Thursday, October 20, 2011

What Exactly are Gay Men Doing Sexually?

'young kiss' photo (c) 2002, Les Chatfield - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I am not sure why this study was necessary but, a group of researchers recently sought to investigate "the sexual behaviors that gay and bisexually identified men report during their most recent male-partnered sexual event and to describe the situational characteristics and participants' evaluation of these events". To facilitate their study they used "an internet-based survey, data were collected from 24,787 gay and bisexually identified men (ages 18–87 years) from 50 US states and the District of Columbia."

According to Huffpo, the following were some of the results:

  • 49.1% of respondents said they had had their last "sexual event" in their home and 28.6% had sex in their partner's home. 7.2% had sex in a hotel or motel, 3.7% in a public space, and 1.6% in a vehicle.
  • 18% said they had sex with a boyfriend/partner, 19% with a casual/dating partner, and 17.3% with a friend.
  • Gay and bisexual men over the age of 60 reported the highest rates of arousal (80.8% and 84% respectively), while men 18 to 24 were most likely to report "little or no pleasure during the event" (11.9%).
  • The most common "sexual behavior" reported during the most recent "sexual event" was giving oral sex (75%), followed by kissing on the mouth (74.8%) and receiving oral sex (73.4%).
  • 35.5% and 33.8% of participants engaged in receptive or insertive anal intercourse respectively. Receptive anal sex was most common among 18-24 year olds and insertive was most popular among 30-39 year olds.
  • 32.9% of participants used a condom during their last "sexual event" and 45.5% who said they had anal sex reported using a condom.
  • Most "sexual events" involved between five and nine different sexual behaviors. The most frequent combo (16.2%) included "holding their partner romantically, kissing partner on mouth, solo masturbation, masturbating partner, masturbation by partner, and genital-genital contact." 13.4% liked this version: "holding their partner romantically, kissing partner on mouth, masturbating partner, masturbation by partner, genital-genital contacting, giving oral sex, and receiving oral sex."
Okay, is anyone really surprised?  It turns out that gay men are having sex with their partners in their homes. Oh dear, oh dear.  How perverted is that? Hey, wait a minute, isn't that what straight people are doing?  But wait, they're having oral sex.  Oral sex people - but wait, aren't straight people doing that as well?  Yeah, it all seems pretty much normal and standard sexual behaviour to me.  Oooh before you bring up anal sex, please keep in mind that this is something straight people engage in as well. It looks like, sex, is just sex.

I doubt that this will put a crimp in the ridiculous conservative arguments about predatory gay men and the disgusting suggestion that gay men are pedophiles, but at least it stands as proof that gay men aren't doing anything that anyone else isn't doing.  I will however say that I wish that they had gone to greater lengths to ensure more diversity in their participants. "Participants' mean age was 39.2 years; ethnicities included white (84.6%), Latino (6.4%), and African American (3.6%); and most men (79.9%) identified as homosexual".   The fact that 84.6% of their respondents were White once again constructs a GLBT identity as a largely White thing.  Of the gay men listed, there is no reference to whether or not any of them or cis or trans, and there is also no mention of disability.  Just like woman is not a monolithic identity neither is gay male.