Friday, March 12, 2010

Sexual orientation and social closeness

A social closeness score was calculated for participants in the MIDUS study based on the following items: is sociable; likes to be with people; takes pleasure in and values close interpersonal ties; is warm and affectionate; turns to others for help and comfort. Here are the means by sexual orientation (sample size = 3,850).

Mean social closeness score

Straight 11.45
Gay 11.67
Bisexual 10.79

Straight 12.09*
Lesbian 11.09
Bisexual 11.52

* significantly higher than straight males

The mean for straight females is a bit more than one-quarter of a standard deviation (sd) higher than the mean for straight males--a small difference. If we ignore significance (the lesbian sample is only 23 people) the lesbian mean is four-tenths of an sd lower than the mean for straight women--a moderate difference. Lesbians are less likely to be people people.

This is consistent with my recent finding that, compared to straight women, lesbians are less likely to have emotional intimacy in their sexual relationships.

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