Looking for sexual compatibility: Experiences among Swedish men in visiting Internet gay chat rooms

R. Tikkanen, M. W. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Internet chat rooms have become an important new channel for men who have sex with men. Through chat rooms, sexual partners can be met in virtual and in real life. The aim of this article is to explore the questions: Who are the men that visit the Internet gay chat rooms, and what are the experiences in meeting sex partners in real life through these channels? The findings are derived from a large Swedish socio-sexual study of men who have sex with men. The Internet is used along with traditional sampling methods in the study. A total of 716 written questionnaires and 678 Internet questionnaires were obtained. Additional qualitative data from interviews with men who have experience with meeting male sex partners through Internet chat rooms is presented for illustrative purposes. The findings suggest that Internet gay chat rooms may attract younger men, men who identify themselves as bisexual, and men who live outside the major cities. The findings also suggest that it is common to have the experience of meeting sex partners in real life through the chat rooms. The chat room visitors are less likely to be tested for HIV and more likely to have had unprotected anal intercourse. Consequently, the chat rooms are important media to be used in HIV prevention with appropriate health interventions in order to reach men who put themselves at risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-616
Number of pages12
JournalCyberpsychology and Behavior
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2000

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