Nearly half of all gay men in relationships have faced abuse from their partners, according to a new study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Men’s Health.
The study shows that 46% of the 320 men in the study – spanning 160 couples – have faced some form of abuse from their partners, including controlling behaviors, emotional abuse, and even physical or sexual violence.
Approximately 25-30% of those polled said they had faced physical or sexual violence, echoing those in mixed-sex couples.
“We’re stuck in this mental representation of domestic violence as a female victim and a male perpetrator, and while that is very important, there are other forms of domestic violence in all types of relationships,” said Rob Stephenson, the author of the study, in HealthDay.
Stress factors, such as money, employment, and drug use accounted for the root causes of these abuses. The data was found to be similar to situations faced in mixed-sex couples.
There is, however, a heightened correlation between internalized homophobia and abuse when the study reviewed data by male same-sex couples.
The study showed a possible increase in HIV infection for same-sex couples facing abuse. The theory being that abuse victims may not have as much control over condom use or other preventative measures when having sexual intercourse with their partners.
There may also be a lack of overall communication about HIV prevention and HIV status in abusive relationships.
Stephenson also noted that a majority of health care providers do not ask same-sex couples about abuse issues, and makes the suggestion that this should change.