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Despite a proliferation of research on the impact of child sexual abuse (CSA), minimal effort has been directed toward understanding gay men's experiences of CSA. According to the best available prevalence estimates, 27% of women and 14% of men in both college and community samples have experienced CSA (Rind, Tromovitch, & Bauserman, 1998). Initial investigations indicate that CSA rates in gay and bisexual men may be at least as high as prevalence rates found among women. For example, Doll et al. (1992) found that 31% of gay and bisexual men attending sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics reported sexual encounters before age 16 with an older or more powerful partner. Similarly, Lenderking et al. (1997) found that 36% of the gay and bisexual men participating in a health clinic study reported a childhood sexual encounter before age 16 with an older person. Although relatively high rates of CSA among gay men have been consistently reported, little attention has been paid to the nature of these experiences. Considerable research indicates that boys' and girls' experiences of CSA differ with regard to the nature of the sexual activity, perceptions, and effects (e.g., Dhaliwal, Gauzas, Antonowicz, & Ross, 1996; Rind et al., 1998). Evidence that gay men report higher rates of CSA than heterosexual men (Coxell, King, Mezey, & Gordon, 1999) and the suggestion that their sexual encounters are more likely to be with older male partners indicate that gay and heterosexual men's experiences of CSA also may systematically differ (West & Woodhouse, 1993). Further, the development of young gay men's sexuality differs from that of heterosexual men, given the lack of social support for their sexual orientation and the lesser availability of same-age sexual partners (Fisher & Akman, 2002; Savin-Williams, 1998). Thus, it cannot be assumed that the study of CSA in women and heterosexual men is relevant to the experiences of gay men, leaving researchers and clinicians alike with little information to guide their work. To address this gap in the CSA research, we examined gay and bisexual men's experiences of CSA and the impact of those experiences.

Health & Well-Being
1 November
Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

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