Dominican MSM in Online Spaces

Authors: Lauren Perez Bonilla*, University of Connecticut
Topics: Sexuality, Communication, Qualitative Research
Keywords: sex work, Dominican Republic, sex workers, men who have sex with men, MSM, bugarrones, internet, online
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 31
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The following focuses on heterosexual Dominican male sex workers who have sex with men (MSM) exclusively for money or, as locals call them: bugarrones. By using content analysis as a tool to approach this topic, I explore and analyze how these men market, promote, and sell themselves –and their services– to their potential clients on the internet. Furthermore, their use of sexual roles is studied using Almaguer’s (1993) activo/pasivo theory. This is done in order to examine how these sex workers embody and perform certain expectations or definitions of a Caribbean man to their clients, despite adopting socially unacceptable definitions of gender and sexuality to make a living. I position their online performance of masculinity in contrast to those provided by scholars who previously have studied MSM in the context of the Dominican Republic (Tabet et al., 1996; de Moya and Garcia, 1999; Padilla, 2007, 2008; Pope et al., 2014) with the hopes of grounding my findings. Finally, and by concentrating on online spaces (i.e., dating websites and phone applications), it is my intention to evaluate to what degree these work as “safe havens” for these bugarrones.

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