Survey of men's knowledge and attitudes towards sexually transmissible infections and contraception

Research status


Overview of Study

In 2014, Family Planning NSW, in partnership with the national online dating website ‘RSVP’, conducted an anonymous online survey among male online dating users to investigate their experiences, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs regarding contraceptive use and sexually transmissible infections (STIs). In total, 3781 responses were collected.

A contraceptive method was used at last intercourse for 82% of men <50 years old versus 69% of men ≥50 (P < 0.0001). Condoms (35%), vasectomy (22%) and the contraceptive pill (21%) were the most commonly used methods. Older men were less likely to use condoms than younger men (P < 0.0001).

Men had lower STI knowledge scores, lower use of condoms and greater beliefs that condoms reduced interest in sex as age increased. Younger men (aged 18–29 years) were more likely to report intentions of only having sex with a new partner if a condom was used compared with older men aged over 60 years. Men with a higher number of sexual partners in the last year were less likely to have an STI discussion with new partners or intend to use a condom with a new partner.

Findings suggest there is high contraceptive use, especially vasectomy in older men and a desire to share contraceptive decision-making with their partners, especially in long-term relationships. However, low awareness of some methods and misperceptions about hormonal contraceptive method safety, especially the emergency contraceptive pill, highlight the need for continued education for men. Online dating websites could be an effective way to access this population.

(This research project has been approved by the Family Planning NSW Ethics Committee; approval number R2013-09).



Published articles

Age differences in attitudes toward safer sex practices in heterosexual men using an Australian Internet dating

Contraception – what about the men? Experience, knowledge and attitudes: a survey of 2438 heterosexual men using an online dating service

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