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(37) In this article, we examine how power weights the decision-making process toward one partner or the other, by elevating or reducing the importance of a person's beliefs or characteristics.
Power differences between partners in gender role ideology and other dimensions of power can also lead to differences in beliefs about level of control over sex and contraception.
At most, studies obtain proxy reports from one partner about the other partner's characteristics, behavior and attitudes.
Here, we address this limitation by using data from the National Couples Survey to examine how the self-reported characteristics, attitudes and behaviors of each partner are related to dating couples sexual risk-taking.
First, most sexual behavior occurs within a close relationship and cannot be separated from that relationship.
(4,29) Third, adopting a couples perspective allows examination of the effects on sexual risk-taking of a range of potentially important factors, including power within the relationship.
An exception to these generalizations is the "couples sample" of Wave 3 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health).
(24) There are good reasons to adopt a couples perspective to gain a better understanding of sexual behavior in general, and of sexual risk-taking in particular.
Specifically, we examine whether the couple had anal sex during the four weeks prior to the interview and whether they did anything during that time to protect themselves from STDs.
Our analyses advance prior research in two other important ways.
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(30) Despite the norm of egalitarianism in romantic relationships in the United States, power imbalances occur.