Abstract

Parental monitoring and parent–adolescent communication about sex protect against HIV-related sexual risk behaviors among heterosexual adolescents, but it is unknown if these findings generalize to young men who have sex with men (YMSM). Sexual orientation-specific stressors, including “coming out” to parents, complicate the family context of YMSM. We examined associations between parental monitoring, communication about sex, outness to cohabitating parents, and sexual behaviors. Ethnically diverse YMSM ages 14–19 provided cross-sectional data (n = 257). Monitoring and outness to parents interacted to predict recent same-sex unprotected anal intercourse (UAI). For YMSM who reported mixed or uncertain outness to parents, higher levels of perceived parental monitoring were associated with greater risk of UAI. Higher levels of communication about sex were associated with greater risk of UAI for YMSM out to parents. Parental monitoring and communication about sex might not protect YMSM against sexual risk in the same way they protect heterosexual youth. Future research should examine whether adapted forms of family factors could protect YMSM, and family-based HIV risk-reduction interventions for YMSM should be attuned to the unique ways family factors function within this group.