Share on Facebook Click me! Share on Twitter Click me! Copy Link Correction appended. In the popular discussion of gay sexuality, anal sex looms large. It is used to categorically ban them from donating blood. A new study hopes to propose a more nuanced picture of what gay men actually do in bed.
In the Journal of Sexual Medicine , researchers from Indiana University and George Mason University surveyed nearly 25, gay and bisexual men in an effort to better understand how they experience sex. Did it involve kissing, cuddling, masturbation, oral sex, anal sex? Did it happen with a boyfriend, spouse, stranger, or sex worker? Was it in a car, a home, a club? Despite the popular perception, "sexual behaviors involving the anus were least common," researchers found. By contrast, only 36 percent of men reporting receiving anal sex and 34 percent of men reporting giving it.
Half of participants who engaged in anal sex employed a condom. This study suggests that many gay men are not even regularly engaging in anal sex, the sexual activity that puts them at greatest risk of disease transmission.
When they are, many of them use protection. If they do it with a man who also sleeps with men, they'll only be barred from donating blood for one year. Gay rights advocate Peter Tatchell has argued that blood donors ought to be treated as individuals, not sexualities.
He suggests that eligibility questionnaires "be made more detailed for men who've had sex with men, in order to more accurately identify the degree of risk. The more we know about the way people really have sex, the harder it is to file straight and gay people into easy categories: This post originally misstated the name of Indiana University.