Navigating a different adolescent sexual landscape: Reflections of LGBTQ young adults on their planning and experiences of first sex
Little research exists on the circumstances and experiences preceding and/or following adolescents' decisions to have sex for the first time, particularly for LGBTQ adolescents. The study presented is based on data from 15 focus groups, (a total of 100 college freshmen and sophomores). Five groups (30 participants) were specifically for LGBTQ students. Participants described the circumstances of first sex, reflections on the degree of planning involved, whether the experience was positive or negative, and the impact of their first experience on subsequent sex and relationships. Qualitative analysis of the data, with inter-rater reliability above .88, characterized these young people’s experiences across various categories of gender and sexual orientation. Experiences reported by participants in the LGBTQ groups were qualitatively different from those in general groups. Notably, reflections of LGBTQ youth suggested that, despite paramount concerns about safety and protection in planning and anticipating their first experience, such plans were rarely carried out, resulting in feelings of regret and anxiety. In fact, while participants in the general groups almost universally reported using condoms at first sex, participants in the LGBTQ groups reported not using protection, instead relying on assurances by their partner that they were disease free. Participants also reported a lack of positive guidance from home or schools as they were making the decision to have sex for the first time. The unique circumstances and challenges that affect LGBTQ adolescents as they navigate their developing sexuality, as well as suggested interventions to support LGBTQ youth, are discussed.
Learning Areas:Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Discuss the decision-making process around early sexual experiences, as described by a sample of young LGBTQ adults. Compare early sexual experiences, use of protection, and negative views of non-heterosexuality as discussed by young LGBTQ adults and young heterosexual adults
Keyword(s): Sexuality, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted previous research in this area and I was the co-PI of this study
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.