Study challenges stereotypes about LGB relationships, reveals barriers

Many individuals set personal goals for their love lives: going on more dates, planning to get married or simply saying "I love you" more often. In a new study, Assistant Professor of Sexuality Studies David Frost compared the relationship goals of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) individuals and heterosexuals and published the results in the Journal of Social Issues.


Photo of David Frost, assistant professor of sexuality studies

David Frost, assistant professor of sexuality studies

"The findings challenge stereotypes about the role of intimacy in LGB relationships," Frost said.

Frost surveyed more than 400 people and asked participants about what their relationship goals meant to them. Results showed that regardless of sexual orientation, participants rated their relationship goals as highly meaningful and valuable. "This goes against the commonly held myth that intimacy and romantic relationships aren't as important for LGB people as they are for heterosexuals," Frost said.

What did differ between the LGB individuals and heterosexuals was the support they felt from those around them. LGB individuals perceived significantly more barriers to achieving their intimacy goals than heterosexuals and felt that their goals were less valued by family, friends, religious groups and the government.

The biggest disparity was the presence of barriers that LGB individuals perceived in terms of government laws and policies, something that Frost partially attributes to anti-gay ballot initiatives. "Ballot initiatives like Prop 8 are a source of stress for LGB couples, putting them in a psycho-social limbo as they wait for their peers to vote on their rights and relationships."

The study was published in the June issue of the Journal of Social Issues, a special edition focused on the psychological effects of anti-gay ballot initiatives. The paper is available online at:


Elaine Bible