Intimacy and risky sexual behavior - What does it have to do with death?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The current series of studies was conducted to explore the interplay between death awareness, fear of intimacy, and unsafe sex. In Study 1 (n = 73), making mortality salient led to higher willingness to engage in risky sexual behaviors, in comparison to a control condition. In addition, only in the mortality salience condition, lower fear of intimacy was assodated with higher sexual risk taking. Moreover, higher accessibility of death-related thoughts was found either following induction of thoughts about risky sex in Study 2 (n = 68), or upon the induction of thoughts about fear of intimacy in Study 3 (n = 74), in comparison to the induction of thoughts about a neutral theme. The findings extended Terror Management Theory to the realm of risky sexual behavior and are discussed in view of the terror management function of close relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865-887
Number of pages23
JournalDeath Studies
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2004


Dive into the research topics of 'Intimacy and risky sexual behavior - What does it have to do with death?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this