Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research

ISSN: 2155-6113

Open Access

Semen Arousal: Its Prevalence, Relationship to HIV Risk Practices, and Predictors among Men Using the Internet to Find Male Partners for Unprotected Sex


Hugh Klein

Purpose: This paper examines the extent to which men who use the Internet to find other men for unprotected sex are aroused by semen. It also looks at the relationship between semen arousal and involvement in HIV risk practices, and the factors associated with higher levels of semen arousal.

Methods: 332 men who used any of 16 websites targeting unprotected sex completed 90-minute telephone interviews. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. A random sampling strategy was used. Semen arousal was assessed by four questions asking men how much they were turned on by the way that semen smelled, tasted, looked, and felt.

Results: 65.1% of the men found at least one sensory aspect of semen to be “fairly” or “very” arousing, compared to 10.2% being “not very” or “not at all” aroused by all four sensory aspects of semen. Multivariate analysis revealed that semen arousal was related to greater involvement in HIV risk practices, even when the impact of other salient factors such as demographic characteristics, HIV serostatus, and psychological functioning was taken into account. Five factors were found to underlie greater levels of semen arousal: not being African American, self-identification as a sexual “bottom,” being better educated, being HIV-positive, and being more depressed.

Conclusions: Being aroused by the sensory aspects of giving or receiving semen is commonplace amongst men in this high-risk population. Semen arousal was related closely to involvement in risk practices, indicating a need for HIV intervention programs to address this phenomenon in this population.


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