Heterosexual Bias in the Perception of Loving Relationships of Gay Males and Lesbians

Ronald J. Testa, Bill N. Kinder, Gail Ironson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


It was hypothesized that a heterosexual bias would emerge in the perception of loving relationships of gay males and lesbians. Specifically, it was predicted that if heterosexual subjects were presented with identical information about a hypothetical heterosexual couple, a lesbian couple, and a gay male couple, that the latter two would be perceived more negatively than the former. Heterosexual subjects (N = 360) were randomly assigned to one of 18 conditions defined by a 3 x 2 x 3 ANOVA design. The factors were: sex and sexual orientation of individuals in the hypothetical couple profile to be read and evaluated, sex of subject, and amount of love content in the description of the couple. The results confirmed the existence of a heterosexual bias and that gay and lesbian couples were perceived as being 'less satisfied with their relationship' than heterosexual couples, and that gay and lesbian couples were perceived as 'less in love' than heterosexual couples. The implications of these results are discussed as they relate to the generation of self-fulfilling prophecies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-172
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of Sex Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 1987
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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