Self-reported sexual and psychosocial health among non-heterosexual Danes

Scand J Public Health. 2015 May;43(3):309-14. doi: 10.1177/1403494814563371. Epub 2015 Feb 4.


Introduction: Little is known about the sexual and psychosocial health of non-heterosexual Danes. Based on a large population study, the aim of this article was to compare quality-of-life-related key variables of heterosexual and non-heterosexual men and women, aged 16-66.

Materials and methods: Cross-sectional data from the nationwide, representative Health and Morbidity Survey (n = 8496) were used to compare variables concerning both general and sexual well-being of self-identified heterosexual and non-heterosexual respondents.

Results: Nearly twice as many non-heterosexual than heterosexual men rated their sexual life as bad or very bad (22.5% versus 12.8%), while no statistical difference was seen among women (13.6% versus 10.6%). For both genders, significantly more non-heterosexuals than heterosexuals stated that their sexual needs were not met (17.9% versus 7.7% for men and 14.8% versus 6.9% for women), and significantly more non-heterosexuals reported acts of sexual violence (8.3% versus 2.1% for men and 35.8% versus 13.0% for women). Finally, non-heterosexual respondents had contemplated suicide more than twice as often as heterosexuals (15.9% versus 7.4% for men and 19.7% versus 8.3% for women). Actual suicide attempts were roughly three times more frequent in the non-heterosexual groups (8.3% versus 2.6 % for men and 11.8% versus 4.2% for women).

Conclusions: Overall, non-heterosexual Danes reported higher degrees of sexual and/or psychosocial distress than heterosexuals further research is needed; but scientists, clinicians and public health workers should be aware that non-heterosexuals may pose specific health-related challenges and requirements.

Keywords: Denmark; distress; homosexuality; mental health; psychosocial health; quality of life; sexual health; sexuality; suicide.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Diagnostic Self Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Heterosexuality / psychology
  • Heterosexuality / statistics & numerical data
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Female / statistics & numerical data
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Self Report
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult