“It’s Almost Like Gay Sex Doesn’t Exist”: Parent-Child Sex Communication According to Gay, Bisexual, and Queer Male Adolescents


Journal Article

© 2018, The Author(s) 2018. Sex communication interventions facilitate positive sexual health outcomes with heterosexual adolescents. The same has yet to be established for male youth with same-sex attractions, behaviors, and identities. Our study describes the experiences of gay, bisexual, and queer (GBQ)-identifying adolescent males with parent-child sex communication. We conducted 30 in-depth semistructured interviews with a diverse group of 15- to 20-year-old GBQ males. Interview transcripts were coded, and themes were identified using thematic and content analysis. Narratives revealed that sex communication with parents occurs rarely, is heteronormative in content prior to adolescent males’ disclosure as GBQ, and after disclosure is reactionary and based on stereotypes that associate this population with negative health outcomes. Parents were rated poorly as sex educators by adolescent males, and the findings are mixed regarding perception of parents’ knowledge about GBQ-specific information. Parents and health care providers were identified as preferred sources of sex information by GBQ adolescent males. Sex communication with parents throughout adolescence that excludes GBQ males’ same-sex concerns is a missed opportunity for targeted sexual risk reduction. There are multiple ways health care providers can assist parents to plan age-appropriate, sexuality-inclusive, home-based discussions about sex for this group.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Flores, D; Docherty, SL; Relf, MV; McKinney, RE; Barroso, JV

Published Date

  • February 1, 2018

Published In

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-6895

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0743-5584

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0743558418757464

Citation Source

  • Scopus