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, 45 (6), 368-373

Conceptualizing Geosexual Archetypes: Mapping the Sexual Travels and Egocentric Sexual Networks of Gay and Bisexual Men in Toronto, Canada


Conceptualizing Geosexual Archetypes: Mapping the Sexual Travels and Egocentric Sexual Networks of Gay and Bisexual Men in Toronto, Canada

Dionne Gesink et al. Sex Transm Dis.


Background: There are complex, synergistic, and persistent sexually transmitted infection (STI) epidemics affecting gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) in every major urban centre across North America. We explored the spatial architecture of egocentric sexual networks for gbMSM in Toronto, Canada.

Methods: Our integrative mixed methods study included in-depth interviews with 31 gbMSM between May and July 2016. During interviews, participants mapped their egocentric sexual network for the preceding 3 months geographically. At the end, a self-administered survey was used to collect sociodemographic characteristics, online technology use, and STI testing and history.

Results: We identified 6 geosexual archetypes: hosters, house-callers, privates, rovers, travellers, and geoflexibles. Hosters always, or almost always (≥80%), hosted sex at their home. House-callers always, or almost always (≥80%), had sex at their partner's home. Rovers always or almost always (≥80%) had sex at public venues (eg, bath houses, sex clubs) and other public spaces (eg, parks, cruising sites). Privates had sex in private-their own home or their partner's (part hoster, part house-caller). Travellers had sex away from their home, either at a partner's home or some other venue or public space (part house-caller, part rover). Geoflexibles had sex in a variety of locations-their home, their partner's home, or public venues. All hosters and rovers, and to a lesser extent, geoflexibles, reported a history of syphilis and human immunodeficiency virus.

Conclusions: Prioritizing interventions to hosters, rovers, and geoflexibles may have an important impact on reducing STI transmission.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest: None declared.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Example maps of egocentric sexual networks for each geosexual archetype. Archetypes were developed from the geographic patterns of egocentric sexual networks for 31 men who have sex with men in Toronto, Canada, 2016, based on participant residence, sexual partner residence, and where each participant had sex the first time with sexual partners from the preceding 3 months. Notes: north is at the top of each map; maps are not to scale; and scales and map centers differ between maps.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Relationship between, and distribution of, sexual archetypes defined by where participant had sex the first time with each sexual partner in the preceding 3 months. Specifically, hosters (red) hosted sex at their home; house-callers (yellow) travelled to their partner(s) home(s); privates (orange) hosted or travelled to their partner’s home; rovers (blue) had sex in public venues; travellers (green) travelled to their partner's home or a public venue; and geoflexibles (grey) had sex in a variety of locations. Theoretically, there could be a seventh archetype that is part hoster, part rover; however, no participants fell along this edge. Note: numbers in brackets represent the number of participants in the same location on the graph. Grey lines on the triangle graph are in 20% increments. The closer to a vertex of the triangle a participant falls the more homogenous this participant’s choice of sex destination.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Hypothesized connections (solid lines) between geosexual archetypes based on egocentric sexual network spatial architecture and archetype characteristics. Hypothetical sexual network connections of a siren are included (dashed lines).

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