Parents of gay, bi and queer male teens are missing the boat on reducing risk by not talking to them about issues of sexuality in the same way they talk to straight adolescents, a new study has found.
A research team led by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing studied the issue and concludes that sex-based communication between parents that excludes same-sex sexual concerns is a missed opportunity for targeted sexual risk reduction, Medical XPress reports.
This is particularly important considering male-to-male HIV sexual transmission accounts for 92 percent of new HIV infections among all adolescent males between ages 13-24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study further advances understanding about the larger roles parents and health care providers can play in facilitating positive, family-based sexual health discussions for gay-leaning youth that are specific to their emerging attractions, current and future behavior and identities.
The findings, dubbed “It’s Almost Like Gay Sex Doesn’t Exist: Parent-Child Sex Communication According to Gay, Bisexual and Queer Male Adolescents” are set for publication in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Adolescent Research, but are available online first here.
The team used a qualitative interpretive approach to explore perceptions of sex communication with adolescent males who self-identify as gay, bisexual or queer. Semi-structured interviews with GBQ males between 15-20 years of age were conducted to understand their experiences with sex communication, identify their thoughts on parents’ approaches to these conversations and their efficacy as sex educators, and determine the inclusivity of these talks, Medical XPress reports.
The study determined that for this demographic, 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.