Showing posts with label Childhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Childhood. Show all posts

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lesbianism and being the victim of sexual violence: I promised to report estimates of sexual violence victimization among 1,470 female college students across categories of sexual orientation. Respondents were asked if they had been the victim of various levels of sexual coercion since age 14. Here are the percentages who answered yes:


Percent who engaged in sex play between 14 and current age (college student)

Overwhelmed by male's coaxing and pressure
Straight 40.0
Bisexual 47.8
Lesbian 50.0
Unsure 42.9

Because of the male's position of authority
Straight 4.6
Bisexual 13.0
Lesbian 16.7
Unsure 28.6

Because of being forced
Straight 9.9
Bisexual 21.7
Lesbian 25.0
Unsure 28.6


Percent who experienced attempted intercouse between age 14 and current age (college student)

Because of being drugged
Straight 11.7
Bisexual 39.1
Lesbian 33.3
Unsure 14.3

Because of being forced
Straight 12.5
Bisexual 34.8
Lesbian 25.0
Unsure 21.4


Percent who experience intercourse between age 14 and current age (college students)

Overwhelmed by male's coaxing and pressure
Straight 22.1
Bisexual 39.1
Lesbian 33.3
Unsure 35.7

Because of male's position of authority
Straight 1.4
Bisexual 4.3
Lesbian 16.7
Unsure 21.4

Because of being drugged
Straight 6.6
Bisexual 21.7
Lesbian 41.7
Unsure 14.3

Because of being forced
Straight 6.5
Bisexual 17.4
Lesbian 25.0
Unsure 14.3


The pattern holds up for all these different situations: it is clear that more non-straights are victims. The possibility was raised in the earlier post that lesbians are more willing to report abuse (I have shown that liberal women are much more likely to say they have been sexually harassed) but the questions are specific enough, I doubt that the reporting differences are large.

Other readers have suggested a genetic explanation for that the correlation between early sexual contact and homosexuality, and they emphasize that much abuse is committed by family members. From this idea we would predict that lesbians would be more likely than straights to be victimized by family members.

There is some evidence for this. As children, 33.4% of abusers of non-heterosexual females were relatives, compared to 24.2% of straight women (I combined lesbians, bisexuals, and unsures to maximize the very small sample size). The percentages for the teen years are 12.5% and 3.5%.

And I found the same pattern for male victims: 26.9% of non-heterosexuals had early sexual contact with family members, compared to only 6.2% of abused straights. But even if we lower the share of non-heterosexuals abused by relatives to that of straights, a large difference in the overall risk of abuse remains.

So, these results shown here support both the idea that there might be some tendency for pedophilia and homosexuality to run in families due perhaps to genes, as well as the idea that lesbianism may, in part, be the product of early traumatic heterosexual victimization.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

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
Straight 34.6
Bisexual 56.5
Homosexual 54.5
Unsure 28.6

Was fondled
Straight 27.6
Bisexual 47.8
Homosexual 33.3
Unsure 23.1

Attempted sexual intercourse
Straight 9.4
Bisexual 21.7
Homosexual 25.0
Unsure 21.4

Sexual intercourse
Straight 4.9
Bisexual 8.7
Homosexual 16.7
Unsure 14.3


Percent whose parents hit each other at least once per month

Straight 9.2
Bisexual 17.4
Homosexual 25.0
Unsure 21.4


Percent whose parents hit them at least once per month

Straight 26.2
Bisexual 30.4
Homosexual 33.3
Unsure 23.1

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.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sexual orientation and family dysfunction: In my previous post, I showed that homosexual and bisexual men, compared to straights, were much more likely to have experienced intense sexual contact as children. Looking at the same survey of 760 men, I observed that these men witnessed much more parental violence and were hit much more by parents (i.e., physical blows, kicking, throwing to the ground). Respondents gave answers ranging from "never" (=1) to "more than 20 times per month" (=5). Here are the means:


Mean score for parents hitting each other

Straight men 1.07
Homosexual men 1.75
Bisexual men 1.47
Unsure 1.29


Mean score for being hit by parents

Straight men 1.36
Homosexual men 2.10
Bisexual men 1.74
Unsure 1.57


For both types of violence, homosexual men averaged around a two which is the score for "1 to 5 times per month." The typical experience for straight men was to experience and witness little physical abuse. The responses given by bisexual men and those who are not sure about their sexuality are somewhere between straights and gays.

These findings, in combination with the earlier post on early sexual contact, suggest that non-heterosexual men are much more likely to grow up in disturbed families.