Methods Used and Topics Addressed in Quantitative Health Research on Gay, Bisexual and Other Men Who Have Sex With Men: A Systematic Review of the Literature

J Homosex. 2017;64(11):1519-1538. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2016.1247537. Epub 2016 Oct 18.


Research on sexual minority men (gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men) was examined with regard to the measures of sexual orientation used, the methods of research, and the main health outcomes under study. A systematic review of English-language quantitative studies was conducted focused on the health of sexual minority men published in 2010 (n = 250). The results provide a snapshot of the literature and revealed that research on sexual minority men overwhelmingly focused on HIV, STIs, and sexual health for which sexual orientation was most commonly defined behaviorally. For topics of mental health or body/fitness outcomes, sexual orientation was most commonly defined by identity. Most study samples were venue-based, and only 8.8% of published papers drew data from population-based samples. The findings suggest that there exists a need for research on sexual minority men's health beyond STIs and HIV that will examine mental and physical health outcomes beyond sexual risk, uses probability-based samples, and addresses intersectional concerns related to race/ethnicity and age.

Keywords: Gay and bisexual men; health disparities; men who have sex with men; mental health; sexual health; sexual minority men; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research*
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities