Pleasure, affection, and love among Black men who have sex with men (MSM) versus MSM of other races: countering dehumanizing stereotypes via cross-race comparisons of reported sexual experience at last sexual event

Arch Sex Behav. 2015 Oct;44(7):2001-14. doi: 10.1007/s10508-014-0405-0. Epub 2015 Jan 21.


Black men have historically been stereotyped as hedonistic, aggressive, and animalistic in their sexual interactions. This study sought to describe pleasure, affection, and love experienced by Black men who have sex with men (MSM) during their last male-partnered sexual event and to examine differences relative to White, Latino, and Asian MSM. A total of 21,696 (793 Black, 18,905 White, 1,451 Latino, and 547 Asian) U.S. men ages 18-87 (M Age = 39) were recruited from social/sexual networking sites targeting MSM in 2010-2011. Participants reported multiple dimensions of sexual experience (pleasure, affection, and love) occurring at their last male-partnered sexual event, partner relationship, and sociodemographic characteristics. Across relationship categories, a sizeable percentage of Black MSM reported pleasure (72-87 % orgasmed, 57-82 % experienced high subjective pleasure) and affection (70-91 % kissed, 47-90 % cuddled). Love was primarily reported for events involving main partners (felt love for partner: 96 %; felt loved by partner: 97 %; verbalized love to partner: 89 %). Latent class analysis with MSM of all races, adjusting for partner relationship and sociodemographic characteristics, revealed three distinct profiles of sexual experience: affection and love (Class 1); affection in the absence of love (Class 2); and neither affection nor love (Class 3). Pleasure was probable across profiles. Some racial differences in profile probability were present, but no overall pattern emerged. Contrary to Black male stereotypes, Black MSM commonly reported pleasure, affection, and love at their last male-partnered sexual event and did not show a meaningful pattern of difference from other-race MSM in their likelihood of experiencing all three.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American
  • Emotions
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Love
  • Male
  • Pleasure
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Stereotyped Behavior
  • United States