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Social Theory & Health

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 235–250 | Cite as

Barebacking with Weber: Re-enchanting the rational sexual order

  • Brandon Andrew Robinson
Original Article

Abstract

Sexual health discourses have become a defining part of many gay men’s sex lives. These discourses have effectively linked gay identity to HIV/AIDS discourses through telling most gay men how to rationally have sex and how to routinely get tested. However, some gay men who bareback – the choice often made not to use a condom – engage in condomless sex despite these larger discourses. Through using Weber’s theories on rationalization, I explicate how sexual health and HIV/AIDS discourses are calculable, efficient systems that are about protecting the public good. I show how this rationalized sexual health system disciplines pleasure and intimacy. Through this disciplining, I illuminate how sexual public health has disenchanted sex, specifically for some gay men, where some of these men who bareback may be attempting to find re-enchantment in this disenchanted sexual world. Through this Weberian framework, barebacking may be seen as an act that can allow for the re-exploration of personability, intimacy, eroticism and love.

Keywords

barebacking Weber HIV/AIDS sexual health rationalization discipline 

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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brandon Andrew Robinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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