New study: Lesbian parents not associated with homosexual behavior in sons

In one of the better studies of the effects of lesbians as parents of sons and daughters, researchers reported that 17-year old boys raised by lesbians were no more likely to be gay than those raised in straight homes. Gartrell, Bos and Goldberg found that 5.6% of boys raised in lesbian households reported sex with other boys whereas 6.6% of boys from a representative national survey reported ever engaging in sex with other boys. The difference was not large enough to be considered a statistically significant finding.

Reparative theorists claim that boys who are raised without a strong, salient father often become homosexual. In this study, the boys of lesbian parents had not been raised with any father figure and yet they were no more likely to report a gay identification than boys surveyed in a national sample with predominantly straight parents. If the absence of strong male role model generates same-sex attraction, the effect should show up in this sample.

I need to add that the group of lesbian parents represent a convenience sample and may not be representative of all lesbian parenting. Even so, the fact that boys raised in these homes displayed no behavioral indication of the effect predicted by reparative therapists is worth noting.

I assume these researchers will continue to follow these families and the results may shift more in line with reparative expectations. However, at present, this study is a challenge to the classic reparative theory.

Gartell, N. K., Bos, H. M. W., & Goldberg, N. G. (2011). Adolescents of the U.S. national longitudinal lesbian family study: Sexual orientation, sexual behavior, and sexual risk exposure. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 1199-1209.

For more on this study, see this post. I should also make clear that this post is not intended to be a comprehensive review of this study. I am here highlighting one aspect of it. There are many findings of interest, including the results with girls which indicates  that girls are more likely to engage in same-sex sexual behavior.

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  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    Warren,

    I like the point you’re making here, but I have a quibble with one statement:

    If the absence of strong male role model generates same-sex attraction, the effect should show up in this sample.

    The issue I have with this statement is the same issue I have in general with the “children need both a mother and a father” argument against same-sex marriage: It ignores the fact that parents are not the only role models available to youth. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, mentors, tutors, family friends, and a multitude of other individuals serve as role models for youth every day. Ignoring that fact strikes me as troublesome.

  • Jamie O’Neilll

    Oh, I get it. This is a joke headline based on the previous entry. Took me a while there. I’m kept on my toes here, I surely am.

  • Jamie O’Neilll

    The joke could be extended …

    What if one were writing for the top-secret Gay Agenda? What then would the headline be? “Back to the Drawing-Board: lesbian parents fail in requirement to render young males gay”.

  • Shofixti

    Jamie – that is a heading good enough for the Onion.

  • Lynn David

    So much for taking over the world….

  • Karen

    What were the results for daughters?

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    @ Karen .. see the previous blog post for an answer to your question .. http://wthrockmorton.com/2011/12/15/the-evangelical-blackout-of-sexual-orientation-research-part-2/

    Dave

  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Dave – thanks for posting the link. Given my selective headline, I should have linked to the complaint I made about selective headlines :)

  • David Blakeslee

    …heterosexual boys raised in lesbian homes were less sexually active.

    Just sayin…

    You need a third headline about violence…Rosik rightly notes that the original study associates violence with men in the home; but the study does not extrapolate that boys raised him gay homes are “twice as likely to be abused” as their logic would suggest.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ David : I wonder if that’s because gay men tend ‘on average’ to be less violent – or perhaps less ‘tolerant’ towards violence – than straight men (assuming that is in fact the case, which it might well be)? (It is, rightly or wrongly*, generally acknowledged that ‘male-on-male’ abuse is often perpetrated by men who present as straight. *I suspect rightly, by the way, but must admit that I am no expert on all this.)

  • Karen

    Oh, okay–so I looked at the other post and it sounds like the study showed that daughters are more likely to identify as lesbian or bisexual if raised by lesbian parents. I think I have seen that statistic before.

    However, Warren you didn’t really comment on that in your post. I only saw it because you cut and pasted the title from the NARTH article that you don’t like. Did you have any comment in regards to the stats on the daughters?

  • David Blakeslee

    Richard,

    @ David : I wonder if that’s because gay men tend ‘on average’ to be less violent – or perhaps less ‘tolerant’ towards violence – than straight men (assuming that is in fact the case, which it might well be)? (It is, rightly or wrongly*, generally acknowledged that ‘male-on-male’ abuse is often perpetrated by men who present as straight. *I suspect rightly, by the way, but must admit that I am no expert on all this.)

    I was thinking about this…and don’t have a lot of data to add except my understanding is that gay men tend to mimic heterosexual women in their vulnerability to certain mental illnesses.

    They tend to be anxious, ruminative and depressive (as I recall). These are all blockades to impulsive aggression.

    BTW, I seem to remember reading that domestic violence toward children is most common in single parent homes headed by women…truth?

  • StraightGrandmother

    David B please see my latest comment under holiday blogging topic. thank you.

  • Richard Willmer

    ‘Blockades to impulsive aggression’ sound like an excellent idea to me!

    As for the domestic violence issue: I really have not the slightest idea.

  • StraightGrandmother
  • Jayhuck

    Karen,

    Oh, okay–so I looked at the other post and it sounds like the study showed that daughters are more likely to identify as lesbian or bisexual if raised by lesbian parents. I think I have seen that statistic before.

    Did you see this? Is this the other post you were talking about?

    http://wthrockmorton.com/2011/12/15/the-evangelical-blackout-of-sexual-orientation-research-part-2/

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Karen# ~ Dec 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Oh, okay–so I looked at the other post and it sounds like the study showed that daughters are more likely to identify as lesbian or bisexual if raised by lesbian parents. I think I have seen that statistic before.

    However, Warren you didn’t really comment on that in your post. I only saw it because you cut and pasted the title from the NARTH article that you don’t like. Did you have any comment in regards to the stats on the daughters?

    Not sure what comments he failed to make .. He called the NARTH usage of it “slanted” and “selective” .. said that religous organizations are poorly served by NARTH .. quoted the reaearch paper itself as saying that the findings were specific to the study and that no general conclusions should be reached by it and pondered why NARTH would make general conclusions when the research itself said not to..

    Dave

  • Karen

    I guess what I am asking Warren is whether he feels the stats are accurate on daughters more likely to identify as gay or bisexual if they have lesbian parents. What I understood from his previous post that he objected to was that the reporting was selective–not that it was an inaccurate statement (daughters more likely . . .), but that NARTH failed to report other aspects that would contradict their mission-such as boys not being more likely to identify as gay with lesbian parents, etc. I wonder if there have been any similar studies on children of gay dads.

  • ken

    Karen# ~ Dec 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    “Oh, okay–so I looked at the other post and it sounds like the study showed that daughters are more likely to identify as lesbian or bisexual if raised by lesbian parents. I think I have seen that statistic before.”

    I haven’t had a chance to read this particular study. However, other studies I’ve read on gay parenting indicates that children of gay (mostly lesbian) parents are more likely to engage in same sex behaviours, but were not more likely to identify as gay. And it should pointed out that same sex behaviours didn’t just mean having sex, but including dating, kissing, petting, etc. Essentially, the children of same sex couples were more open to exploring their sexuality (including same sex attractions) but weren’t more likely to actually be gay.

    Given the past findings and the fact that women tend to be more fluid in their orientation, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that daughters of same sex parents (female or male) would be more likely to identify as bisexual.

  • Pingback: New Study: Lesbian Parents Not Associated With Homosexual Behavior in Sons « TheBentAngle

  • Ben

    Hey Guys anyone knows if boys with gay fathers are more likely to engage in same sex stuff or not anyone has a reliable research.


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