Why A Lot Of Gay Men Are Attracted To Straight Men

Why A Lot Of Gay Men Are Attracted To Straight Men

Pornhub’s annual year-in-review always offers tantalizing insights into what it is that turns people on—and last year’s review was no exception. I recently wrote about some of the top search results on the site and discussed the psychology behind them here. However, there was something else in last year’s Pornhub report that caught my eye that I thought deserved its own article: the fact that “straight guys” was the most-viewed category on Pornhub’s gay site.

What’s the deal with that? 

Read More

Why So Many Women Are Drawn To Gay Male Porn

Why So Many Women Are Drawn To Gay Male Porn

Many women find man-on-man pornography to be sexually arousing. In fact, one of the world's biggest porn sites--Pornhub--has reported that gay male porn is the second most popular category among female visitors. Many of you may be wondering what it is that draws so many women to it. A recent study published in the journal Porn Studies offers some valuable insight.

Read More

The Stereotypes Gay Men and Lesbians Hold About Bisexual Persons

The Stereotypes Gay Men and Lesbians Hold About Bisexual Persons

Sexual orientation is all too commonly viewed as an either/or proposition, meaning you’re either gay or you’re straight, and nothing in between. This view is widely held, even by many people within the LGBTQ community itself, as described in a recent set of studies published in the journal Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.

Across two studies involving a total of 288 gay and lesbian participants, researchers examined attitudes toward and stereotypes of bisexuals. Here’s a brief review of their major findings:

Read More

How Many Gay Men Say They Are Bisexual When They're Coming Out?

How Many Gay Men Say They Are Bisexual When They're Coming Out?

In an episode of the classic television series Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw discovers that a guy she's seeing has dated both men and women. Uncomfortable with the thought of taking things further, she confides to her friends: “You know, I did the ‘date a bisexual guy’ thing in college, but in the end they all ended up with men…I’m not even sure bisexuality exists. I think it’s just a layover on the way to gaytown.”

Carrie expressed a belief that a lot of people in the real world hold, too—that all bisexual men are secretly gay and just aren’t quite ready to come out. However, the stereotype that all bisexual men are gays in disguise is, like Sex and the City, pure fiction (see here and here for scientific evidence that bisexuality is a distinct sexual orientation). That said, it turns out that there is some truth to the idea that bisexuality sometimes serves as a transitional sexual identity.

Read More

Shades of Gay: Is There a Real Difference Between a Kinsey 5 and a Kinsey 6?

Shades of Gay: Is There a Real Difference Between a Kinsey 5 and a Kinsey 6?

People tend to think about sexual orientation in terms of a small number of distinct categories—most commonly, straight, bisexual, and gay. Those who subscribe to this view expect that everyone will fit neatly into one of these three boxes. However, others argue that sexual orientation is far more complex and is best viewed along a continuum or spectrum. The idea of a sexual orientation spectrum can be traced back to Alfred Kinsey, whose Kinsey Scale allowed for seven degrees of heterosexuality and homosexuality:

Read More

Our Sexual Fantasies Tell Us Something Important About Who We Are

Our Sexual Fantasies Tell Us Something Important About Who We Are

Two people can have sex fantasies about the same activity, but the way that specific activity plays out isn’t necessarily going to be the same from one person to the next. In fact, it might be very, very different. For example, if two people who had sexual fantasies about threesomes described those fantasies to you in detail, it’s quite possible that they might bear little resemblance to one another beyond the number of participants involved. One individual, for example, might describe wanting to be the center of attention and engaging in sex with two people they know extremely well; by contrast, another individual might desire a threesome with two strangers in which everyone participates equally.

What accounts for such great variability in fantasy content? I think it’s a reflection of our tendency to construct sexual fantasies that meet our unique psychological needs. A new study I published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (co-authored by Dr. David Ley and sex advice columnist Dan Savage) supports this idea. 

Read More

Do Gay and Bisexual Men on PrEP Take More Sexual Risks?

Do Gay and Bisexual Men on PrEP Take More Sexual Risks?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (also known as PrEP for short) is an increasingly popular method of HIV prevention among persons at the highest risk of infection. It involves taking one pill per day that combines two different drugs (tenofovir and emtricitabine). These are actually the same drugs used to treat people who already have HIV; however, when someone who is uninfected takes them, it makes it very difficult for HIV to establish an infection in the body should that person be exposed to the virus through sexual activity or injection drug use.

PrEP was originally approved by the FDA five years ago and it’s estimated that 136,000 people are now taking it—a figure that continues to climb significantly year over year. The vast majority of the people taking PrEP in the United States are gay and bisexual men, given that they’re the group that’s most at risk for contracting HIV here. However, as more men who have sex with men have begun taking PrEP, concerns have been raised over whether this drug might be changing their sexual behaviors.

Read More

Can Men Who Identify as Gay Still be Aroused by Women?

Can Men Who Identify as Gay Still be Aroused by Women?

Many people think about sexual orientation in terms of just three distinct categories: straight, bisexual, and gay. Those who subscribe to this view usually don’t allow for anything in between—they expect that everyone will fit neatly into one of these three boxes.

By contrast, others have argued that sexual orientation is far more complex and is best viewed along a continuum. The idea of a sexual orientation continuum is not new and, in fact, can be traced back to Alfred Kinsey.

Read More

“Transitional Bisexuality”: Why Some Gay Men First Come Out As Bisexual

“Transitional Bisexuality”: Why Some Gay Men First Come Out As Bisexual

On one episode of the popular television series Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw discovers that the guy she's currently seeing had dated both men and women in the past. Clearly uncomfortable with the thought of taking things any further with him, she confides to her friends: “You know, I did the ‘date a bisexual guy’ thing in college, but in the end they all ended up with men…I’m not even sure bisexuality exists. I think it’s just a layover on the way to gaytown.”

Carrie expressed a belief that a lot of folks in the real world hold, too—that all bisexual men are secretly gay and just aren’t quite ready to come out yet. This idea that all bisexual men are gays in disguise is, like Sex and the City, pure fiction (see here and here for scientific evidence that bisexuality is a distinct sexual orientation); however, it turns out that there is some truth to the idea that bisexuality sometimes serves as a transitional identity.

Read More

Scientists Find More Evidence That Gay Men, On Average, Are Shorter Than Straight Men

Scientists Find More Evidence That Gay Men, On Average, Are Shorter Than Straight Men

Earlier this year, a study published in the Journal of Sex Research reported that gay men, on average, tend to be shorter than their heterosexual counterparts (click here to read a summary of the findings). This study had an important limitation, though, in that it wasn’t based on nationally representative data. Because all participants were either college students or attendees at an LGBT pride event, some concern was raised about how reliable the findings might be.

A new study that just appeared in the Archives of Sexual Behavior would appear to put this concern to rest. In it, the same group of researchers successfully replicated their height finding in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults.

Read More

Who's More Well-Endowed: Gay Men or Straight Men?

Who's More Well-Endowed: Gay Men or Straight Men?

A reader submitted the following question:

“Is it true that gay men have bigger penises than straight men?”

While some research suggests that there might indeed be some truth to this idea, the findings warrant a hefty dose of caution. Here why:

Read More

Why Do So Many Women Watch Gay Male Porn?

Why Do So Many Women Watch Gay Male Porn?

There are a lot of women out there who find man-on-man pornography to be highly arousing. As some evidence of this, one of the biggest porn websites in the world, Pornhub, has reported that gay male porn is actually the second most popular category viewed by female visitors of the site. This has led many to wonder what it is that draws so many women to this type of porn. A new study published (appropriately enough) in the journal Porn Studies sheds some light on the answer.

Read More

Interest In Consensual Nonmonogamy Among Sexual Minority Men and Women

Interest In Consensual Nonmonogamy Among Sexual Minority Men and Women

Open relationships are widely believed to be more common in the gay community than they are in the rest of the population—and scientific research seems to back this up. For instance, whereas online studies put the prevalence of consensually nonmonogamous (CNM) relationships at around 5% overall, the prevalence of CNM among gay male couples tends to be much higher (depending upon the study you consult, estimates have ranged from 20-56% [1]). However, this seemingly greater interest in CNM is something that most people (including the researchers) appear to consider unique to sexual minority men. Lesbians are widely thought to have greater interest in monogamy. But is this really the case? A new study challenges the idea that sexual minority women are inherently less interested in the idea of open relationships.

Read More

More Scientific Evidence That Bisexuality Is A Distinct Sexual Orientation

More Scientific Evidence That Bisexuality Is A Distinct Sexual Orientation

Bisexuality is a controversial sexual orientation among both scientists and laypersons alike. Indeed, there is a popular stereotype that bisexuality “is just a layover on the way to gaytown” (if I may borrow a line from Carrie Bradshaw), and some studies have seemingly provided support for this idea by showing that bisexual men tend to exhibit sexual arousal patterns that look fairly similar to gay men. However, there are a lot of limitations to the existing research on bisexuality. For instance, most of this work has focused on men, meaning that we don't know as much about bisexual women. In addition, most of this research has focused on genital responses to very specific forms of pornography (i.e., two men having sex vs. two women having sex). This methodology creates sampling issues, given that not everyone is willing to participate in such invasive studies, while the pornography used confounds the gender of the performers with different sexual behaviors, making it unclear what viewers are actually responding to. A new study just published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior addressed some of these limitations, with the results providing evidence that both male and female bisexuality are distinct from homosexuality.

Read More

10 Scientific Facts About Sexual Orientation

10 Scientific Facts About Sexual Orientation

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there about sexual orientation concerning everything from the origin of homosexuality to the sexual behaviors of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals. So let’s take a look at what the research actually says. Below, I’ve compiled a list of ten of the most interesting scientific facts about sexual orientation that everyone should know.

1.) According to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, 7.8% of men and 6.8% of women in the U.S. identify as something other than heterosexual (check out this infographic for a more detailed breakdown of these numbers).

Read More

Characteristics of Gay and Bisexual Men with Foot Fetishes (Infographic)

Characteristics of Gay and Bisexual Men with Foot Fetishes (Infographic)

Research has found that feet are by far the most common fetish object, a pattern of behavior known scientifically as podophilia. However, outside of clinical settings, relatively little is known about foot fetishes, including where they come from and the psychological characteristics of those who are sexually aroused by feet. The infographic below provides a revealing glimpse into the nature of foot fetishes, at least as they occur among gay and bisexual men.

Read More

How Many Straight People Are Having “Gay Sex?”

It is a widely held belief that anal sex is “gay sex.” In other words, people tend to assume that anal sex is an activity practiced almost exclusively by gay men. However, this is not an accurate reflection of reality. In fact, research suggests that not only has anal sex become increasingly common among heterosexual men and women, but the vast majority of people who practice it are not gay.
Read More

Why Do Straight Women And Gay Men Get Along So Well? They Exchange Good Sex Advice

Why Do Straight Women And Gay Men Get Along So Well? They Exchange Good Sex Advice

Popular media depictions suggest that heterosexual women and gay men are natural BFFs. In fact, almost any time you turn on the television, you can see this type of friendship on display, whether it is a scripted sitcom such as Will and Grace or a reality show like The Real Housewives. How do we explain this common social pairing on screen and in real life? A new set of studies suggests that both parties find this type of friendship advantageous because it offers a free exchange of unbiased sex and relationship advice from a trustworthy source.

Read More

When It Comes To Condoms, One Size Does Not Fit All

Most condoms manufactured and distributed today consist of a “standard” length and width [1]. While the exact dimensions vary slightly across condom companies, there seems to be a widespread assumption that condoms (like baseball caps) are “one size fits all.” As some evidence of this, if you have ever been to an event where free condoms were handed out, did you notice different stations giving out condoms for differently sized penises? Probably not. At events like this, the only way the condoms differ meaningfully is usually in terms of novelty (i.e., color, flavor, packaging, etc.). This “one size fits all” mentality has increasingly been recognized as a factor that may be undermining safe sex practices because when condoms do not fit well, men are less likely to wear them. As some evidence of this, let’s consider the findings from a new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.
Read More

Tearoom Trade And The Study Of Sex In Public Places

In the not too distant past, psychologists and other scientists could get away with almost anything because ethics boards did not yet exist and it was up to the researchers themselves to determine what types of risks were acceptable. This resulted in the publication of a number of studies that we look back on today as being somewhat ethically dubious. For example, a 1938 study published in the Journal of Social Psychology involved two psychologists surreptitiously hiding under college students’ dorm room beds in order to eavesdrop on their conversations.1 I’m quite sure that if a similar study were attempted today, the researchers would be called perverts and then thrown in jail. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to questionable research ethics. What I would like to do in this article is share one of the most fascinating and ethically ambiguous studies ever conducted in the history of sex research so that you can better understand why sex researchers often have to jump through a bunch of hoops before carrying out their work.
Read More