Ethnie Differences in Sexual Behavior, Condom Use, and Psychosocial Variables among Black and White Men Who Have Sex with Men

Joseph P. Stokes, Peter A. Vanable, David J. McKirnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations


We examined ethnic differences in psychosocial variables and sexual behavior with male partners for a sample of Black and White men who have sex with men (N = 515). Within the samples we defined bisexual and gay men according to behavioral criteria. After controlling statistically for differences in demographic variables, we found that Black men, compared to White men, reported fewer male sexual partners, both for their lifetime and the past six months. Black men were more likely than White men to report insertive anal sex with men and less likely to report receptive oral sex with men. Condom use for anal intercourse did not differ by ethnicity. Relative to White men, Black men perceived their friends and neighbors to be less accepting of homosexual behavior, but Black respondents gave higher estimates of the prevalence of bisexual activity among men their age. White gay men were more involved in a gay community than were Black gay men. Ethnic differences in the relations of sexual behaviors and key psychosocial variables (involvement in a gay community, self-acceptance, and perceived acceptance by others of homosexual activity) were also reported: For Black men the psychosocial variables were associated with their having experienced receptive oral sex with men; for White men the associations were stronger with insertive anal sex with men. Implications for understanding the social construction of (homo) sexuality and for interventions designed to reduce the spread of HIV are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-381
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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