The qualities of same-sex and different-sex couples in young adulthood


Joyner, Kara; Manning, Wendy; & Prince, Barbara (2019). The qualities of same-sex and different-sex couples in young adulthood. Journal of Marriage and Family. vol. 81 (2) pp. 487-505


Objective:The recognition of sexual minorities in social science research is growing, and this study contributes to knowledge on this population by comparing the qualities of same-sex and different-sex relationships among young adults. Background: The findings of studies on this topic may not be generalizable because they are limited to coresidential unions and based on convenience samples. This study extends prior research by examining multiple relationship qualities among a nationally representative sample of males and females in dating and cohabiting relationships. Method: The authors compare young adults in same-sex and different-sex relationships with respect to relationship quality (commitment, satisfaction, and emotional intimacy) and sexual behavior (sexual frequency and sexual exclusivity). Drawing on the 4th wave of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (, they use multiple regression to compare: male respondents with different-sex partners, male respondents with same-sex partners, female respondents with different-sex partners, and female respondents with same-sex partners. Results: Consistent with previous research, the authors find that respondents in same-sex relationships experience similar levels of commitment, satisfaction, and emotional intimacy as their counterparts in different-sex relationships. They also corroborate the finding that male respondents in same-sex relationships are less likely than other groups of respondents to indicate that their relationship is sexually exclusive. Conclusion: This study provides an empirical basis for understanding the relationships of sexual minority young adults.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Journal of Marriage and Family


Joyner, Kara
Manning, Wendy
Prince, Barbara

Year Published


Volume Number


Issue Number





October 10, 2018



Reference ID