Sexual orientation and life satisfaction

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

May 19, 2021


Existing quantitative research on sexual orientation and life satisfaction uses models with control variables that do not have a clear rationale. With a correct understanding of what control variables do, no controls are necessary to estimate the consequences of sexual orientation on life satisfaction. An analysis constructed from this perspective reveals gay and bisexual men in the UK and Australia are less satisfied with their lives (relative to heterosexual men). Bisexual women in both countries are less satisfied as well. Lesbians in Australia are less satisfied (relative to straight women) – but lesbians in the UK do not have lower satisfaction. These conclusions hold also in an analysis that considers the possibility that some non-heterosexual people might be unwilling to disclose their sexual orientation on surveys.

Published in

Journal of Sociology






Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

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