Adolescents of the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Sexual Orientation, Sexual Behavior, and Sexual Risk Exposure

By Nanette K. Gartrell, Henny M. W. Bos, Naomi G. Goldberg
November 2010

This study assessed Kinsey self-ratings and lifetime sexual experiences of 17-year-olds with lesbian mothers in the longest-running, prospective study of same-sex parented families. The results revealed that there were no reports of physical or sexual victimization by a parent or other caregiver. Regarding sexual orientation, 18.9% of the adolescent girls and 2.7% of the adolescent boys self-rated in the bisexual spectrum, and 0% of girls and 5.4% of boys self-rated as predominantly-to-exclusively homosexual. When compared with age-and gender-matched adolescents of the National Survey of Family Growth, the study off-spring were significantly older at the time of their first heterosexual contact, and the daughters of lesbian mothers were significantly more likely to have had same-sex contact. These findings suggest that adolescents reared in lesbian families are less likely than their peers to be victimized by a parent or other caregiver, and that daughters of lesbian mothers are more likely to engage in same-sex behavior and to identify as bisexual.

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