For some single women over 50, negotiating condom use with sex partners can be difficult, according to a University of Florida study.
Through focus groups, the researchers found that some women felt uncomfortable approaching the subject because they didn’t want to be rejected or start a conflict.
The women generally understood how condoms reduce the risk of getting sexually-transmitted diseases, but they had different approaches with their partners regarding their use.
“I found a great deal of resistance from the men I have been dating…regarding protection,” said one woman. “He does what he wants…[Men] just don’t want to be bothered. They don’t want to be bothered and they get very annoyed and make a big deal out of nothing. And it became, at times, a power struggle.”
Many women said they carried condoms with them so that protection was always available. One suggested female condoms, which can be inserted into the vagina up to 8 hours before intercourse. “It puts the responsibility on me,” she said.
Some women said they would not continue a relationship if a partner refused to use a condom. “Like I said, if he says no, then that means he’s gone,” one woman said. “I’m trying to take the risk factor away by using a condom, but I can’t control any of the stuff that happened before me.”
The study authors noted that sexual health messages targeted to women over 50 could include advice and scripts to ease the discussion of condom use.