Leveraging a relationship-based sexual health framework for sexual risk prevention in adolescent men in the United States

Devon J. Hensel, Casey L. Bales, Julia F. Taylor, J. Dennis Fortenberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Studies link sexual health to lower sexual risk in adolescent women, yet no empirical literature evaluates these associations in adolescent men. Methods: Data were drawn from a longitudinal cohort study of sexual relationships and sexual behaviour among adolescent men (n = 72; 14-16 years) in the US. Participants contributed quarterly partner-specific interviews, from which sexual health information and partnered sexual behaviours were drawn. A multidimensional measure of sexual health was constructed and linked to partnered outcomes, including oral-genital, vaginal and anal sex, condom use, partner concurrency and intimate partner violence. Random intercept, mixed-effects linear, ordinal logistic or binary logistic regression were for analyses. Models controlled for participant age, race/ethnicity and relationship length. Results: Adolescent men contributed 651 unique partner-specific interviews. A higher sexual health score with partners was significantly associated with more frequent oral-genital and vaginal sex, as well as higher condom use, lower partner concurrency and lower received and perpetuated intimate partner violence. Conclusion: Positive sexually related experiences in adolescent men contribute to a core of sexual wellbeing, which in turn is linked to lower levels of sexual risk with partners. The present study data support both developmental and public health applications of sexual health, with attention on promoting healthy sexuality as well as risk reduction. Higher sexual health among adolescent men from the US is associated with more frequent condom use, lower partner concurrency and less frequent intimate partner violence. Young men's exercising the skills associated with healthy sexuality may also reinforce the skills needed to both enjoy sexuality with partners and to avoid adverse sexual outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-245
Number of pages8
JournalSexual Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • condom use
  • intimate partner violence
  • partner concurrency
  • sexual behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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