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HEALTH & SEXUAL STATUS IN AN URBAN GAY ENCLAVE: An Application of the Stress Process Model
Unformatted Document Text:  analysis of a sexual status structure whereby attributions of attractiveness differentially distribute power and resources between individuals is quite recent (Author Forthcoming; Ellingson and Schroeder 2004; Martin and George 2006). In this body of work, individuals encounter systems of stratification anchored to sites of sexual competition, such as singles’ bars, nightclubs, Internet dating sites and erotic chat rooms. In these settings, attributions of attractiveness establish a structure of probabilities for sexual partnership, right of sexual choice, perceptions of social support and the attainment of social significance (Author 2008; Martin and George 2006). But far from being randomly distributed, attributions of attractiveness have a basis in collective life as they map onto existing axes of social stratification, including race/ethnicity, class and age (Author Forthcoming; Murray and Adam 2001). Hence, the stressors of collective sexual life may represent a particular, if imperfect, instantiation of the distribution of stressors in the broader social structure, with analogous effects on health. Large urban gay centers in the West have as a chief institutional feature sexual sociality in bars and other nightlife venues (Fitzgerald, 1986; Levine 1998; Murray 1996; Weinberg and Williams 1975). In these contexts, short-term sexual encounters are a normative feature of sociality (Bech 1997; Ellison and Schroeder 2004; Padgug 1989; Rushing 1995). 3 Within these contexts, sexual status is organized principally by attributions of attractiveness. Gold (1995) Levine (1998) and Fitzgerald (1986) for instance, observe sexual subcultures whereby gay men attribute attractiveness on the basis of highly specific physical features (e.g., a muscular body) and self-presentation (e.g,. masculine clothes, affect and hairstyle). Men who failed to meet these standards were regarded as effeminate and unattractive. and George (2006) for a thorough refutation of the market model to sexual stratification. 3 This is in no way to suggest the all gay men participate in these sexual institutions nor that sexual sociality is the only institutional feature of urban gay life. 6

Authors: Green, Adam.
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analysis of a sexual status structure whereby attributions  of attractiveness  differentially 
distribute power and resources between individuals is quite recent (Author Forthcoming; 
Ellingson and Schroeder 2004; Martin and George 2006).  In this body of work, individuals 
encounter systems of stratification anchored to sites of sexual competition, such as singles’ 
bars, nightclubs, Internet dating sites and erotic chat rooms.   In these settings, attributions 
of attractiveness establish a structure of probabilities for sexual partnership, right of sexual 
choice,  perceptions  of social  support and the attainment  of social  significance  (Author 
2008; Martin and George 2006).  But far from being randomly distributed, attributions of 
attractiveness   have   a   basis   in   collective   life   as   they   map   onto   existing   axes   of   social 
stratification,  including race/ethnicity,  class  and age (Author Forthcoming;  Murray and 
Adam 2001).  Hence, the stressors of collective sexual life may represent a particular, if 
imperfect, instantiation of the distribution of stressors in the broader social structure, with 
analogous effects on health. 
Large urban gay centers in the West have as a chief institutional feature sexual 
sociality in bars and other nightlife venues (Fitzgerald, 1986; Levine 1998; Murray 1996; 
Weinberg   and   Williams   1975).     In   these   contexts,   short-term   sexual   encounters   are   a 
normative  feature  of sociality  (Bech  1997; Ellison  and Schroeder  2004; Padgug 1989; 
Rushing   1995).
    Within   these   contexts,   sexual   status   is   organized   principally   by 
attributions   of   attractiveness.     Gold   (1995)   Levine   (1998)   and   Fitzgerald   (1986)   for 
instance, observe sexual subcultures whereby gay men attribute attractiveness on the basis 
of highly  specific  physical  features  (e.g., a muscular  body) and self-presentation  (e.g,. 
masculine clothes, affect and hairstyle).   Men who failed to meet these standards were 
regarded as effeminate and unattractive. 
and George (2006) for a thorough refutation of the market model to sexual stratification.
3
 This is in no way to suggest the all gay men participate in these sexual institutions nor that sexual sociality 
is the only institutional feature of urban gay life.
6


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