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Minority Stressors and Identity Affirmation as Predictors of Condomless Sex Among Self-Identified Bisexual Men: The Role of Partner Gender


Bisexual men are at increased risk for HIV/STI and early pregnancy involvement compared to heterosexual men, and minority stressors (e.g., enacted and internalized stigma) are associated with sexual risk behavior in samples of gay and bisexual men. However, few studies have specifically focused on bisexual men, and little is known about the unique predictors of sexual risk behavior in this population. Further, few studies have focused on positive sexual orientation-related factors such as identity affirmation, which may be protective against sexual risk behavior. As such, the goals of the current study were to examine minority stressors and identity affirmation as predictors of condomless sex among self-identified bisexual men, and whether these associations differed as a function of partner gender. We used four waves of data spanning 24 months from a subset of self-identified bisexual men in a larger cohort of gay and bisexual men ages 16–29 years at enrollment. At each wave, participants reported on up to four partners, allowing us to examine within-person associations. We used mixed effects negative binomial models to examine the associations between our predictors (discrimination, internalized binegativity, and identity affirmation) and condomless sex acts. In addition, we tested whether partner gender moderated each of the associations by including interaction effects in each of the models. Results indicated that higher levels of internalized binegativity and lower levels of identity affirmation were associated with less condomless sex with female partners, but they were not associated with condomless sex with male partners. Discrimination was not associated with condomless sex with male or female partners. These findings suggest that predictors of condom use among self-identified bisexual men differ as a function of partner gender, and they highlight the need to identify strategies to promote sexual health while also supporting positive identity development in this population.

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This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (U01DA036939; PI: Mustanski). Brian Feinstein’s time was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (K08DA045575; PI: Feinstein). Elissa Sarno’s time was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (F32AA028194; PI: Sarno). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

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Correspondence to Brian A. Feinstein.

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This study was performed in line with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. Approval was granted by the Institutional Review Board at Northwestern University.

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Feinstein, B.A., Swann, G., Sarno, E.L. et al. Minority Stressors and Identity Affirmation as Predictors of Condomless Sex Among Self-Identified Bisexual Men: The Role of Partner Gender. Arch Sex Behav 50, 1057–1065 (2021).

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  • Bisexual
  • Condom use
  • Internalized binegativity
  • Identity affirmation
  • Minority stress
  • Sexual orientation