Alex Blaze

New study finds lots of LGB's in the US

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 05, 2010 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: bisexual, condoms, indiana university, lesbian, safe sex, sex, sexual health, study

After posting last week on the recently-released CDC study on HIV rates among MSM interviewed in 21 urban areas, one question someone asked in the comments if all studies were similarly "problematic." Whenever I see a study that states "X% of gay men believe..." I always wonder where they found their gay men to study and how they're defining "gay" for the purpose of that study. We are such a diverse group that normal means of finding LGBT people (going to gay bars, sending out cards with lesbian magazines, using a list of donors to LGBT orgs) just aren't going to get a broad enough range of the population to actually be worth much. (Michelle Marzullo addressed many of these issues in Bilerico's most read post ever.)

So enter this new study from Indiana University this week that had some interesting results. They did a good job of limiting the bias that comes with interviewing people on sexuality by finding a sample group representative of the population in terms of basic demographics and, even acknowledged the issues with studying teen sex patterns considering that only 3/5 parents consented to their teens responding to this survey (and probably the more open-minded 3/5, so the results get skewed).

The study found that 92.2% of adult men identified as straight, 4.2% as gay, 2.6% as bisexual, and 1% as "other." 93.1% of adult women identified as straight, 0.9% as lesbian, 3.6% as bisexual, and 2.3% as "other." I don't know exactly what "other" means (queer? omnisexual? asexual? don't know? refuse to answer?), but there were quite a few more people who have had sexual contact with members of the same sex than identified as LGB or other.

Sexual Behavior PIc.jpg

There isn't much data on what LGB/O adults are actually doing in this study, mostly because they didn't oversample us so the sample size is too small to make any conclusions. The researchers did find that gay and bisexual men were more likely to use condoms, generally, but weren't able to break it down along age groups as I was hoping to see. But they were able to break down straight condom use data along the lines of age group, and I find this interesting since the usual explanation about rising HIV rates in the US usually starts with "Young men are dangerous and don't know much," but apparently young straight men are using condoms more than older straight men.

Condom Graphic.jpg

The entire study is worth a look-through. Go straight to pages 260-3 to see who's doing what in bed. There are more men than identify as gay or bi who have given or received oral from other men or who have gotten fucked by a penis and a lot more women than those who identify as lesbian or bisexual who've done oral with another woman. This stuff, as always, is more complicated than the neat categories we set up for people.


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That study is fascinating and well worth the peek. There's a ton of different posts that could be written about it without repeating someone else's focal point.