Partnering Patterns and Sexual Behavior Among Korean Men Who Have Sex With Men



Minsoo Jung*
Department of Health Science, Dongduk Women’s University, Seoul, South Korea


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© Minsoo Jung; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/legalcode), which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Health Science, College of Natural Science, Dongduk Women's University, 23-1 Wolgok-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 136-714, South Korea; Tel: +82-2-940-4483; Fax: +82-2-940-4480; Email: mins.jung@gmail.com


Abstract

This qualitative study investigates the different methods for selecting sex partners by Korean homosexuals considering factors related to homosexual identity and sexual behavior. We take the approach of the grounded theory to examine the issue of sexual partnering of men who have sex with men (MSM). In-depth interviews of urban MSM and bisexual men were conducted. The snowball sampled through a MSM portal web site. Three key informants from the several areas were collected through a MSM portal website, and then, participants were gradually recruited with the snowball samplings in South Korea, 2011 (n=32). The results of coding the interviews based on the grounded theory approach identified three types of partnering: 1) MSM who do not prefer anal intercourse, but pursue safe sex in long-term relationships with fixed partners; 2) those who have fixed partners and perform anal sex, a category into which both MSM and bisexuals fall; and 3) those engaged in anal sex, but enjoy a concurrent sexual relationship without having fixed partners, which was common among bisexuals. The findings from this study elucidate several MSM and bisexual partnering types practice safe sex. This diversity in MSM partnering may increase the vulnerability of some MSM to HIV infection as safe-sex practices remain a matter of individual choice. Changes in Korean societal policies are necessary to enhance capacity building and encourage the practice of safe sex at the community level.

Keywords: Bisexuality, men who have sex with men, sexual partners, sexual behavior, South Korea.