Prevalence and Correlates of Sexual Violence Experienced by Young Adult Black Men Who Have Sex with Men

Arch Sex Behav. 2021 Nov;50(8):3621-3636. doi: 10.1007/s10508-021-02011-x. Epub 2021 Nov 1.


Men who have sex with men (MSM) experience high prevalence of sexual violence (SV), and SV has well-documented effects on health. Research gaps are especially evident for young Black MSM (YBMSM), who experience significant HIV disparities and syndemics, including multiple forms of violence victimization. We examined lifetime prevalence of SV (having been forced or frightened into sexual activity) in a cross-sectional sample of YBMSM (N = 1732), and tested associations of demographic, psychosocial, and structural factors using multivariable regression. YBMSM were recruited between 2013 and 2015 using modified venue-based time-location sampling (e.g., at bars and clubs) in Dallas and Houston, Texas. Approximately 17% of YBMSM experienced any SV in their lifetimes. SV was associated with high school non-completion (OR 1.78; 95% CI 1.15-2.77), lower psychological resilience (OR 0.84; 95% CI 0.71-0.98), lifetime history of homelessness (OR 5.52; 95% CI 3.80-8.02), recent financial hardship (OR 2.16; 95% CI 1.48-3.14), and recent transactional sex (OR 3.87; 95% CI 2.43-6.15). We also examined differences by age of SV onset (childhood versus adulthood). YBMSM with adolescent/emerging adult-onset SV may have been more ambivalent in reporting lifetime SV experience, compared to men with childhood-onset SV, and correlates differed by age of onset. Childhood-onset SV was associated with high school non-completion, lower levels of psychological resilience, history of homelessness, recent financial hardship, and recent transactional sex. Adolescent/emerging adult-onset SV was associated with greater depressive symptoms, history of homelessness, and recent financial hardship. There is a need for multi-level approaches to SV prevention and treatment, including services and supports that are culturally-relevant and responsive to the needs of YBMSM.

Keywords: Black men who have sex with men; Childhood sexual abuse; Homelessness; Mental health; Sexual orientation; Sexual violence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • HIV Infections*
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Offenses*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*
  • Young Adult