A study published this week found that fewer than 40% of gay men have anal sex. (That compares with more than 70% of men having oral sex.) As I’ve written elsewhere, anal sex is often seen as the definitive gay act — an assumption that has implications for how we understand ourselves and for the sexual health of gay men. Some research has suggested that as many as 25% of younger heterosexuals may be having anal sex.
The study involved almost 25,000 men from throughout the United States ranging in age from 18 to 87 years in age.
The study also found that 40% of the time, gay men’s most recent sex partner was someone with whom they have a dating or committed relationship. That compares with 50% or so for heterosexuals.
What to make of this?
- Sexuality within the gay community is likely to be a moving target. Tastes change, particularly in light of 30 + years of experience with HIV/AIDS and safer sex education.
- For many gay men, relationships and dating patterns may be looking more and more like straight people’s patterns. The stigma of same sex attraction has diminished or vanished for many of us. Our relationships are gaining greater recognition and protection. We find what we want isn’t much different from what many non-gay people want.