Sexual Positioning and Race-Based Attraction by Preferences for Social Dominance Among Gay Asian/Pacific Islander Men in the United States.

Published: April 2, 2013


For gay men in the United States, race/ethnicity has been demonstrated to factor importantly into sexual preferences, and race-based beliefs regarding certain racial groups are prevalent within the gay male community. For gay men of color, such beliefs may differentially influence their sexual preferences. Yet, little is known about the social-psychological factors underlying differences in sexual preferences among gay men of color. The present study examined how personal preferences for social hierarchy and dominance may explain variations in sexual positioning preferences, and how this relationship may be further qualified by their race-based sexual attraction among gay Asian/Pacific Islander (API) men. A total of 141 API gay men were recruited to participate in an online survey. Measures assessed participants’ sexual positioning preferences, race-based sexual attraction, and preferences for social hierarchy or social dominance orientation (SDO). Self-identified tops scored higher on SDO than bottoms or versatiles. Participants attracted to non-API men scored higher on SDO compared to participants attracted to API men and participants who reported no race-based attraction. Finally, a significant two-way interaction indicated that tops attracted to non-API men scored the highest on SDO, and bottoms with no race-based attraction in men scored the lowest. Race/ethnicity is a prominent factor in sexual attraction and sexual positioning preferences among gay men, and one’s proclivity for social hierarchy and dominance explains differences in sexual preferences among API gay men. By demonstrating how API gay men negotiate sexual preferences, present findings help elucidate existing race-based sexual dynamics within gay male culture.

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