Do childhood sexual experiences turn a girl into a lesbian? I showed in two earlier posts that homosexuals are much more likely to have intense sexual contact as children, and they also have an increased risk of witnessing their parents attack each other as well as being victims of parental violence.
Next, let's see if the same is true of lesbians. Using the same survey data, here is what I found for 1,457 college females:
Percent experiencing sexual contact under age 14 at least once
Was shown a sexual organ
Attempted sexual intercourse
Percent whose parents hit each other at least once per month
Percent whose parents hit them at least once per month
Like non-straight men, women who are not heterosexual were more likely to have childhood sexual experiences and to have been in violent families. So, compared to straights, gays and lesbians have less normal childhoods, and it is possible that this could influence sexual orientation--along with other factors.
In the earlier post, Razib made a good point that effeminate boys who are likely to grow up to be gay might have been targeted for sexual contact. Presumably, the person who initiated the contact thinks an effeminate boy is unlikely to resist aggressively, or perhaps the boy is more attractive, or is thought to be gay and interested in sex.
But what about a girl? Would she be targeted for being a tom boy? Or because she is thought to be a lesbian? Presumably, she would be less attractive and more resistant, which would lead to less victimization, not more. Ideas? Might childhood sexual contact be a cause of lesbianism but only spuriously related to homosexuality?
Notice how the differences are stronger for partner violence than violence against the child. It's possible that witnessing frequent parental conflict might lead some children to reject heterosexual coupling.
Next, I'll show that lesbians are much more likely to have been victims of sexual violence as teenagers.