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Aust N Z J Public Health. 2003;27(2):138-45.

Sex in Australia: sexual identity, sexual attraction and sexual experience among a representative sample of adults.

Author information

1
Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria. anthony.smith@latrobe.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the prevalence of same-sex and opposite-sex attraction and experience in Australia and the prevalence of different sexual identities.

METHOD:

Computer-assisted telephone interviews were completed by a representative sample of 10,173 men and 9,134 women aged 16-59 years from all States and Territories of Australia. The overall response rate was 73.1% (men, 69.4%; women, 77.6%). Men and women were asked about their experience of same-sex and opposite-sex attraction and experience along with their sexual identity. The agreement and disagreement between sexual attraction and sexual experience were explored.

RESULTS:

Among men, 97.4% identified as heterosexual, 1.6% as gay or homosexual and 0.9% as bisexual. Among women, 97.7% identified as heterosexual, 0.8% as lesbian or homosexual and 1.4% as bisexual. Among men, 91.4% reported only opposite-sex attraction and experience, as did 84.9% of women. Thus, some same-sex attraction or experience was reported by 8.60% of men and 15.1% of women. Of men, 4.2% reported sexual attraction and sexual experience that was inconsistent, as did 8.2% of women. Factors associated with this agreement or disagreement included age group, non-English-speaking background, education and socio-economic status.

CONCLUSION:

Relatively few Australians reported a sexual identity other than heterosexual. However, both same-sex attraction and homosexual experience are more common than homosexual or bisexual identity would suggest. Reporting same-sex attraction or experience was associated with poorer mental health and is likely to reflect responses to homophobia in Australian society.

PMID:
14696704
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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