Sexual behavior and risk among adolescents in lesbian mom families

by on November 17, 2010  •  In Culture, Family law, Social science

A new study based on a unique longitudinal study of lesbian mothers compares the 17-year-old children of lesbian parents to a national sample of adolescents as to sexual orientation, sexual behavior and risk of abuse. The study found a complete absence of sexual or other physical abuse. The authors also found a mixture of similarities and differences in sexual behaviors and self-identified orientation:

  • The teens in the study were significantly older than the national sample at the time of first heterosexual activity;
  • The daughters in the study were significantly more likely to have had same-sex activity than the national sample of girls; and
  • There was no difference between the boys in the two groups with regard to having engaged in same-sex behavior.

As to self-identification (for which there were no comparable data), 20% of the girls and 2.7% of the boys identified as predominantly to exclusively bisexual; none of the girls and 5.4% of the boys identified as predominantly to exclusively homosexual.

The results come from an a computer survey of 78 teenagers (39 girls and 39 boys) in lesbian families who have been part of Dr. Nanette Gartrell's National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study since birth. The online nature of the questionnaire allowed them to answer outside the presence of their parents. The families are not representative by SES level, race or geography, but the NLLFS is by far the longest continuing study of the same cohort of gay families. 

The study is published online in Archives of Sexual Behavior, a peer-reviewed academic journal.



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