Though the similarities between heterosexual and same-sex sexual behavior are many, there are some differences. The differences have to do with frequency and types of sex­ual behaviors in which couples engage.

Gay Men

Gay men use a variety of sexual techniques, which refutes the stereotype that most gay men assume only one role (either passive or active) in their relationships. The most fre­quent techniques used by gay males are fellatio, followed by mutual masturbation, anal intercourse, and body rubbing. Overall, gay and bisexual men engage in oral sex more often than heterosexual or lesbian couples.

Although many gay men practice anal sex, not all gay men do. Findings indicate that approximately 30% rarely engage in it; 27% regularly engage in it, reciprocally; and another 43% regularly engage in it, with one partner as the dominant one (Blumstein & Schwartz, 1983). However, it is important to note that this study was done prior to the AIDS crisis. Today, oral sex is more common than anal sex among gay males.

Another sexual technique gay men use is fisting (also called “hand-balling”), which involves the insertion of the fist and even part of the forearm into the anus. Fisting is still practiced today, although it is common to use gloves during fisting activity (Richters et al., 2003). Gay men also enjoy hugging, kissing, and body caressing; interfemoral (in – ter-fem-OR-ull) intercourse (thrusting the penis between the thighs of a partner); and buttockry (BUT-ock-ree; rubbing of the pe­nis in the cleft of the buttocks).

Gay male sexual behavior changed significantly after AIDS arrived. Undoubtedly due to the massive education efforts initiated in the gay community, in the early 1990s safe sex practices had increased (at least in the major cities) among male homosexuals (Catania et al., 1989). However, today, re­searchers believe that STI increases among sexually active gay men are due to a de­creased fear of acquiring HIV, an increase in high-risk sexual behaviors (including, for ex­ample, oral sex), a lack of knowledge about diseases, and increased Internet access to sex­ual partners (Ciesielski, 2003). We will dis­cuss this more in Chapter 15.

 

Same-Sex Sexual Techniques

Figure 10.15

Gay men use a variety of sexual tech­niques in their lovemaking.

 

fisting

Sexual technique that involves inserting the fist and even part of the forearm into the anus.

 

interfemoral intercourse

Thrusting the penis between the thighs of a partner.

 

buttockry

Rubbing of the penis in the cleft of the buttocks.

 

tribadism

Rubbing genitals together with another person for sexual pleasure.

 

Lesbians

 

Same-Sex Sexual Techniques

Подпись: Figure 10.16 Lesbians have been found to be more sexually responsive and more satisfied with their sexual relationships than heterosexual women.

(Munson, 1987). When asked what sexual techniques they had used in their last 10 lovemaking sessions, 100% reported kissing, sucking on breasts, and manual stimula­tion of the clitoris; over 90% reported French kissing, oral sex, and fingers inserted into the vagina; and 80% reported tribadism. Lesbians in their 30s were twice as likely as other age groups to engage in anal stimulation (with a finger or dildo). About one-third of women used vibrators, and there were a small number who reported using a variety of other sex toys, such as dildo harnesses, leather restraints, and handcuffs. Sexual play and orgasm are important aspects of lesbian sexuality (Bolso, 2005).

Подпись:There has been some preliminary research done on the existence of lesbian erotic role identification [or the roles of “butch” (masculine) and “femme”(feminine) in lesbian relationships]. Some scholars believe that such roles are simply social con­tracts, whereas others believe they are natural expressions of lesbian sexuality. One study examined physiological and behavioral differences of women in these self – identified roles. Butch lesbians were found to have higher saliva testosterone levels, higher waist-to-hip ratios, and recalled more childhood behavior atypical for their gender (Singh et al., 1999). What’s important to remember here is that there is no “typical” lesbian couple. Some lesbian couples may engage in role identification, but many others do not.

Подпись: ReviewQuestion Compare and contrast gay and lesbian ■sexual behavior. Overall, lesbians have been found to be more sexually responsive and more satisfied with their sexual relationships and to have lower rates of sexual problems than hetero­sexual women. On the other hand, research also suggests that the frequency of sexual contact among lesbians declines dramatically in their long-term, committed relation­ships (Nichols, 1990).