Risky Pleasure: Sexual Risk-Taking Behaviors in Men and Expectancy Theory

by Desmond Owusu
Psychology
Faculty advisor: Dr. Wind Goodfriend

We investigated the motives behind sexual risk-taking behaviors in men. Using expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964), it was predicted that if men view an opportunity for sexual engagement that appears to be attractive and feasible, they will be motivated to act, regardless of potential sexual risk(s). Data were collected from men recruited from a private university. Men read an online chat which either presented a sexually risky woman or a sexually conservative woman. Results are expected to show that men in the risky condition will be less likely to desire sex with target woman, more likely to state that they would use a condom while having sex with her, and less likely to state they would engage in a threesome with her. Men in the risky condition will also be more likely to take more condoms when leaving the study. Within the risky condition, men who have high scores in general tendencies toward risky behaviors will be more likely to desire sex with the target, less likely to predict using a condom while having sex with the target, and more likely to desire engaging in a threesome with the target. Implications for the sexual health of America’s youth will be discussed.