Sexual Behavior and Satisfaction in Same-Sex and Different-Sex Relationships


Orth, Taylor (2019). Sexual Behavior and Satisfaction in Same-Sex and Different-Sex Relationships. Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association. New York, NY.


Among both academics and the lay public remains a widespread and taken- for-granted belief that male and female sexuality are fundamentally different and that men and women in sexual relationships compromise on such differences. More recently, however, social scientists have begun to question the extent to which gender gaps in sexual desire may be socially rather than biologically determined. Because collecting accurate and representative data on sexual behavior within relationships is often challenging, very little empirical evidence has been available to scientifically disentangle these competing perspectives. This study evaluates variation in the sexual behavior and satisfaction of same-sex and different-sex couples through an analysis of two nationally representative American surveys, How Couples Meet and Stay Together (HCMST) and The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). Findings demonstrate that women in same-sex relationships have sex less often than other couple pairings. Men in same-sex relationships report significantly lower sexual satisfaction and higher rates of non-monogamy relative to other couples, even after controlling for relevant factors. Overall, the results from this study support the notion that sexual relationships function differently in the absence of a male or female partner, but present a less deterministic and more socially complex perspective than has traditionally been accepted.

Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association


Orth, Taylor

Year Published


City of Publication

New York, NY

Reference ID