Negotiating healthy sexuality : factors influencing dual contraceptive use by female university students in Northern Ontario
Master of Arts
SubjectContraception (Psychological aspects)
Sexually transmitted diseases (Prevention, Psychological aspects)
Condom use (Psychological aspects)
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In spite of the rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases among young women in Canada (and particularly in the North), the factors affecting the use of dual contraception to prevent both pregnancy and STDs remain an under-researched issue. This thesis examines dual contraceptive use and decision making among a group of university women aged 18 to 25 in Northern Ontario. Utilizing fifteen in-depth interviews, I explore how women negotiate healthy sexuality and contraceptive use during heterosexual sexual relationships. Though the women recognize dual contraceptive use as important for healthy sexuality, their own narratives suggest that it is not commonly practiced, particularly in relationships which are presumed to be monogamous or last more than a few months. Key factors influencing their decision making are: 1) the complexities of negotiating trust with their male partners; 2) social influences such as schools, parents, and peers; and 3) social stigma about active female sexuality which makes assertiveness in sexual encounters difficult for women. This study is the first of its nature in Northern Ontario and it has provided an opportunity to hear women’s own perspectives on factors influencing dual contraceptive use. This research also contributes to the growing body of literature on women’s reproductive health among young women in Northern Ontario.