Homosexual sex as harmful as drug abuse, prostitution, or smoking

Psychol Rep. 2005 Jun;96(3 Pt 2):915-61. doi: 10.2466/pr0.96.3c.915-961.


In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court said same-sex sexual activity could not be prohibited by law. Analyzing data from the 1996 National Household Survey of Drug Abuse (N= 12,381) and comparing those who engaged in four recreational activities-homosexual sex, illegal drug use, participation in prostitution, and smoking --against those who abstained, participants (1) were more frequently disruptive (e.g., more frequently criminal, drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol, used illegal drugs, took sexual risks), (2) were less frequently productive (e.g., less frequently had children in marriage, more frequently missed work), and (3) generated excessive costs (e.g., more promiscuous, higher consumers of medical services). Major sexuality surveys have reported similar findings for homosexuals. Societal discrimination inadequately accounts for these differences since parallel comparisons of black and white subsamples produced a pattern unlike the differences found between homosexuals and nonhomosexuals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dangerous Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Homosexuality / psychology*
  • Homosexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Recreation
  • Sex Work / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Illicit Drugs