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Social networking smartphone applications and sexual health outcomes among men who have sex with men

 Several smartphone applications (apps) designed to help men who have sex with men (MSM) find casual sexual partners have appeared on the market recently. Apps of this nature have the potential to impact sexual health and behavior by providing constant access to a large supply of available partners. In this study, the sexual health history, behavior, and personality of MSM who use these apps was compared to MSM who meet partners in other ways. A sample of 110 adult MSM was recruited online to complete a cross-sectional survey. All participants were either single or involved in a non-exclusive romantic relationship. There were no statistically significant differences between app users and non-users in frequency of insertive or receptive anal sex without a condom. However, app users reported significantly more sexual partners and had a higher prevalence of ever being diagnosed with an STI than did non-users. App users did not differ from non-users on any demographic or personality variables (including erotophilia, sensation seeking, and self-control); however, when adjusting lifetime total sex partners for those met specifically through apps, app users still had significantly more partners. This pattern of results suggests that app users may be more sexually active in general. More work is needed to fully understand the association between this emerging technology and potential sexual health risks.

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