Age, ethnic and travel-related disparities in kissing and sexual practices among heterosexual men in Melbourne, Australia

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Background: The kissing practices of heterosexual men are not well understood, despite the potential of kissing to be a significant risk factor for gonorrhoea transmission. This study aimed to explore kissing and sex practices among heterosexual men. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey among heterosexual men attending the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre in 2016-2017 was conducted. Men were asked to report their number of kissing-only (in the absence of sex), sex-only (in the absence of kissing) and kissing-with-sex partners in the last 3 months. The mean number of each partner type was calculated, and multivariable negative binomial regression was used to investigate associations between the number of different types of partners and demographic characteristics. RESULTS: Of the 2351 heterosexual men, men reported a mean of 2.98 kissing-only, 0.54 sex-only and 2.64 kissing-with-sex partners in the last 3 months. Younger men had a mean higher number of kissing-only partners than older men (4.52 partners among men aged ≤24 years compared with 1.75 partners among men ≥35 years, P < 0.001). Men born in Europe had the most kissing-only partners (mean: 5.16 partners) and men born in Asia had the fewest kissing-only partners (mean: 1.61 partners). Men recently arrived in Australia, including travellers from overseas, had significantly more kissing-only partners (adjusted incidence rate ratio (aIRR): 1.53; 95% CI: 1.31-1.80) than local men. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides novel data about kissing practices of heterosexual men. Studies assessing oropharyngeal gonorrhoea should include measurements of kissing until studies can clarify its contribution to transmission risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-287
Number of pages9
JournalSexual Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

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