Gay, Lesbian, and Heterosexual adoptive parents: Couple and relationship issues

Rachel H. Farr, Stephen L. Forssell, Charlotte J. Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


This study explored some dynamics of couples' relationships in 106 adoptive families headed by 29 gay, 27 lesbian, and 50 heterosexual couples with young children. Regardless of sexual orientation, most couples reported long-term relationships, secure attachments, and high relationship satisfaction. Parental sexual orientation was related to how often couples reported having sex. Lesbian couples reported having sex the least often, while gay couples reported having sex the most often. Sexual relationship satisfaction did not, however, differ as a function of parental sexual orientation. Overall relationship satisfaction was significantly correlated with sexual satisfaction, frequency of sexual relations, and greater attachment security. We discuss these results in context of earlier research on sexual orientation, parenting, and couple relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-213
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of GLBT Family Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by grants from the Williams Institute at UCLA to Charlotte J. Patterson. We also wish to thank Jacqueline Wheeler, Kathleen Doss, Dylan Comstock, Timothy Tuan, Katherine Jetton, Brittany Shean, Chalatwan Vasontara, Janine Beha, Scott Kraiterman, Carly Roberts, Charlotte Blutstein, Claudia Amendola, Lindsay Walter-Cox, Thomas Lotito, Justin Spiro, and Michael Kohn for their contributions to this research.


  • Adoptive couples
  • Lesbian and gay
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Sexual orientation
  • Sexual relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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