Differential processes of ‘Internet’ versus ‘real life’ sexual filtering and contact among men who have sex with men

Special issue: Internet and Sexuality

We studied the behaviors and sexual contacts in 1,000 Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), and behaviors for main and casual partners, and between Internet and In Real Life (IRL) sexual contacts for non-main partners. Data establish different patterns of MSM courtships and a pattern of partner acquisition. Data indicate the process of filtering, courtship, and / or negotiating for sex (including positioning) is different for Internet-acquired and IRL-acquired partners. There are more steps in the Internet process compared to the IRL processes prior to face-to-face contact, as well as negotiations of risk reduction. Higher levels of risk behavior and specifically anal sex and rimming suggest that the Internet allows for pre-Face-To-Face negotiation of sexual scripts.

Internet; Men who have sex with Men; sexual recruitment; sexual partner; IRL contact; Internet contact; HIV risk; STI risk
Author biographies

Shelia R. Rice

Author photo Shelia Rice, PhD RN is a research nurse at Kindred Hospital, Texas Medical Center, Houston, and has research interests in HIV/AIDS, Public health, Internet sexuality, Cardiovascular disease, and acute care.

Michael W. Ross

Author photo Michael W. Ross, PhD MedDr MPH is Professor of Public Health at the University of Texas and has research interests in Internet sexuality, MSM and HIV/AIDS and STI prevention, and stigma. His research is primarily in East Africa and Sweden.

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