Sex with Men Before Coming-Out: Relation to Sexual Activity and Sexual Risk-Taking Behavior


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Abstract

This study examined the difference in sequence of coming-out and first same-sex experience in relation to risk-taking behavior in a sample of Dutch gay and bisexual men. A questionnaire assessed age of disclosure (coming-out) and age of first same-sex experience, and information on sexual history, sexual relationships, and sexual behavior. It was found that 68% of respondents engaged in their first same-sex experience before coming-out. This proportion increased with age. Men who had sex with men before coming-out reported more lifetime sex partners and more casual sex partners in the past 6 months than men in which this sequence was reversed. In addition, among this group a higher proportion of men reported STDs, engaging in anal intercourse with casual partners in the previous 6 months, and unprotected anal sex with casual sex partners in the recent past, compared to men who came out before having their first same-sex experience. The extent to which external factors (such as tolerance toward homosexuals) or internal factors (such as personality factors) can account for the difference in sexual behaviors in general and sexual risk-taking behavior in particular could be subject of further study.

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