Sexual and romantic experiences of transgender youth before gender-affirmative treatment

Sara L. Bungener*, Thomas D. Steensma, Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis, Annelou L.C. De Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: In various Western countries early medical gender-affirmative treatment has become increasingly available for transgender adolescents. Research conducted before the start of medical gender-affirming treatment has focused on psychological and social functioning, and knowledge about the sexual health of this specific young group is lacking. METHODS: Gender identity clinics referred 137 adolescents: 60 transgirls (birth-assigned boys, mean age 14.11 years, SD 2.21) and 77 transboys (birth assigned girls, mean age 15.14 years, SD 2.09; P = .05). A questionnaire on sexual experiences (kissing, petting while undressed, sexual intercourse), romantic experiences (falling in love, romantic relationships), sexual orientation, negative sexual experiences, and sexual satisfaction was administered. Experiences of the transgender adolescents were compared with data for same-aged youth of a Dutch general population study (N = 8520). RESULTS: Of the transgender adolescents, 77% had fallen in love, 50% had had a romantic relationship, 26% had experienced petting while undressed, and 5% had had sexual intercourse. Transboys had more sexual experience than transgirls. In comparison with the general population, transgender adolescents were both sexually and romantically less experienced. CONCLUSIONS: Despite challenges, transgender adolescent are sexually active, although to a lesser extent than their peers from the general population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20162283
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

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