Previous research has highlighted the association between HIV sexual risk behaviors, muscularity concerns, and masculinity among gay and bisexual men (GBM). A few studies that explored these issues, however, have used relatively small sample sizes and predominantly White GBM samples. In addition, little is known about whether a drive for muscularity and perceptions of masculinity are associated with HIV sexual risk behaviors among GBM of color. This community-based study examined the association between drive for muscularity, masculinity, and HIV sexual risk among a sample of 389 GBM of color in Toronto. In multivariable analyses, drive for muscularity and masculinity were significantly associated with HIV sexual risk, after controlling for sociodemographic variables and internalized homophobia. Findings suggest that a desire to be more muscular or a disappointment with one's musculature, as well as an endorsement of body image and penis size as indicators of masculinity may play a role in HIV sexual risk behaviors. This study is among the first to examine the role of drive for muscularity and notions of masculinity in relation to HIV sexual risk exclusively among an ethnoracially diverse sample of GBM. Further research is needed to better understand the link between body image and masculinity to reduce HIV risk among GBM of color.

Gay men, HIV sexual risk, Masculinity, Muscularity, Racial minorities
Psychology of Men and Masculinity
School of Social Work

Brennan, D.J. (David J.), Souleymanov, R. (Rusty), George, C. (Clemon), Newman, P.A. (Peter A.), Hart, T.A. (Trevor A.), Betancourt, G. (Gerardo), & Asakura, K. (2015). Masculinity, muscularity, and HIV sexual risk among gay and bisexual men of color. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 16(4), 393–403. doi:10.1037/a0038725