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Sex Res Social Policy. 2014 Mar 1;11(1):11-19.

Men who have sex with men's attitudes toward using color-coded wristbands to facilitate sexual communication at sex parties.

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  • 1Doctoral Program in Public Health at the Graduate Center of CUNY, New York, NY, USA ; The Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST), New York, NY, USA.
  • 2Department of Psychology, Hunter College of CUNY, New York, NY. USA.
  • 3Doctoral Program in Public Health at the Graduate Center of CUNY, New York, NY, USA ; Doctoral Programs in Health Psychology, and Basic and Applied Social Psychology at the Graduate Center of CUNY, New York, NY. USA.


Sex parties are environments where men who have sex with men (MSM) have the opportunity to have sex with multiple partners over a brief period of time. Dim lighting and non-verbal communication are characteristics of sex parties that make sexual communication more challenging. We report on qualitative data from 47 MSM who attended sex parties in New York City. Participants responded to distinct hypothetical scenarios involving the use of color-coded wristbands to communicate (1) condom use preferences, (2) sexual position (e.g., top, bottom) and (3) HIV status at sex parties. The majority had positive-to-neutral attitudes toward color-coded wristbands to indicate (1) condom use preference and (2) sexual position (70.8%, 75.0% HIV-positive; 63.6%, 81.8%, HIV-negative respectively). These men cited that wristbands would facilitate the process of pursuing partners with similar interests while also avoiding the discomforts of verbal communication. In contrast, 41.7% of HIV-positive and 50.0% of HIV-negative men expressed unfavorable attitudes to using wristbands to communicate HIV status. These men cited the potential for HIV-status discrimination as well as suspicions around dishonest disclosure. Although participants were receptive to utilizing color-coded wristbands at sex parties to convey certain information, it may be unfeasible to use wristbands to communicate HIV status.


Gay and bisexual men; HIV status disclosure; sex parties; sexual communication

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