Stretching Behaviors: Gay Sex 101

By: Christopher Donaldson
10.19.2011

Sexual Behaviors among gay and bisexual men still remain misunderstood by many disease-focused public health practitioners. But a new study, based on detailed surveys of 24,787 men and their most recent sexual encounters, suggests that our community keeps “varied sexual repertoires” not only limited to anal sex.

"Of all sexual behaviors that men reported occurring during their last sexual event, those involving the anus were the least common," said the study’s lead author, Joshua G. Rosenberger (as reported by IU Newsroom). "There is certainly a misguided belief that 'gay sex equals anal sex,' which is simply untrue much of the time."

In fact, the most commonly reported behaviors were giving oral (74.5%) and kissing on the mouth (74.8%), followed by receiving oral (73.4%) and mutual masturbation (68.4%). Surprisingly, only one-third of all participants, about 35%, engaged in anal intercourse (highest among young men between the ages of 18-24). But only half reported that they used a condom, which may or may not have anything to do with the fact that more than 40 percent of participants reported that they were dating or coupled with their most recent sexual partner.

"Due to the disproportionate impact of HIV among MSM, the majority of research on gay and bisexual men's sexual behavior is situated within the context of disease,” said co-author Michael Reece, director of IU's Center for Sexual Health Promotion (IU Newsroom). “This emphasis has resulted in a body of literature about gay and bisexual men that is risk-focused, with limited understanding of the diversity and complexity of these men's sexual lives,"

"In order to provide clinicians and public health professionals with the necessary tools to promote sexuality in a positive and healthy manner, a more nuanced understanding of an individual sexual experience was needed."

Read the full article here.

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