Recent evidence suggests that men who have sex with men (MSM) are initiating anal intercourse at earlier ages. A Swiss study reveled that the mean age at first anal intercourse fell from 24.5 years among men born before 1965 to 20.0 years among men born between 1975 and 1984. The study also found that younger cohorts of MSM have been initiating anal intercourse with increasingly older partners.
Researchers surveyed 2,200 MSM living in Switzerland in 2004 as part of the nation’s HIV behavioral surveillance. Participants were recruited from gay community venues and on-line. The study found the following relationships:
- Between 20 and 30% of men engage in first anal sex with men 10 or more years older than themselves
- The younger the age at first anal intercourse, the less likely the use of condoms
- Use of condoms at first anal intercourse was less likely when the age gap between the partners was greater
(Source: Balthasar, H., Jeannin, A., Dubois-Arber, F., 2008, “First Anal Intercourse and Condom Use among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Switzerland,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, June 17).
For Further Thought
- Do these findings suggest a need for LGBT- specific content in sexual health education for adolescents?
- What are some obstacles to integrating LGBT-specific content in sex education?