Dating Risks and Sexual Health among Midlife Women after Relationship Dissolution
This chapter explores how women who become single in midlife approach dating risks and sexual health. Anxiety about finding someone, uncertainty about how to date, and risky behavior are common themes among midlife women after relationship dissolution. Income levels, parental status, and partner availability affect STI/HIV risk as well. Health providers need to be aware that newly single women might be unfamiliar with condom use, uncertain about negotiating safer sex, and unwilling to initiate discussions about safer sex with partners or health providers. Providers should also understand that newly single heterosexual women in midlife usually date older men who resist condom use through force of habit, male prerogative, or fears of impotence. It would be helpful if newly single women were informed that transitional sex is normative and that safer-sex scripts and/or a ready supply of condoms are essential tools for sexual health in the long run.
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