Considerable interest has been expressed in young gay men's enhanced vulnerability to HIV-related risk. Relatively little research has, however, been conducted into the circumstances in which risk may be greatest and the strategies young gay men can use to reduce their vulnerability. This paper reports on findings from a recent exploratory in-depth study conducted in Norway. Twenty young gay men participated in repeated dialogic and reflective interviews in which situations of real and potential risk were discussed. Central among the factors enhancing vulnerability were found also to be general social codes such as configurations of 'reciprocity', as well as context-specific factors and individual biographic variables. A mode of intervention is described that seeks to empower young men more fully in sexual communication and negotiation. Such an approach has been operationalized in 'man-to-man dialogues' facilitated by members of the Norwegian Gay Health Committee.