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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. The explosive growth in Internet use by MSM to find sexual partners has been noted in the research literature. Experiences of rejection and a perceived hierarchy of value in the sexual market based on race had definite costs for these MSM using these online sites. Furthermore, the private and solitary nature of seeking partners online meant that there was little to buffer the corrosive aspects of those negative experiences.
These online dynamics have implications for the power balance in Internet-mediated sexual liaisons, including sexual decision-making and sexual risk. Use of the Internet as a fast and efficient means of accessing sexual partners has grown in popularity among men who have sex with men MSMand has been linked with of sexual partners, sexual risk behavior, and sexually-transmitted diseases Benotsch et al. Websites specific to MSM have emerged, catering to sexual connections between men in given geographic regions.
Some see this increasing use of the Internet as having transformed the norms of gay male socialization and sexual pursuit Bolding et al. However, it also creates a milieu in which personal characteristics become commodities with definable market values.
Understanding the impact this may have on MSM of color, directly and indirectly affecting partner selection processes, is important to the comprehension of their sexual networks and decision-making. Certain niche or specialty sites exist to facilitate connections between men who do not fit stereotypic ideals of the gay community -- e. The gay community may provide supportive social networks for some MSM that negate the impact of homophobia and prejudices of mainstream U.
Sexual hook-ups are facilitated by two general formats online, which have their points of overlap: personal and chat-rooms specific to MSM. Websites with online allow men to rapidly post particulars of themselves and desired sexual encounters, and allow others to review large s of such personals rapidly. Interested parties contact one another via or instant messaging [IM] on member-based sites if both are onlinewhich can then lead to a hook-up if mutually agreeable.
If potentially interested in another person in the chat room, an individual can access their profile to readily see if there are points of convergence between attributes and interests of both parties. This research focuses on the online experiences of men with respect to the impact of posted personal and profiles -- the Internet forum used by most men in our sample for sexual connections. While some prior research has explored the online experiences of MSM of color, these studies have been far more limited in scope, both with respect to data collection and to exploration of the impact of the racialized nature of this virtual environment.
Poon and colleagues conducted a qualitative exploration of the online experiences of Asian primarily Chinese MSM in Toronto, but these were men who specifically used Internet chatrooms, were not interviewed face-to-face, and were primarily describing their reasons for such use with consideration of implications for HIV prevention. Our research data come from a series of group and individual qualitative interviews that explored the sexual and social relationships of MSM of color, and both race-based and heterosexist-based experiences of discrimination and exclusion. The Internet-specific occurrences they reported emerged out of a discussion of their broader social and sexual relationships with other MSM.
The relatively unstructured nature of these interviews provided an opportunity for these MSM of color to provide in-depth s of the subjective impact of Internet-based racism and racialized sexual preferences. The consistency in which the themes described in our findings unfold across these interviews provides a forceful impression of the felt realities of these MSM. We conducted a two-part qualitative study in Los Angeles as part of the initial developmental process for a larger quantitative study examining the impact of social contexts influencing sexual risk behavior for African American, Latino, and API MSM.
In particular, we were interested in examining racism and discrimination within the mainstream gay male community, and within-group social pressures and supports. The men in both qualitative samples were recruited with the aid of a Meet for sex Ada marketing firm, by publicizing the study online e. We began with a series of focus groups to elicit broader themes for the subgroups under study, and followed this by individual in-depth interviews informed by the focus group data. The focus group moderator had an extensive background in group facilitation, as well as Meet for sex Ada years of experience working on MSM-specific research projects.
The individual interviews utilized semi-structured open-ended questionnaires, and were conducted by two of the study investigators. All group and individual interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Focus groups were 2 hours in length and held in specially deed rooms for such groups in the offices of a professional marketing firm. In July and August of6 focus groups were held with men who a were between 18 and 50 years old, b reported having sex with other men within the past 6 months, c reported having had a new male sexual partner in the past 12 months, d were African American, API, or Latino, and e resided in Los Angeles County.
We kept the upper age limit at 50 years to ensure greater homogeneity to group membership and participant experiences, as these commonalities may facilitate communication flow Brown, As we were interested in respondents' experiences in seeking out and finding new sexual and dating partners, our inclusion criteria identified minimal prerequisites that we felt would identify those sexually active and meeting new men for sex.
Mean age was Between December and Augustwe conducted 35 individual in-depth interviews with men who reported sex with other men in the prior 6 months, lived in the Los Angeles area, and were African American, Latino, or API. Sixteen men were 18 to 29 years old; 19 men were 30 years or older. There was no upper limit on age in these interviews. The age range was 20 to 60 years, with a mean age of Among these men, one of the 11 Latino men was foreign-born, as were 9 of the 12 API men; the African American respondents were all born in the United States.
The focus group guide was defined in broad strokes determined by the need to explore issues and dynamics critical to our subsequent research, as well as to inform the development of new quantitative measures. The individual interviews were meant to expand upon topics examined in the focus groups. Thus, this mode of data collection allowed for in-depth discussion of experiences in meeting sexual and dating partners, general partner selection preferences, the influence of one's social network, experiences of and the impact of discrimination and racism, personal coping strategies, and sexual risk practices.
After the first 10 interviews, 3 months were spent reviewing transcripts, developing ideas about the initial data, and refining our interview guide, allowing for an iterative process of exploration of the research topics see Frankel, The analysis of both focus group data and individual interview data followed a similar course, with the coding of individual interviews building upon the work done on focus group transcripts. A multi-disciplinary team of investigators initially read through transcripts together to generate descriptive for coding that incorporated both the topic areas defined by the interview outlines and the constructs that emerged from the text.
Once investigators had agreed upon an initial set of text Meet for sex Ada, transcripts were divided among the investigators for coding. All transcripts were double-coded and the discussed in meetings of coders until consensus was achieved. This iterative process led to a continual refinement of constructs and the definition of new codes for themes. Use of the Internet for partner selection was common for our respondents, especially among younger men.
They described use of a variety of internet sites targeting MSM, ranging from those in which one simply posted seeking other men e. Among the key considerations for our sample common to the research literature were a ready access to particularized group of men defined by such factors as demographic characteristics, geographic location, and preferred sexual behaviors, and b the ability to present and discuss their preferences frankly in relative anonymity.
These sites also gave men the ability to partition their sexual lives from their social lives sometimes a reflection of their own openness about their sexuality in general, other times simply a matter of avoiding judgments or reactions from other MSM. For me a little bit different 'cause I am bisexual so, you know … So if I'm in a mood to like go online and actually have sex [with men] I'll go online and I can find somebody and for me it's just not -- I'm not looking for any type of relationship, at all, … it is, is just like for the moment.
It's an easier, it's a more convenient way for people to hook up, because, you know, you have no one else around. Finally, men commented frequently on the ease of both initiating and terminating contacts with men with minimal social awkwardness.
These sites provide a curious meld of the private and public arenas, with interactions a fusion of intimacy and remoteness. A mouse click could immediately end an online connection, and the norms on such Internet sites place little emphasis on civility or concern for others' feelings.
It's an easier form of communication 'cause when I look at the way it's written down. Friends, it's all social, you have to see them face to face. So you know, there's a Meet for sex Ada fear of like basically someone's reaction towards you or acceptance of you. You can have a different identity, you can be anyone who you want to be, and it's easier for you to turn someone down.
And a lot of times when you're rejected, you know, sometimes you could care less 'cause it's not face to face. However, that ease of initiating contact with other men and meeting for casual sex was something about which men reported some ambivalence:. Just too easy. Like if you can, if it's really needed and you want to get somebody in ten minutes, then it can happen. But if you, if it's that easy to get them, then I'd be suspicious. Like you can conversate [sic] with them but you don't conversate, 'cause you don't conversate when you want to have sex with him.
I don't know, that's how I feel. That's why you're on there. But there's Meet for sex Ada a sense that you're devaluing human life or the human experience in a way, 'cause there's no foreplay. The ways in which online communication facilitates both contact with other MSM and the ability to terminate such connections with impunity comes sharply into focus in the ways in which race and preferences are discussed. The anonymity of the Internet also meant that men could express blatantly racist comments in exchanges of messages and be shielded from any real-time interpersonal or social consequences.
I think that some of the racial, like the racial differences are more obvious and more expressed. Everything is a lot cruder so there's no subtlety or nuance. However, when I'm online it's a constant reminder in terms of … the details of the ad and the specifics. That's me. It's constantly in your face. This demand might not only be dissonant with interviewees' own sense of identity, but also lead them to collude with those who would imbue such with a putative legitimacy.Meet for sex Ada
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Internet Sex for MSM and Partner Selection Criteria: The Potency of Race/Ethnicity Online