The present study reports findings from an online survey of MSM in France who reported face-to-face sexual encounters with partners they met online, and completed questions on online sexual fantasizing about UAI with potential sex partners.To test the hypothesis that an association between online sexual fantasizing about UAI and UAI with partners met online does not merely reflect barebacking or a generally higher likelihood of practicing UAI, a number of control variables are included, namely men's intention to use condoms for anal sex with casual partners, their attitude regarding UAI with casual partners and their practicing of UAI with casual partners in general, irrespective of where they met, as well as alcohol and drug use before or during sex, age, education and HIV status.
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This decision may reflect additional, risk-relevant information men have exchanged and/or the accelerated intimacy and rapid development of trust afforded by the sharing of intimate details in online chatting [1,6].
Another explanation, drawing on the role of impulsive processes, is that UAI in real life can be implicitly produced by the sexual scripts, without intending to enact it, through the automatic activation of behavioral schemata [35, 36].
While findings from individual studies have been somewhat mixed, a comprehensive meta-analysis found that MSM who use the Internet to look for sex partners are more likely to engage in unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) .
However, survey research among MSM in London found that, regardless of HIV status, men who looked for sex partners through the Internet were no more likely to report UAI with non-concordant casual partners they met online rather than off-line .
Dual-systems theorizing of behavior in social psychology assumes that human behaviors are a joint function of reflective and impulsive processes [35, 36], and each of these systems of processes may be implicated in the possible association between sexual scripts that are generated during online erotic chatting and sexual practices in real life.
One explanation, drawing on the role of reflective processes, is that in the course of the online chat actors decide or form an intention to engage in UAI [35, 36].
This leaves unaddressed what occurs during direct contact, in particular online, which may contribute to sexual practices and HIV transmission risk that differ from what is communicated and understood through online profiles.
Moreover, in the current HIV epidemic some MSM may not hold categorical, pre-determined safer sex intentions, and may be open to engaging in UAI, when the perceived risk of HIV transmission is low.
Ross' thoughtful social theory analysis of sexuality and the Internet provides valuable insights that inform our theorizing of the potential association between online chatting and sexual risk-taking among MSM .