Contextual factors surrounding anal intercourse in women: Implications for sexually transmitted infection/HIV prevention

Shauna Stahlman*, Alanna E. Hirz, Ali Stirland, Sarah Guerry, Pamina M. Gorbach, Marjan Javanbakht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Our objectives were to describe women's reasons for engaging in anal intercourse (AI), contextual factors surrounding AI, and how these vary by current rectal sexually transmitted infection (STI) status, and to assess women's knowledge and concerns about rectal infections. Methods: Between January 2011 and June 2013, we conducted semistructured, qualitative interviews among 40 women attending public sexually transmitted disease clinics in Los Angeles County, California. Women were eligible if theywere at least 18 years of age, reportedAI in the past 90 days, and were tested for rectal Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Interviews, which were guided by the theory of gender and power, were transcribed and coded to explore contextual factors surrounding AI. Results: On average, participants reported having 3 AI partners in their lifetime and most (n = 30) reported being in a serious relationship with a main/regular sex partner at the time of the interview.Motivations for engaging in AI and feelings about AI varied by rectal STI status. Women with a rectal STI more prominently conveyed the idea that AI was intended to please their sexual partner, whereas those who did not have a rectal STI reported AI more as a way to increase intimacy and personal sexual gratification. Almost all women (regardless of rectal STI status) reported limited to no knowledge about the risk of rectal STIs. Conclusions: Among women, risk of acquiring rectal STIs may vary by reason for engaging in unprotected AI aswell as other contextual factors. Providers should consider addressing these contextual factors to reduce risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-368
Number of pages5
JournalSexually transmitted diseases
Issue number7
StatePublished - 11 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


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