Sex Appeal

Study Finds Gay Men Far More Likely To Bareback With A “Good Looking Guy”

We already knew that hot men get special treatment (just ask Jonathan Keith), but are we actually willing to risk our health for one? A new study says yes.

In a survey of gay men in London, 94 percent said they were more likely to have unprotected sex “with a good looking guy.” The research was published in Britain’s Pink News.

We congratulate anyone for hooking up with a hottie, but the stakes are a little high to celebrate our good fortune by throwing caution (and condoms) to the wind. Gay men continue to lead the way in new HIV infections in the United States, and condoms are still one the most accessible lines of defense.

According to the study: 70 percent of respondents believe that sex without condoms “is more pleasurable and exciting” (fair enough), and 80 percent have had unprotected sex with a stranger. The lifestyle of drive-by sex made possible by mobile apps, drug use, and the popularity of bareback porn might contribute to the trend, according to study researchers, based at the University of Westminster.

No wonder HIV advocates everywhere are scrambling for more safe sex options for gay men. While continuing to encourage condoms, there are increased efforts to explain the facts and myths surrounding PrEP (the pill used to prevent HIV infection, Truvada, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis). For those who have an “accident” during sex or lose their heads over a dream date, Truvada can lower the risk of HIV infection after the fact (known as PEP, for post-exposure prophylaxis) by more than 80% if you seek care no more than 72 hours after exposure and take the drug for 28 days.

Of course, just because condoms and water-based lube stay in the nightstand doesn’t mean there is something risky happening between the sheets. Other than newer tools like PrEP, many gay men have other strategies to lower their risks, like avoiding anal intercourse until they know their partner, getting regular HIV tests (and asking the same of their play mates), and poz guys sticking to their meds and keeping their virus under control (there are no known cases of HIV transmission by an HIV positive person with an undetectable viral load).

Even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) changed their definition of “protected sex” recently, after advocates pressured them to acknowledge that “with a condom” isn’t the only way to stay protected from HIV.

So, if your hookup is worthy of a Morning Goods photo shoot, good for you. Just be sure to protect yourself during sexy time. You’re worthy too, beautiful.

Mark S. King’s blog is MyFabulousDisease. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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64 Comments

  • viveutvivas

    “80 percent have had unprotected sex with a stranger”

    Yes, I have noticed that things have really changed in the past decade or so.

  • QJ201

    Because hot guys never have HIV…

  • TheNewEnergyDude

    ALWAYS protect yourself. ALWAYS.

  • Cam

    Gee, did the same study also report such surprising findings like “People more likely to say yes to sex with attractive people”?

  • viveutvivas

    “Even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) changed their definition of “protected sex” recently, after advocates pressured them to acknowledge that “with a condom” isn’t the only way to stay protected from HIV.”

    Could you please provide a reference for this? I was unaware of this development.

  • viveutvivas

    @coldsilencehas, I admit it too.

  • robirob

    Beauty is like alcohol or drugs. It clouds your judgement, duh!

  • that_dude247

    @robirob: Very true.

  • QJ201

    @viveutvivas: it’s semantic bullshit

    The CDC is just gonna switch to saying “sex without condoms” because some AIDS activists are pissy that guys with low viral load are less likely to transmit the virus and PREP can protect negative guys.

    In their minds not all unprotected sex is “bad” and therefore this language should be dropped. We shouldn’t “stigmatize” guys who “choose” to bareback because their viral load is low or if they’re on PREP.

    However these same “Activists” reduce their definition to just HIV and not other STI’s for which the only protection is a condom. Unless of course they are also recommending PREP antibiotics for syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia as well as PREP valtrex for Herpes.

  • Black Pegasus

    They failed to mention gays are also more likely to bareback with married men. They perceive married guys as being less sexually active in the gay lifestyle thus lowering their guard.

  • Respect4all

    All of this demonstrates one incontrovertible fact: Gay men are just as stupid as everyone else.

  • Respect4all

    @QJ201: I’m not sure that I understand your point.
    One reality of human life is that people lie and honest people make mistakes. This means you can NEVER trust that someone is telling the truth about his HIV status or viral load unless you have a very close relationship, and even then it’s difficult to be sure that the guy is completely correct. The risks of HIV infection, Hep. C, herpes, syphilis, etc. are too great. PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS. ALWAYS USE A CONDOM AND INSIST THAT HE DOES TOO!

  • katbox80

    People that think it’s okay to bareback because of bareback porn are idiots.

  • viveutvivas

    @Black Pegasus, that’s funny about married men being perceived as “safer,” since in my experience married men just LOVE to bottom when they have the chance with a guy.

  • viveutvivas

    @QJ201, well, to be fair, HIV is rather more serious than syphilis, which can be cured with one injection. And condoms don’t really protect against the other STDs you mention. So if PrEP is really as safe as condoms for HIV (as some estimates claim, although the jury is still somewhat out) for HIV, then I don’t see anything wrong with it. I am on PrEP, by the way, because I freely admit that, like most gay men, I am not 100% successful in adhering to condom use. So I don’t think stigmatizing PrEP is helpful either.

  • Jessie R

    One medical mistake here: PEP is usually a month long complete regimen, including an NNRTI as well as two NRTIs. So PEP would be more than just Truvada.

  • Niall

    If you really were to get HIV because you wouldn’t normally bareback, but decided to do so because the guy was “hot”, you deserve whatever you get.

  • viveutvivas

    @Niall, nobody deserves HIV.

  • erikwm

    80%?

    That makes me never want to have sex with anyone ever again.

  • Dxley

    Busted!

  • Munkypunk

    These figures needed a “study”? We all know what goes on out there. Come on now.

  • Stache1

    @QJ201: Jesus. Where the hell did all that come from. Were talking about forgoing protection with Goodlooking guys. Not the merits of Prep and low viral loads.

  • Matt

    That took a study? lol Why would anyone on the planet have sex with someone they weren’t attracted to? Well, I guess desperate people.

  • Tommysole

    I always bareback.
    Tested positive in 2001 and I have a corral of guys that are also positive and we have sex all the time bare, No neg guys allowed in our circle.

  • GlitterKidder

    And we needed a study for this?

  • Charlie in Charge

    All it takes is one good scare to help orient your perspective.

  • Matt

    @Tommysole: unfuckingbelievable. You got this life threatening disease from fudgepacking and you keep it up.

  • Curtispsf

    Quite interesting indeed. I HAD unprotected sex with one of the models in the lead photo many years ago (and no, I’m not saying which guy). We both were young and foolish AND we both believed in and advocated saf(er) sex.
    That’s why he did the poster. But we thought, like young people often do, that we were invincible and the rules didn’t apply to either of us.

    But they did. And it’s much more difficult now for younger guys because they no longer see the walking wounded to remind them that stupid acts have bad consequences.

  • viveutvivas

    @Matt, ” Why would anyone on the planet have sex with someone they weren’t attracted to?”

    Have you been equally attracted to everyone you have had sex with? Have you always been able to get the most gorgeous guy in the room? (If so I think we all hate you.) Sometimes one has to make do with less than perfect, if only because the guys you think are perfect for you don’t always like you back.

  • Matt

    @viveutvivas: Of course! Why would I have sex with a man I wasn’t attracted to? I’m not that desperate. It’s not humanly possible for me to be intimate with an unattractive stranger. He has to be hot (to me), physically and mentally, and I can’t do it without love. I’m not a hookup guy, never was, never will be. It would be like me going to a restaurant and ordering something I didn’t like. There’s no purpose to it.

  • viveutvivas

    @Matt, there are attractive men, and then there are guys who are literally to die for. That is kind of the point of this article. There are different levels of attractive.

  • Matt

    @viveutvivas: I realize that but it just goes to show how looks affect people. Some people will do anything if they find a guy who as you say are “literally to die for.” That’s their problem. I wouldn’t. The hottest guys on the planet could be HIV+ so those guys are naive. They’re following their dick or his dick not their own mind.

    I’ve always found it funny how people will remark how hot certain actors are and the reality is if they were just a plumber or the mailman nobody would look at them twice. Adrien Brody comes to mind.

  • tdx3fan

    The other 20% were lying. Seriously, you do not have to watch bareback porn to simply know that the feelings feel better when you are having sex without a condom. It is just the way it is. I think that gay men are so entirely tired of living their lives afraid that they simply care less than they used to about what could happen to them. At this point, so much crazy stuff is happening anyways that HIV is actually seen as one more thing that could possibly happen. Most people live their life embracing their death,and this is a side effect of that.

  • tdx3fan

    HIV is the one of the only diseases that has a known link to death that is relatively untreatable that can really be prevented with condoms. Everything else is relatively treatable. Hep B (which is the most common) has a vaccine. Hep A is transmitted through fecal particles (rimming/oral), syphilis can be treated with antibiotics and pretty much eradicated, gonorrhea can also be treated with antibiotics and pretty much eradicated. Chlamydia can also be eradicated with antibiotics. Herpes cannot be eradicated with antibiotics, but you can treat the outbreaks…also you are more likely to get Herpes from oral sex than from anal (and FEW people use condoms for oral sex). Also, most people have Herpes already (if you have a cold sore, you have Herpes). HPV is one that you did not mention. HPV has a shelf life and will actually go away after a certain period of time even without treatment. There are no truly proven links between HPV and any forms of cancer in men.

    So in short, HIV and HepC are the only two diseases that are not easily treatable that can be limited in spread with the use of condoms. However, they are both blood born pathogens and spread through the exchange of bodily fluids. If you are not the one taking bodily fluids into you, or if there are limited bodily fluids exchanged, you are at about the same risk as someone that is bottoming a different guy every night and using condoms.

  • tdx3fan

    @Niall: No one deserves to get a life altering ailment. If you really feel the need to put yourself on the high horse because “barebacking” is below you, you deserve to have the horse run over you!

  • Aromaeus

    Morons the whole lot of em.

  • tdx3fan

    @viveutvivas: Have you actually read his posts. If he had a chance to get the most gorgeous guy in the room, that chance went away when he opened his mouth. I bet he is happy to get a bath house troll on a Saturday night.

  • viveutvivas

    @Matt, funny you mention that. My mailman is actually one of the hottest guys I’ve ever seen. :)

  • viveutvivas

    @tdx3fan, informative post. I would just add two things. There is a vaccine for HPV, that will prevent (most) genital warts, and every gay man should get that. Also, hepatitis C is very seldom contracted via gay sex, bareback or not, but in any case it is now in most cases curable with new treatments.

  • Throbert McGee

    @tdx3fan: “Seriously, you do not have to watch bareback porn to simply know that the feelings feel better when you are having sex without a condom.”

    I’m sure that barebacking feels much better for the TOP, but how much difference does it really make in the sensations experienced by the BOTTOM?

    This is not a trivial question, because during bareback encounters, HIV is far more likely to be passed from the Top to the Bottom than the other way around. In short, barebacking means that the Top disproportionately gets the enhanced pleasure, while the Bottom disproportionately bears the increased risk. Strange that so many Bottoms think this is a great deal, as long as the Top is super-hot.

    “I passed by his garden, and marked, with one eye,
    How the Owl and the Panther were sharing a pie:
    The Panther took pie-crust, and gravy, and meat,
    While the Owl had the dish as its share of the treat.
    When the pie was all finished, the Owl, as a boon,
    Was kindly permitted to pocket the spoon;
    While the Panther received knife and fork with a growl,
    And concluded the banquet by —“

  • viveutvivas

    @tdx3fan, I think you are on point with your comment regarding tiring of the fear. I came of age when HIV was still an automatic death sentence and spent my whole adult life afraid of it. Then at some point in the past couple of years, it seems I just burned out the piece of my brain that was responsible for the fear. (I should add that I do take PREP so it is not that I am throwing all caution to the wind.)

    Is that a good thing? Maybe it is premature and maybe I will pay a price for it, but wasn’t it the very purpose of medical advances that eventually we would not have to live in fear of AIDS? It pisses me off when people consider living in fear of HIV as a MORAL virtue. It is probably just a displacement of the deep cultural Judaeo-Christian fear of sex as a sin. Even when HIV becomes curable, the same people would still find reasons to condemn barebacking.

  • viveutvivas

    @throbert McGee, I can’t speak for all bottoms as I only occasionally bottom, but in my experience barebacking feels much better for the bottom too. You can feel the skin on skin, there is much less chafing bareback (especially if the top is uncut but even if he is cut) and it is psychologically much more intimate. And I know I am going to be condemned for saying this but having the top ejaculate inside you is just very hot and intimate. (And no, I am not recommending doing this with any stranger.)

  • Respect4all

    @tdx3fan: To me sex feels a lot better when I don’t think I’m flirting with death. But I guess that’s just me. Apparently for a lot of gay men these days Death IS the ultimate aphrodisiac! I find it very sad.

  • TxHeat

    I question this study and I do not believe any where near 80 percent of Gays have bareback sex, maybe in the out bar scene crowd.

    @tdx3fan: “Seriously, you do not have to watch bareback porn to simply know that the feelings feel better when you are having sex without a condom.” Maybe you have to be a little selective in your anal sex partners. I am sure if one is single and screwing everything you can condoms might be a problem. I do not think any one that would bareback with someone because they are hot deserves what they get, but I don’t think they can blame any one but themselves.

  • SFHandyman

    I turned 20 in 1981 and moved to LA in 1984. I had a front row seat to the AIDS crisis. Guess who died? The pretty ones. The sexy guys who could get laid anytime. They were the ones dying. I noticed it while it was happening.

    The guys who couldn’t get laid lived on. Unless they did I/V drugs.

    Not ALL the pretty boys died of course. But the dead boys were mostly pretty.

  • viveutvivas

    @Matt, you poor thing, and I thought my life was sad.

  • Niall

    @viveutvivas: Only if you take it literally as in “haha, good you got HIV”, no one deserves it in that sense. But if you are stupid enough to do something you wouldn’t usually do because the guy was literally the hottest thing you’ve ever seen, then you are stupid and getting HIV is down to nothing but your own outright stupidity. Now of course I’m referring to those who usually are safe, but CHOSE to forego that because he was “hot”, not people who usually bareback anyways. Fucking a good looking guy and the risk of an STD is not worth it in my books.

  • Stache1

    @Matt: What an egotistical asinine statement to make. Everything comes with a risk Matt. The safest being would just not getting physical with anyone but yourself. Something I recommend for you.

  • OutnProud

    Congrats to the Captain Obvious’s who did the study. It’s a also a half truth. Just because a guy looks good doesn’t guarantee getting laid bareback

  • JDean

    and then we say gays aren’t diseased.

    Things like this make me wish I weren’t gay at all

  • JDean

    @Tommysole: i guess nowadays it’s cool to be a disgusting diseased skank

  • sobedoug

    Barebacking is moronic under most circumstances, but it takes a special kind of stupid to do it just because a guy is good looking.

  • Throbert McGee

    @Matt: “Fudgepacking is for losers, plain and simple.”

    I wouldn’t go quite THAT far — in my younger days, I enjoyed anal sex once in a while in both the top and the bottom positions.

    But I would certainly agree with the late Christopher Hitchens that anal sex is one of the four MOST OVERRATED “pleasures” in life (the other three being champagne, caviar, and lobster!). And as someone who hasn’t done anal in years and is quite happy that way, I can vouch that guys like Matt aren’t missing out on something super-wonderful. Quite honestly, if I want a change of pace from my “staples” of frot and fellatio, I’ll take watersports (external and oral) over anal sex any day — it feels less kinky, in my subjective opinion, and is objectively less risky from a medical POV.

    But while “fudgepacking” in and of itself doesn’t make you a loser, a guy is definitely on the L-train to Palookaville if he lets himself be sweet-talked into anal sex by a “hot” man even though his personal preference is for oral sex or mutual handjobs.

  • Throbert McGee

    Meanwhile, one of my earlier comments got moderated, so I’ll rephrase it more politely:

    How many of the guys on PrEP are paying for the medication out-of-pocket? From what I can tell by Googling, the monthly cost is just over $1000, so I’m guessing that practically everyone on PrEP is getting the pills subsidized by private or public health coverage.

    Which means that OTHER PEOPLE are paying more money — through insurance premiums or tax dollars — so that guys can enjoy their God-given birthright to bareback without getting HIV.

    It should be obvious that even if an unusually promiscuous guy were bottoming for TEN men EVERY NIGHT of the month, the cost of roughly 300 condoms would be considerably less than the cost of PrEP.

    And, incidentally, the cost of the Pill for women is rarely more than $100/month (if she needs a very specific formulation) and in most cases is under $20/month.

  • OrwellIsDead

    Poor old thing still trying to clutch at whatever straw possible to tell the world that “it wasn’t my fault I took it raw in the ass and became infected! nobody uses condoms!” I guess this explains why he had his AIDS-wasted face reshaped to put him back in the game (http://youtu.be/_GF-APhKJrU). Must be time for his latest meth relapse, surely.

  • andyj

    The CDC agreed stop saying “using protection” as a synonym for “using condoms” but that doesn’t mean they’re calling other unreliable prevention methods protected sex. In means wherever they said “protected sex” they will now say “sex with condoms”.

  • andyj

    @Throbert McGee: EXACTLY!Unless you’re paying the full retail price of PrEP out of pocket, you’re selfishly poaching medical resources from diseases and accidents that cannot be so easily prevented.

  • sex_positive

    There is so much arrogance, judgement, blaming and finger wagging on this comment thread. 

    We shouldn’t be judging or calling gay men stupid for not using condoms. No one is stupid or bad for thinking it feels better without condoms, or for ditching condoms for a hot guy @Niall – We’re all controlled to varying degrees by our innate desires, isn’t this basic human nature? Adhering to condom use is complicated for some people, and is often made more difficult by poor mental health and low self-esteem.

    I also agree with @viveutvivas – why is it that certain people think that it’s some kind of moral duty to be living in constant, and sometimes debilitating, fear of contracting a virus which is NO LONGER a ‘death sentence’. In fact most people still make a huge effort to protect themselves and others from a getting a chronic and challenging long-term condition. Condom use still prevents thousands of new transmissions every year.

    Its not the 1980s anymore and you can’t trick young people into thinking it is. It is an incredible achievement that most gay men today (in resource rich settings ) don’t have to see the visible signs of late- stage HIV infection and that getting HIV does not hold the same consequences as it once did.

    Instead of all this judgement and blame, we should be working together and advocating for governments to invest properly in proven prevention programmes which support people to maintain condom use and other risk reduction strategies like PrEP, which has been proven in numerous studies to extremely protective if taken as directed. 

    @ThrobertMcGee, to question the cost of new prevention tools is part of any cost-effectiveness analysis. But to compare cost with responsibility sounds exactly like the moralistic and homophobic debates of the 1980s, when people questioned why we should even be investing in HIV treatment research at all – shouldn’t gay men just do the responsible thing and stop being such dirty sodomites? – isn’t it there fault for getting HIV for being so promiscuous? In fact why should we be investing money at all to help irresponsible people??? 

    I don’t think there’s anything selfish for choosing a prevention model which helps you to maintain your health, because other models don’t always fit i.e. condoms. The public purse funds all kinds of health related interventions which are associated with behaviour. I think it’s only because we’re talking about sex that everything is so unfairly moralised. 

    Lecture over!

  • JDean

    @sex_positive: no you’re right we should promote being a slut, and the spread of disease and use of expensive toxic medication

    Wanna be an irresponsible slut? Go ahea, just don’t expect everyone to sing kumbaya because it makes you feel bad to be called out

  • BlogShag

    Why would you want to stick your unprotected penis up someone’s poop chute anyway? Think about it for a minute. To me, it’s quite disgusting., and I’m gay.

    Let’s not just gloss over the threat of contracting STDs when engaging in non-hygenic dangerous sexual behavior, because it’s very real. I don’t care how much you wash that area. I don’t care if you douche it with a fire hose. When it comes to sex, STDs are what no one wants to talk about

Comments are closed.