Australian men's sexual practices in saunas, sex clubs and other male sex on premises venues.

Published: June 7, 2010

BACKGROUND: Sex on premises venues (SOPVs) where men have sex with men have been implicated in the spread of sexually transmissible infections, but few studies have described men’s sexual encounters in SOPVs, particularly the degree to which men from different backgrounds engage in risky sexual practices.

METHODS: Interviewer administered surveys were conducted with 186 Australian men who have sex with men (MSM) within 48 h of visiting an SOPV. They reported their sexual practices, the characteristics of their partners and other circumstances surrounding their sexual encounters.

RESULTS: All analyses were based on the number of sexual encounters (n = 430). Oral sex was the most common practice, occurring in 74.9% of encounters, followed by massage, frottage or kissing (53.7%), solo or mutual masturbation (36.3%), and anal sex (32.1%). Multivariate analyses revealed age as a significant factor for having protected anal sex (P = 0.001), insertive anal sex (P = 0.004) and receptive anal sex (P < 0.001). These practices were more frequent in encounters among younger men, while masturbation (P = 0.03) was more frequent among older men. When men’s sexual partners were affected by alcohol, encounters were less likely to involve unprotected anal intercourse (P = 0.006) and more likely to involve massage, frottage or kissing (P = 0.009). Men disclosed their HIV status in only 7.7% of encounters.

CONCLUSIONS: With the likelihood of risky sexual practices varying according to background, results from this study should be used to guide interventions aiming to promote safer sex in SOPVs.

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