The current media portrayal of gay and lesbian relationships is that they are as healthy, stable and loving as heterosexual marriages — or even more so.1 Medical associations are promoting somewhat similar messages.2 Sexual relationships between members of the same sex, however, expose gays, lesbians and bisexuals to extreme risks of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), physical injuries, mental disorders and even a shortened life span. There are five major distinctions between gay and heterosexual relationships, with specific medical consequences. They are:
- Levels of Promiscuity read more
Similar extremes of promiscuity have not been documented among lesbians. However, an Australian study found that 93 percent of lesbians reported having had sex with men, and lesbians were 4.5 times more likely than heterosexual women to have had more than 50 lifetime male sex partners. Any degree of sexual promiscuity carries the risk of contracting STDs.
- Physical Health read more
Common sexual practices among gay men lead to numerous STDs and physical injuries, some of which are virtually unknown in the heterosexual population. Lesbians are also at higher risk for STDs. In addition to diseases that may be transmitted during lesbian sex, a study at an Australian STD clinic found that lesbians were three to four times more likely than heterosexual women to have sex with men who were high-risk for HIV.
- Mental Health read more
It is well established that there are high rates of psychiatric illnesses, including depression, drug abuse, and suicide attempts, among gays and lesbians. This is true even in the Netherlands, where gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) relationships are far more socially acceptable than in the U.S. Depression and drug abuse are strongly associated with risky sexual practices that lead to serious medical problems.
- Life Span read more
The only epidemiological study to date on the life span of gay men concluded that gay and bisexual men lose up to 20 years of life expectancy.
- Monogamy read more
Monogamy, meaning long-term sexual fidelity, is rare in GLB relationships, particularly among gay men. One study reported that 66 percent of gay couples reported sex outside the relationship within the first year, and nearly 90 percent if the relationship lasted five years.
- Other Health Risks read more
It is clear that there are serious medical consequences to same-sex behavior. Identification with a GLB community appears to lead to an increase in promiscuity, which in turn leads to a myriad of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and even early death. Youth should be warned of the undeniable health risks associated with a homosexual lifestyle.
*Adapted from Dr. John R. Diggs, Jr., “The Health Risks of Gay Sex.” Corporate Resource Council (2002). (accessed 1/30/13)
Health Risk Updates:
December 2016: Increased mortality among LGBQT identified individuals
April 2014: Contemporary Pediatrics, “Sexual minority adolescents take more behavioral risks than heterosexual peers.”
References Becky Birtha, “Gay Parents and the Adoption Option,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 04, 2002, ; Grant Pick, “Make Room for Daddy – and Poppa,” The Chicago Tribune Internet Edition, March 24, 2002.  Ellen C. Perrin, et al., “Technical Report: Coparent or Second-Parent Adoption by Same-Sex Parents,” Pediatrics, 109(2): 341-344 (2002).