Oral Sex More Popular Than Anal Sex Among Gay and Bisexual Men, Online Survey Finds
October 19, 2011
Researchers from Indiana University, George Mason University and Online Buddies, Inc., polled more than 24,700 gay and bisexual men ages 18 to 87 to ask them about their most recent sexual experience -- and what they found was somewhat surprising.
Anal sex among MSM is not as popular as one might think -- only 35.5 percent and 33.8 percent of participants engaged in receptive or insertive anal intercourse, respectively, as their last sexual act. The most common sexual activity was oral sex -- 75 percent performed it while 73.4 percent received it.
In terms of public health messages, researchers recommend that "a broader, less disease-focused perspective might be warranted by public health and medical practitioners in addressing the sexual health of gay and bisexual men."
"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. 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," said co-author Michael Reece, director of IU's Center for Sexual Health Promotion.
According to a University of Indiana press release, researchers also found the following:
- More than 40 percent of the study's participants reported that their most recent sexual partner was someone they were dating, their boyfriend or their spouse/partner. In comparison, an earlier study of predominantly heterosexual participants found that rate to be just over half.
- There is immense variability in the sexual repertoires of gay and bisexual men, with more than 1,300 combinations of activities during their most recent sexual events.
- Evaluations of the most recent sexual event with a male partner were mostly positive, with ratings of both pleasure and arousal being highest among older men.
- Nearly half of participants who engaged in anal intercourse during their most recent sexual event indicated a condom was used.
- About 82 percent of men report that they had an orgasm at the most recent sexual event, and men were significantly more likely to report orgasm if their sexual partner was a relationship partner.
It's important to note that 84.6 percent of the participants were white; 85.9 percent identified as gay; and 57.4 percent had received a bachelor's degree or higher.
Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
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