Sexual Behaviors and Situational Characteristics of Most Recent Male-Partnered Sexual Event among Gay and Bisexually Identified Men in the United States

Published: August 24, 2011


Introduction.  Recent nationally representative studies documenting event-level sexual behavior have included samples that are predominantly heterosexual, resulting in limited information on the sexual repertoire of gay and bisexually identified men.

Aim.  This study sought to document 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.

Methods.  Via 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.

Main Outcome Measures.  Measures included items related to sociodemographics, recent sexual behavior history, situational characteristics, orgasm, and ratings of arousal and pleasure.

Results.  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 most commonly reported behavior was kissing a partner on the mouth (74.5%), followed by oral sex (72.7%), and partnered masturbation (68.4%). Anal intercourse occurred among less than half of participants (37.2%) and was most common among men ages 18–24 (42.7%). Sex was most likely to occur in the participant’s home (46.8%), with less frequently reported locations including hotels (7.4%) and public spaces (3.1%). The number of behaviors engaged in during last sexual event varied with most (63.2%) including 5–9 different sexual behaviors.

Conclusions.  These data provide one of the first examinations of sexual behaviors during the most recent male-partnered sexual event among gay and bisexually identified men in the United States. Findings from this study suggest that gay and bisexually identified men have a diverse sexual repertoire and that partnered sexual behaviors are not limited solely to acts of penile insertion. Rosenberger JG, Reece M, Schick V, Herbenick D, Novak DS, Van Der Pol B, and Fortenberry JD. Sexual behaviors and situational characteristics of most recent male-partnered sexual event among gay and bisexually identified men in the United States. J Sex Med 2011;8:3040–3050.

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