Close parent–adolescent relationships and specific parenting practices (e.g., communication about sex, monitoring) are associated with reduced sexual risk behavior among heterosexual youth. Despite gay/bisexual male youth being at increased risk of HIV, little is known about parental influences on their sexual behavior. As such, the goal of the current study was to examine parent–adolescent relationships and parenting practices related to teen sex and dating from the perspective of gay/bisexual adolescent boys. Online focus groups were conducted with 52 gay/bisexual male youth ages 14–17 years. Most gay/bisexual adolescent boys felt that their sexual orientation had an influence on their relationships with their parents and discussions about sex/dating. Although some felt that their relationships improved after coming out, a larger percentage reported that it put strain on their relationships. Discussions about sex/dating generally decreased after coming out, but some youth described positive conversations with their parents. Many reported that their parents struggled with whether or not to adapt parenting practices (e.g., rules about dating) after they came out. Youth consistently noted that parent–adolescent relationships and parenting practices depended on the adolescent’s level of outness. Findings have important implications for refining HIV prevention programs for gay/bisexual adolescent boys, especially interventions that include parents.
- Sexual orientation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)