Gay sexting

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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. We know little about the prevalence of sexting behavior among young men who have sex with men YMSM or its association with their sexual behaviors. Most participants Sexting was more frequent among sexually-active YMSM, with YMSM who had sent and received a sext being more likely to report insertive anal intercourse, with and without condoms, than those who had not sexted.

We found no association between sexting and receptive anal intercourse. We discuss our findings with attention to their implications for sexual health promotion. As a form of sexual communication in the era of mobile technologies, sexting may be used mutually between two people as a means of flirting [ 1 ]. Increasingly, researchers have noted a growing prevalence in lifetime sexting behavior among adolescents [ 2 — 5 ] and young adults [ 6 , 7 ], respectively.

Given on-going discussions regarding the legality of sexting in this age group and its potential psychosocial implications [ 8 ], researchers have sought to examine whether sexting is associated with risk-taking behaviors e. Across studies, researchers have noted divergent findings regarding the association between sexting and sexual risk behaviors for adolescents and young adults. In studies with adolescents, for example, Temple et al.

When stratified by gender, however, the researchers only noted an association between sending a sext and sexual risk behaviors e. In their sample, Rice and colleagues noted no gender differences in sexting history; however, they did note that individuals identifying as sexual minorities e.

Taken together, the diverse findings between sexting and sexual risk across studies may be attributable to the populations studied and their sociodemographic characteristics e. Given the noted differences by gender and sexual identity in these studies, we sought to extend this work by examining the prevalence of sexting among young men who have sex with men YMSM , who may or not identify as gay.

In studies with young adults, Benotsch and colleagues [ 6 ] found that participants were three times more likely to report having had multiple partners and having engaged in unprotected sex in the past 3 months if they had engaged in sexting behavior. Neither the Temple et al. Some evidence by Gordon-Messer et al. In their study, Gordon-Messer et al. Furthermore, they found limited evidence to suggest an association between sexual risk outcomes and having only sent or received sexts.

In light of these divergent findings, a recent editorial by Levine [ 1 ] pointed out that we must carefully examine our assumptions regarding sexting as a risk marker, and understand that the relationship between sexting and risk behaviors may depend on sample characteristics and their likelihood to engage in high-risk sexual practices. Consequently, we employ an epidemiologic framework to identify the prevalence of sexting behavior among YMSM in the United States and its potential association with sexual risk outcomes.

Cognizant of sociodemographic differences in prior studies e. To be eligible for participation, recruits had to self-identify as male, be between the ages of 18 and 24, report being single and attracted to other men, and be a resident of the United States including Puerto Rico. Social network advertisements were viewable only to men who fit our age range and who lived in the United States. Using best practices [ 12 ], we identified 1, valid entries. Of these, participants consented but did not commence the survey i.

One hundred and ninety-three of these eligible and consented participants did not complete all sections of the survey i. For those questionnaires that were incomplete, participants were sent two reminder s that encouraged them to complete the questionnaire; one was sent a week after they had started the questionnaire and another was sent a week before the questionnaire was scheduled to close. Consented participants answered a 30—45 minute online questionnaire that covered assessments regarding their socio-demographic characteristics, Internet use, ideal relationship and partner characteristics, sexual behaviors, psychological well-being, and sexting behaviors.

Data were protected with a bit SSL encryption and kept within a University of Michigan firewalled server. We acquired a Certificate of Confidentiality from the National Institutes of Health to protect study data. A subsequent question asked them to identify the identity that most closely fit with how they self-identify. Given the majority of participants self-identified as gay, we dichotomized the sexual identity variable into gay or other sexual identity. State of residence was ascertained and then collapsed into the four Census regions in the United States.

We combined the Middle Eastern, Native American and Other race given the limited of observations. White participants served as the referent group in our analyses see Table 1. In order to ascertain sexting behaviors, participants were asked to report the of times they had sexted throughout their lifetime.

We defined sexting based on the Pew Internet and American Life Project, specifically as the transmittance of a sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photo or video of either party sending versus receiving via cell phones [ 13 ]. Given that the different set of findings linking sexting and sexual risk behaviors may be attributable to how sexting is operationalized across studies, we created two different sexting variables. Consistent with prior studies [ 2 , 3 , 6 ], we created a dichotomous lifetime sexting variable i.

Using Gordon-Messer et al. Respondents were asked to report their sexual behavior i. In Table 1 , we report the proportion of participants who reported being sexually active, as defined by having had at least one male sexual partner in the past two months, and whether or not they had engaged in receptive anal intercourse RAI , unprotected RAI URAI , insertive anal intercourse IAI , and unprotected IAI UIAI with one or more male partners over the same two month period. We first examined the study variables using descriptive statistics see Table 1. Subsequently, we conducted bivariate analyses to examine the association between sexting and the other study variables using chi-square tests for categorical variables and t-test and analysis of variance ANOVA tests for ordinal variables, respectively.

We restricted the multivariate analyses focused on recent sexual behavior e. Multivariate logistic regression examining the relationship between lifetime sexting and recent sexual behaviors of YMSM. Multivariate logistic regression examining the relationship between sexting and recent sexual behaviors of YMSM. Gay men were more likely to report sexting Among sexters, 20 participants 1.

Gay identified participants were more likely to be represented in TW Over seventy percent of participants reported sexual activity in the prior two months. Researchers have noted that, if lifetime sexting is an indicator of sexual risk, it may be useful to identify populations that may benefit from tailored risk reduction strategies and sexual health education messages [ 3 ].

At present, however, the relationship between sexting and sexual risk among young adults remains mixed, perhaps due to the diversity in sample characteristics in prior studies [ 6 , 7 ] and the way that sexting has been operationalized. We sought to build on this ongoing work by examining the relationship between sexting and sexual risk behaviors among YMSM, using two different operationalizations of lifetime sexting any sexting vs. Compared to prior studies with heterosexual samples [ 2 , 6 ], we found YMSM reported a higher prevalence of lifetime sexting — the majority of whom reported reciprocal sexting i.

Prior research, for example, has documented how YMSM use online technologies to explore their sexuality and meet partners [ 15 , 16 ]. In these online exchanges, YMSM may be more likely to participate in sexually charged conversations and include suggestive pictures in their online profiles [ 17 ]. Furthermore, the recent development of mobile-based geospatial partner-seeking applications e. Consistent with prior studies [ 6 , 7 ], we found sexting was more likely among YMSM who reported being sexually active in the prior two months. This association was noted, regardless of whether we used the dichotomous or categorical sexting variable.

When we examined the sexual risk behaviors among the sexually-active subsample, however, we found that the relationship between sexting and sexual risk behaviors varied by sexual role i. Although we found no relationship between sexting and receptive anal intercourse behaviors, YMSM who reported sexting were more likely to report insertive anal sex, both with and without condoms. When divided into sexting , we found that two-way senders were more likely than non-sexters to report having engaged in insertive anal intercourse behaviors, but these outcomes were not noted among sexters in the SO or RO , respectively.

Although the absence of these findings in the SO or RO may be attributable to smaller sample sizes in these two , our suggest that two-way sexters may be at greater risk across sexting groups. In contextualizing this risk, however, it is important to underscore that insertive anal intercourse carries a much lower risk of infection 6.

However, we do not know whether YMSM who engage in insertive anal intercourse are diagnosed as HIV-negative, thereby increasing the potential to infect their receptive partners. Consequently, care should be taken when interpreting our findings, as we are unable to determine whether YMSM who sext are more or less vulnerable to HIV infection.

First, the overwhelming majority of our sample identified as gay, such that our findings may not be generalizable to YMSM who do not claim this identity. Furthermore, our sample was recruited online and may not necessarily reflect a representative sample of YMSM in the United States.

Therefore, our may not be generalizable. Fourth, self-report and social desirability bias may have influenced how participants answered survey questions; however, we made every effort to reinforce that answers were confidential. Finally, we employed a lifetime measure of sexting behavior in our analyses; however, this indicator does not fully characterize how sexting is linked to sexual risk among YMSM. Future research is necessary to identify specific links between these behaviors, including whether sexual risk is associated with how recently YMSM sexted, motivations for sexting, and the characteristics of the partners with whom they are exchanging sexts.

These limitations notwithstanding, our findings advance our understanding of sexting among YMSM. First, we examined the prevalence of sexting in a sample of YMSM using two different ways of operationalizing sexting. Compared to prior samples with predominantly heterosexual samples [ 3 , 6 — 7 ], we found YMSM reported a greater likelihood of sexting in their lifetime.

Second, we found that the relationship between sexting and sexual risk behaviors may be contingent on the population being examined. Consistent with prior studies with young adults [ 6 , 7 ], we find YMSM who sext are more likely to be sexually active; however, we find partial support for an association between sexting and recent sexual risk.

The relationship between sexting and sexual risk may be dependent on sexual role, with an increased likelihood of unprotected insertive anal intercourse being noted among two-way sexters. Future research examining the processes by which sexting is linked to sexual risk is warranted. In light of recent divergent findings, we investigated sexting behavior among young men who have sex with men YMSM in the United States.

Our findings provide evidence that sexting is prevalent among YMSM; however, limited support links sexting to sexual risk. Views expressed in this manuscript do not necessarily represent the views of the funding agency. Conflict of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. April 8, Publisher's Disclaimer: This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication.

As a service to our customers we are providing this early version of the manuscript. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof before it is published in its final citable form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain.

Jose A. Emily S. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. J Adolesc Health. Author manuscript; available in PMC May 1. Pingel , MPH. Author information Copyright and information Disclaimer. Copyright notice. The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at J Adolesc Health.

See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Abstract Purpose We know little about the prevalence of sexting behavior among young men who have sex with men YMSM or its association with their sexual behaviors. Keywords: gay, text messaging, sexual behavior, homosexuality. Study Goals and Objectives In light of these divergent findings, a recent editorial by Levine [ 1 ] pointed out that we must carefully examine our assumptions regarding sexting as a risk marker, and understand that the relationship between sexting and risk behaviors may depend on sample characteristics and their likelihood to engage in high-risk sexual practices.

Open in a separate window. Procedures Consented participants answered a 30—45 minute online questionnaire that covered assessments regarding their socio-demographic characteristics, Internet use, ideal relationship and partner characteristics, sexual behaviors, psychological well-being, and sexting behaviors. Sexting Behaviors In order to ascertain sexting behaviors, participants were asked to report the of times they had sexted throughout their lifetime. Sexual Behaviors Respondents were asked to report their sexual behavior i.

Data Analytic Approach We first examined the study variables using descriptive statistics see Table 1. Table 2 Multivariate logistic regression examining the relationship between lifetime sexting and recent sexual behaviors of YMSM. Gay a 1. Table 3 Multivariate logistic regression examining the relationship between sexting and recent sexual behaviors of YMSM. Sexual Behaviors and Sexting Over seventy percent of participants reported sexual activity in the prior two months.

Acknowledgments Dr. Footnotes Conflict of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. Contributor Information Jose A. References 1.

Gay sexting

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Sexting among young men who have sex with men: from a National Survey