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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 4 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 14
NGI men thrive in sexual marketplace
Section One
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NGI men thrive in sexual marketplace

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

According to a new study from the University of Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health, men who specifically don't identify as Gay are sought after 11 percent of the time in Craigslist ads for Gay men who are looking for Gay sex.

To examine the subgroup of men seeking NGI (non-Gay-identified) men in the online sexual marketplace, the researchers reviewed 1,200 Internet personal ads posted on Craigslist and selected 282 for analysis and performed comparisons of two categories of personal ads: those seeking encounters with NGI men, including straight, Bisexual, married, curious, and men on the 'down low' (those who usually identify as heterosexual but have sex with men); and a contrasting set of ads that did not specifically seek NGI men. Craigslist was chosen because it is publicly accessible, highly trafficked, free-of-charge, and widely used by Gay, NGI men seeking men, or men who have sex with men and women to find sexual partners.

From the study:

Among the ads studied, 11% were placed by men seeking NGI partners. Although men who posted NGI-seeking ads were more likely to self-identify as Bisexual, married, and/or discreet and to seek out an anonymous encounter relative to the ads of comparison men, only 24% of online advertisements seeking NGI men were posted by men who were themselves non-Gay-identified. This suggests that many of the posts are placed by Gay men seeking NGI men, perceived by some Gay men to be more masculine, dominant, or 'straight-acting.'

The analysis revealed that men seeking NGI partners were significantly less likely to mention that they wanted to have safer sex/use condoms (15% vs. 33%) and were more likely (66% vs. 42%) to omit mention of condoms or safer sex in their advertisements.

'This suggests that these men are more likely to be looking for and willing to engage in sex without a condom which may place them at greater risk for HIV/STI transmission than men who are not seeking non-Gay-identified male partners,' said Dr. Schrimshaw, who is assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health.

Although few advertisements posted by men seeking NGI partners specifically sought anal sex without a condom (1% vs. 2%), they were significantly more likely to seek oral sex without a condom (14% vs. 5%) than comparison advertisements. 'Future research on NGI-seeking men could lead to better understanding of their risk behaviors which, in turn, could be helpful for developing and targeting HIV/STD prevention and intervention efforts,' noted Dr. Schrimshaw.

'Regardless of any study limitations, the research has allowed us to document the existence of a subgroup of men who actively seek out sexual encounters with men who do not identify as gay,' said Dr. Schrimshaw. 'Moreover, the findings suggest that men with a preference for NGI men attempt to alert such prospective partners through a combination of self-described characteristics, desired partner attributes, and behavioral preferences, all of which serve to attract more discreet and masculine men. Given the attention to the sexual behaviors of NGI MSM [men who have sex with men], the results of this study support the need for additional research to investigate the behavioral outcomes of NGI-seeking men's personal ads.'

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