Is social networking "too social?"

by frazeefeet on November 9, 2013 - 9:43pm

In this study, conducted by Sean D. Young, Greg Szekeres and Thomas Coates, a hypothesis was formed that stated that men who have sex with men are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors when seeking sexual attention through social networking websites. The correlation in order to even begin forming this hypothesis has been discovered through multiple other tests and studies in which the majority have shown that homosexual men are more likely to use social networking than a heterosexual man, and even more specifically minorities within the gay community are more likely to use these social devices. The problem that has begun to rise up is the increase of STI’s and HIV among these gay men that use these websites because these sexual excursions are more about instant gratification rather than safety. They were able to collect data to support this by advertising this study both through social media, mainly Facebook, and physical venues where the targeted group of men can usually be found, such as gay bars and other such places. Once a group of men who agreed to the study and fit the criteria were established, they has to answer a 92 question survey which provided the information necessary to support the hypothesis. Ultimately, the results showed that these minority men who have sex with men, mainly Latino and African American, do have an increased risk of risky sexual behavior and contraction of HIV due to their extensive use of social networks.

The main purpose of this article was to show how to understand and possibly predict the actions of populations that are at-risk of contracting HIV. Even though it is no longer considered the “gay epidemic” as it was in the early 90’s, it still runs rampant around the gay community due to individuals that do not value the concept of protection. When performing acts such as anal and oral sex one must be properly protected, especially when engaging in these activities with other men who we may not know so well and/or know the full or any extent of their sexual history. This issue is prominent on its own within any individual, gay or straight, partaking in sexual activities especially with those that we may not know so well. The important information that makes this article relevant though is the use of social networking. All of these websites and apps such as Facebook or Grindr make it simple and easy to find someone nearby that is willing to engage in sexual activities almost immediately. This concept of instant gratification is very engrained into our society currently which is only heightened by these social networks, and now it is transposing into sex as well. Without these social devices it would be much more difficult to find someone as quickly and as willing to engage with, which ultimately would most likely decrease the number of men having sex with men that contract HIV or other STI’s. There is nothing necessarily wrong with casual sex, but one must be safe while engaging in it. 

Comments

This article poses a good argument and may very well be correct in their findings that social networking sites make more efficient and promote casual sex and instantaneous gratification. You argue this side of the argument well, however, I have a rather different perspective on the situation. I can’t help but question how social networking sites directly correlate with the increasing instances of unprotected sex or with the homosexual community. To be honest, anybody, whether homosexual or heterosexual can find someone instantly on the internet that will be willing engage in sexual acts. The fact of the matter is that sex with any unknown individual is considered taboo and pretty much a social deviant. So social networking almost, in a way, allows people to do it privately sometimes. You have your own profile and talk to whomever, whenever, at your leisure, with no other parties to judge what is discussed. And as far as social networking playing a part in the rise of STD’s and STI’s, from my perspective, the website is incapable of restricting the free will of its users. It simply provides an outlet for socialization. It is solely the individual’s choice whether or not they choose to protect themselves during intercourse.

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