Words by Ian Howley | @ianhowley


As part of our ‘Big Gay Sex Survey’ we decided to ask the 3,141 men who took part if they were happy with their sex lives, and what was important to them. Here’s what they said.

We asked: Are you happy with your current sex life?

  • Yes: 47%
  • No: 38%
  • Not sure: 15%

Less than half of the gay men who took our survey said they are happy with their sex lives. 

We then asked them to either agree or disagree with the following statements:

Sex is better if you have an emotional connection with your sex partner:

  • Strongly agree: 47%
  • Agree: 30%
  • Neither agree/disagree: 16%
  • Disagree: 5%
  • Strongly disagree: 2%

I need to physically desire my partner to enjoy sex:

  • Strongly agree: 36%
  • Agree: 43%
  • Neither agree/disagree: 13%
  • Disagree: 7%
  • Strongly disagree: 1%

I think I’m good at sex:

  • Strongly agree: 19%
  • Agree: 48%
  • Neither agree/disagree: 26%
  • Disagree: 5%
  • Strongly disagree: 2%

Sex makes me nervous:

  • Strongly agree: 7%
  • Agree: 20%
  • Neither agree/disagree: 25%
  • Disagree: 27%
  • Strongly disagree: 21%

I prefer sex with men who I don’t really know:

  • Strongly agree: 4%
  • Agree: 8%
  • Neither agree/disagree: 29%
  • Disagree: 31%
  • Strongly disagree: 28%

Condoms don’t matter these days:

  • Strongly agree: 5%
  • Agree: 4%
  • Neither agree/disagree: 15%
  • Disagree: 28%
  • Strongly disagree: 48%

Bearing in mind these results the following is a little guide on how to get the things you want for a happier sex life.

1 - GET TO KNOW THE PERSON

Hey it’s not up to us to tell you not to have a one night stand or engage in random sex in a saunas but only 12% said they prefer sex with men they don’t know. This suggests that for most men knowing their sexual partner is a plus.

What do you define ‘knowing’ as? It probably means someone whose name you know, where you have the oppertunity to learn a little bit about them and get a sense of who they are etc. 

Emmett told us; “I once arranged a hook-up with a guy on Grindr. I had no intention to get to know him. I just wanted my dick sucked. He made it clear that we should at least have a coffee beforehand. That coffee turned into a proper date and two years later we got married. Spending a little time to get to know my shag was the best thing I did.”

2 - BUILD AN EMOTIONAL CONNECTION

77% agreed with the statement that sex is better if you have an emotional connection with the person. But how? How do you build up an emotional connection with a one night stand? The fact is you don’t. Getting to know someone will lead to a connection and a connection may lead to better sex. 

Jamie told us: “I used to use sex to fill a void in my life. I was longing for a connection with someone. It wasn’t until I stood back and stopped having sex on a first date that I noticed things started to change. I started to meet different men, men who wanted to get to know me. I’m still single but I don’t use sex any more. Now if I have sex it’s with someone I’m dating and not a one night stand.” 

3 - LEARN TO TURN A PARTNER ON

Knowing what turns a person on and off can help in bettering your sex life. 


Be clear what it is you are into. 

Don’t be afraid to tell someone if they are not doing something right. 

If you are doing something and it doesn’t feel right then stop. Sex is supposed to be fun. If it’s not fun you’re doing it wrong. 

Listen to your partner. Groans and moans are key to knowing wheather someone is enjoying themseves. If he’s lying there like a lifeless sex doll then the chances are he’s not into it. 

4- ASK QUESTIONS

“Do you like it when I do this?”

“Do you want me to do this?”

“What do you want me to do?”

Asking question during sex can only help. Thinking you know what someone likes and doesn’t like based on sounds alone will not help. Asking questions also shows that you are sexually confident and in control. Another study showed people said that a sexually confident person is a major turn on. 

 5 - TO FUCK OR NOT TO FUCK 

Did you know that 6% of the men who took our survey said that they don’t do anal sex. Yes... many gay men like anal sex. But many feel pressured into having anal sex because ‘it’s the thing gay men do’. 

Jake told us; “I’m not a big fan of anal sex. It’s painful and I rarely enjoy it. I need to have a few drinks or use poppers to be able to do it. I’d prefer not to do it but as a gay man you are expected to either top or bottom.”

Having anal sex is really up to you. If you don’t want to do it, then don’t do it. There are lots of gay men out there who feel exactly the same as you. Finding someone who is sexually compatable with you will help you to have a better sexual experience. 

6 - CONDOMS OR NO CONDOMS?

76% of men disagree that ‘condoms don’t matter any more’. Only 9% think that condom use doesn’t matter any more. 

Here’s a quote given to us via our survey: “If you are a keen Grindr user you’d be forgiven for thinking that condoms are no big deal these days. I used to think no-one uses condoms any more. It wasn’t till I had an open discussion with my mates that I found most of them use condoms all the time. So it encouraged me to demand condom use from my hook-ups. It empowered me and I became more sexually confident. If someone said no it was bye bye. I started to enjoy the sex more and I don’t have to worry about HIV and STIs as much.” 

Using condoms while having sex is still one of the best ways to avoid picking up any STIs, becoming HIV-positive or passing on HIV. Make sure you use plenty of water-based lube too. Stay away from Vaseline and baby oil – they will make the condom rip. 

7 - THE HIV QUESTION

Assuming someone is HIV-negative is a dangerous strategy. 

In 2013, over 3,250 gay men were diagnosed HIV-positive in the UK.

About 80% of new HIV infections come from having sex with men who don’t know they have HIV.

About 16% of gay men who are HIV-positive don’t know they have it.

35% of the men who took our survey said they worry about HIV while having sex. 

Someone may tell you they are HIV-negative, and they may think they are, but most new cases of HIV come from having risky sex with someone who doesn’t know they have the virus.

8 - GET TESTED 

Every sexually active gay man should get tested for HIV and STIs every six months to a year. If you are not using condoms then you should be testing more. 

Getting regular check ups at your GUM clinic will put your mind at ease and if you do pick up an STI you can get it treated. 

It takes roughly ten days for an STI to show up in tests. HIV can take four weeks.  

For more information on sex, sexual health and STIs, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/sex.



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This article is from FS magazine #150

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