Psychology and Social Sciences



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Taylor Romanyk-O'Brien, PSY 499: Independent Study
Faculty Mentor: Professor Kimberly Kamper-DeMarco, Psychology

The proposed research seeks to understand how the age at which one comes out impacts their risky sexual behavior. Researchers have found that men are more unsafe with their sexual behavior in the beginning stages of “coming out,” perhaps because they have a limited idea of what it means to be gay and as such, focus on expressing themselves sexually (Joseph et al., 1991). Herek & Greene (1995) found that men who did not feel comfortable labeling themselves as gay or bisexual have a more difficult time requesting and engaging in safe sex and perceive more obstacles to do so. Men who were “more out of the closet” (i.e., more comfortable with their sexual identity) to heterosexual friends saw fewer difficulties related to having safe sex (Herek & Greene, 1995). However, little research has examined whether age is an important predictor for risky sexual behavior within the LGBTQ+ community. For the current study, 100 self-identifying gay and lesbian adults in the Buffalo area were given a Qualtrics survey measuring their risky sexual behavior, as well as additional factors such as internalized homophobia, LGBTQ+ community involvement, and sexual minority stressors. Our central hypothesis is that there will be a positive correlation between the age at which one comes out and their risky sexual behavior. Specifically, we hypothesize that younger members of the LGBTQ+ community who are “out” will engage in fewer risky sexual behaviors.

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Coming Out and Sexual Behavior
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