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February 21, 1972

Youthful Male HomosexualityHomosexual Experience and the Process of Developing Homosexual Identity in Males Aged 16 to 22 Years

JAMA. 1972;219(8):1018-1023. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03190340030006

Interviews with young men ages 16 to 22 who had had at least one homosexual experience to orgasm revealed that certain significant events over a period of time usually preceded the individual's self-designation, "I am a homosexual." These events include (1) early sex play (whether prepuberty or postpuberty) the individual recalled as homosexual in nature, (2) actually seeking persons for homosexual contact (as adolescents), and (3) "coming out" (participating in the gay world). Four years separated the mean ages of first homosexual experience to orgasm14 and self-designation as a homosexual.18 This period was, for many, one of extreme emotional turmoil. Of 60 subjects, 29 (48%) had visited a psychiatrist and 19 (31%) had made what they considered to be a significant suicide attempt.