Seventy-four first- and second-year students, participating in focus groups at a northeastern U.S. university, discussed recollections of messages received at home, prior to sexual debut, about sex and sexuality. Responses were categorized as Characteristics of Communication (nature of interactions participants had at home about sexuality) and Major Message Content (actual themes of those conversations). Commonly reported characteristics were trouble talking with parents; most conversations happened with mothers; participants feared parents’ reactions; and among lesbian, gay, bisexual groups, feared parents’ discovering their nonheterosexual orientation. Commonly reported message content included use protection and, among women, wait. Women reported messages that were at best, mixed, and at worst, threatening or moralistic. Men reported fewer conversations, and those recalled were more neutral or encouraging, especially from fathers. Parental messages to males and females differed qualitatively, reflected stereotypical assumptions about gender roles, desire, and appropriate conditions under which to have sex, and lacked support for nonheterosexual orientations.
- LGBTQ issues
- parent/child Relations