Attractiveness, profile-picture face visibility, and unprotected receptive anal intercourse in young MSM using online dating applications


Wongsomboon Val, Sietins Emils, Webster Gregory D. (2021)

Sexual Health 18, 212-220.


BackgroundWe examined links among face visibility on dating-profile pictures, self-perceived attractiveness, condom use self-efficacy, and unprotected receptive anal intercourse (URAI) in 223 young men who have sex with men (YMSM; ages 18–24 years) using online dating applications (e.g. Grindr).

Methods: Participants reported their face visibility on their main dating-profile picture, attractiveness, condom use self-efficacy, and frequency of URAI in the past 3 months. Number of casual sex partners and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use were statistically controlled in all analyses.

Results: Using a mediated moderation model, we found that a significant attractiveness-by-face-visibility interaction for URAI was fully mediated by condom use self-efficacy. Specifically, lower face visibility on profile pictures related to lower condom use self-efficacy, which in turn related to higher URAI, but only among highly attractive YMSM.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that attractive YMSM who show less-visible faces on their dating profiles could be at particularly high risk for sexually transmissible infections. This study has potentially important clinical implications because dating applications have become one of the most common ways for YMSM to find sexual partners.

Full text (open access) available here


By J Pope

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