Transgressive assemblages: An ethnography of gay group sex
Introduction In response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, many jurisdictions in North America (especially in the United States) have cracked down on most of the sex-on-thepremises venues such as gay bathhouses, parks, and adult theaters in order to “control” and “contain” the epidemic. This has prompted men who have sex with men (MSM) to find alternative venues for sex, especially group sex (Meunier, 2014). This chapter presents the results of ethnographic (excluding observation) fieldwork involving MSM who engage in group sex, which we define as any planned or unplanned event with three or more men who engage in sexual activities together. Our research included MSM who gathered together for group sex either at their own home(s), at another private location, or at gay hotels/resorts. Despite increasing research on MSM who are involved in group sex sessions (Grov et al., 2013; Meunier, 2014; Philipps II et al., 2013; Solomon et al., 2011), to date little has looked at risky sexual practices (including attendees’ definition of risk) specifically in a context that is gaining in popularity. The broad research objective was to understand the sexual practices of men who engage in group sex, where verbal communication is often minimal. Aligned with this main objective, we explored two research questions: (1) what are the representations of STI/ HIV risk among MSM who engage in group sex, and (2) what “risk reduction” strategies did group sex participants employ? We approached the study from a critical theoretical standpoint, and structured data analysis using poststructuralist scholarship.
Holmes, D. (Dave), O'Byrne, P. (Patrick), Murray, S.J, Hammond, C. (Chad), & Mercier, M. (Mathieu). (2017). Transgressive assemblages: An ethnography of gay group sex. In Radical Sex Between Men: Assembling Desiring-Machines (pp. 153–176). doi:10.4324/9781315399546