Spaces GMFA 8 ways to have a happier sex life for gay men As part of our ‘Big Gay Sex Survey’ in 2015 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 opportunity 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 whether someone is enjoying themselves. 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 - ANAL SEX? 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 compatible with you will help you to have a better sexual experience. 6 - SEXUAL HEALTH All sexually active men should test for HIV and STIs on a regular basis. We highly recommend every 6 months but if you engage in sex with lots of parters think about testing more often. It roughly takes 10 days for an STI to show up in a test and 4 weeks for HIV. If you are HIV-negative and engage in lots of condomless sex think about getting yourself on PrEP. When taken correctly it's proven to prevent HIV transmission 99% of the time. If you are living with HIV then continue to take your medication. Once you're 'Undetectable' you cannot pass on HIV to anyone through sex - and that's a fact! 7 - MENTAL HEALTH Looking after your mental health is just as important as looking after your sexual health because both are linked. When you are feeling down or your self-esteem is low you are far more likely to put yourself in riskier situations. If you don't care, you're far more likely to care less about HIV and STIs. This is why it's important to make sure your mind is in good shape. If you are struggling try reaching out to a friend, family member or loved one. If you need support there's lots of LGBTQ+ charities and services that can help >> www.lgbthero.org.uk/find-support. 8 - HAVE FUN Sex is supposed to be fun and it's up to you what type of sex you want. Don't let anyone make you feel bad or different because what you want is different to the norm. It's good to explore your sexuality and if that means you need lots of people to explore that with then all power to you. It's your sex life... have fun!