The EU wants to speak to straight men who have sex with men
The European Union is looking for Irish men who have sex with men, but do not identify as gay or bisexual, to tell their stories.
According to past research one in 10 males have had a sexual encounter with another man, but do not identify as LGBT.
Previous results from 2010 found that over nine per cent of people in a survey of 3,000 indicated that they had sexual contact with other men, but identify as straight.
The figure was higher in other European countries – suggesting men in Ireland are less comfortable opening up about their sexuality.
The Gay Health Network (GHN) and Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) are now calling for more men who have sex with men (MSM) to complete the European internet sex survey (EMIS).
And the survey isn’t just to be nosey – it could have a major effect on providing sexual health services.
Chair of the Gay Health Network Ciaran McKinney told Irish Mirror: “GHN the only MSM resource network in Ireland, has promoted National research among gay, bisexual men and men who do not identify as gay or bisexual since 2000.
“With our network members and partners, HIV, STI services and LGBT community groups around the country and among MSM living with HIV, we are actively calling on MSM, living outside Dublin, those living with HIV and those not born in Ireland to take part in EMIS2017 which is available in 33 languages.
“The findings from this as with previous research contributes to advances in services and support such as man2man.ie programme, and ways of promoting safer sex and access to such things as testing, free condoms.”
Dr Derval Igoe, Health Protection Surveillance Centre, HSE, added: “As cases of HIV and other STIs continue among men who have sex with men, the information from EMIS 2017, as with previous surveys, will provide vital information for the GHN, HSE and other organisations to help plan services and campaigns in Ireland.
“It will also greatly contribute to the knowledge of MSM sexual health needs across Europe.”
A survey in 2016 also found that the number of straight men who have had gay sex is surprisingly high.
The survey – conducted by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention – asked respondents about the types of sexual experiences they have had and whether they are attracted to the same or opposite sex.
The 9,000 respondents – aged between 18 and 44 – were also asked how they chose to label their sexual orientations.
Results showed that the number of straight men who have had sex with another man had risen significantly – with 2.3 percent of men engaging in same-sex sexual activity identifying as heterosexual.
The survey also revealed that the number of men identifying as bisexual had risen – with 2 per cent of the group saying they were attracted to both men and women, up from 1.2 percent in the last survey.
“You do expect some differences,” the lead author of the study,Casey E. Copen, said.
“For some people … they may or may not have had the experiences they’re contemplating, [especially] if they’re younger.”