This qualitative study explores the sexual decision making (SDM) of a group of young New Zealand women who had previously participated in casual sex without a condom. In doing so, it helps address a gap in the literature of first-hand accounts of the factors that have influenced SDM related to sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk in New Zealand. Eleven women were interviewed with the intention of gaining a greater understanding of their SDM before, and in, the ‘heat of the moment’. Four major themes related to SDM emerged from the data: 1) the importance of being in a relationship; 2) the influence of alcohol on SDM; 3) the power of societal expectations and the women’s desire to be seen as “normal”; and 4) the sense of powerlessness many felt in negotiating condom use. The findings are discussed in relation to their relevance for sexual health promotion in the social context of New Zealand and in terms of research indicating that similar factors influence the SDM of young women in other Western countries.


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pp. 69-76
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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