According to Ross, the Internet provides a sexual space midway between fantasy and action that enables experimenting with sexual behavior by ‘engaging in it online and with another person without actually “doing” it’ [1, p. The author further suggests that the expression of desires in semi-hypothetical online interactions can be seen as an externalizing of sexual fantasy .
Sexual fantasizing as a site of pleasure is a central aspect of human sexuality , and the externalization and responding to sexual fantasies is an important aspect of the erotics of online chatting .
One explanation, drawing on the role of reflective processes, is that in the course of the online chat actors decide or form an intention to engage in UAI [35, 36].
This decision may reflect additional, risk-relevant information men have exchanged and/or the accelerated intimacy and rapid development of trust afforded by the sharing of intimate details in online chatting [1,6].
Seeking sexual partners online is associated with sexual risk-taking among men who have sex with men (MSM), but it is not well understood how this use of the Internet is implicated in potential sexual risks.
In particular, we theorize that through the online sharing of sexual fantasies about UAI, men jointly construct possible sexual scripts that can guide expectations and sexual interactions when they meet face-to-face.
Dual-systems theorizing of behavior in social psychology assumes that human behaviors are a joint function of reflective and impulsive processes [35, 36], and each of these systems of processes may be implicated in the possible association between sexual scripts that are generated during online erotic chatting and sexual practices in real life.
A substantial number of studies have now investigated the potential association between going online to meet sexual partners and sexual risk-taking in MSM [16–27].
While findings from individual studies have been somewhat mixed, a comprehensive meta-analysis found that MSM who use the Internet to look for sex partners are more likely to engage in unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) .