Uncovering sexual health topics for parents to address with adolescent gay, bisexual and queer male children


Comprehensive and inclusive sexual health education reduces young gay, bisexual, and queer (GBQ) men’s vulnerability to poor sexual health outcomes like HIV and STIs into adulthood, data shows. However, conservative ideologies continue to dominate policies on school-based sex education and view topics like same-sex attractions as controversial.

Given legislative barriers to inclusive sex education in schools, parent-child sexual health communication has emerged as a route to meet the sexual health education needs of GBQ youth. A new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) forwards a foundational conceptualization of what age-appropriate, inclusive, and comprehensive sexual education looks like for families with GBQ adolescent males.

“Having early developmental discussions is critically important,” explains lead-investigator Dalmacio Dennis Flores, Ph.D., ACRN, FAAN, Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Health. “Our findings point to the crucial need for parents to proactively engage in inclusive and methodical sexuality talks throughout adolescence and especially in middle school, and even as early as elementary school.”

In an article published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, Flores and his co-authors share results of the study, including GBQ adolescent males’ suggestions for a comprehensive list and age-appropriateness of topics that parents may use for inclusive discussions at home throughout the elementary, middle school, and high school years.

More information:
Dalmacio Flores et al, Inclusive and Age-Appropriate Timing of Sexual Health Discussions at Home According to Gay, Bisexual, and Queer Adolescent Males, Journal of Adolescent Health (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2022.12.015

Journal information:
Journal of Adolescent Health

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