SAN FRANCISCO, July 16 (UPI) — Gay partners form “sexual agreements” not to have sex outside of the relationship to strengthen their bond, not to protect against HIV, U.S. researchers found.
Colleen Hoff, professor of sexuality studies at San Francisco State University, said gay male couples make sexual agreements — rules about whether sex with outside partners is allowed — to build trust in the relationship.
Hoff and colleagues surveyed 566 gay male couples in the San Francisco Bay Area and found that 99 percent had sexual agreements — 45 percent had monogamous agreements, 47 percent had open agreements and 8 percent had discrepant agreements where partners reported a different understanding of whether they have an open or monogamous agreement.
“Discrepant couples were particularly concerning in terms of HIV risk,” Hoff said in a statement. “When there isn’t consensus on what the agreement is, one partner could be involved in risky behavior outside of the relationship and the other partner may be unaware of the resulting risk of unprotected sex within the relationship.”
The study, published in the journal AIDS Care, said helping gay couples learn to negotiate sexual agreements and how to disclose and deal with a break in an agreement could be an effective approach to human immunodeficiency virus prevention.
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