Apparently easier said than done.<quoted text>
Be faithful to your partners, or practice safe sex.
Gay author Gabriel Rotello notes the perspective of many gays that “Gay liberation was founded ... on a ‘sexual brotherhood of promiscuity,’ and any abandonment of that promiscuity would amount to a ‘communal betrayal of gargantuan proportions.’”1 Rotello’s perception of gay promiscuity, which he criticizes, is consistent with survey results. A far-ranging study of homosexual men published in 1978 revealed that 75 percent of self-identified, white, gay men admitted to having sex with more than 100 different males in their lifetime: 15 percent claimed 100-249 sex partners; 17 percent claimed 250- 499; 15 percent claimed 500-999; and 28 percent claimed more than 1,000 lifetime male sex partners.2 By 1984, after the AIDS epidemic had taken hold, homosexual men were reportedly curtailing promiscuity, but not by much. Instead of more than 6 partners per month in 1982, the average non-monogamous respondent in San Francisco reported having about 4 partners per month in 1984.3
In more recent years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has reported an upswing in promiscuity, at least among young homosexual men in San Francisco. From 1994 to 1997, the percentage of homosexual men reporting multiple partners and unprotected anal sex rose from 23.6 percent to 33.3 percent, with the largest increase among men under 25.4 Despite its continuing incurability, AIDS no longer seems to deter individuals from engaging in promiscuous gay sex.5 A 2003 U. S.- based, Urban Men’s Health Study, reported that over 30% of the homosexual men studied frequented bathhouses with an average of 27 partners per year.6 In a 2003 study, Amsterdam “singles” averaged 22 casual partners/year, while those with a “steady partner” averaged eight (8).7 The average duration of partnerships was 1.5 years. In a 2005 Canadian vaccine trial, homosexual individuals reported 7 partners in the last 6 months.8
The data relating to gay promiscuity were obtained from self-identified gay men. Some advocates argue that the average would be lower if closeted homosexuals were included in the statistics.9 That is likely true, according to data obtained in a 2000 survey in Australia that tracked whether men who had sex with men were associated with the gay community. Men who were associated with the gay community were nearly four times as likely to have had more than 50 sex partners in the six months preceding the survey as men who were not associated with the gay community.10 This may imply that it is riskier to be “out” than “closeted.” Adopting a gay identity may create more pressure to be promiscuous and to be so with a cohort of other more promiscuous partners.