Sexual Coercion in Gay/Lesbian Relationships:
Descriptives and Gender Differences

Reviewed by
Suzana Rose, Ph.D.

from an article of the same title by:
Lisa K. Waldner-Haugrud & Linda Vaden Gratch

Violence and Victims,
1997, 12(1), 87-98

To assess the frequency of sexually coercive acts occurring within lesbian and gay relationships and the tactics used during coercion.

The 273 participants included 111 lesbians and 162 gay men who were recruited at community events and through friendship networks. Participants were about 32 years old, on average, and highly educated. All were white.


Participants were asked to indicate: .the most extreme unwanted sexual behavior that had occurred with a lesbian or gay partner; how many and what kind of tactics from 12 listed were used in each instance of coercion.

About 52% of participants reported at least one incident of sexual coercion. .Gay men reported 1.6 incidents on average - significantly more than the 1.2 incidents reported by lesbians. No gender differences in coercion were found. -Coerced kissing was reported by 18% of lesbians and 11% of gay men. -Coerced fondling was described by 32% of lesbians and 33% of gay men. -About 50% of lesbians and 55% of gay men reported unwanted penetration or genital fondling. .The four most commonly reported tactics for both lesbians and gay men were: persistent touching (42%), guilt-tripping (24%), telling lies (21%), and alcohol or drugs (19%). Other tactics were mentioned by less than 10% of participants.

Meaning: Sexual coercion was an important aspect of same-sex partner violence. Lesbian partner violence has been overestimated in the past because prior violence by men partners has not been excluded from research. This study corrects that problem.

Reviewed by Suzanna Rose, Ph.D

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