The Charge. While normal people assign to sex a subordinate place in their lives, homosexuals make it central and obsessive. Put simply, they are sex addicts.
Background. In so far as gay people have been defined according to their sexual object choices, it is natural for them to place sex high on their list of defining characteristics. The word homosexual itself tends to reinforce this perception.
In addition, the marginality to which gay people have been restricted tends to make them more adventurous. and this adventurousness extends into sexual practices.
These factors have fed the common stereotype that gay men are promiscuous and are either unwilling or unable to forge enduring or long-term relationships. Yet several surveys of gay men in the United States have shown that between 40% and 60% are involved in a steady relationship, and that many others are single, but have the intention of becoming involved only in monogamous relationships.
Research also suggests that lesbians may be somewhat more likely than gay men to be in steady relationships. In terms of unprotected sex, a 2007 study by Goudreau and Golden cited two large population surveys as showing that "the majority of gay men had similar numbers of unprotected sexual partners annually as straight men and women."
Another persistent stereotype associated with the male homosexual community is partying. Before the Stonewall Riots in 1969, most GLBT people were extremely private and closeted, and house parties and, later, bars and taverns became, exceptionally, places where they could meet, socialize, and feel safe. The riots greatly enhanced the modern LGBT social movement and acceptance of sexual and gender minorities has steadily increased since. Generally festive and party-like social occasions remain important for organizing and fundraising in the GLBT community. In cities where there are large concentrations of GLBT people Benefit events and bar fundraisers are still common. Ushered in by underground gay clubs and disc jockeys, the disco era at the end of the last century kept the "partying" aspect vibrant and ushered in the more hardcore circuit-party movement, hedonistic and associated with controlled substances.
The broader background is that, historically, gay people have had few family ties, freeing them for recreational activities. Yet these are not restricted to sexual pursuits, but include travel and an interest in music and the arts.
Response. The growing popularity of gay marriage indicates that gay people are seeking stability, jus like everyone else. As this pattern becomes more general, they will be less promiscuous.
In fact lesbians have always been inclined to form stable coupled relationships, and now gay men are following their lead. Adoption or parenting by surrogates works to create real families headed by gay people. This factor makes them less concerned with sex.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Karla Jay and Allen Young, The Gay Report: Lesbians and Gay Men Speak Out about Sexual Experiences and Lifestyles, New York: Summit. 1979; Stephen M. Goudreau and Matthew R. Golden, “Biological and Demographic Causes of High HIV and Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevalence in Men Who Have Sex with Men, “ Sexually Transmitted Infections, 83:6 (October 2007). 458–62.