L’émergence des applications comme infrastructures de rencontres érotiques chez les HSH en milieu urbain refaçonne les relations entre sexe et sociabilité.
This article situates online hook-up devices as an emergent infrastructure of the sexual encounter that has become popular among homosexually attracted men in urban centres. A focus on intimate infrastructures does two things. It draws attention to the material technologies, objects and environments that facilitate erotic encounters, casting these devices as active elements in the shaping of sexual practices. And it references how the different kinds of erotic attachments that people come to find necessary for their lives may be ignored if not actively degraded by hegemonic ‘institutions of intimacy’ without critical intervention (Berlant and Warner, 1998). Where institutions allocate resources and establish hierarchies of authority, infrastructures produce capacities and shape encounters in ways that become more or less durable and hardwired into the routines of everyday life. The article traces some of the new genres of sexual interaction afforded by online devices, with a focus on the significance of the concept of ‘play’ among participants. Such a focus enables an understanding of relations between sex and sociability that are being elaborated with these media, and it generates an approach to HIV prevention that promotes acknowledgement of how drug practices and other objects and devices participate in the construction of sexual encounters : their pleasures, qualities, risks and potentialities.