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Author Notes:

Corresponding Author: Jason W. Mitchell, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, 1120 NW 14th Street, Suite 1021, Miami, FL 33136, USA. Email: jwm35@med.miami.edu

Special thanks are extended to the participants for their time and effort.

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


Research Funding:

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health under Grant R34 MH102098 (PI Mitchell J).


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
  • male couples
  • sexual agreements
  • qualitative
  • formation
  • establishment
  • MEN
  • RISK

Illuminating the Context and Circumstances of Male Couples Establishing a Sexual Agreement in Their Relationship


Journal Title:

American Journal of Men's Health


Volume 11, Number 3


, Pages 600-609

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


A sexual agreement is an explicit mutual understanding made between two partners about which sexual and relational behaviors they agree to engage in within and/or outside of their relationship. Factors that prompt male couples to form a sexual agreement and under what circumstances remain underinvestigated, yet are important considerations for development of couples-based sexual health and HIV prevention interventions. By using thematic analysis with qualitative dyadic data from a convenience sample of 29 HIV-negative male couples, the present study sought to describe the timing and investigate the context and circumstances that led male couples to establish a sexual agreement in their relationship at both the individual and couple levels, and by agreement type. Themes identified for when a sexual agreement was formed included within the first 6 months, and after 6 months in the relationship. Themes related to context and circumstances of couples’ sexual agreement formation were as follows: (a) desire for sexual exploration, (b) arisen circumstances or events with other men, (c) influences from past relationship(s) and/or other couples (i.e., peers), (d) to protect against HIV, and (e) purposeful conversations versus understood. Findings suggest HIV prevention efforts should include skill-building exercises to help improve communication and promote sex positivity within male couples’ relationships.

Copyright information:

© The Author(s) 2016.

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