Thursday, November 30, 2006

Family Influence on Sexual Orientation

Here's an interesting and well-founded study.

...from the peer reviewed Journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior, that indicates that lack of a healthy family environment during a child’s upbringing seems to lead to increased occurrence of same sex attraction dysfunction.

The study used a population-based sample of 2,000,355 native-born Danes between the ages of 18 and 49. Denmark — a country noted for its tolerance of a wide variety of alternative lifestyles, including homosexual partnerships — was the first country to legalize gay marriage. The researchers assessed detailed marriage records for all Danish-born men and women marrying a same-sex partner from the years 1989 through 2001.

With access to the “virtually complete registry coverage of the entire Danish population,” the study sample therefore lacked the problematic selection bias that has plagued many previous studies on sexual orientation.

Some conclusions:

Men who marry homosexually are more likely to have been raised in a family with unstable parental relationships — particularly, absent or unknown fathers and divorced parents.

Findings on women who marry homosexually were less pronounced, but were still associated with a childhood marked by a broken family. The rates of same-sex marriage “were elevated among women who experienced maternal death during adolescence, women with short duration of parental marriage, and women with long duration of mother-absent cohabitation with father.”
Men and women with “unknown fathers” were significantly less likely to marry a person of the opposite sex than were their peers with known fathers.

Men who experienced parental death during childhood or adolescence “had significantly lower heterosexual marriage rates than peers whose parents were both alive on their 18th birthday. The younger the age of the father’s death, the lower was the likelihood of heterosexual marriage.”

“The shorter the duration of parental marriage, the higher was the likelihood of homosexual marriage…homosexual marriage rates were 36% and 26% higher among men and women, respectively, who experienced parental divorce after less than six years of marriage, than among peers whose parents remained married for all 18 years of childhood and adolescence.”

“Men whose parents divorced before their 6th birthday were 39% more likely to marry homosexually than peers from intact parental marriages.”

“Men whose cohabitation with both parents ended before age 18 years had significantly (55% -76%) higher rates of homosexual marriage than men who cohabited with both parents until 18 years.”

The mother’s age was directly linked to the likelihood of homosexual marriage among men — the older the mother, the more likely her son was to marry another man. Also, “only children” were more likely to be homosexual.

Persons born in large cities were significantly more likely to marry a same-sex partner — suggesting that cultural factors might also affect the development of sexual orientation.

HT: Cosmos, Liturgy, Sex


Anonymous said...

I think that the parental marital status, and rural/urban split Are not necessarily causative, but may contribute to a difference of values taught while growing up. Rural kids whose parents stay together are likely taught some different moral codes than divorcees in the city. Just a possibility.

Anonymous said...

I think that's very much the case (what St. Jimbob said about these things refracting and being refracted through ultimate values).

I can see, at least in principle, why facts about family structure and/or history might influence sexuality. I can see no reason for the rural/urban gap, unless an unhealthy interest in inter-species love fits in their somehow ... 8)

Anonymous said...

I wrote another comment some weeks ago at this blog about my experience with a friend from college who "came out", dropped out of school, and immersed himself in the shockingly self-destructive lifestyle practiced by the "gay community" of the Green Bay and Fox River Valley region. Some of the stories of the people he began associating with made my hair stand on end.

But this post reminds me of something he said. He invited me to a park where his family was camping. While his dad was out of earshot, he told me, "That's not the man I grew up with. I hated him. I still haven't met a gay man who has a good relationship with his father."

His dad was an abusive alcoholic who made life for the entire family miserable. His wife was an aboslute saint for somehow keeping the family from exploding into a million pieces. But the damage that man's addiction did still lingers.

I haven't heard from my friend now for about 10 years. After all of this time, I'm almost afraid to see what has become of him.

There are real people, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends behind these studies and statistics. "Gay" issues are considered so shallowly by all sides. For too many people, it's just another abstract political football to throw around. The gay marriage debate has brought that out. I don't know how anyone who has really seen the "Gay Community" up close and personal could have gone out and voted "NO" on the const. amendment.

Anyway, my two cents.