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Dating preferences among self-identified gay men of Asian descent in the United States

  • Author(s): Nehl, EJ;
  • Talley, CL;
  • Yu, F;
  • Nakayama, KK;
  • Lin, L;
  • Wong, FY;
  • Ong, PM;
  • Takahashi, LM;
  • Ross, MW
  • et al.

Little is known about the dating preferences of Asian American gay men. To conceptualize the dating preferences among these men, the impact domains model (IDM) was used to investigate if nativity and/or acculturation might explain dating preferences. Previous studies have pointed out the problematic nature of a racist cultural stereotype that Asian American gay men prefer white partners (Choi, Yep, & Kumekawa, 1998; Han, 2008). The current findings do not support that Asian American gay men prefer white partners. In our sample, 17.1% preferred dating white men and over 20% preferred Asian men. Over 60% had no clear racial/ethnic dating preference. Multivariate analyses indicated that those reporting higher ethnic acculturation (p <.001) and were U.S.-born (p <.01) were more likely to prefer dating Asian men. In contrast, those younger (p <.001) and living on the East Coast (p <.01) were more likely to prefer dating white men. Limitations of the study include a self-report cross-sectional design with purposive recruitment to study HIV/STIs and sexual health rather than dating preferences. Additionally, the data set included only a coastal classification (East vs. West Coast) and an acculturation scale which included cultural identity, language, and competence. The complex effect of nativity and acculturation on dating preference warrants further investigation. The IDM may be useful to guide future studies of partner preference among Asian MSM. Researchers in future studies should pay attention to identifying the key behavioral, social, and affective beliefs that underlie partner preference and examine actual dating practices.

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