Studies exploring whether romantic motivations may be a protective factor in YGBM’s lives have received less attention in the literature.
Through romantic relationships, YGBM may have access to resources that buffer negative outcomes and help them navigate their sexuality safely.
In the pursuit of romantic possibilities, some YGBM may be eager to fall in love and, colloquially speaking, look for love in all the wrong places (or the wrong people).
Although the concept of love is not easily defined, operationalized, and measured in the literature, research on this construct has shown that it is multidimensional comprising of several distinct components [19, 20].
In pursuit of romantic and sexual possibilities during the emerging adulthood years, YGBM are more likely to report sexual partners than during adolescence as they have more opportunity to explore their sexuality .
Consequently, we hypothesized that YGBM would report greater risks if they reported having obsessive thoughts about their relationship desires; conversely, we hypothesized that YGBM who envision a romantic relationship would report fewer unprotected partners.From a social developmental perspective , emerging adults are at risk of acquiring HIV because their transitions from adolescence into adulthood are often accompanied by a series of explorations in romantic, sexual, and peer relationships .The emerging adulthood spans ages 18 to 25  and is characterized by “having left the dependency of childhood and adolescence, and having not yet entered the enduring responsibilities that are normative in adulthood, emerging adults often explore a variety of possible life directions in love, work, and worldviews” (p. While adolescence may be a period in which individuals begin to explore adult behaviors and norms, usually through limited participation in adult activities, the emerging adulthood period allows youth non-restricted exploration of adult behaviors and norms prior to settling on adult responsibilities.Furthermore, condom use may also be less likely if men believe that the benefits of engaging in unprotected sex outweigh those attributed to condom use (i.e., decisional balance) when seeking to promote intimacy and form an emotional bond with a sexual partner [16–18].Taken together, these findings suggest that examining YGBM’s romantic motivations are warranted in order to contextualize their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS risk.
At present, however, we know little about how gay and bisexual emerging adults’ romantic motivations may influence their HIV/AIDS risk behaviors.