behavioral aspects as it is a social problem with some
Philosophically, scientific research is often best viewed as being
like a photograph.10 Over time, while parts of the picture will no
doubt vary, other aspects will remain intransient. Similarly, should
another photographer take a picture from another angle, the insights
gained might be different. To complete the analogy, it is only by
several photographers taking pictures from several different angles
that a reliable overall picture emerges from the differing
These, then, are my impressions of homosexual behavior, the
psychology of safer sex, and the efficacy of AIDS education
techniques, which I offer for your reflection. As a psychologist, I
believe that health education has tremendous potential to change
people's behavior and lives. As we shall see in AIDS education, this
study suggests the effects of health education may be both positive
and negative. As an empiricist, I strongly believe that health
education must be based on hard data and be empirically evaluated.
Otherwise we must, by necessity, go on not learning from our
mistakes. If this study assists people to replace ignorance with fact,
base their actions on empirical data rather than solely on impression
or stereotype, and encourage other empirical research in this field,
then the study shall have been immensely worthwhile.
This book is based on the first doctoral research into safer sex behavior to
be completed in the Southern Hemisphere (awarded in 1990). As such it is a
groundbreaking work with much of the findings remaining speculative or
requiring substantiation before being uncritically accepted as fact.
Maintaining the academic integrity of this research while trying to make
it accessible to those without a statistical or psychosexual background has not been
an easy exercise. Readers familiar with the usual form of scientific presentations
will note that results and discussion have been combined to assist readability.
Other modifications to the original thesis are as follows. The literature
review in the original thesis has been removed and a chapter inserted presenting
data on discrimination and violence experienced by the sample. Similarly, Chapter 18 of this book has been included to summarize the major findings of this
study and Chapter 19 included to note the implications of these results for the future.
Throughout this study, the term homosexually active men has been used
in preference to other choices such as gay or homosexual. In current usage, gay
generally describes homosexually active men who identify themselves as such or
the culture and social groupings of these men. The label homosexual (as a noun)
historically referred to those with a clinical diagnosis of pathology that is no longer
recognized, and so the term is inappropriate. (It is also a term heavily attacked by
gay activists as stereotyping people by identifying one single aspect of their lives as
sufficient to describe them and reinforces a dichotic conceptualization of sexuality