Same-Sex Sexuality and the Duration of First Different-Sex Marriages

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Sociology and Corrections


Recent research has focused on the once-married and associations between various aspects of same-sex sexuality (i.e., desire/attraction, behavior and identity) and divorce from a different-sex spouse. In this paper, we theorize that same-sex sexuality could be associated with either shorter or longer marital duration, and we use data from the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) to examine the associations between three aspects of same-sex sexuality and marital duration among those who married and divorced once (N=617). Among the once-married/divorced, same-sex sexuality substantially reduces marital duration by approximately 18–24 months, on average, net of other variables. Supplemental analyses indicate that these associations do not differ by sex/gender but do differ in nuanced ways for individuals who are bisexually attracted (identified) compared to those who report, respectively, same-sex only or different-sex only attraction (heterosexual, bisexual and lesbian/gay identity). Between-group differences in age at marriage exert a substantial influence on the associations between same-sex sexuality and marital duration documented in the supplemental analyses of bisexuality. We discuss our findings in relation to the extant literature, the limitations of available data, and directions for future research.

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Population Review