Abstract: "It Made Me Feel Comfortable Talking about Sex...": A Qualitative Content Analysis of Praent-Child Communications Abouse Sexual Behavior with Gay Men (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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324P "It Made Me Feel Comfortable Talking about Sex...": A Qualitative Content Analysis of Praent-Child Communications Abouse Sexual Behavior with Gay Men

Friday, January 13, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
J Lloyd Allen, PhD, Assistant Professor, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Keshaum Houston, Senior Public Health Educator, Wayne State University
Donte Boyd, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Houston, Houston, TX
Camille Quinn, PhD, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Background: Parent-child communications play a critical role in adolescent socialization and attitudes, especially around sexual behaviors. Research shows that when parents defined sexual identity and sexual behaviors using more conservative and religious views, their children also held similar beliefs and perspectives. Thus, when parents denounced early or prepubescent sexual behaviors as inappropriate, their teenager also often held similar beliefs and ideals. Findings from similar studies showed unique links between parent-child communications and adolescent attitudes toward STDs, dating, sexual behaviors, pregnancy, menarche, and abstinence. Unfortunately, only a few studies have examined parent-child communications with gay youth and young adults, and have provided insights into their unique needs as much of what is known on parent-child communications have heavily focused on parent-child communications with heterosexual youth and young adults, or used heterosexual frameworks. Thus, the aim of this study was to explore the impact of parent conversations on gay young adults' sexual behaviors and attitudes.

Methods: Nineteen Black, Hispanic, and White gay males, ages 19 - 30, participated in this qualitative study. Participants were asked to describe the impact of having parent-child conversations on topics regarding sexual behavior and sexual identity on their own sexual behaviors and sexual practices. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using the iterative processes associated with qualitative content analysis.

Results: Between having the initial sex conversations and disclosing their gay sexual orientation, participants recalled that their communications with their parents resulted in conversations that that were effective especially regarding a) sexual safety (conversations primed their ability to ask tough questions and engage in raw and thorough conversations with sexual partners, and friends); b) condom use (the appropriate words to define their boundaries with their sex partners, and delay sex because their partner was not ready to use condoms), and c) comfort with talking about sex (helped define what sexual identity meant for them, how, and with whom they spoke about sex, and helped them to more openly and honestly disclose their sexual wants with their sexual paramours). However, for a few of the participants, they recalled that these conversations were most effective when they were single and non-monogamous. Once they got in monogamous relationships, they became unsure about the ways to navigate those relationships. Lastly, a few participants stated that these conversations were not effective as the contents of the conversations did not apply to their sexual desires.

Conclusions: Findings from this study suggest that open conversations with parents are effective in shaping the gay men's sexual behaviors. For these young men, the conversations helped them normalize their sexual behaviors, and empowered them to both engage in continued conversations with partners, or walk away from situations that were detrimental to their own well-being. Unfortunately, for some, they required additional conversations that were inclusive of both being single and being in relationship.