Recalled Sexual Experiences in Childhood with Older Partners: A Study of Brazilian Men Who Have Sex with Men and Male-to-Female Transgender Persons.

Published: April 12, 2011

Abstract

This study assessed the prevalence of recalled childhood sexual experiences with an older partner among men who have sex with men (MSM) and/or male-to-female transgender persons recruited in Campinas, Brazil. It also analyzed associations between such recalled experiences and sexual risk behavior in adulthood. Participants recruited using respondent driven sampling completed a self-administered, computer-based questionnaire, and underwent HIV testing. For data analysis, raw scores were weighted based on participants’ reported network size. Of 575 participants (85% men and 15% transgender), 32% reported childhood sexual experiences with an older partner. Mean age at first experience was 9 years, partners being, on average, 19 years old, and mostly men. Most frequent behaviors were partners exposing their genitals, mutual fondling, child masturbating partner, child performing oral sex on partner, and child being anally penetrated. Only 29% of the participants who had had such childhood sexual experiences considered it abuse; 57% reported liking, 29% being indifferent and only 14% not liking the sexual experience at the time it happened. Transgender participants were significantly more likely to report such experiences and, compared with men, had less negative feelings about the experience at the time of the interview. No significant associations were found between sexual experiences in childhood and unprotected receptive or insertive anal intercourse in adulthood. Results highlight the importance of assessing participants’ perception of abuse, regardless of researchers’ pre-determined criteria to identify abuse. MSM and transgender people may experience childhood sexual experiences with older partners differently from other populations (e.g., heterosexuals), particularly in countries with different cultural norms concerning sexuality than those prevalent in Europe and the U.S.

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