When the Emotions Really Started Kicking In, Which Ended Up Being a Problem: Sex, HIV, and Emotions Among Young Gay and Bisexual Men

Robert W. Moeller, Perry N. Halkitis, James A. Pollock IV., Daniel E. Siconolfi, Staci Barton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Interviews from 10 young gay and bisexual men aged 18 to 29 were examined to explore how young gay and bisexual men make decisions regarding sexual behaviors in the age of AIDS. Three main themes emerged: (a) disconnections between what an individual knows about HIV, their motivations to remain HIV-negative, and their sexual behaviors; (b) a struggle to connect emotionally and intimately with another man; and (c) a power dynamic whereby the individual acts as an autonomous decider in the decision-making process. Participants indicated high levels of HIV knowledge, and were engaged in a struggle to balance emotional experiences with sexual partners in a complex gendered dynamic. Findings from this analysis indicate a need to reexamine the social-cognitive theoretical frameworks that have guided gay men's HIV-prevention efforts, as these frameworks have failed to account for the psychologically complex emotional experiences and gender dynamics that are part of sexual decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)773-795
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Volume60
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013

Keywords

  • HIV
  • adolescence
  • emerging adulthood
  • emotion
  • gay
  • qualitative
  • sexual behavior
  • sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Psychology(all)

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