Sex, HIV, and the Internet: Exploring Variations in the Online Profiles of MSM in the United States

Darcy White, Catherine Finneran, Kimi N. Sato, Rob Stephenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


With the increasing pervasiveness of social media, the Internet has become an important venue for dating and sex. Not only does the Internet introduce a unique array of opportunities and risks for men who have sex with men (MSM), it also presents a valuable means through which to study sexual behavior. In this study, data on what men report in their online profiles were collected from two dating/hookup websites to explore possible geographical differences in men’s sexual preferences and expectations (N = 5,588). Across the 15 selected cities, significant differences emerged in reported HIV status and stated preference for safer sex (condom use). These patterns suggest important contextual and demographic variations and point to a need for targeted, population-specific interventions and further research to identify the underlying social and psychological constructs. With a better understanding of the local factors driving risky sexual behavior, health communication messages and tailored online interventions could be developed to address the needs and concerns of specific groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-299
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Men's Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 12 2014


  • barebacking
  • HIV
  • MSM
  • social norms
  • the Internet


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