Interpretations of Condom Use and Nonuse among Young Norwegian Gay Men: A Qualitative Study

Abstract

Among the strategies adopted by gay men and the gay community for HIV prevention, the promotion of condom use has been pivotal. This article discusses young gay Norwegian men’s interpretations of condom use and nonuse. Meanings mediated by (non)use of condoms are meanings in the making rather than antecedently and inalterably fixed. How young gay men interpret (non)use of condoms varies with and depends upon context or relationship. In this article, young men’s readings of (non)use of condoms are discussed in the contexts of (anal) sex; surrender to pleasure; semen and intimacy; and respect, disrespect, and humiliation. How condom use functions as a sign for both trust and mistrust also is discussed.