Researchers at the Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City have been interviewing gay and bisexual men who see their lives "spinning out of control" in pursuit of their next sexual conquest. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is funding the study, wants to find out more about why some gay men have a compulsion to indulge in risky sex.
Called Project SPIN, the study aims "to identify a common set of symptoms or diagnostic criteria," Jeffrey Parsons, MD, who heads the project, told the New York Blade. "This work will help to build a consensus in the therapeutic community about what constitutes the disorder and, hopefully, result in better ways to treat it."
The study so far has found that sexually compulsive men take more chances than other men. Of 101 interviewed, the vast majority of HIV-positive participants do not use condoms, while 40% of HIV-negative participants do not. The men had an average of 35 sex partners during a three-month period.
Gay men present their own set of rules and have to be studied by themselves, Parsons said. Researchers who study heterosexual behavior use the number of orgasms per week as a criterion, which would not work for anal-receptive partners. Parsons defines a sexual compulsive as someone whose life is spinning out of control; this person misses work or is regularly late, keeps odd hours, and takes more chances with sex. The Internet plays a big part in obtaining sex. Men in the study spend an average of 16 hours a week surfing the Internet.