A Kinsey Institute study of 1,500 men, nearly 40% of whom self-identified as gay, shows that some men--maybe as many as 10% to 20%--are predisposed to unsafe sex, particularly in response to stress and depression, USA Today reports. Although most men lose interest in sex when depressed or anxious, the Kinsey study showed that some become more aroused under such conditions and are apt to seek out casual sex, said John Bancroft, Kinsey Institute director and the study's author.
Men who were labeled "Type T," or risk takers, by the study also were among the most likely to have unprotected casual sex. The threat of catching a sexually transmitted disease, including HIV, did not seem to have any effect on the behavior of these men, according to the study. "They get excited despite the threat," Bancroft told USA Today.
Eli Coleman, director of the human sexuality program at the University of Minnesota, said traditional safer-sex campaigns are likely to fail with those who engage in unprotected sex when depressed or under stress as well as with thrill seekers. He suggests prevention programs should emphasize how mental health affects sexual behavior. "Nobody is predestined for dangerous sex," he told USA Today. "But telling them 'Just use a condom' isn't enough to stop the behavior."