Recruiting participants for research that explores how gay and bisexual men use smartphones to support intimacy
Digital intimacies is a research study run by the University of Edinburgh (Ingrid Young) and the University of East Anglia (Jamie Hakim & James Cummings) which explores how gay and bisexual men use their smart phones to negotiate and support intimacy in their everyday lives. We want to know if and how smart phones play a role in and shape what intimacy means and how smartphone technology might support - or hinder - intimate relationships. And given the current circumstances, we also want to learn more about how COVID-19 is affecting the everyday intimate lives of gay and bisexual men.
We are still recruiting for this study in Edinburgh and the Lothians. And we are keen to include a diversity of voices from Scotland as part of this research. In particular, we would like to hear from and include gay and bisexual men of colour and trans men who live and/or work in Edinburgh and the Lothians. While we don't want to exclude anyone from the study, we want to make sure that the voices and experiences of these men are included in our research and can help us to better understand how smartphones can support intimacy, sexual health and wellbeing.
We started recruitment in Edinburgh and the Lothians in September and we've been really pleased with the response. So far, we've completed 10 interviews with gay and bisexual men in Scotland and we have learned a lot. Participants have been telling us how smartphones are used in ways that enable and support, but also complicate, all sorts of intimate relationships, from hook-ups and long-term relationships, both monogamous and open, to enduring friendships and new acquaintances. For instance, apps beyond hook-up apps can help to sustain friendships and relationships by providing safe spaces for men to learn about and speak with each other. They also help to support connections at a time when we might be separated from intimate partners. We have also been learning how gay and bisexual men’s sexual health and wellbeing needs during COVID-19, including how intimacy and decisions about relationships have changed over the course of the year.
-Ingrid Young, University of Edinburgh.