Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 1–20

Differences between heterosexual, bisexual, and lesbian women in recalled childhood experiences

Authors

  • Gabriel Phillips
    • Department of PsychologyLa Trobe University
  • Ray Over
    • Department of PsychologyLa Trobe University
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF01541985

Cite this article as:
Phillips, G. & Over, R. Arch Sex Behav (1995) 24: 1. doi:10.1007/BF01541985

Abstract

Heterosexual, bisexual, and lesbian women recalled the extent to which they had engaged in gender conforming (female-stereotypic) behaviors and gender nonconforming (male-stereotypic) behaviors in childhood. Heterosexual women were more likely to recall having had female-stereotypic experiences as children, whereas lesbian women often recalled a childhood characterized by male-stereotypic experiences. Multiple discriminant function allowed the heterosexual women in the sample to be distinguished from the lesbian women with 80% accuracy in classification of individual cases on the basis of four recollected attributes (imagined self as a male character, wished to become a mother, preference for boys' games, and considered a tomboy as a child). However, some heterosexual women reported much the same childhood behaviors as the majority of lesbian women, and some lesbian women reported much the same childhood behaviors as the majority of heterosexual women. Such diversity raises questions about the nature of the relationship between experiences in childhood and adult sexual orientation.

Key words

sexual orientationlesbian womenchildhood indicatorsgender conforming behaviorsgender nonconforming behaviors

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995