Publications and Research
Challenging race-based stereotypes about gay and bisexual men’s sexual behavior and perceived penis size and size satisfaction
Racial prejudice and stereotyping in gay and bisexual communities may be important contextual factors that contribute to racial disparities in HIV. In an effort to challenge race-based stereotypes regarding gay and bisexual men’s sexuality, we sought to determine the extent to which race and ethnicity were associated with (1) racial homophily (i.e., same-race partnerships), (2) sexual behavior (e.g., number of partners, condomless anal sex (CAS), sexual position (top/versatile/bottom)), and (3) perceived penis size and size satisfaction. Data were taken from a survey of 1,009 gay and bisexual men recruited using a street-intercept method at gay, lesbian, and bisexual community events in NYC in 2006—15% Black, 61% White, 18% Latino, and 6% Asian/Pacific Islander (mean age: 35.7). There was strong evidence of racial homophily among men who were in relationships, particularly for White and Black men. Race and ethnicity was largely unassociated with multiple dimensions of sexual behavior (e.g., number of partners, CAS, sexual positioning). Although we observed some racial and ethnic differences in perceived penis size that were consistent with stereotypes, the magnitudes of the differences were insufficient to justify the stereotype. As well, there were no significant differences with regard to satisfaction with penis size or lying to others about penis size. The disproportionate HIV prevalence among Black and Latino men does not appear to be as a result of differences in sexual behavior (e.g., CAS, number of partners) and race-based sexual stereotypes were largely unsupported by empirical data.
This is the accepted manuscript of an article published in Sexuality Research and Social Policy.