• 19
    Sep
  • Differences in Perceptions of What Constitutes Having “Had Sex”: RESULTS

The mean age of the sample was 37.5 years, with a range between 19-68 years of age. Seventy-seven percent of the sample was male, 23% female; 25% was white, 52% African-American, 19% Latino, and 4% did not identify with any of the above categories. Additionally, 68.4% of male respondents indicated male sex partners within the last 10 years, while 28.1% of females indicated female sex partners.

The survey sample represented 33% of the 842 HIV-infected patients in care at the AIDS Arms Inc./Peabody Health Center (PHC) in Dallas at that time, which exclusively sees an HIV-infected population. Comparatively, the population of PHC was 27% female, 22% white, 64% African-American, 12% Latino, with an average age of 37. Demograph-ically, the survey sample closely mirrors the larger HIV/AIDS-infected population in Dallas. Surveillance data from the Dallas County Health Department indicate that, in 2003, females made up 20-24% of HIV/AIDS cases. Our sample slightly overrepresents the proportion of HIV-positive African Americans (which ranges between 41-46% in county surveillance data) and underrepresents whites (35-39%). However, in recent years, HIV infection has been rapidly increasing among African Americans in Dallas while proportionately dropping among whites.

Table 1. Gender

Number and Percentage of “Yes” Responses when Asked, “Would You Say You Had Sex If. ..?”
Questions Males (n=215) Females (n=64) Overall (n=279)
A. oral contact with your breasts or nipples? 83 (38.8%)

22 (36.1%)

105 (38.2%)
B. you touched a person’s genitals?1 122 (57.Q%)

26 (40.6%)

148 (53.2%)
C. oral contact with another person’s breasts or nipples? * 101 (47.0%)

14 (21.9%)

115 (41.2%)
D. For males: your penis in a person’s anus? 168 (78.9%)*

0 (n/a)

168 (78.9%)
E. you had penile-vaginal intercourse? 170 (80.2%)

46 (83.6%)

216 (80.9%)
F. you touched another person’s breasts?5 89 (41.6%)

13 (21.3%)

102 (37.1%)
G. oral contact with your genitals?Ґ 172 (80.0%)

41 (66.1%)

213 (76.9%)
H. oral contact with another person’s genitals?* 166 (77.6%)

41 (64.1%)

207 (74.5%)
1. deep kissing? 75 (34.9%)

26 (41.3%)

101 (36.3%)
J. a person’s penis in your anus?* 168 (78.5%)

31 (48.4%)

199 (71.6%)
K. a person touched your breasts? 72 (33.6%)

27 (42.2%)

99 (35.6%)
L. a person touched your genitals? 123 (57.7%

27 (45.0%)

150 (54.9%)
t Data are significant at p=0.021; % Data are significant at p=0.000; § Data are significant at p=0.003; ¥ Data are significant at p=0.027;
* Data are significant at p=0.034

Table 1 depicts the overall “valid” percentages of persons answering “yes” to the “would you say you had sex if…?” question (includes only those who answered “yes” or “no”) along with a breakdown by gender. While penile-vaginal intercourse had the highest percentage of “yes” responses, a substantial amount of respondents felt that this was not sex (19.1%).

Breast contact behaviors (questions A, C, F and K) and deep kissing (question I, 36.3%) received the lowest percentages of overall “yes” responses. However, there were significant gender differences for С (you had oral (mouth) contact with a person’s breasts or nipples, p<0.001) and F (you touched, fondled or manually stimulated a person’s breasts or nipples, p=0.003). In each of these cases, males were much more likely to attribute the behavior as sex. Female responses on breast contact items also varied markedly when considering the directionality of the behavior, with many being more likely to say they had sex when they were the recipient.

Table 2. Ethnicity

Number and Percentage of “Yes” Responses when Asked, “Would You Say You Had Sex If…?”
Questions African Americans (n= =145) Latinos (n=53) Whites (n=70)
A. oral contact with your breasts or nipples?

54 (37.2%).

19 (38.8%)

29 (41.4%)
B. you touched a person’s genitals?*

65 (45.1%)

33 (62.3%)

45 (64.3%)
C. oral contact with another person’s breasts or nipples? 62 (42.8%)   ‘

18 (34.0%)

33 (47.1%)
D. For males: your penis in a person’s anus?*

75 (73.5%)

30 (71.4%)

59 (93.7%)
E. you had penile-vaginal intercourse?

109 (76.8%)

36 (80.0%)

62 (89.9%)
F. you touched another person’s breasts?

56 (38.6%)

16 (31.4%)

27 (39.1%)
G. oral contact with your genitals?5

107 (73.8%)

38 (74.5%)

64 (91.4%)
H. oral contact with another person’s genitals?5

102 (70.3%)

36 (69.2%)

64 (91.4%)
1. deep kissing?

53 (36.6%)

24 (46.2%)

22 (31.4%)
J. a person’s penis in your anus?§

96 (66.2%)

32 (61.5%)

64 (91.4%0
K. a person touched your breasts?

50 (34.5%)

17 (32.7%)

28 (40.0%)
L. a person touched your genitals?

69 (48.3%)

30 (60.0%)

46 (66.7%)
t Data are significant at p=0.026; % Data are significant at p=< Э.006; § Data are significant at p=0.000

In contrast to breast contact items, for genital contact items (questions B, G, H and L), neither sex varied substantially according to directionality of the behavior. Males perceived oral genital contact (receptive p=0.027, active p=0.034) and touching another person’s genitals (p=0.021), to be sex at significantly higher levels than females. Female respondents were less likely than males (p<0.001) to consider they that had sex after receptive anal intercourse. In addition, male respondents did not differentiate at all in viewing receptive (78.5%) and insertive (78.9%) anal intercourse as having had sex.

Table 2 depicts “valid” percentages of “yes” responses by ethnicity (African-American, Latino and white). Overall, white respondents consistently had higher percentages of “yes” responses than the other two groups (except for item I, deep kissing, where they had the lowest percentage). Whites were also the only group that had >90% of respondents answer affirmatively to any question (D, G, H and J).

Respondents among all three ethnic groups provided their lowest percentages for breast contact and deep kissing items, and there were no significant differences between groups for these behaviors. The directionality of breast contact behavior did not alter the responses for any group. Latinos provided a higher percentage of affirmative responses for deep kissing than for any of the breast contact items, and they were unique in this respect.

Directionality also did not appear to be a factor for any group’s response to genital contact items (B, G, H and L). White respondents were significantly more likely than African Americans or Latinos to state that oral genital contact (p<0.001 for items G and H) was sex. African Americans were less likely than either Latinos or whites to perceive touching another person’s genitals (p=0.026 for question B) as sex. This same occurrence approached significance as well (p=0.06) when directionality was reversed (question L).

Whites were significantly more likely than African Americans or Latinos to state that they would have had sex after either receptive or active anal sex (p=0.006 and p<0.001, respectively). The directionality of the anal sex items did not alter white responses.

Within ethnic groups, African Americans and Latinos gave their highest number of “yes” responses to “penile-vaginal intercourse” (76.8%) and 80%, respectively). In contrast, whites gave higher “yes” percentages for anal contact (93.7% for active, 91.4%) for receptive) and oral contact (91.4%) for active and receptive) than for penile-vaginal intercourse (89.9%).

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