Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



Communicating about health is a topic that has been widely studied. However, communicating about sexual health provides an opportunity for us to gain insights that we do not have. Often times, research about sexual communication focuses on sexual pleasure, rather than the health aspects of sex. This research seeks to understand communication before sexual interaction with a new partner by exploring the impact of sexual partner type, ideal anticipated relationship goals, and the additional context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the application of communication privacy management and facework as a theoretical lens. Out of the sample, a smaller number of participants reported that they communicated about COVID-19 than they did about the sexual health categories. However, the survey did not provide the necessary information to make conclusions on whether or not COVID-19 impacted the discussion of sexual health topics. From the sample, face-to-face communication in person was the primary way that people communicated about sexual health. Text communication came secondary to face-to-face communication. While this research illuminated a need for further studies into this area with more diverse participants, insights were gained about how people communicate.



Committee Chair

Edwards, J. Renee



Available for download on Thursday, November 01, 2029