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'The bars, the bogs, and the bushes': the impact of locale on sexual cultures

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This paper explores the role of locale and location in understanding gay men's sexual behaviour. Twenty gay men from Glasgow, Scotland took part in semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was employed to analyse transcripts for recurrent themes. Shared understanding relating to the relationship between locale and sexual activity emerged as important. Findings suggest the existence of distinct sexual cultures associated with locales such as the commercial gay scene (the bars), public toilets (the bogs) and public parks (the bushes). Furthermore, sexual activity was directly affected by its specific location. Sexual behaviour is understood and patterned by the locale (i.e. sexual space) in which it occurs; it is also constrained by location (i.e. specific site). In the light of these findings the appropriateness of traditional psychological approaches to understanding sexual activity and the relevance of other perspectives which map the links between social context and sexual behaviour are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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