Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 1755–1768 | Cite as

First Postpubertal Male Same-Sex Sexual Experience in the National Health and Social Life Survey: Current Functioning in Relation to Age at Time of Experience and Partner Age

  • Bruce Rind
Original Paper


This study used an important data set to examine long-term adjustment and functioning in men, who as adolescents had sexual experiences with men. The data came from the National Health and Social Life Survey, which used a national probability sample (Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, & Michaels, 1994). Three perspectives were considered, which offered different predictions. From the “child sexual abuse” (CSA) paradigm, which dominates clinical, legal, and lay views, expected was robust evidence for poorer adjustment, given that intense harm is assumed to be intrinsic. From the “mainstream psychological” perspective, derived from the CSA paradigm but more scientifically based, poorer adjustment was also expected, but with less magnitude, given that minor–adult sex is seen as posing a serious risk of harm, which may not universally apply. From the “relevant-empirical” perspective, which infers response to male adolescent–adult same-sex sex from relevant prior empirical research (as opposed to clinical cases or the female experience), expected was little or no evidence for poorer adjustment. Results supported the relevant-empirical perspective. Compared to several control groups (i.e., men whose first postpubertal same-sex sex was as men with other men; men with no postpubertal same-sex sexual experience or child–adult sex), men whose first postpubertal same-sex sex was as adolescents with men were just as well adjusted in terms of health, happiness, sexual functioning, and educational and career achievement. Results are discussed in relation to cultural influences, other cultures, and comparative data from primates.


National Health and Social Life Survey Same-sex sexual experiences First postpubertal sex Child sexual abuse Sexual orientation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

There were no conflicts of interest, and the research is secondary research on the NHSLS data, so informed consent is not an issue.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LeipzigGermany

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