Union status and sexual risk behavior among men in their 30s

Nan Marie Astone, Joseph H. Pleck, Jacinda M. Dariotis, Arik V. Marcell, Mark Emerson, Samuel Shapiro, Freya L. Sonenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Understanding the relationship between union status and men's sexual risk behavior in their 30s is important to ensure appropriate reproductive health services for men in middle adulthood. Methods: Data from 1,083 men aged 34-41 who participated in the 2008-2010 wave of the National Survey of Adolescent Males were used to examine differentials in sexual risk behaviors by union status, past risk behavior and selected characteristics. Bivariate tabulations were done to assess relationships between current risk behavior and background variables, multinomial regression analysis was conducted to identify associations between union status and past risk behavior, and logistic regression analysis was used to assess associations between current behavior and both union status and past behavior. Results: Eight percent of men in their 30s had had three or more sexual partners in the last 12 months, 10% had had at least one risky partner and 8% had had concurrent partners. Men living outside coresidential unions reported higher levels of these behaviors (24%, 29% and 24%, respectively) than did married men (1-2%) or cohabiting men (7-12%). In multivariate analyses that controlled for past risk behavior, married men were less likely than cohabiting men to have had at least one risky partner or concurrent partners in the last year (odds ratio, 0.2 for each), while men who were not in a coresidential union had an increased likelihood of reporting each risk behavior (2.2-5.3). Conclusions: Men in their 30s, especially those who are not married, engage in risky sexual behaviors. Further studies are needed to assess what contributes to behavioral differences by union status and what types of services might help men in this age-group reduce their risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-209
Number of pages6
JournalPerspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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