Homosexuality and depression

In the book Moonlight at Dawn, I showed how difficult it is to name the total number of gays and lesbians. The numbers depend on the nature of the sample, and on the wording of the questions, and on the research method. These numbers are easy to get confused. On page 42 of the book, I myself made a mistake in the presentation of the Kinzi data. The famous “one-tenth” is the number of men who have had more or less exceptional (5 or 6 on the Kinsey scale) homosexual experience for three years between 16 and 55 years. Only homosexual experience (6 on the Kinsey scale) had 8 percent of men, that is, every thirteenth. But this is a percentage of the total number of respondents, and not the number of men who had same-sex contacts. I apologize.

The latest issue of the Journal of Homosexuality (vol. 36, No. 2) contains an article by Christopher Bagley and Pierre Tramble about the results of a sample survey of 750 young (18 to 27 years old) men living in one of the districts of the Canadian city of Calgary. Unlike face-to-face interviews or telephone interviews, in this study, respondents had a greater degree of anonymity. The interviewer, a young man of the same age as the respondent, by prior arrangement, came to his house and asked with his mouse to answer questions that arose on the display of a personal computer. At that time, the interviewer himself was reading or watching TV, as the respondent replies, he did not see, and the computer record also could not be identified. The questions concerned mainly the state of health of the respondent; only at the end of the questionnaire did sexual problems arise. This method made respondents more outspoken, and their homosexual experience was greater than in other surveys (although the area where the survey was conducted was not typically “blue”).

The presence of voluntary same-sex sexual activity from 12 to 27 years was recognized by 14 percent of respondents. 11% consider themselves to be gay (5.9%) and / or bisexual (6.1%). In the past 6 months, 9.2 percent of respondents had same-sex sexual activity. So, in total, 15.3 percent of young men recognized some degree of homosexual involvement. However, unlike what happens in gay communities, only 43 percent of them started homosexual activity before the age of 18.

Researchers were also interested in the mental state of the respondents, how this or that sexual orientation predisposes the young man to depression. When analyzing the answers to the question whether they experienced depressive feelings in the last two weeks, there was no significant difference between sexually active homo =, hetero = and bisexuals. But in men who do not have sexual contacts, the corresponding figures increase sharply (27.1 for gay men and 23.6 for heterosexuals). High, clinical levels of depression (index 28+) are also associated not so much with sexual orientation as with the level of sexual activity. Among sexually active gays, 6% suffer from depression, and among virgins – 46%; heterosexual men have similar figures – 2.6% and 21.8%. What is the causal connection here – a depressed state prevents sexual intercourse or sexual isolation gives rise to depression – the question is open. But the relationship of these two phenomena is not in doubt.

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