Staff profile

Professor Gary W. Dowsett


Professor/Deputy Director, Chair in Sex, Health and Society

College of Science, Health and Engineering

School of Psychology and Public Health

Melbourne (Bundoora)

Research centres

Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society


BA (Qld), DipEd (Qld), PhD (Macq)



Membership of professional associations

Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia; Member: The Australian Sociological Association, International Academy of Sex Research, International AIDS Society; Public Health Association of Australia

Brief profile

Professor Gary Dowsett, PhD, is Deputy Director at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University. From 2002 to 2005, Gary Dowsett was also Associate Professor in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University in New York, and Associate Professor in Clinical Sociomedical Sciences from 2005 to 2009. A sociologist, he has long been interested in sexuality research, particularly in relation to the rise of modern gay communities. Since 1986, he has been researching the HIV epidemic, particularly in Australia's gay communities, and has worked on many international HIV/AIDS and sexual health projects since the late 1980s. Since the 1990s he has also focused on HIV and AIDS internationally with research and community-based organisations in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Fiji, the US and UK, and other regional associations that focus on men who have sex with men. He has worked as a consultant and advisor to WHO, UNDP and UNAIDS. He is author, co-author or co-editor of six books, more than 80 book chapters and academic papers, and over 90 other publications. His first book (co-authored with three colleagues) was voted one of the top ten most influential books in Australian Sociology by The Australian Sociological Association in 2003. That same year, he was elected to the International Academy of Sex Research, and in 2005, he was awarded a five-year Victorian Health Promotion Foundation Senior Research Fellowship researching masculinity, sexuality and health. He was appointed to a Personal Chair in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University in 2006. In 2008, he was admitted as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.In 2015, he was appointed Adjunct Professorial Fellow at the Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW Australia.

Research interests

Gender and health

- Men's Health

Older people

- Men's sexual recovery after prostate cancer

Sexuality and Relationships

- Sexual citizenship


Evaluation methodologies; Qualitative research design

Recent publications


Yeatman, Anna, with Dowsett, Gary W, Fine, Michael & Gursansky, Diane (2009), Individualization and the Delivery of Welfare Services, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 279 pp.

Dowsett, Gary W (1996). Practicing Desire: Homosexual Sex in the Era of AIDS. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Kippax S, Connell RW, Dowsett, Gary W & Crawford J (1993). Sustaining Safe Sex: Gay Communities Respond to AIDS. London: Falmer Press.

Connell RW & Dowsett, Gary W (eds) (1993). Rethinking Sex: Social Theory and Sexuality Research. Philadelphia: Temple University Press; (1992), Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

Shaw JM & Dowsett, Gary W (1987). The Evaluation Process in the Adult Migrant Education Program. 2nd edn. Adelaide, SA: Adult Migrant Education Program, National Curriculum Resource Centre, Research Series.

Connell RW, Ashenden DJ, Kessler S & Dowsett, Gary W (1982). Making the Difference: Schools, Families and Social Division. Sydney: George Allen & Unwin.


Refereed journal articles

Ussher, Jane, Perz, Janette, Rose, Duncan and Dowsett, Gary W. (under review), 'Threat of sexual disqualification: the consequences of erectile dysfunction and other sexual changes for gay and bisexual men with prostate cancer'.

Wassersug, Richard J, Westle, Andrew, Dowsett, Gary W. (under review), 'Men's Adaptation to Erectile Dysfunction after Prostate Cancer Treatment'.

Philpot, Steven P, Prestage, Garrett, Ellard, Jeanne, Duncan, Duane, Dowsett, Gary W, Bavinton, Benjamin R, Down, Ian, Keen, Phillip, Hammoud, Mohamed A. (under review), 'Gay and bisexual men's interest in marriage: An Australian perspective'.

Brown, Graham, Reeders, Daniel, Dowsett, Gary W, Ellard, Jeanne, Carman, Marina, Hendry, Natalie, & Wallace, Jack (2015), Investigating combination HIV prevention: Isolated interventions or complex system, Journal of the International AIDS Society 18:20499.

Lee TK, Handy AB, Kwan W, Oliffe JL, Brotto LA, Wassersug RJ, and Dowsett, Gary W. (2015) 'The impact of prostate cancer treatment on the sexual quality of life for men-who-have-sex-with-men'. J Sex Med, 12(12):2378-86. Doi: 10.1111/jsm.13030.

Dowsett, Gary W . (2015). "The Price of Pulchritude, the Cost of Concupiscence: How to Have Sex in Late Modernity." Culture, Health & Sexuality, 17(Supp. 1):S5-S19. Doi: 10.1080/13691058.2014.959563.

Dowsett, Gary W (2015), 'And next for your enjoyment!: sex, technology and the constitution of desire', Culture, Health and Sexuality, 17(4): 527-539. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2014.959563.

Dowsett, Gary W . (2014), 'Dirty work' down under: A comment on Janice Irvine's 'Is sexuality research "dirty work"?', Sexualities, 17(5/6): 657-661, doi: 10.1177/1363460714535800.

Dowsett, Gary W . , Lyons, Anthony, Duncan, Duane and Wassersug, Richard J. (2014), Flexibility in men's sexual practices in response to iatrogenic erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer treatment', Sexual Medicine, doi: 10.1002/sm2.32.

Minichiello V, Rahman S, Dune T, Scott J & Dowsett, Gary W (2013), 'E-health: potential benefits and challenges in providing and accessing sexual health services', BMC Public Health, 13:790, doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-790.

Wassersug RJ, Lyons A, Duncan D, Dowsett, Gary W, Pitts M. (2013), 'Diagnostic and outcome differences between heterosexual and nonheterosexual men treated for prostate cancer', Urology, 82(3):565-71, doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2013.04.022. Epub 2013, Jun 14.

Frasca, Tim, Dowsett, Gary W and Carballo-Diéguez, Alex (2013), 'The ethics of barebacking: implications of gay men's concepts of right and wrong in the context of HIV', International Journal of Sexual Health, 25(8): 198-211, DOI: 10.7080/1937611.2013.764375.

Fletcher, Gillian, Dowsett, Gary W, Duncan, Duane, Slavin, Sean and Corboz, Julienne (2013), 'Advancing Sexuality Studies: a short course on sexuality theory and research methodologies', Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, 13(3), pp.319-335. DOI:10.1080/14681811.2012.742847.

Fletcher, Gillian, Dowsett, Gary W, and Austin, Lilian (2012), 'Actively promoting student engagement within an online environment: Developing and implementing a signature subject on "Contemporary Issues in Sex and Sexuality"', Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice (Special Edition), 9(3):

Carman, M., Corboz, J. and Dowsett, Gary W. (2012), 'Falling through the cracks: the gap between evidence and policy in responding to depression in gay, lesbian and other homosexually active people in Australia', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 36(1): 76-83.

Carballo-Diéguez, Alex, Ventuneac, Ana, Dowsett, Gary W., Balán, Ivan, Bauermeeister, José, Remien, Robert H., Dolezal, Curtis, Giguere, Rebecca, Mabragaña, Marina (2011), 'Sexual pleasure and intimacy: can we include them in HIV prevention?', AIDS and Behavior, 15:S57-S65.

Duncan, Duane and Dowsett, Gary W. (2010), 'There's no teleology to it; it's just about the spirit of play': men, intimacy and "late" modernity', Journal of Men's Studies, 18(1): 45-62.

Dowsett, Gary W (2009), 'Dangerous desires and post-queer HIV prevention: rethinking community, incitement and intervention', Social Theory and Health, 7(3): 218-240.

Carballo-Diéguez, A., Ventuneac, A., Bauermeister, J., Dowsett, Gary W., Dolezal, C., Remien, R.H., Balan, I., & Rowe, M. (2009), 'Is "bareback" a useful construct in primary HIV-prevention? Definitions, identity and research', Culture, Health and Sexuality, 11(1), 51-65.

Dowsett, Gary W . (2008), 'Losing my chestnut: one gay man's wrangle with prostate cancer', Reproductive Health Matters, 16(32): 145-150.

Rowe, Mathew S & Dowsett, Gary W. (2008), 'Sex, love, friendship, belonging and place': is there a role for 'gay community' in HIV prevention today?', Culture, Health and Sexuality, 10(4): 329-344.

Dowsett, Gary W , Williams, Heru, Carballo-Diéguez, Alex & Ventuneac, Ana (2008), '"Taking it like a man": masculinity and barebacking online', Sexualities, 11(1): 121-141.

Dowsett, Gary W & Couch, Murray (2007), 'Male circumcision and HIV prevention: is there really enough of the right kind of evidence?', Reproductive Health Matters, 15(29): 33-44.

Carballo-Diéguez A, Dowsett, Gary W, Ventuneac A, Remien R, Balan I, Dolezal C, Luciano O, Lin P. (2006), 'Cybercartography of popular Internet sites used by New York City men who have sex with men interested in bareback sex', AIDS Education and Prevention,18(6): 475-489.


Book and monograph chapters

Dowsett, Gary W. (2013), 'A Personal Reflection on Dennis Altman's Homosexual', in C. D'Cruz & M. Pendleton (eds), After Homosexual: The Legacies of Gay Liberation, Crawley WA: University of Western Australia Press, pp. 84-88.

Dowsett, Gary W . (2010), 'Dancing with Daemons: Desire and the Improvisation of Pleasure', in P Aggleton & R Parker (eds), A Handbook on Sexuality, Health and Human Rights, London: Routledge, pp. 264-270.

Dowsett, Gary W . (2009), 'The "gay plague" revisited: AIDS and its enduring moral panic', in G. Herdt (ed.), Moral Panics, Sex Panics: The Fear and the Fight over Sexual Rights, New York: New York University Press, pp. 130-156.

Yeatman, Anna and Dowsett, Gary W. (2009), 'Service Delivery and HIV-Positive Gay Men: Pre- and Post-Advent of Highly Active Antiretroviral Treatment (HAART)', in Yeatman A, with Dowsett GW, Fine M & Gursansky D, Individualization and the Delivery of Welfare Services, Basingstoke, UK; Palgrave Macmillan, pp, 187-209.

Dowsett, Gary W. (2007), 'Researching Gay Men's Health: The Promise of Qualitative Research', in Ilan H Meyer & Mary E Northbridge (eds), The Health of Sexual Minorities: Public Health Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Populations, New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum, pp. 419-441.

Dowsett, Gary W . (2007), 'Te enseño el mío si tú me enseñas el tuyo: Hombres gay, investigación sobre masculinidades, estudios sobre los hombres y sexualidad', in Ana Amuchástegui and Ivonne Szasz (eds), Sucede que me canso de ser hombre…Relatos y reflexiones sobre hombres y masculinidades en México, México: El Colegio de México, pp. 73-94 (re-publication in Spanish of journal article 33 above).

Ross DA, Wight D, Dowsett, Gary W, Buvé A, Obasi AIN. (2006), 'The weight of evidence: a method for assessing the strength of evidence on the effectiveness of HIV prevention interventions among young people', in DA Ross, B Dick & J Ferguson (eds), Preventing HIV/AIDS in Young People: A Systematic Review of the Evidence from Developing Countries, Geneva, World Health Organization Technical Report Series #938, pp. 79-102.

Dowsett, Gary W . (2006), 'Johnnie comes marching…where? Australian gay men, masculinity, HIV/AIDS and sex', reprinted in Stephen M. Whitehead (ed.) Men and Masculinities: Critical Concepts in Sociology, Vol III-Identity, Association and Embodiment, London & New York: Routledge, pp. 417-427.

Dowsett, Gary W & Parker, Richard G (2006) 'Culture, Sexuality and AIDS Syllabus' in Carrie E. Foote-Ardah and Eric R. Wright (eds), Teaching the Sociology of HIV/AIDS: Syllabi, Lectures and Other Resources for Instructors and Students, 3rd edn, Washington, DC: American Sociological Association, pp. 82-89.


International, Australian and community reports

Dowsett, Gary W , Prestage, Garrett, Duncan, Duane, du Plooy, Daniel & Waling, Andrea (2015), Moving On: Mental Health, Resilience and Sexual Recovery among Gay Men living with Prostate Cancer, report of the 'Moving On' project, Melbourne: La Trobe University, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, Monograph 106.

Cheron-Sauer, Maris-Claire & Dowsett, Gary W (comp.) (2015) Prostate Cancer and Gay and Bisexual Men: Social Science Research and Stakeholders - Report of a one-day workshop, Sydney: Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, and Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health Society, online publication -

Wong WKT, Lowe A, Dowsett, Gary W, Duncan D, O'Keeffe D. & Mitchell A. (2013), Prostate Cancer Information Needs of Australian Gay and Bisexual Men, Sydney: Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

Dowsett, Gary W , Mitchell, Anne & O'Keeffe, David (2012), 'They just assume everyone's straight': A Technical Report on Prostate Cancer and Health Promotion for Gay and Bisexual Men, Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University.