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Using cross-sectional data from a study examining YGBM's online dating experiences (N = 376; ages 18-24), we found a positive association between romantic obsession and number of partners for unprotected receptive (URAI) and insertive (UIAI) anal intercourse.
Conversely, we found a negative association between romantic ideation and number of partners for URAI and UIAI. Our results indicate support for both perspectives.
Studies exploring whether romantic motivations may be a protective factor in YGBM’s lives have received less attention in the literature.
Through romantic relationships, YGBM may have access to resources that buffer negative outcomes and help them navigate their sexuality safely.
Past research has found evidence to suggest that these extreme romantic motivations (e.g., romantic obsession) are associated with greater HIV/AIDS risk behaviors.
In a sample of LGBT men and women in New York City, Missildine, Feldstein, Punzalan, and Parsons found that MSM were more likely to report higher romantic obsession scores than female counterparts, irrespective of relationship status, and to report a greater number of sexual partners .
YGBM’s participation in same-sex relationships may be associated with higher psychological well-being [5, 25], which may reduce YGBM’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS risks.
Some evidence also suggests that romantic motivations, particularly when assessed as a normative behavior, may have positive implications for YGBM’s HIV/AIDS risks.
Furthermore, YMSM accounted for approximately 88% of HIV diagnoses among adolescent and young adult males in 2008 .Parsons and Bimbi found that MSM who self-identified as barebackers (i.e., intentional unprotected sex in HIV risk contexts; ) reported higher romantic obsession scores than men who did not self-identify as barebackers, irrespective of their HIV status .However, more research is needed to understand how extreme romantic motivations may increase YGBM’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS risks.From a social developmental perspective , emerging adults are at risk of acquiring HIV because their transitions from adolescence into adulthood are often accompanied by a series of explorations in romantic, sexual, and peer relationships .The emerging adulthood spans ages 18 to 25  and is characterized by “having left the dependency of childhood and adolescence, and having not yet entered the enduring responsibilities that are normative in adulthood, emerging adults often explore a variety of possible life directions in love, work, and worldviews” (p. While adolescence may be a period in which individuals begin to explore adult behaviors and norms, usually through limited participation in adult activities, the emerging adulthood period allows youth non-restricted exploration of adult behaviors and norms prior to settling on adult responsibilities.
In the pursuit of romantic possibilities, some YGBM may be eager to fall in love and, colloquially speaking, look for love in all the wrong places (or the wrong people).