Answered on Quora.
According to the data from this website, the average older gay man has had 300 sex partners. That figure was from 20 years ago.
A more recent study put the average lifetime sex partners for gay men at ~50, but they did not control for age.
But the figures from the older days of the 1970’s and 1980’s were quite a bit higher than that. It looks gay men are much less promiscuous now than they were in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. The HIV epidemic seems to have dramatically affected their behavior that way.
Your average straight man has 6 sex partners in a lifetime.
So yes, gay men are dramatically more promiscuous than straight men, anywhere from 7 – 45 X more promiscuous.
This has been anecdotal evidence forever now. Gay men were quite promiscuous back in the days of the Kinsey Study too. And there are reports from places like Medieval Florence describing similar promiscuous and anonymous sex among gay men (meeting in parks at night, etc.)
I would say that promiscuity is part of the “Gay Male Syndrome.” Male homosexuality is not a mental illness, but it is a syndrome of some sort. The actual orientation is biological in all true cases, or at least they get wired up that way by age 15 and after that cannot be changed at all. But the cause of the rest of the syndrome is not known. Frankly, much human behavior can be described as syndromal, and it’s often hard to tease out what’s biological and what’s cultural in these syndromes.
I absolutely think that “Masculine Straight Male” is a syndrome, being rather afflicted with this syndrome myself! I would say in my case that a lot of it is cultural because I got it beaten (sometimes literally) into my head that this how I was supposed to act as a boy, but frankly, the way I was enculturated seemed to be boomeranging back somehow into some biological base, hidden, covert, unconscious or otherwise, but more mysteriously and vaguely present than anything else.
The culture and the biology tend to end up being “snake eating its tail” factors of endless feedback mechanisms where each one is feeding back into the other, and it’s hard to tear the strands of ivy apart and figure out what’s what.
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