Acquiring a Sociosexual Identity: Experiences of Sexually Marginalized Collegiate Men
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This dissertation presents a sociocultural model of how collegiate gay and bisexual men developed a sociosexual identity as they gain sexual experience, how the sociosexual identity development affected their sexual health, and how university and community sexual health education programs missed opportunities to influence the men’s sociosexual identity development, which had the potential to reduce the incidence of STD/HIV infections. Collegiate gay and bisexual men at a large public university campus desired to include their gay or bisexual social identity as one of several social identities rather than being solely identified by their sexual orientation. Despite this, their need for in-group acceptance led to the acquisition of a gay or bisexual social identity through the repeated acting out of a collective sexual script. This script limited their ability to differentiate themselves from the normative social construction of male homosexuality. As these men were acculturated into the collegiate gay and bisexual male community, their newly acquired collegiate gay or bisexual social identity, including a new sexual script, often placed the men at a higher risk for sexually transmitted diseases and the human immunodeficiency virus. Campus educators wanting to reduce the incidence of infection among gay and bisexual men may be able to increase their effectiveness by understanding how men acquire their gay or bisexual social identity through the acting out of sexual scripts. The result of this understanding could lead to the development of more culturally relevant prevention programs.