Even I’m Not Sure about This One

Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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15 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    Perhaps it’s a function of self-selection.

    If you’ve reached the point in your life where you say “okay, seriously, I want a serious relationship and the bars don’t work, the workplace doesn’t work, the friends saying “oh, you should totally hang with this guy!” doesn’t work, and church (unsurprisingly) doesn’t work… It’s time to go to a website.”, then you’re likely to be more monogamous.

    Because, let’s face it, if all you are looking for is someone to provide friction, the church is an awesome place to find it. Along with any/all of those other places.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jaybird says:


      You’re undoubtedly correct. But the graph for percentages with n or fewer sex partners is startlingly identical for gay and straight people. This is a response I would never have predicted. I presumed that gay people were somewhat more promiscuous, although not vastly more so, than straights.Report

  2. North says:

    The first one I’m skeptical of, the second is a no brainer. Women as a sex appear to be more sexually elastic than men. Lots more bisexuals or experimenters but fewer hardcore gay women. Canada? Maybe just because they’re so sensible about gay people in general so the closet is dissolving faster there?Report

  3. Aaron W says:

    I would definitely point to self-selection. I used OKCupid long ago in my single days specifically because it wasn’t a site entirely geared around casual sex. Most gay-specific “dating” websites have a lot more casual sex going on than OKCupid… just look at an app like Grinder (or even the M4M section on Craigslist)

    That being said, though, I think the number of gay men who regularly engage in casual sex is still probably a lot lower than what most people imagine…Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Aaron W says:

      @Aaron W,

      Self-selection is reasonable and explains things up to a point — but why is there such a close overlap? Look at the graph. For every number of sexual partners, the percentages of gays and straights are virtually identical. I’m not sure if it’s statistically significant, but it’s certainly remarkable.Report

      • Aaron W in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        @Jason Kuznicki, I know what you mean, but I guess this comment below that graph is pretty important too for the perceptions of gay promiscuity:

        “just 2% of gay people have had 23% of the total reported gay sex, which is pretty crazy”

        I certainly have a few gay friends who (claim to) have had 1000+ sexual partners. I would also wonder how this breaks down geographically. Maybe it’s just because I live in the SF bay area, but it seems open relationships here in the gay community are the rule rather than the exception. It wouldn’t surprise me, though, if gay men just liked to talk about sex much more than they actually have it.Report

        • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Aaron W says:

          @Aaron W,

          It may be that sex outside a relationship is equally common among gays and straights, but that straights don’t “allow” it, while gays do. People who have thousands of sex partners… hell, where do they find the time? I have a hard time believing these stories at all.Report

        • RTod in reply to Aaron W says:

          @Aaron W,

          I suspect that the same is true for straights as well. The vast majority of straight people I know have had only a few sexual partners (say, somewhere between 1 and 10)- and then there are those who seem like they’ve boinked just about everybody out there, and have been doing so for years.Report

    • RTod in reply to Aaron W says:

      @Aaron W, “That being said, though, I think the number of gay men who regularly engage in casual sex is still probably a lot lower than what most people imagine…”

      I agree. I suspect that the stereotype comes from this line of reasoning: Promiscuity is sexually deviant. Homosexuality is sexually deviant. Therefore, homosexuals are promiscuous.Report

  4. RTod says:

    The questions regarding number of partners seems pretty straight up, but when you get done to the distribution of personality traits of straight men v. gay men, I have to wonder – how much is accurate, and how much is based on identity perception?

    I know most studies of Myers Briggs-type tests show them to be useless, because our perceptions of ourselves are not entirely accurate, and can be determined greatly by what traits we think people of our perceived type should have.

    So, are gay men really more artsy, and are straight men really more aggressive – or because they view themselves to be gay or straight, do they just believe that they are? And if so, do you (for example) actually become more artsy or less aggressive because you think you are BECAUSE you’re gay, even though you wouldn’t otherwise be, thus becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy?Report