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Sexual Identity, Attraction, and Behavior in US Adults

Arch Sex Behav; ePub 2018 Dec 6; Fu, Herbenick, et al

Higher levels of educational attainment were significantly associated with less discordance of reported recent sexual activity and sexual identity. This according to a recent study that aimed to assess relationships among self-identified sexual identity, sexual attraction, and sexual behaviors in a probability sample of US adults and to identify associated factors with diverse patterns. Researchers collected data from adults in the 2015 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, an Internet-based nationally representative probability survey of the general US population. Concordance between sexual identity vs sexual attraction and sexual behaviors was assessed using percent agreement. They identified correlates of discordance using logistic regression and found:

  • Concordance between sexual identity vs sexual attraction and past-year sexual behaviors was 94% and 96%, respectively, though the sample was predominately composed of heterosexual individuals.
  • Women and sexual minority individuals reported greater discordance across sexuality-related measures than men and heterosexual individuals.
  • Younger adults (aged 18–24 years) were more likely to report sexual behaviors discordant with sexual identity compared with older adults (including those aged 25–34 years).


Fu T-c, Herbenick D, Dodge B, et al. Relationships among sexual identity, sexual attraction, and sexual behavior: Results from a nationally representative probability sample of adults in the United States. [Published online ahead of print December 6, 2018]. Arch Sex Behav.