Sexual Initiation Patterns of U.S. Sexual Minority Youth: A Latent Class Analysis

Shoshana K. Goldberg, Carolyn T. Halpern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

CONTEXT: The typical understanding of sexual debut as first vaginal intercourse is often irrelevant to sexual minority youth. Better understanding of sexual initiation patterns among these youth is necessary to inform efforts to safeguard their sexual and reproductive health. METHODS: Early sexual experiences were examined among 1,628 female and 526 male sexual minority participants in Waves 1 (1994–1995) and 4 (2008) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Latent class analyses identified initiation patterns distinguished by the timing, sequence and spacing of first experiences of sexual behaviors. Multinomial logistic regression analyses assessed correlates of various patterns. RESULTS: Initiation classes for females were categorized as typical debut (representing 41% of the sample, characterized by vaginal intercourse and short spacing between first two behaviors); dual behavior debut (35%, characterized by vaginal and oral sex in the same year); early sexual debut (17%, characterized by average debut at 13, vaginal intercourse, and anal sex before 18); and delayed debut with oral sex (6%). Male classes were single behavior (50%, characterized by oral sex and longer spacing); multiple behavior (32%, characterized by vaginal and oral sex); early anal sex (11%, characterized by anal intercourse before 18); and very early debut (6%, characterized by oral sex and average debut at 10). Class membership was associated with socioeconomic status for females; age and sexual victimization for males; and race, ethnicity and religiosity for both. CONCLUSIONS: Initiation patterns of sexual minority youth differ between genders and involve noncoital behaviors and characteristics beyond timing.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages55-67
Number of pages13
JournalPerspectives on sexual and reproductive health
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

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Sexual Behavior
minority
Reproductive Health
class membership
health
victimization
Crime Victims
Sexual Minorities
social status
Coitus
longitudinal study
experience
ethnicity
logistics
Social Class
adolescent
Longitudinal Studies
regression
Logistic Models
gender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Sexual Initiation Patterns of U.S. Sexual Minority Youth : A Latent Class Analysis. / Goldberg, Shoshana K.; Halpern, Carolyn T.

In: Perspectives on sexual and reproductive health, Vol. 49, No. 1, 01.03.2017, p. 55-67.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "CONTEXT: The typical understanding of sexual debut as first vaginal intercourse is often irrelevant to sexual minority youth. Better understanding of sexual initiation patterns among these youth is necessary to inform efforts to safeguard their sexual and reproductive health. METHODS: Early sexual experiences were examined among 1,628 female and 526 male sexual minority participants in Waves 1 (1994–1995) and 4 (2008) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Latent class analyses identified initiation patterns distinguished by the timing, sequence and spacing of first experiences of sexual behaviors. Multinomial logistic regression analyses assessed correlates of various patterns. RESULTS: Initiation classes for females were categorized as typical debut (representing 41{\%} of the sample, characterized by vaginal intercourse and short spacing between first two behaviors); dual behavior debut (35{\%}, characterized by vaginal and oral sex in the same year); early sexual debut (17{\%}, characterized by average debut at 13, vaginal intercourse, and anal sex before 18); and delayed debut with oral sex (6{\%}). Male classes were single behavior (50{\%}, characterized by oral sex and longer spacing); multiple behavior (32{\%}, characterized by vaginal and oral sex); early anal sex (11{\%}, characterized by anal intercourse before 18); and very early debut (6{\%}, characterized by oral sex and average debut at 10). Class membership was associated with socioeconomic status for females; age and sexual victimization for males; and race, ethnicity and religiosity for both. CONCLUSIONS: Initiation patterns of sexual minority youth differ between genders and involve noncoital behaviors and characteristics beyond timing.",
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