Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sexual orientation and sexual assault

I showed in earlier analyses that homosexuals have higher rates of early sexual contact and sexual assault victimization than straights. Here's what we find from fresh data (MIDUS Study):

Percent ever sexually assaulted (N = 2,344)

Straight 3.8
Gay 15.8
Bisexual 46.7*

Straight 22.0*
Lesbian 44.4*
Bisexual 50.0*

*significantly higher than straight males

Non-heteros are much more likely to report a sexual assault than their hetero counterparts. The data for the earlier posts referred to childhood and adolescent experiences. MIDUS data shows the same pattern for an adult sample. (Of course, most assaults occur when a person is young). Readers have suggested a number of reasons for this observed pattern, but whatever the explanation, the different risk seems clear.  


  1. Anonymous12:58 PM

    How to even begin to explain the huge difference between bisexual males and other males?

    Is there some kind of difference in the understanding of the term "sexual assault."

    I have read (don't know if it's true) that a high % of homosexual sex is quite rough. Perhaps that's just a function of testosterone working in two (or more) people in the mix, but if that is so, maybe a high percentage of gays have had consensual sex proceed to a state that they felt violated them, thus their conclusion that they had been sexually assaulted.

    Why the bisexual reports would be even higher than the gay male reports remains a mystery.

    The lesbian numbers--I do believe there is a fairly substantial % of women who, in today's social climate, now call themselves lesbians who were sexually and/or physically abused by males in their childhood and who because of that, swore off men totally.

    Ron, can you winnow the numbers down to an age range during which they experience the "assault"? In childhood, adulthood?

  2. Anonymous5:21 PM

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  3. Anon: No, the question is "ever assaulted", and there is no info about age when the person was attacked.


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