Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 73-81

First online:

Age of Puberty and Sexual Orientation in a National Probability Sample

  • Anthony F. BogaertAffiliated withDepartment of Community Health Sciences, Brock UniversityDepartment of Psychology, Brock University
  • , Chris FriesenAffiliated withPsychology Graduate Program, York University
  • , Panagiota KlentrouAffiliated withDepartment of Physical Education, Brock University

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The relations between sexual orientation and age of puberty in both men and women were examined in a national probability sample of the United States. The sample was the National Health and Social Life Survey (E. O. Laumann, J. H. Gagnon, R. T. Michael, & S. Michaels, 1994), which contains 3432 cases. Gay/bisexual men reported an earlier age of puberty (e.g., age of first pubic hair) relative to heterosexual men, but lesbian/bisexual women did not report a different age of puberty (i.e., age of menarche) than heterosexual women. These results confirm findings from prior research examining age of puberty using nonrepresentative samples and add to a body of literature suggesting that gay/bisexual men may score, on average, in the female-typical direction on certain sex-dimorphic physical and developmental characteristics.

puberty sexual orientation hypothalamus probability sampling menarche