Implications of treatment on sex knowledge, sex attitudes, and contraception of sexual liberal/conservative males
Haverstock, Lynda M
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Numerous studies have investigated the contribution of various aspects of female sexuality to unplanned pregnancy. Less attention has been given to males and their role in pregnancy prevention. The present study examined the differences between university males aged 17-22 years identified as extreme sexual liberals and extreme sexual conservatives on measures of sex knowledge, sexual attitudes, sexual experience, overall "general" conservatism, and views of personal contraceptive use. Demographic and other characteristics of the samples were also compared. Following pretesting, equal numbers of extreme sexual liberals/ sexual conservatives were randomly assigned to two treatment interventions, (a) a three-hour human sexuality course/small group discussion, (b) a written presentation of the material from (a), and a no-treatment control condition. Treatment effects on the sex knowledge, sexual attitudes, and attitudes toward personal contraceptive use were determined at posttesting and follow-up testing (3 weeks later) by analyses of variance with· repeated measures and analyses of covariance techniques. It was hypothesized that the sexual conservatives who participated in the human sexuality course intervention would (a) increase in sex knowledge, (b) become more liberal in their sexual attitudes, and (c) acquire more favourable attitudes toward the personal employment of contraceptives. All sexual liberals and the sexual conservatives receiving the written lecture only or assigned to the control condition were not expected to change. The results showed that the human sexuality course intervention did not appear to have any significant effect on the sex knowledge scores or sexual attitudes of the sexual conservatives across the assessment periods. Nor did one treatment condition have any more impact than any other on attitudes toward personal contraceptive use. As predicted, other findings indicated a significant inverse relationship between sex knowledge and conservative sexual attitudes, such that lower sex knowledge was associated with more conservative sexual attitudes. As well, greater sexual liberalism was significantly related to more favourable attitudes toward the personal use of birth control methods. It was also shown that religion played a more important role in the sexual value system of sexual conservatives than sexual liberals. Of the sexually active (non-virgin) subjects, 61% of sexual liberals "always" or "usually" employed contraceptives compared to 55% of sexual conservatives. This difference was not significant. Since there were 23 sexually active liberals and only 9 sexually active conservatives, it was not possible to compare these groups appropriately. It was concluded that future research should include younger male subjects, men from both college and non-college backgrounds, longer intervention times, and smaller groups. This expansion might provide a more thorough evaluation of the potential of prevention/intervention programmes.