AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 626–632 | Cite as

The Critical Role of Intimacy in the Sexual Risk Behaviors of Gay and Bisexual Men

  • Sarit A. Golub
  • Tyrel J. Starks
  • Gregory Payton
  • Jeffrey T. Parsons
Original Paper


Research indicates that high numbers of gay and bisexual men report infrequent or inconsistent condom use, placing them at risk for HIV and other STDs. The present study examined positive and negative condom-related attitudes along three dimensions—risk reduction, pleasure reduction, and intimacy interference—and examined their relative predictive power in determining condom use among a sample of sexually risky gay and bisexual men in New York City. In a multivariate model, both risk reduction and intimacy interference attitudes emerged as significant predictors of unprotected sex; however, the variance accounted for by a model including intimacy interference was almost three times that accounted for by a model including risk reduction alone. These data suggest a pivotal role for intimacy in shaping condom attitudes and behavior among gay and bisexual men. HIV prevention interventions should consider incorporating intimacy as a motivating factor for sexual behavior and a potential barrier to condom use.


MSM HIV Risk Intimacy Condom use 


Resultados de investigaciones indican que gran cantidad de hombres gay y bisexuales reportan uso infrecuente o inconsistente de condones, poniendolos en riesgo de contraer VIH y enfermedades de transmisión sexual. La investigación presente examinó actitudes positivas y negativas sobre condones en tres dimensiones—la reducción del riesgo, la reducción del placer, y la interferencia con la intimidad—asi como su relativo poder para predecir el uso de condones en hombres gay y bisexuales de la Ciudad de Nueva York, cuyo comportamiento sexual es de alto riesgo. En un modelo de multivariados, la actitudes sobre reducción de riesgo e interferencia de intimidad emergieron como predictores significativos de sexo sin protección; sin embargo, la variación representada por la interferencia de intimidad resultó tres veces mayor que aquella representada por la reducción de riesgo. Estos datos indican que la intimidad cumple una funcion primordial en la formacion de actitudes sobre condones y en el comportamiento sexual de hombres gay y bisexuales. Las intervenciones de prevención del VIH deben considerar la incorporación de intimidad como un factor de motivación del comportamiento sexual, asi como un obstáculo para el uso de condones.



The Young Men’s Health Project was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (R01- DA020366, Jeffrey T. Parsons, Principal Investigator). The authors gratefully acknowledge Dr. Corina L. Weinberger, the Project Director, and the contributions of the Young Men’s Health Project team—Michael Adams, Anthony Bamonte, Kristi Gamarel, Christian Grov, Chris Hietikko, Catherine Holder, John Pachankis, Mark Pawson, Jonathan Rendina, Kevin Robin, Anthony Surace, Julia Tomassilli, Andrea Vial, Ja’Nina Walker, Brooke Wells, and the CHEST recruitment team. We would also like to thank Richard Jenkins for his support of the project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarit A. Golub
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tyrel J. Starks
    • 2
  • Gregory Payton
    • 2
  • Jeffrey T. Parsons
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Hunter CollegeCity University of New York (CUNY)New YorkUSA
  2. 2.Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST)New YorkUSA
  3. 3.Social & Personality Psychology Doctoral Subprogram, The Graduate Center, CUNYNew YorkUSA

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