Sexual Health Behaviors and Sexual Orientation in a U.S. National Sample of College Students

Many studies have examined differences in sexual behavior based on sexual orientation with results often indicating that those with same-sex partners engage in higher risk sexual behavior than people with opposite sex partners. How-ever, few of these studies were large, national sample studies that also include those identifying as unsure. To address that gap, this study examined the relationship of sexual orientation and sexual health outcomes in a national sample of U.S. college students. The Fall 2009 American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment was used to examine sexual health related responses from heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and unsure  students  (N=25,553).  Responses  related  to  sexual behavior,   safer   sex   behaviors,   prevention   and   screening behaviors,  and  diagnosis  of  sexual  health  related  conditions were examined. The findings indicated that sexual orientation was significantly associated with engaging in sexual behavior in the last 30 days. Sexual orientation was also significantly associated  with  the  number  of  sexual  partners  in  the  previous12 months, with unsure men having significantly more partners than gay, bisexual and heterosexual men and heterosexual men having significantly less partners than gay, bisexual and unsure men.  Bisexual women  had  significantly  more  partners  than females reporting other sexual orientations. Results examining the associations between sexual orientation and safer sex, prevention   behaviors,   and   screening   behaviors   were   mixed. Implications for practice, including specific  programmatic ideas, were discussed.

Source : Oswalt, S.B. et Wyatt, T.J. (2013). Sexual Health Behaviors and Sexual Orientation in a U.S. National Sample of College Students. Archives of Sexual Behavior,  42(8), 1561-1572. DOI : 10.1007/s10508-012-0066-9

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