February 1, 2024

What Do Gay Men Like About Other Men?

The question of what do gay men like about other men is a tricky one. Some men derive pleasure from playing the insertive role, referred to colloquially as "tops." Others prefer to serve as the receptive partner and are known as "bottoms."

While most of the research on what gay people like about other gay people has focused on physical attractiveness, this study sought to find out more about what qualities were the biggest turn-ons. In order to do this, the researchers employed a technique called Im-Ex Polygraph, which separates what participants say they want from the attributes that appear in example celebrities they nominated as being desirable ('stated') and those that are actually present in their examples ('derived').

This method of analysis also separated out a list of qualities that participants consider to be turn-offs. In line with previous studies, gay and bi men named "dishonest, unfaithful, untrustworthy" as their top stated turn-off. They also disliked partners who have poor personal hygiene, a characteristic that is shared by all three sexual orientations.

Interestingly, the question of whether traditional masculine ideals had an adverse effect on gay men's self-image and relationships evoked a much larger and more varied range of responses. The most prevalent theme was that gay men feel compelled to adhere to traditional enactments of masculinity even when it is not what they really want or who they truly are. This may be a defensive reaction or an attempt to overcome internalized homophobia.


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