Currently in clinical trials, microbicides have historically been promoted as a woman-controlled (although more recently woman initiated) method of sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention. The contradicition that exists in this rationale is that women's bodies, specifically the genitals, have been constructed as a negotiated space within sexual interactions. This study qualitatively explored the factors influencing 40 young women's use of a vaginal moisturizer (VM), utilized as a microbicide surrogate. The results indicated that use of the VM was dependent upon product characteristics (i.e., the lubricating qualities affect on sexual pleasure, timing of insertion), individual factors (i.e., reproductive health goals, experiences with side effects of existing contraceptive methods), and contextual factors (i.e., social norms). An understanding of these bodily and social issues may be beneficial in designing targeted educational campaigns and effective instructional materials as well as in facilitating positive dialogue around women's bodies and their sexuality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Sociology and Political Science
- History and Philosophy of Science