Toward the Tailoring of Sexual Health Education Messages for Young Women: A Focus on Tourist Experiences

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Perceived anonymity and decreased influence of sexual double standards in tourism provide female travelers with opportunities for sexual experimentation and risk taking. The purpose of this study was (a) to identify the clusters of risk takers among young women based on their perceptions of and motivations for sexual risk taking in tourism and (b) to profile the clusters with respect to the psychological, sexual, demographic, and tourist characteristics. The data were collected through an online survey of 853 women (age in years: M = 23.5, SD = 6.67). Five clusters of sexual risk takers emerged based on their factor-analyzed risk perceptions and motivations. These clusters were interpreted as (a) diversely motivated broad risk perceivers; (b) fun-seeking broad risk perceivers; (c) diversely motivated physical risk perceivers; (d) anonymity- and empowerment-seeking risk disregarders; and (e) unmotivated broad risk perceivers. Women in these clusters differed in their intentions to engage in sexual risk taking in tourism, sensation-seeking propensities, perceptions of tourist characteristics, levels of sexual experience, and demographic backgrounds. Results suggest tailoring sexual health promotion messages based on cluster affiliation, leveraging cluster-specific risk perceptions, motivations, and personal characteristics. This study provides recommendations for individually tailored, context-specific, age-appropriate, and gender-sensitive sexual health education programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1171-1187
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 22 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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