University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

Viral Fucking: Intimacies Online, Online Intimacies

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

Abstract

Bugchasing, the practice of eroticizing and/or seeking HIV infection among gay men, has received increased scholarly attention. Previous research has focused on quantitative analyses of online dating profiles, considering them as indicators of offline behaviour. I re-evaluate the literature on bugchasing to deepen our understanding of bugchasers’ use of the internet infrastructures and the meanings they attribute to such uses. Bugchasing redefines larger debates about gay men’s use of the internet for sexual purposes and their understanding of the online/offline divide. In this presentation, I reconceptualise online interactions as a form of bugchasing intimacy itself, not as degraded indicators of offline behaviours. I combine existing quantitative research and online ethnographic accounts of bugchasing sites, such as bbrts.com or breeding.zone, to examine how different sites foster distinct discourses and bugchasing practices. I suggest that serious attention be paid to the institutional construction of and participatory resistance to the affordances and limitations built-in these internet spaces which help characterize users’ very definition of their intimate bugchasing interactions. Consequentially, I propose a closer analysis of these online sites not as intermediaries in, but as mediators of, bugchasing.

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