What Gay and Bi Men Really Want

Posted by  D&M Research Team

POSTED ON  February 14, 2023

CATEGORIES  Research

Are physical and sexual attraction the most appealing qualities in a partner? Or are unseen qualities like good manners and reliability the most attractive?

Following on from his research into what straight women want and what straight men want, D&M Research’s managing director Derek Jones has taken the next logical step with his latest study into what gay and bi(sexual) men want.

In order to dig deeper and draw out a true list of turn-ons and turn-offs for gay and bi men, Derek once again used of the Im-Ex Polygraph method. He originally devised this method of analysis to distinguish what people say they want from brands, products or services from what they really want by comparing stated versus derived measures of importance.

Qualities the gay and bi men said they desired in a partner (‘stated’) were compared to the qualities present in example celebrities they nominated as attractive (‘implied’). The same comparison was made between stated and implied negative qualities, to determine what attributes are really the biggest turn-offs.

What gay and bi men say they want

Just like straight women and straight men, “we enjoy being together” and “loves and respects me” is among the top things that gay and bi men say they want in their partner. Sexual attraction is also up there and more highly ranked than for their straight counterparts.

Top 10 things that gay and bi men say they want in a partner

A number of attributes unique to gay and bi men’s top ten wants are “loving, caring and understanding”, “we have chemistry” and “he is loyal and reliable”. Further attributes around being a good-natured person round out the top ten.

What gay and bi men say they don’t want

In line with our previous studies, “dishonest, unfaithful, untrustworthy” is the top stated turn-off attribute for gay and bi men. A dislike for “poor personal hygiene” is also shared with the other groups. A unique turn-off that makes the top three is “superficial and fake”, along with “selfish/egocentric/conceited”, “boring and uninteresting”, “controlling and possessive” and “bitchy” further down the list.

Top 10 things that gay and bi men say they don’t want in a partner

Interestingly, the appeal ratings given to these top ten detractor attributes (2.0–2.8) are somewhat higher than for the top tens of straight women (1.09–1.49) and straight men (1.34–2.02), which could suggest that gay and bi men are a bit more tolerant to such attributes. With a lot fewer fish in the gay and bi sea than the straight sea, gay and bi men may be a bit more likely to look past unpleasant attributes on the road to forming relationships.

The truth about what gay men really want

Through our unique questioning technique – the Im-Ex Polygraph method – we were able to dig deeper and draw out the real, less spoken attributes of men that gay and bi men find attractive and unattractive.

Core attractors (must haves)

When we look at partner attributes that the Polygraph determines to be aligned with what they state, we see that at the heart of it, gay and bi men want someone with whom they align and are attracted to. They want someone with similar interests, beliefs and values, who is confident and charismatic, fit and athletic, has an attractive personality, and loves and respects them for who they are.

Areas of compromise (nice to haves)

Attractive attributes that the Polygraph determines are less important than gay and bi men say are assumed to be areas of compromise, or nice to haves.

The top nice to haves are “comfortable in his own skin”, “intelligent”, having “financial assets”, being “independent”, and being “respectful and [having] good manners”.

Areas of delight (wow factors)

Attractive attributes that the Polygraph determines are more important than gay and bi men say are assumed to be areas of delight, or what we call ‘wow factors’.

Just as in the straight men and women studies, physical attributes rise to the top (so to speak). For gay and bi men, a “great ass” is the top area of delight, followed by being “good looking/handsome” and having a “good size penis”. Gay and bi men align with straight men in mentioning specific body parts that could delight, while the straight women mention general sexual attraction and further unseen attributes.

The truth about what gay men really don’t want

Core detractors (must not haves)

When we look at partner attributes that the Polygraph determines to be aligned with what they state, we see that gay and bi men are turned off primarily by “drama queens” – men who might have “complicated” past situations and are “loud” and “bitchy”. On the other hand, being too quiet, i.e. having “poor social and conversational skills” or not being “openly out”, were also found to be unappealing.

Areas of tolerance (prefer not to haves)

Detracting attributes that the Polygraph determines are less detracting than gay and bi men say are assumed to be areas of tolerance, or prefer not to haves.

Gay and bi men mention a few areas of tolerance which are unique to that group, including their partners not being single, that their partners “want a family and relate to children”, and that their partners have “poor personal hygiene”. Having “addictions” was also in the top three and was a turn-off shared by straight men and women alike.

Areas of disgust (whoa factors)

Detracting attributes that the Polygraph determines are more detracting than gay and bi men say are assumed to be areas of disgust, or what we call ‘whoa factors’.

Gay and bi men were closely aligned with straight men in their top areas of disgust, with “talks too much”, “overweight” and “not… good in bed” being shared between the groups. Gay and bi men had to two further areas which were unique to them: “swears too much” and “does not look after himself physically”.

Watch the presentation

For more information about the methodology behind the study and a more detailed look at the findings, watch Derek Jones’s presentation at the AMSRS (now The Research Society) National Conference.

In the media

The research was picked up by The Sydney Morning Herald in their article “Body politics: Just how important are looks to gay men?

A study on what gay and bi women want is also in the works.


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