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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19056

Title: Sex and Cyberspace: The Internet in the Sexual Lives of Men Who Have Sex With Men
Authors: Lombardo, Anthony
Advisor: Myers, Ted
Department: Dalla Lana School of Public Health
Keywords: HIV/AIDS
Internet
HIV prevention
sexual risk
Issue Date: 18-Feb-2010
Abstract: The Men, Internet, and Sex with Men Study was a qualitative inquiry into how men who have sex with men (MSM) use the Internet in their sexual lives. The study responds to calls for HIV prevention to become more resonant with men’s online experiences. Men’s use of the Internet in their sexual lives was explored through structural interactionist and social risk theories. The study was a focused ethnography, drawing on semi-structured interviews with 23 MSM from the Greater Toronto Area. The sample included men aged 20 to 61, from a variety of sexual orientations (gay, bisexual, and heterosexual) and HIV statuses. Data analysis focused on the contextual aspects of men’s use of the Internet for sexual purposes and their sexual risk behaviour. This study focused on how men’s use of the Internet for sexual purposes was situated within and influenced by the contexts of their use. The participants’ online experiences were socially-situated from the outset: men saw the Internet as a “solution” to challenges in their sexual lives; their online interactions were structured by online rules of engagement and discourse from the offline gay community; and their sexual risk behaviour was mediated by social context and sexual interactions. The participants’ stories revealed the existence of an online subculture for sex seeking. Men also talked about the links between their online and offline experiences, where the Internet played a role in developing their sexuality but could also foster isolation and addiction. The men emphasized the importance of online HIV prevention and offered suggestions on how prevention more generally might be improved. The Internet holds both promise and pitfalls for HIV prevention. The findings from this study underline the need for prevention efforts that focus on individual- and structural-level prevention which can respond to men’s experiences both online and offline.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19056
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Dalla Lana School of Public Health - Doctoral theses

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