A subset of these men who have sex with men, or MSM, live lives that are, in all respects other than their occasional homosexual encounters, quite straight and traditionally masculine — they have wives and families, they embrace various masculine norms, and so on. They are able to, in effect, compartmentalize an aspect of their sex lives in a way that prevents it from blurring into or complicating their more public identities. Sociologists are quite interested in this phenomenon because it can tell us a lot about how humans interpret thorny questions of identity and sexual desire and cultural expectations. But not all straight MSM have gotten the same level of research attention. Silva sought to find out more about these men, so he recruited 19 from men-for-men casual-encounters boards on Craigslist and interviewed them, for about an hour and a half each, about their sexual habits, lives, and senses of identity. It provides them with their fundamental sense of self; it structures how they understand the world around them; and it influences how they codify sameness and difference. In some of the subcultures Ward studied, straight MSM were able to reinterpret homosexual identity as actually strengthening their heterosexual identities. One way they did so was by seeking out partners who were similar to them. Whatever else is going on here, clearly these men are getting some companionship out of these relationships. But there are sturdy incentives in place for them to not take that step of identifying, or identifying fully, as gay or bi.
While hookup apps offer an obvious alternative, cruising—when men seek men for anonymous sex in public places—still happens. Recently, in Toronto, one major police sting targeting gay men in a lakeside park caught the attention of Jen Roberton, a young city planner. She found it disproportionate to the transgressions involved.
The present study attempts to determine how men who have sex with men MSM identify in terms of their sexual orientation. The literature suggests that gay or bisexual identifying MSM are more likely to practice safer sex than heterosexually-identified MSM. A significant number of the MSM in public settings, such as parks, are believed to be heterosexual identifying. MSM in bathhouses are presumed to be gay or bisexual identifying. Parks have been the focus of safer sex outreach efforts targeted towards heterosexually-identified MSM. Sexual orientation self-identification was ascertained from park and bathhouse users via one-on-one interactions with outreach workers from to Chi-square analysis revealed no significant difference in the expressed sexual orientation of bath and park users, with both populations consisting mostly of gay-identified men.
Men who have sex with men MSM , also known as males who have sex with males , are male persons who engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex, regardless of how they identify themselves. The term MSM was created in the s by epidemiologists to study the spread of disease among men who have sex with men, regardless of identity. It does not describe any specific sexual activity, and which activities are covered by the term depends on context. First, it was pursued by epidemiologists seeking behavioral categories that would offer better analytical concepts for the study of disease-risk than identity-based categories such as "gay", " bisexual ", or "straight" , because a man who self-identifies as gay or bisexual is not necessarily sexually active with men, and someone who identifies as straight might be sexually active with men. Second, its usage is tied to criticism of sexual identity terms prevalent in social construction literature which typically rejected the use of identity-based concepts across cultural and historical contexts.