Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 251–261 | Cite as

Parental physical abuse and sexual orientation in males

  • Joseph Harry


Because male homosexuals have usually been found to have poorer relationships with their fathers than male heterosexuals, and because children who are disappointments to their parents are more likely to be physically abused than other children, it was hypothesized that gays are more likely than heterosexual men to have been physically abused by parents. This hypothesis was tested comparing 17 gay male college students and 67 heterosexual male college students. Gay males were found to have been more abused during adolescence. Abuse was related to a history of childhood femininity, to having poor relationships with fathers, and to having engaged in gay sex during adolescence. A history of childhood femininity and engaging in gay sex may provoke parental abuse.

Key words

homosexuality child abuse effeminacy adolescence 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Harry
    • 1
  1. 1.Sociology DepartmentNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

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