Nonvoluntary or Forced Sex Among Women, by Sexual Identity, Attraction, and Behavior — National Survey of Family Growth, United States, 2011–2017
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Nonvoluntary or Forced Sex Among Women, by Sexual Identity, Attraction, and Behavior — National Survey of Family Growth, United States, 2011–2017

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      MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
    • Description:
      Nonheterosexual (sexual minority) women report experiencing more sexual violence than heterosexual (sexual majority) women (1,2). Sexual minority women are often categorized as a collective whole, which fails to capture the nuances in sexual violence among subgroups of sexual minority women, such as bisexual and lesbian women (3). To estimate the prevalence of lifetime forced vaginal intercourse (forced sex) and of nonvoluntary first vaginal intercourse among women aged 18-44 years in the United States, CDC analyzed data from female respondents who were interviewed during 2011-2017 for the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG); respondents were stratified by self-reported sexual identity, attraction, and behavior. Log-binomial regressions and analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were performed to compare experiences across each dimension of sexual orientation, controlling for demographic characteristics. Compared with sexual majority women,* prevalence of any male-perpetrated nonvoluntary first vaginal intercourse or forced sex (nonvoluntary or forced sex) was higher among women who identified as bisexual (36.1% versus 17.5%), reported attraction to the opposite and same sex (30.3% versus 15.8%), and reported sexual behavior with the opposite and same sex (35.7% versus 15.9%). These sexual minority women reported that their earliest experience of nonvoluntary or forced sex occurred at younger ages than did that of sexual majority women. Among women who were unsure of their sexual attraction, the prevalence of nonvoluntary first vaginal intercourse was also higher than among sexual majority women. These findings underscore the need for comprehensive Prevention approaches tailored for sexual minority women and Prevention of child sexual abuse, given the average ages at earliest nonvoluntary or forced sex experience among sexual minority women (range = 12.5-16.3 years). Additional research is needed into the circumstances of and norms or attitudes that influence perpetration of nonvoluntary or forced sex and broader sexual violence against sexual minority women. Prevention of nonvoluntary or forced sex victimization among sexual minority women will require comprehensive approaches to prevent sexual violence and child sexual abuse. Engaging sexual minority women in the development of sexual violence Prevention efforts and research would help ensure that the experiences of sexual minority women across the spectrum are represented.
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