Original Paper

Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 583-590

Sexual Marathons and Methamphetamine Use among HIV-Positive Men Who Have Sex with Men

  • Shirley J. SempleAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry (0680), University of California, San Diego
  • , Jim ZiansAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry (0680), University of California, San Diego
  • , Steffanie A. StrathdeeAffiliated withDepartment of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego
  • , Thomas L. PattersonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry (0680), University of California, San DiegoDepartment of Veterans Affairs Medical Center Email author 

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A sexual marathon is defined as prolonged sexual activity over hours and even days. This exploratory study examined the phenomenon of sexual marathons in a sample of 341 HIV-positive methamphetamine-using men who have sex with men (MSM). Eighty-four percent of the men reported engaging in marathon sex while high on methamphetamine. MSM who engaged in sexual marathons and those who did not were compared in terms of background characteristics, methamphetamine use variables, alcohol and illicit drug use, sexual risk behaviors, and psychosocial factors. Men who engaged in marathon sex used significantly more illicit drugs, were more likely to use sildenafil (Viagra®) and amyl nitrates, and scored higher on a sexual compulsivity scale compared to men who did not engage in marathon sex. In multivariate analyses, use of sildenafil in the past two months was significantly correlated with participation in sexual marathons. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for HIV/STI prevention and intervention.


Methamphetamine Sexual risk Homosexuality HIV