Safer Sex

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


“Safer sex” denotes an HIV prevention strategy that emphasizes the comparative risks of different sexual practices and conventionally advocates the wearing of condoms to limit the exchange of bodily fluids. Among men who have sex with men (MSM), condom use during anal intercourse was promoted as a moral code and was widely adopted from the late 1980s to early 1990s. By the mid-1990s, condom adherence among MSM declined, which coincided with a resurgence of new HIV infections in the community. The condom code and its promotion were challenged. Meanwhile, “barebacking” – intentional condomless anal intercourse – became fetishized and evolved into a gay subculture. With the advent of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and treatment as prevention, which disrupt the link between condomless intercourse and HIV transmission, the calculus of sexual risk is profoundly recalibrated. Future research must contend with a “new normal” of safer sex as HIV prevention shifts from behavioral to biomedical interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology
EditorsGeorge Ritzer, J. Michael Ryan, Betsy Thorn
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9781405165518
ISBN (Print)9781405124331
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Communication
  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • safer sex
  • HIV prevention
  • sexual health
  • sex education


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