An insight on initiation of same sex behaviour among men who have sex with men in Agra district of India: A Qualitative study
Background: Men who have sex with men (MSM) refer to all males (of any age) who engage in sexual relations with other males. The gross stigmatization of homosexuality and discrimination of homosexuals have always affected the life and health of MSM (especially young MSM). This study provides an insight on circumstances of initiation and continuation of same sex behaviour among MSM.
Methods: This qualitative study was conducted in MSM population in Agra district in India. Audio recorded in-depth interviews were transcribed into verbatim. Potential themes were extracted as a part of analysis as per relevant experiences, behaviours and attitudes of the participants. Data saturation was achieved after 13 IDIs.
Findings: The initiation of same sex behaviour among MSM was at a young age and was mostly without their consent and against their will. Almost all participants were below the legal age of giving consent for sex and their first homosexual partner was a familiar, elderly in position of authority. They played a passive role in their initial sexual encounter and none of them was able to discuss it freely with their family members or friends due to fear and stigma. They mostly felt depressed and guilty after their first homosexual encounter. They chose to continue their sexual behaviour as they have accepted their attraction towards same sex.
Conclusion: There is a need to include concepts of sexuality in education curriculum and sensitize parents and teachers regarding same sex behaviour and counselling of those exposed to homosexuality at a tender age is imperative.
Keywords: Men who have sex with men, MSM, child sexual abuse, sexual health, sexuality, sexual violence
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