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IU Study Explores Love And Sex Between Men

Nearly 93 percent of men who have sex with other men reported being in love with their most recent sexual partner.

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Photo: Flickr (mendolus shank)

The internet-based survey asked 25,000 gay and bisexual men about their experiences with love and sexual partners.

Nearly 93 percent of men who have sex with other men reported being in love with their most recent sexual partner — that’s according to new research by an Indiana University scientist.

Co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at IU Debbie Herbenick conducted the internet-based survey with Professor Joshua Rosenberger of George Mason University.

Herbenick says while most research about love has been conducted among heterosexual couples, the focus of this study on same-sex couples suggests experiences of love are far more similar than different regardless of sexual orientation.

“People haven’t really looked too much into love between men,” Herbenick says. “There have been a number of studies focused on sexual behavior between men, and very often focused on risk aspects of that sexual behavior.”

Almost 25,000 gay and bisexual men reported their experiences of sexual behavior. Herbenick says the most surprising find is that 91% of men reported a “matched” experience with their most recent sexual partner.

“So either they loved their partner, and they think their partner loved them, or they didn’t love the person that they had sex with, and they don’t think that person loved them either, or they weren’t sure and they don’t think their partner was sure.”

Herbenick says the “matching” aspect of love has not been explored in previous research, regardless of sexual orientation – something she attributes to the complexity of defining love.

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