6 14–33.

[19]  Couch D, Liamputtong P. Online dating and mating: the use of the Internet to meet sexual partners. Qual Health Res 2008; 18 268–79.
Online dating and mating: the use of the Internet to meet sexual partners.CrossRef |

[20]  Cooper A. Sexuality and the Internet: surfing into the new millennium. Cyberpsychol Behav 1998; 1 187–93.
Sexuality and the Internet: surfing into the new millennium.CrossRef |

[21]  Hogan B, Dutton W, Li N. A global shift in the social relationships of networked individuals: meeting and dating online comes of age. Me, my spouse and the Internet. Oxford: Oxford Internet Institute; 2011.

[22]  Attrill A, Fullwood C. Applied cyberpsychology. London: Palgrave Macmillan; 2016 p.144.

[23]  Rosenfeld MJ, Thomas RJ. Searching for a mate: the rise of the internet as a social intermediary. Am Sociol Rev 2012; 77 523–47.
Searching for a mate: the rise of the internet as a social intermediary.CrossRef |

[24]  RSVP. The RSVP Date of the Nation Report 2015. http://medianet.com.au/releases/release-details?id=838333 [verified 20 April 2016].

[25]  Bateson D, Weisberg E, McCaffery K, Luscombe GM. When online becomes offline: attitudes to safer sex practices in older and younger women using an Australian internet dating service. Sex Health 2012; 9 152–9.
When online becomes offline: attitudes to safer sex practices in older and younger women using an Australian internet dating service.CrossRef |

[26]  Gielen AC, Faden RR, O’Campo P, Kass N, Anderson J. Women’s protective sexual behaviours: a test of the health belief model. AIDS Educ Prev 1994; 6 1–11.
| 1:STN:280:DyaK2c3ps1ygtg%3D%3D&md5=98ba1a4dbf0059be2ae6962ec0473255CAS |

[27]  Kusseling FS, Shapiro MF, Greenberg JM, Wenger NS. Understanding why heterosexual adults do not practice safer sex: a comparison of two samples. AIDS Educ Prev 1996; 8 247–57.
| 1:STN:280:DyaK28vgtVGktQ%3D%3D&md5=f0033c74751aa4437a1edd336b388472CAS |

[28]  Lim MSC, Hellard ME, Aitken KA, Hocking JS. Sexual-risk behaviour, self-perceived risk and knowledge of sexually transmissible infections among young Australians attending a music festival. Sex Health 2007; 4 51–6.
Sexual-risk behaviour, self-perceived risk and knowledge of sexually transmissible infections among young Australians attending a music festival.CrossRef |

[29]  Guzzo KB, Hayford SR. Race-ethnic differences in sexual health knowledge. Race Soc Probl 2012; 4 158–70.
Race-ethnic differences in sexual health knowledge.CrossRef |

[30]  Coleman PK, Nelson ES. Abortion attitudes as determinants of perceptions regarding male involvement in abortion decisions. J Am Coll Health 1999; 47 164–71.
Abortion attitudes as determinants of perceptions regarding male involvement in abortion decisions.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK1M7hvVGjsg%3D%3D&md5=fe2e3190a8816a438e00a861861aaf09CAS |

[31]  Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Rural, regional and remote health: a guide to remoteness classifications. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service; 2004.

[32]  Richters J, Fitzadam S, Yeung A, Caruana T, Rissel C, Simpson JM, de Visser RO. Contraceptive practices among women: the second Australian study of health and relationships. Contraception 2016; 94 548–55.
Contraceptive practices among women: the second Australian study of health and relationships.CrossRef |

[33]  Darroch JE. Male fertility control-where are the men? Contraception 2008; 78 S7–17.
Male fertility control-where are the men?CrossRef |

[34]  Le Guen M, Ventola C, Bohet A, Moreau C, Bajos N, FECOND group Men’s contraceptive practices in France: evidence of male involvement in family planning. Contraception 2015; 92 46–54.
Men’s contraceptive practices in France: evidence of male involvement in family planning.CrossRef |

[35]  Liu P, Swerdloff R, Wang C. Recent methodological advances in male hormonal contraception. Contraception 2010; 82 471–5.
Recent methodological advances in male hormonal contraception.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC3cXht1Kqs7fE&md5=c24ebe4615a41e6a63da34ae4b1a81d0CAS |

[36]  Wang C, Festin MPR, Swerdloff RS. Male hormonal contraception: where are we now? Curr Obstet Gynecol Rep 2016; 5 38–47.
Male hormonal contraception: where are we now?CrossRef |

[37]  Behre HM, Zitzmann M, Anderson RA, Handelsman DJ, Lestari SW, McLachlan RI, Meriggiola MC, Misro MM, Noe G, Wu FC, Festin MP, Habib NA, Vogelsong KM, Callahan MM, Linton KA, Colvard DS. Efficacy and safety of an injectable combination hormonal contraceptive for men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2016; 101 4779–88.
Efficacy and safety of an injectable combination hormonal contraceptive for men.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC2sXktlCmtbs%3D&md5=933326722f53dd8612fab47811ffac8bCAS |

[38]  Waller D, Bolick D, Lissner E, Premanandan C, Gamerman G. Azoospermia in rabbits following an intravas injection of Vasalgel™. Basic Clin Androl 2016; 26 6
Azoospermia in rabbits following an intravas injection of Vasalgel™.CrossRef |

[39]  Randolph ME, Pinkerton SD, Bogart LM, Cecil H, Abramson PR. Sexual pleasure and condom use. Arch Sex Behav 2007; 36 844
Sexual pleasure and condom use.CrossRef |

[40]  Weisberg E, Bateson D, Read C, Estoesta J, Lee C. Fertility control? Middle-aged Australian women’s retrospective reports of their pregnancies. Aust N Z J Public Health 2008; 32 390–2.
Fertility control? Middle-aged Australian women’s retrospective reports of their pregnancies.CrossRef |

[41]  de Crespigny LJ, Savulescu J. Pregnant women with fetal abnormalities: the forgotten people in the abortion debate. Med J Aust 2008; 188 100–3.

[42]  Australian Bureau of Statistics. Births, Australia 2010. ABS Cat. No. 3301.0 Canberra: ABS; 2010. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/3301.0Main+Features12010?OpenDocument [verified 19 April 2016].

[43]  Calabretto H. Emergency contraception: knowledge and attitudes in a group of Australian university students. Aust N Z J Public Health 2009; 33 234–9.
Emergency contraception: knowledge and attitudes in a group of Australian university students.CrossRef |

[44]  World Health Organization. Media Centre. Emergency contraception: fact sheet. 2016. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs244/en/ [verified19 April 2016].

[45]  Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Guidance for provision of a pharmacist only: levonorgestrel. 2011. http://familyplanningallianceaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/PSA-Guidelines-on-EC.pdf [verified 19 April 2016].

[46]  Australian Bureau of Statistics. Education and work, Australia, May 2015. ABS Cat. No. 6227.0 http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/556A439CD3D7E8A8CA257242007B3F32?Opendocument [verified 20 April 2016].

[47]  Australian Bureau of Statistics. Reflecting a nation: stories from the 2011 census, 2012–2013: cultural diversity in Australia. ABS Cat. No. 2071.0 http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/2071.0main+features902012-2013 [verified 20 April 2016].



Supplementary MaterialSupplementary Material (80 KB) Export Citation

View Altmetrics