The other side of the bridge: Exploring the sexual relationships of men who have sex with men and their female partners in Mumbai, India

Elizabeth F. Closson, Murugesan Sivasubramanian, Kenneth H. Mayer, Ankur Srivastava, Steven A. Safren, Vivek Raj Anand, Raman Gangakhedkar, Matthew J. Mimiaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Behaviourally bisexual men have been identified as a 'bridge' population of HIV transmission to heterosexual women in India. Little is known about the sexual relationships that these men have with their female sex partners. The primary objective of this study was to explore the sexual practices and relationship dynamics between married and unmarried behaviourally bisexual men and their female sex partners in Mumbai, India. In 2009, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 32 men who reported sex with men and women. Participants discussed a variety of sexual practices and arrangements with female sex partners. Irrespective of marital status and sexual identity, many said that they had satisfying sexual experiences and feelings of affection for female sex partners. However, sexual incompatibility between married partners was also reported. Explanations of bisexual concurrency were discussed in terms of both sexual satisfaction and sexual preference. Self-perceived HIV risk related to same-sex sexual behaviour motivated many men to use condoms with female partners. Expectations of unprotected marital sex and perceptions of partner risk were barriers to condom use. HIV-prevention programmes for this population may benefit from tailored risk-reduction counselling that attends to the variations of these sexual and social relationship dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)780-791
Number of pages12
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014



  • India
  • bisexual men
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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