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Self-concept in association with homo-/heterosexual identity and sexual activity - results from the German male sex-study

Baudrexl, JC1; Kron, M2; Schulwitz, HS1; Dinkel, A3; Arsov, C4; Hadaschik, B5; Imkamp, F6; Gschwend, JE1; Herkommer, K1

1: Department of Urology, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, Germany; 2: Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometrics, University of Ulm, Germany; 3: Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Technical University of Munich, Germany ; 4: University Dusseldorf, Medical Faculty, Department of Urology, Germany; 5: Department of Urology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany; 6: Clinic for Urology and Urological Oncology, Hannover Medical School, Germany

Objectives: Previous studies have given hints that there are significant differences regarding aspects of male self-concept in homosexual and heterosexual men. Aim of this study was to compare these aspects between homosexual and heterosexual 45-year-old German men. The association to sexual activity was also studied.

Material and Methods: Within the first 2 years (April 2014 – April 2016) of the German Male Sex-Study 45-year-old men were asked to answer questions about aspects of male self-concept, sexual orientation identity and sexual activity. In this study male self-concept consists of four aspects: body image (three items from the Dresden Body Image Inventory, DKB-35), masculinity (three items from the Male Role Norm Scale, MRNS), perception of social pressure with reference to sexual performance (four newly designed items), and sexual self-esteem (three newly designed items). Scores for these four aspects of male self-concept range from 1 to 5. Higher scores suggest a more positive body image, a more modern understanding of masculinity, higher self-perceived social pressure, and higher sexual self-esteem. Sexual activity was subclassified into frequency of sexual activity with a partner and solo-masturbation as well as number of sexual lifetime partners. Comparisons between subgroups were done using Wilcoxon or Kruskal-Wallis tests.

Results: 471 homosexual and 11,749 heterosexual men were included in this analysis. Overall 85.5% were sexually active, 78.4% masturbated, and 18.6% had more than 15 sexual lifetime partners. Homosexual men had a more modern understanding of masculinity (p<0.001) and a higher sexual self-esteem (p=0.052). However, they perceived higher social pressure (p<0.001). Body image did not show an association with sexual orientation identity (p=0.467). Sexual activity was associated with all four aspects of self-concept (p<0.001 through p<0.040) except for an association of number of sexual lifetime partners with masculinity and social pressure (p=0.580, p=0.384).

Conclusions: More modern understanding of masculinity, higher sexual self-esteem, and higher social pressure were found in homosexual men whereas body image was comparable. Frequency of sexual activity and masturbation were associated with all four aspects of self-concept. Number of sexual lifetime partners however was associated with body image and sexual self-esteem but not with masculinity and social pressure.


Work supported by industry: no.

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