A cross-sectional study of male and female kissing partners among men who have sex with men

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Background: Kissing may be a risk factor for gonorrhoea. Past studies have focused on male kissing partners among men who have sex with men (MSM). This study aimed to examine the kissing practices of MSM who kiss male and female partners. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey at the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) between March and April 2019. Men attending the MSHC, aged ≥16 years who reported any sexual contact with another man in the previous 12 months were invited to participate in the survey. Data about the number of kissing-only (kissing without sex), kissing-with-sex, and sex-only (having sex without kissing) partners in the previous 3 months were collected. Men were asked to report the number of male and female partners separately. Results: There were 357 MSM included in the survey. Most men (97.2%, n = 347) had kissed or had sex with another man, whereas 16.0% (n = 57) had kissed or had sex with a female partner in the previous 3 months. Of the 57 men, 26.3% (n = 15) had only kissed a female partner without having sex. The mean number of male partners for kissing-only was 5.5 (s.d. = 6.6), kissing-with-sex was 5.0 (s.d. = 6.6) and sex-only was 3.9 (s.d. = 4.3). The mean number of female partners for kissing-only was 4.2 (s.d. = 6.9), kissing-with-sex was 3.8 (s.d. = 4.9) and sex-only was 3.2 (s.d. = 3.4). Conclusion: MSM not only kiss men in the absence of sex, but also kiss women in the absence of sex. Gonorrhoea could be transmitted between MSM and women via kissing in the absence of sex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27–32
Number of pages6
JournalSexual Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • bisexual
  • gay
  • gonorrhoea
  • kiss
  • pharyngeal
  • prevention
  • saliva
  • sexually transmitted infection
  • transmission

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