Gay men are those who tend to have a sexual relationship with other men. There are many cases of gay men having unprotected sex with other males. This practice is still prevailing despite intense campaigns by health agents. This is a strange phenomenon amongst the gay men since they continue engaging in unsafe practices while they have been informed on the risks of contracting HIV. Many suggestions have been put forward to explain what the causes of these trends are. There are several reasons that may be attributed to gay men engaging in risky sex. These reasons vary depending on the orientation and the driving force towards becoming gay.
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Why Gay Men Are Having Risky Sex
One of the major reasons for gay men engaging in risky sex is the fact that sexually transmitted diseases are mainly attributed to having sex with a person of the opposite sex. It has been perceived that bisexual relationships are the main cause of deadly diseases such as AIDS. Many gay men therefore believe that once they engage in sex with a male, it is not easy to contract the disease. This mainly occurs in the normal gay men who engage in sex with males who are not gay per se. It is triggered by the fear of engaging in bisexual activities which they believe is the cause of HIV spread all over the world.
In other circumstances, unsafe sex amongst the gay men comes as a result of use of alcohol and other drugs. While under the influence of drugs, it is normally hard to maintain self control or logic in the activities that the victim engages in. This is a factor that has affected the entire population of the people who abuse drugs, who are not necessarily gay. In a research conducted by National Association for Research and Therapy (2006) in the United States, it was established that the gays who had engaged in unprotected sex were perpetual drug users and during their last encounter, they were highly intoxicated with drugs. They also admitted knowing their positive status of HIV but still went ahead to engage in unprotected sex. This portrays another tendency or rather reason for gay men to engage in risky sex.
For those who are already infected, protected sex does not mean a lot to them. Many HIV positive gay men tend to be ignorant about the problem of re infection. This tendency is a major cause of engagement in risky sex not only in gay men, but also in bisexual partners. They do not find logic behind having protected sex while they are already infected. They do not also realize that there are many other infections that can be transmitted through this risky behavior other than HIV. It therefore means that this behavior is far much due to ignorance.
Apart from drug abuse, it has also been established that this risky sex behavior amongst the gay could be attributed to guilt and lack of self esteem (Dwayne C. Turner, 1997). Gay men have not been accepted wholly in the social context. The larger society seems to consider the behavior as unwarranted and generally awful. Some gay men living in the midst of such societies tend to be traumatized and lack self esteem. They feel guilty that the have engaged in a practice that is not accepted by the society. Due to this, they tend to take the risks involved lightly because after all, they are not of use to the society.
In the modernized word, internet dating is another factor that has largely contributed to risky sex amongst the gay men. The Denver Public Health department established that more than 41 percent of the gay men who dated their partners through the internet ended up having risky sex. (Paul Simao, 2005). This could be attributed to the fact that the issue of protective sex is not given much consideration while dating through the internet. The gay men dating through the internet tend to make appointments in places where they may not access condoms for protected sex.
In a different view point it has also been established that HIV gay men tend to have sex depending on their levels of viral loads. They tend to choose a partner whose viral load corresponds to theirs (Paul Simao, 2005). However, this is a risky behavior since viral loads are subject to change over time, and the partners rarely go for viral load tests every time they need to engage in sex. This may cause super-infection if a new strain of HIV is acquired by the victim. It therefore turns out to be a risky behavior that is also mainly attributed to dating through the internet.
With advancement in HIV therapy and Anti Retro Viral drugs to reduce the impact of infection, many gay men no longer worry about HIV infection. To them, this is not a problem so long as they can afford to buy the drugs. There are gay men who think that taking the Anti Retro Viral drugs makes it difficult for HIV to be transmitted. When people believe that it is almost impossible to acquire or transmit the virus while taking the drugs, it has been found that they have a greater tendency to have unprotected sex. On the other hand, ignorance about personal HIV status is a major cause of risky sex. Infected gay men, who are unaware of their HIV status, end up infecting unsuspecting beginners in the gay population. Knowing personal status is important for one person may reason to have protected sex with a healthy person.
The future of gay male sexuality
Gay male sexuality is currently rooted in the modern society. There have been heated up debates in various circles concerning the gay population. These debates have even caused divisions in the religious sphere, with some religious leaders accepting the practice while others condemn the behavior as ungodly. This was evident when Anglican leaders in the in America supported the installation of a gay bishop. Other religious leaders around the world rose against that decision. In the political circles, the issue of gay sexuality has taken center stage with the public divided in to two. Some supporting gay sexuality, while a majority does not. In the United States of America, the debate was largely incorporated in the presidential campaigns.
There seems to be prospects in the future of gay men sexuality if the constitution is going to allow gay unions. More people may end up joining the gay population when it will be supported by constitutions. This is because isolation of the gay population may come to an end hence promoting confidence and self esteem among the gay men. The presence of gay men in the society is not so pronounced at the moment, although it is more than it was several years ago. There is an increasing trend of the presence of gay men in the developing world. With the emergence of the internet, the number of people who access information about gay sexuality is rising and this may result in acceptance of the unions globally. Internet dating is rampant and will result in an influx of new recruits in the gay population. The gay men sexuality is under the threat of HIV. If the issue of risky sex is not addressed, the gay men sexuality may not be triumphant in future. However, with the current campaigns for protected sex, the future of gay men sexuality may be successful.
1. Dwayne C. T. (1997). Risky Sex: Gay Men and HIV Prevention. Columbia University Press.
- National Association for Research and Therapy. (2006). Risk Sex Still a Problem among Gay Males. Washington DC.
- Simao P. (2005). Internet Fuels Risky Sex in Gay, Bisexual Men: A journal on the study of the Body. Retrieved 20 November 2008 from