Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gay Men’s Risky Sexual Behaviour Linked to Feeling Undesirab le

By April Kemick

Gay men who are not considered sexually desirable are more
likely to engage in risky sexual behavior according to new research out of
the University of Toronto. They may also develop psychological problems as
a consequence of feeling undesirable.

Adam Isaiah Green, Assistant Professor of Sociology at U of T, interviewed
dozens of gay men in Toronto to determine what qualities made some men
more sexually desirable than others, and what the consequences of being
undesirable might be on mental and physical health.

“I found that young, white, middle-class men are considered much more
sexually desirable than men who are racial minorities, over 40 and poor,”
says Green. “I also learned that for gay men, being considered sexually
undesirable can have serious health consequences ranging from
psychological issues to risky sexual behaviour.”

The study – among the first to examine the link between sex and mental
health – found that undesirable gay men face stigmatization, avoidance and
outright rejection, which can lead to depression, anxiety and alcohol
abuse. It also highlighted cases whereby undesirable gay men will forego
safe-sex discussion and, in some cases, condom use, in the context of sex
with a more attractive partner.

“We tend to devalue sexual life as something that is extracurricular and
frivolous, but this research shows a significant link between sexual
desirability and health,” says Green. “Men with low levels of ‘erotic
capital’ are systematically marginalized, which can take a real toll both
physically and psychologically.”

For more information on the study, published in the current edition of the
Journal of Health and Social Behavior, please contact:

Adam Isaiah Green, Assistant Professor of Sociology: 416-978-8261 or
AdamIsaiah.Green@utoronto.ca

1 comment:

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