What's in a term? How gay and bisexual men understand barebacking

Perry N. Halkitis, Leo Wilton, Paul Galatowitsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines conceptual understandings, definitions, and practices of barebacking in a sample of 227 gay and bisexual men recruited from four gay venues in the New York Metropolitan area. Findings demonstrated that 21% of the participants identified as HIV-negative (HIV−) and 61.7% as HIV-positive (HIV+). While 90% of the sample was familiar with the term “barebacking, ” differences were noted in conceptual understandings and practices of bare-backing between HIV+ and HIV− men. In particular, the findings suggest that these men were more likely to socialize and have sex with seroconcordant partners and that these patterns of socialization may shape attitudes and practices about barebacking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-48
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 21 2005


  • Aids
  • Anal sex
  • Barebacking
  • Bisexual
  • Gay
  • Hiv
  • Homosexuality
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • Oral sex
  • Sexual practices
  • Unsafe sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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