Online Program

Examination of group sex behaviors among men who have sex with men in the United States

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 12:45 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Joshua G. Rosenberger, PhD, MPH, Department of Global and Community Health, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
David S. Novak, MSW, OLB Research Institute, Online Buddies Inc., Cambridge, MA
J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS, Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Purpose: Group sex is a supradyadic form of sexual partner concurrency where two persons have at least one sexual partner in common, all within a single space and time. Partner concurrency is well-known as a risk factor for STI/HIV transmission, but few data examine frequency and correlates of group sex among men who have sex with men (MSM).

Methods: Internet-based survey data were collected from members (N = 26,690) of an online website facilitating sexual interactions between men. The main outcome measure was a single item assessing whether respondent “had sexual interactions with more than one person at the same time.” Additional items addressed sociodemographics, lifetime sexual behaviors, and STI/HIV testing history.

Results: Participants were 18-87 years of age (mean = 39.2 years); self-reported race was White (84.6%), Latino (6.4%), and African American (3.6%). Lifetime group sex was common (82.2% of men) and recent (64.0% reported group sex in the past year, and 25.8% in the past 30 days). Men who reported group sex in the past 30 days were significantly more likely to be older (>40 years), white or Hispanic, and in a relationship for more than one year (p < .05). Differences were also seen in regard to group sex and men's reports of STI/HIV testing.

Conclusions: Group sex may be a high-risk setting for STI/HIV transmission and poses particular challenges for public health functions including case tracking, partner notification, and sexual network analysis. Better understanding of group sex encounters could inform new approaches to securing the sexual health of MSM.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe group sex behaviors engaged in by men who have sex with men Identify correlates of group sex behavior among MSM

Keyword(s): Sexual Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an assistant professor who conducts research on sexual health
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.