Millions of us are on the hookup apps. Gay porn is wildly popular. Most of us think about sex most of the time. We are sexually liberated. So why do we have so little sex?
By sex I don't mean "Bill Clinton sex" (oral). I'm talking penetration--where the hardware goes into the software. A few years ago George Mason University teamed up with Online Buddies (the owners of Manhunt and Jack'd) to conduct the largest scientific poll of gay male sex habits. They surveyed 24,787 gay and bisexual men between the ages of 18 and 87 in the US. One of their most shocking findings was that gay men have relatively little penetrative sex. Their survey showed that 35.5% of men engaged in receptive anal sex within the last 30 days. 33.8% of participants engaged in insertive anal intercourse.
There are very few reliable studies on gay sex habits. Other than the George Mason survey, we have to rely on non-scientific but still useful surveys like the ongoing one on about.com showing, with 8,000 respondents, that 29% of gay men "Always" have intercourse when they have sex.
Between these two surveys, and others like them, a fairly clear picture emerges--we have a lot less penetrative sex than almost anybody thinks. The question is, why?
The obvious answer is that receptive anal intercourse has some huge issues around it (pain and hygiene factors). But there is one possibility that most people have never thought of: The burdens of being a top.
The receptive partner may have to deal with a lot of pain (if that's you click here to read about the Total Butt Relaxation Method, which I created with the help of a proctologist) but the insertive partner has his own obstacles to deal with. First, like the receptive partner, he too has to deal with the hygiene factor, which can turn Willie into Will Not.
Second, he's got a safe sex issue that his receptive partner does not--staying erect with a condom on. In the course of my decades-long sex advice column I cannot tell you how many emails I've gotten from men complaining that they are rock hard until the condom goes on. Then, it's like trying to shoot pool with a rope.
Tops also have to deal with issues that tend to kill erections--like the inaccessibility of bottom newbies. Some tunnels just weren't made for trains to go through them. I've gotten more than a few emails from insertive partners who simply couldn't stay erect for all the work it took.
Tops also have to contend with a surprising amount of performance anxiety. Many insertive partners have to deal with erection-killing thoughts like:
• I won't get hard enough
• My dick isn't big enough
• I will disappoint my partner
• My partner will compare me to other guys
• My partner will judge me and tell the world
• I'll ejaculate too soon
• I'll take forever to ejaculate
All in all, there are significant obstacles to participating in penetrative sex -obstacles that help explain why we have a lot less of it than anybody thinks. What most people don't realize is that the obstacles are shared both by the top and the bottom.
The author's new book, How To Top Like A Stud: A Penetrating Guide to Gay Sex, is available at book stores everywhere.