Sex, drugs, & rurality: A brief qualitative analysis of rural gay and bisexual men’s substance use sex expectancies

Joseph M. Currin, Randolph D. Hubach, Julie M. Croff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: One well documented reason that individuals use alcohol and drugs is the belief that these substances will increase satisfaction of a sexual experience or somehow otherwise enhance the sexual experience. However, the unique experiences of MSM residing in rural areas are not well represented in the scientific literature. Methods: We conducted 40 interviews with individuals who identified as a man who has sex with men and lived in rural areas in Oklahoma, a primarily rural and socio-politically conservative state in the United States. Data collection continued until thematic saturation was reached. Results: Three main substances (and themes) were identified by participants: 1) marijuana (focus on the experience/person), alcohol (more open/playful and reduces anxiety), and methamphetamines (stamina and arousal). Conclusions: While the themes for alcohol and methamphetamines were in line with previous research, this is one of the first studies to identify the sex expectancies of marijuana of increasing the ability to focus on the sexual experience and/or the partner. Taken together, participants endorsed some type of positive substance use sex expectancies. These results highlight the importance of accounting for substance use sex expectancies when developing interventions to reduce substance use and risky sexual behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-387
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Use
Issue number4
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2019


  • MSM health disparity
  • Substance use
  • alcohol use
  • marijuana use
  • methamphetamine use
  • sex expectancy


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