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 Nov;8(11):3040-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02438.x. Epub 2011 Aug 24.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Bisexuality / statistics & numerical data
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Data Collection
  • Environment
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Masturbation / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult