The Relationship Between Body Image and Sexual Functioning Among Gay and Bisexual Men

J Homosex. 2019;66(13):1856-1881. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2018.1519301. Epub 2018 Sep 28.


Gay and bisexual men report high body dissatisfaction compared to heterosexual counterparts, but no studies to date have examined how this may impact their sexual functioning. The present study investigated body image domains as predictors of sexual functioning problems (inhibited desire, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation) among an online community sample of 185 gay and bisexual men, ages 18-40. Participants reported moderate to high body image satisfaction and sexual functioning consistent with previous literature with nonclinical male samples. Overall, the total variance accounted for by regression models was low. Body image variables were not predictive of sexual desire. However, increased drive for muscularity and lower affective body esteem were predictive of erectile difficulties. Additionally, negative behavioral body image in sexual situations and evaluative body dissatisfaction were associated with premature ejaculation. Understanding this relationship may have implications for gay and bisexual men's health and wellbeing. Future research directions are discussed.

Keywords: Bisexual; body image; gay; men who have sex with men; sexual functioning.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Body Image*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities
  • Young Adult