Mary Roach Compares Homosexual and Heterosexual Sex

Science Journalist and Author
The author says homosexuals know their partners’ anatomy better, which can make for superior sex.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: Do homosexuals have better sex?

Mary Roach: There was a really great... There was a study that Masters and Johnson did in the seventies. It doesn't get a lot of publicity. Everybody's familiar with their big project in human sexual response in the fifties. Everybody... I mean, people know that they did that.

But they did this interesting study where they looked at gay and straight couples, some short... some, actually, not just short-term but they paired them up. So it was people having sex for the first time. And then, it was long-term committed partners, both gay and straight. This was the only study I came across.  t was really a qualitative look at sex, like, who's having... who's having better sex and why? And, in fact, the best sex was being had by long-term committed homosexual partners.

Two things going on. One was that something called gender empathy, which is if you have the same equipment, you kind of know intuitively what feels good. And in the seventies... This was done in the seventies, the heterosexual couples were tending to do things to their partner that they would want done to themselves, which didn't always play well. And there was also sort of a mechanical element of... well, if I twiddle this for about ten minutes that should be good for her, you know. And they weren't really getting into the moment and they weren't really sort of watching their partner and sort of just not losing themselves in the experience and being turned on by their partners responses, a lot of stuff that goes on in good... really great sex that makes it very different from efficient sex. And so, the straight partners... And this was the seventies. You know, I think things have come away since then.

But the hetero partners tended to be a little more mechanical and a little more just like, well, yes, we've both had an orgasm so that was good sex. Whereas the long-term partners were... particularly the gay ones but also among the straight partners. They were, you know, that's where you found the really amazing... where somebody would sort of, you know, draw it out and be aware of exactly what stage their partner was at in their arousal and that kind of thing. But to answer your question, yes, there's your... that's the only study that I came across that actually did... draw that conclusion.

Recorded on: April 6, 2009