Relationships and Contraceptive Behavior in a Population-Based Sample of Non-Heterosexual Young Women

Elizabeth Ela, University of Michigan
Jamie Budnick, University of Michigan

The LGBT population has been largely excluded from an otherwise rich literature on relationships and contraceptive behaviors of young women in the United States. Using longitudinal data from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life study, we describe the relationship characteristics and contraceptive behavior of a population-based sample (n=579) of young women (including women of color and women not enrolled in college, who are often neglected in the sexuality literature). These data include detailed information about relationships and sex over 30 months, and innovative measurement of sexuality, including separate measures for sexual behavior, attraction, and identity. About one-third of the sample gave a non-heterosexual response to at least one of our sexuality measures. We find that where non-heterosexual women differ from exclusively heterosexual women, they do so in ways that put them more at risk of unintended pregnancy (e.g. more frequent sex with men and less frequent contraceptive use).

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Presented in Poster Session 9: Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, and Reproductive Health