Theses Master's

The Social Production of Pleasure and Sexual Risk Behavior: A Qualitative Examination of Collective Sex Venues in New York City

Tellone, Stephen Eric

Sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals who attend collective sex venues (CSV) have been found to be at higher odds for engaging in behaviors that may pose risk of HIV transmission. Public health research and sexual health promotion strategies at CSVs might benefit from a deeper analysis of the relationship between pleasure and the socio-sexual configuration of spaces for collective sex. This study investigated how pleasure is experienced by CSV attendees, and how the production of pleasure shapes sexual risk behaviors through in-depth qualitative interviews with 30 SGM individuals who attended CSVs in New York City. Interviews with participants found that pleasure is a central motivator for CSV attendance. Beyond the physical feeling of pleasure from sex, participants also described feeling pleasure from spatial characteristics of CSVs, perceptions of CSVs as safe spaces, substance use, or the overall direct access that CSVs provide to a higher quantity of sexual partners. Sexual health promotion programs that are tailored for CSV-specific contexts could benefit from creating a value for pleasure, and lead to the development of appealing, acceptable and feasible interventions for CSV attendees.

Geographic Areas


More About This Work

Academic Units
Sociomedical Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Meunier, √Čtienne
M.P.H., Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Published Here
April 12, 2021


Keywords: Pleasure, Sexual risk, Sexual behavior, Collective Sex, Norms