Homosexual men and women differ in the average number of their sexual partners. Lesbians are likely to have had far fewer sexual partners, and lesbian couples are much more likely than male couples to have monogamous relationships (Dube, 2000; Roth – blum, 2000). Lesbians associate emotional closeness with sex more than do gay men, a finding consistent with the male/female heterosexual patterns discussed in Chapter

7. One study found that most lesbians waited to have sex with a partner until they had developed emotional intimacy. Although 46% of gay men had become friends with their partners before having sex, as a group they were more likely than lesbians to have had sexual experiences with casual acquaintances or people they had just met (Sand­ers, 2000).

Beginning in the 1980s a lesbian "radical sex" subculture began to develop that was unparalleled among heterosexual women. Involvement in recreational sex, anony­mous sex, "kinky" sex, group sex, sadomasochistic sex, and role-polarized sex play went beyond the typical boundaries of female sexuality. Organizations sprang up for lesbians who pursue these sexual expressions, and this subculture continues to grow (Bonet et al., 2006; Nichols, 2000).

Before the AIDS epidemic some homosexual men had frequent casual sexual encounters (Bell & Weinberg, 1978; Kinsey et al., 1948). These encounters were sometimes exceedingly brief, occurring in bathhouses, in public restrooms, or in film booths in pornography shops. This type of brief recreational sexual contact is on the rise again, as AIDS has become less of a death sentence (Jefferson, 2005). However, sexual involvement with many partners is not universal among homosexual men (Kur – dek, 1995a). Some men want to have a strong emotional relationship before becoming sexually involved. And for some men, being involved in an ongoing relationship elimi­nates sexual interest in other men.