A University of Auckland study has revealed same-gender attraction is far more common among New Zealand women than men.
The results released last week revealed the 2014/15 study collected data from over 10,000 people aged between 16-74.
The researcher’s reports covered heterosexual sex, heterosexual behaviour, sexual orientation as well as contraception, pregnancy planning, and STI’s.
It asked participants about three aspects of their sexual orientation: attraction, behaviour, identity.
Director of the Gay Men’s Sexual Health research group Dr Peter Saxton says the survey is the most comprehensive guide to adult sexuality to date.
“It answers some pretty basic population health questions we haven’t had good evidence on until now,” Dr Saxton said.
“Now, we can estimate the size of the gay and bisexual community for public health campaigns like HIV prevention.”
The results showed 1 in 20 men and more than 1 in 6 women have experienced same-sex attraction.
“The survey shows that… same-gender sexual orientation is more common among women,” Dr Saxton said.
The study also found more people reported same-gender attraction than same-gender behaviour.
However, fewer respondents reported a minority sexual identity such as gay, lesbian or bisexual.
This resulted in 2.3 percent of men and 3.7 percent of women identifying as gay, lesbian or bisexual.
This means in New Zealand, approximately 46,000 men and women identify as homosexual and 72,000 as bisexual.
Additionally, the study revealed about 21,000 individuals identify their sexuality as ‘other’.
Dr Saxton said this study will be beneficial for the health and awareness of New Zealand’s LGBTIQ community.
“Counting a population is such a fundamental part of being recognised in public health and social service delivery,” he said.
“Now we have to help sexual orientation minorities becomes visible, come forward, be included and receive [proper healthcare].”
Same-gender attraction is broad across ages
The University of Auckland report found same-gender attraction spans across all ages and cultural groups.
It also exists in all neighbourhoods, both advantaged and not. Maori women are more likely than non-Maori women to have ever had a same-gender partner.
“Same-gender sexual orientation was found in every age and ethnic group, and in all neighbourhood from least-to-most-deprived,” the report said.
“Men in the most deprived neighbourhoods were more likely to identify as bisexual.”
But unlike women, Dr Saxton said men’s sexual preference didn’t alter much by age.
“Men’s sexual orientation didn’t vary much by age,” he said.
Dr Saxton said the new data will help improve the health of New Zealand’s LGBTIQ community.
“This reinforces that people with a minority sexual orientation come from all walks of life,” he said.
“Now we can monitor health inequalities experiences by gay and bisexual individuals.”
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