Do boys who are sexually involved with older males become homosexuals?

The unsubstantiated assumption that such experiences will "cause" boys to become homosexual is a favorite tactical claim of those who would prevent boys from exploring their own sexuality with other males. There are no valid empirical data to support this conjecture, but it continues to resurface.

As discussed in the [more] supplement to the previous question, it is possible that some small fraction of adult male so-called homosexuals are really only unfulfilled loved boys, the end result of having their boyhood explorations frustrated. The average of three studies (see below) which looked at the percentage of self-identified gay males who reported boyhood sexual encounters with older males was about 20%, but this is only correlation, and should not be misinterpreted as causation. The reality is that the overwhelming majority of males who had a boyhood sexual relationship with an older male develop an exclusively heterosexual adult life.

These issues are discussed in more detail in Plato’s Shadow: The relationship of adult male homosexuality to boylove.


Arreola, S., Neilands, T,, Pollack, L., Paul, J., & Catania. J. (2008). Childhood sexual experiences and adult health sequelae among gay and bisexual men: defining childhood sexual abuse. Journal of Sex Research 45(3), 246-252.

Rind, B. (2001). Gay and bisexual boys' experiences with men: An empirical examination of psychological correlates in a nonclinical sample. Archives of Sexual Behavior 30 (4) 345-368.

Stanley, J., Bartholomew, K., & Oram, D. (2004) Gay and bisexual men's age-discrepant childhood sexual experiences. Journal of Sex Research 41(4,)381-389.