Cheating and the gay community: Do gay men struggle to be faithful?


For issue #164, FS magazine surveyed 961 gay and bi men about times they have been cheated on or times they have been unfaithful.

We discovered:

  • 58%of respondents said a partner has been unfaithful
  • 52%said they had been unfaithful
  • 45%of these men said that their partner never found out
  • 17% said that they’d got an STI from being unfaithful
  • 61%of these men did not inform their partner
  • 40%of people in an open relationship said that either they or their partner has broken the rules of that relationship

A new survey by FS magazine has found that 52% of gay men admitted to ‘cheating’ on their partner with 45% of these men saying their partner never found out. The survey conducted by HERO – Health Equality and Rights Organisation, the parent organisation of GMFA, FS magazine and OutLife, also found that 17% of gay men got HIV or an STI from someone who was not their partner with 61% of these men did not inform their partner. The survey also found that 40% of men in an open relationship have broken the rules of their relationship.

Ian Howley, Chief Executive of HERO – the Health Equality and Rights Organisation, notes that communication is a fundamental issue in the relationships of gay men: “What’s clear to us from the results of the survey and what gay men told us about their experiences is that some gay men are making the same mistakes regarding communication, trust and boundaries.

“There’s huge issue of gay men not being able to talk to one another about what they want sexually. We grow up in a very heterosexual society where ‘cheating’ is enough to end relationships and long standing marriages because that’s what society has told us to do. And it’s not shocking to find that these standards are also put on gay men.”

Ian adds: “I’ve met lots of gay couples who are perfect for each, emotionally, but sexually they didn’t work, or it just fizzled out but rather than work together on this, one or both of them cheats on their partner leading to the eventual breakdown of their relationship.

“Now ‘cheating’ may start with flirting with a stranger or sliding into someone’s DMs on Twitter, but it only takes a few conversation exchanges before thoughts are put into action and then you have an issue that might bring the end to your relationship.

“Of course sex is important for any relationship to work but you cannot and never will be able to meet the needs of someone 100% of the time. And we are foolish to put that pressure on ourselves.

“If you are lucky to find someone that does it for you, is there for you emotionally, physically and treats you with the respect you deserve, then you must work on the relationship. Letting a relationship die because of sex is silly. More often he will work with you and you can work together to explore options that will keep your relationship tight.”

HERO are also recommending that gay men in relationships get tested for STIs and HIV regularly. Ian said, “17% of the gay men who admitted to cheating on their partner got an STI or HIV. We recommend that all sexually active gay men, whether in a relationship or not, gets tested for HIV and STI at least twice a year.”

The new issue of FS magazine is now available to download on iOS and via Pocketmags. You can read all the articles from this issue here:

Read “Infidelity and the gay community: Do gay men struggle to be faithful”:

Read “Open relationships: Do rules really matter?”:

Read “Cheating and the risk of STIs”:

Read issue #164 in full: