Motivational factors in the practice of having multiple concurrent sexual partners: a study of students in a South African university.
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The practice of multiple concurrent sexual partnerships is not a new phenomenon. It has been reported in many places over the years. Studies show that engaging in such behaviour makes one more likely to contract STIs and STDs. With the current HIV pandemic facing South Africa, motivating factors for engaging in such a risky practice need to be explored. This research investigated the factors that motivate the practice of multiple concurrent sexual partnerships. Four research questions were formulated to guide the study: 1) What are students’ perceptions of the concept of multiple concurrent sexual partnerships? 2) What are students’ views on people’s motivations for engaging in multiple concurrent sexual partnership? 3) To what extent do students believe that there is a gender difference in the practice of having multiple concurrent partnership? What are the students’ reasons for holding such opinions? 4) What about masculinity may or may not drive men to have multiple concurrent sexual partnership? In all, 21 participants (13 Males and 8 Females) took part in the research. Data was collected by 7 individual interviews consisting of 4 female participants and 3 male participants, 1 paired interview consisting of 2 female participants, one all male focus group discussion consisting of 7 male participants and by one mixed-gender focus group discussion consisting of 2 female participants and 3 male participants and was analysed using thematic analysis. Results showed that there are numerous factors such as being intoxicated, the urge of sexual drive, and experimentation amongst others that motivate people to engage in this practice. It was also discovered that some gender differences exist in the practice of having multiple concurrent partners and that masculinity is important socially. The implications of the findings were examined, and recommendations were made for improved policy and practice in this domain.