[Rejection of the preventive discourse and at risk sexual behavior: a qualitative study among gay men in Portugal].

Published: November 1, 2010


The dominant preventive discourse imposed on sexual minorities is one that orders and prescribes condom use and an adjusted lifestyle. High-risk sexual behaviors seem to express, in part, the rejection of this dominant discourse. The objective of this study is to better understand the links between the risky sexual behaviors of gays and the socio-cultural context that leads to the rejection of preventive practices. An ethnological study was carried out in Portugal This study included seven gay men aged between 19 and 64 years old. The study also included accounts from interviews of three lesbian and bisexual women. The results show that the social pressure of a hetero-normative environment can result in the refusal or denial of prevention practices. Thus, risky sexual behaviors can reflect desire and aspirations for more rights and freedoms. New and alternative spaces for meeting gays, namely on the Internet, also seem to create more opportunities for sexual liberation and open the way for relaxed prevention practices and engaging in risky sexual behavior. However, preventive practices are not entirely absent; the reduction of risks is being expressed by the choice of sexual partners and the avoidance of certain sexual practices when a condom is not used. Through this study, the importance of peer groups in the acceptance and internalization of the preventive discourse is re-affirmed.

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