Sexual Sensation Seeking, Transactional Sex, and Rural African American Cocaine Users

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore correlates of sexual sensation seeking (SSS) in a sample of rural African American cocaine users. Respondent-driven sampling was used to recruit 251 participants from two impoverished rural counties in eastern Arkansas. Consistent with previous investigations, SSS scores were associated with being younger, being male, having more sexual partners, and having more unprotected sexual encounters in the previous 30 days. Multiple regression revealed that SSS was correlated with a number of oral sex acts, transactional sex (exchanging sex for food, shelter, drugs, money, or other commodities), and Addiction Severity Index drug composite. SSS continues to demonstrate a strong association with sexual risk behaviors in diverse populations, including vulnerable groups like this community. Interventions to reduce unsafe sexual behaviors among high-risk groups, including drug users and individuals who engage in transactional sex, should incorporate approaches that include high sensation seekers' needs for novelty and variety.

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