STI-Testing Decisions: Delay, Attitude, and Stigma
My dissertation aims to examine the factors relating to STI-testing decision-making (STI = sexually transmitted infection). Specifically, I'm looking at how wait times (delay) in health care affect people's likelihood of getting tested for STIs. I'm also examining how controlled, deliberative attitudes (measured by self-reported measures) and uncontrolled, automatic attitudes (measured by 'implicit' measures) toward STIs or STI testing affect people's likelihood of getting tested for STIs, especially when the STI test is delayed. Additionally, I'm interested in the impact of STI-related stigma on decisions to wait for delayed STI tests.
Safer Sex Behavior
My research examines safer sex behavior, especially condom-use behavior, using several methods, such as sexual discounting tasks (see below) and self-reported measures. I'm also studying unprotected sex in men who have sex with men (MSM), especially those who seek sexual partners from online dating applications (Grindr). Our past projects examined many factors (e.g., internalized homonegativity) relating to unprotected sex in MSM and young MSM using online dating applications.
In sexual discounting studies, we apply the delay and probability discounting framework to examine how safe sex is devalued (or discounted) as a function of (a) delay until condom availability (i.e., when a condom is not immediately available) or (b) probability of having safe sex (i.e., a condom decreases the probability of having sex). Aside from traditional sexual discounting tasks, I also developed a new sexual discounting task called "Sexual Arousal Discounting (SAD)." The SAD tests how people discount safe sex as a function of reduced sexual arousal via condom use. Generally speaking, we found that people's willingness to have condom-protected sex decreased when sexual arousal decreased due to condom use. Moreover, the effect of sexual arousal can be moderated by partner desirability (or attractiveness) and a target of reduced arousal (self vs. partner).
Hookup and Casual Sex
Hookup and casual sex, especially in women, has long been one of my main research interests. For example, I'm interested in individual differences in preference for casual sex (e.g., sociosexual orientation). I'm also interested in factors (e.g., motives to have casual sex) that predict psychological and sexual outcomes (e.g., orgasm) in casual sex. My research usually emphasize sex positivity, examining the factors relating to women's positive sexual experiences (e.g., orgasm, sexual satisfaction) in hope of reducing disparities in sexual well-being and destigmatizing women in casual sexual relationships.
Sexual Function and Satisfaction
Sexual function (especially orgasm) and satisfactions have also been one of my main research interests for years. Many studies that looked at differences in orgasm usually focus on the between-sex differences (men vs. women). However, I'm more interested in the within-sex differences in orgasm, especially among women. Existing literature shows that many women (with or without sexual dysfunction) have orgasm difficulties at least occasionally, especially when having sex with unfamiliar partners (e.g., casual sex partners). Thus, I'm interested in the factors associated with orgasm or orgasm difficulties in women. Additionally, my research also focuses on the predictors of sexual enjoyment when orgasm does not occur (i.e., enjoyment of sex without orgasm) because many people (especially women) do not always orgasm during sexual activities but can still be sexually satisfied.
Sexual Health, Sexual Well-Being, and Dating Behavior in Single People
I have conducted several studies regarding sexual health and well-being in single people. For example, some of my studies looked at how partner sexual interest or future dating opportunity affect condom-use decision-making in single people. Regarding dating and sexual behavior, in one study we are examining how single people lower their dating standards for potential mates as a function of duration of staying single. In another study, we are looking at dating and sexual lives of single people during the COVID-19 pandemic (and how they are affected by social distancing). Last, I'm interested in how relationship-seeking attitudes (e.g., desire for a relationship), fear of being single, and singlehood stigma affect dating, sexual health, and sexual well-being (e.g., orgasm) in single people.
Sexual Information Avoidance
Besides avoidance of sexual health information (as discussed above), I'm also interested in avoidance of other sexual information. In one study consisting of both partners in a romantic relationship, I examine the effect of perceived sexual skill on one's own and their partner's sexual satisfaction using an actor-partner independent model (APIM). I'm interested in how people avoid knowing about their partner's perception of their attractiveness and sexual performance, and how this avoidance affects their partner's sexual satisfaction.