Young Gay Men Want Sexual Intimacy More Than Mere Sex (Study)

intimacy gay couple

Young gay men really crave intimacy

According to a recent research study conducted in Sexualities, a majority of young gay men would prefer sexual intimacy with a partner as opposed to hook up sex.

This makes sense when you consider the massive societal shifts that have taken place regarding same sex relationships.

We’ll tell you a little about the research and touch upon the findings, as revealed in the study.

FYI: it is important to state here that the term “Young Gay Men” was defined by the principles of the research study.

What was the research about?

At its core, the study sought to assess the viewpoints of young gay men on topics related to intimacy and sex. Thoughts about monogamy, “gay life” and relationship commitment were examined as part of the dynamic.

Who conducted the research?

The research was conducted through the La Trobe University in Australia by three scholars: Duane Duncan, Garrett Prestage and Jeffrey Grierson, respectively.

Who was in the research study?

According to what appears in Sexualities, 61 gay men in Australia were recruited. They ranged in age from 18-30 years old.

Related: Four in ten gay men going bareback (study)

To obtain research participants, the study recruited through a variety of means, including:

  • Gay print media
  • Online gay portals
  • Targeted Facebook advertising

How was the research conducted?

This was a qualitative study. Semi-structured interviews of between 50 and 120 minutes were conducted at local gay men’s health organizations or participants’ homes, recorded and subsequently transcribed.

To protect the identity of the young gay men in the study, pseudonyms were used for reference purposes.

What were the findings?

This research study of young gay men revealed:

  • All of the men interviewed desired a committed, romantic partnership. “Committed” in this study means monogamy.
  • The majority of gay men in this study believed they would “settle down” and enter into a committed relationship sometime in their 30’s.
  • Many of the participants expected to follow a sexual script similar to their heterosexual counterparts; meaning they want to meet someone special and build a life together that includes getting a corporate job, buying a home together and as the script goes – have children.
  • The majority preferred experiencing sexual intimacy as opposed to random, casual sex (hooking up).

Here are some key quotes from some of the guys that took part in this study, as published in Sexualities

gay couple holding hands

“When I first went into the scene I was really kind of idealistic and I thought ‘I will only have sex with people if I’m in a relationship with them.’ But then it became over time quite clear that it’s hard to have relationships in the scene … I would still prefer to have sex in a relationship, but if there’s not one on the horizon, I’m not going to be, you know, celibate.”

Daniel, 30

Here’s another perspective from Keith, a 22-year old:

“I can and I have done it [casual sex] but I don’t prefer it. I think the sex is that much better when there’s emotion in a relationship. When I’ve done it with a trusted friend, there has been emotion but not feelings of love or anything like that. There’s been a certain degree of trust because they are a friend.”

And here is one more from Jared, a 23-year old:

“I think my preference for monogamy is very traditional. Like just a gay equivalent of straight couples. I suppose I’m a pretty traditional guy. But then, after I went to the [HIV prevention] workshops, I felt that monogamy was also very good for not getting STIs and HIV.

Intimacy can be more than just sex.”

Final Thoughts

What’s interesting about this research study is how so many of the men interviewed seem to mirror heterosexual life scripts, instilled into little boys at very young age.

Related: Do you have a gay face? (Study)

What will be interesting to see in the future is how gay men and gay culture specifically moves closer to (or farther away) from heteronormative traditions.

By: John Hollywood