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Desire and risk: Sick, bad or ‘hot’?

Desire and risk: Sick, bad or ‘hot’?

Some gay men find sexual behaviours that are high risk for HIV transmission especially desirable. Such desires, and acting on them, have often been portrayed in pathological terms. We investigated the desire for and practice of risky sex among Australian gay men. Pleasure and Sexual Health was an online survey of 2306 Australian gay men recruited during mid-2009. 

The majority of men were very excited by the prospect of ejaculation inside their partners, either orally (62.9%) or anally (58.8%), and equally by the prospect of their partners ejaculating inside them, either orally (55.2%) or anally (53.6%). However, only a minority (26.3%) reported any unprotected anal intercourse with casual partners (UAIC) in the previous six months. While these risky desires also correlated strongly with recent UAIC (p< 0.001), there was little indication that such desires, or their practice, were related to low self-esteem or lower education. Men who were very excited by and engaged in these risky behaviours were, however, more socially involved with other gay men and identified more strongly as gay (p< 0.001). They also tended to identify more strongly with sexually adventurous gay subcultures.
The desire for sexual behaviours that are higher risk for HIV transmission is not necessarily evidence of low self esteem or social isolation. Such desires often reflect the kinds of sexual milieus in which individuals participate. They might participate in these subcultures because of their desires or their desires might change in response to their social context.

Conference: WAS Glasgow 2011
Areas of Interest / Categories: Desire, Epidemiology, HIV, Homosexuality, Sexual Risk Behaviour, WAS 2011

WAS 2011

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