Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Not Running From the Elephant

"Does Maltreatment in Childhood Affect Sexual Orientation in Adulthood?"
Our results suggest that from half to all of the increased prevalence of childhood sexual abuse experienced by sexual orientation minorities compared with heterosexuals may be due to the effects of sexual abuse on sexual orientation, possibly through previously proposed pathways: (1) abuse of boys perpetrated by men causes boys to believe they are gay; (2) abuse of girls by men leads them to be averse to sexual relationships with men; (3) abuse survivors may feel stigmatized and different from others and may, therefore, be more willing to behave in ways that are socially stigmatized, including acknowledging same-sex attraction or having same-sex partners ()....
Maltreatment, including sexual abuse, can have persistent effects on mood and behavior, which may increase likelihood of same-sex sexuality. Maltreatment causes emotional numbing, motivating survivors to seek stronger stimuli to experience positive states, leading to novelty-seeking and risk-taking behaviors (), which have been associated with same-sex sexuality (). Maltreatment also increases risk of substance abuse (), which may, in turn, increase likelihood of acting on same-sex attraction through disinhibition. Moreover, maltreatment leads to stress, depression, and anger (). The drive for intimacy and sex to repair depressed, stressed, or angry moods () may increase the likelihood of same-sex partners and attractions. Maltreatment also increases risk for borderline personality disorder, which has been associated with non-heterosexual orientation (). To the extent these mechanisms exist, changes in social acceptance of minority sexual orientation will likely not affect differences in the prevalence of history of early childhood maltreatment by sexual orientation. 

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