Sunday, November 07, 2010

People who want to teach kids the "facts" about sex get the facts wrong on new study

It is time for all of us to avert our eyes once again from the fact that gay rights groups and their friends in the media are misrepresenting scientific evidence. Oh, wait. Did I say that? Maybe I should not have said "they're lying to us" in such a negative way. I'm trying to think of other ways I could say "they're lying to us" that would sound a little better.

But I'll tell you what. While I'm trying find a way of saying "they're lying to us" that sounds better than simply saying "they're lying to us," take a look at the headlines of these stories available on the Internet about a recent study released by the journal Pediatrics:
One in ten teens has same-sex partners: Study (Reuters)
One in ten teens has same sex partners: Study (Yahoo News)
1 in 10 teens has same-sex partners (Mother Nature Network)
1 in 10 teens has same-sex partners (Asiaone)
One in ten teens has same-sex partners: Study (Leader Post)
One in 10 NYC teens has had same-sex partner: study (CTV News)
1 in 10 NYC teens has had same-sex partner: study (UPI)
One in ten teens have same-sex partners: report - Need to know (Macleans)
Study shows one in 10 teens has same-sex partners (Calgary Herald)
Nearly 1 in 10 N.Y. Teens Have Same-Sex Partners (The Advocate)
1 in 10 Teenagers Have Had a Same Sex Partner (Greenwala)
These are just the articles on the first two pages of a Google search. There are many, many more.

Now there is a teeny tiny problem with these headlines that makes them slightly deceptive. The problem, in short, with saying that one in ten teens are having sex with same sex "partners" is that one in ten teens are NOT having sex with same-sex "partners."

A slight problem, you'll have to admit.

You see, according to the abstract for the study cited by these stories, "Of sexually active adolescents, 9.3% reported a same-sex partner, a higher estimate than other published rates." Read it again: 9.3% "of sexually active adolescents," not of all teens.


Not only that, but the study's results were based on teens in New York City who filled out public health surveys. Surely, you're thinking, we have some reason for believing that teens in New York City who fill out public health surveys are somehow representative of teens nationally. I mean, shouldn't we expect a study of teens living in, say, rural Utah would yield similar results?

In fact, the reports that the new results are higher than in other studies appear to be referring to studies with different population groups--a 2001 Minnesota student survey (9.4%), a 2008 British Columbia survey (8%).

Furthermore, about a third of these teens reporting "bisexual" experience reported having sex forced on them. Did they have sex with a same-sex partner willingly?

But, again, we should be willing to live with these problems and inconsistencies since we don't want to question the Approved Opinions on these issues that now dictate the evidence instead of vice-versa. It would also ruin some of the inferences some people are drawing from these results.

The study's abstract discusses the rate of "risky sexual behaviors" engaged in by these teens, and one of their findings is that the teens who also have sex with others of the same sex are more likely to engage in "risky sexual behavior." We don't, of course, ever want to assume that engaging in sex with same-sex partners is itself risky behavior. According to Elizabeth Saewyc, a "researcher at the University of British Columbia," teens "may engage in riskier behavior because sex education programs don't always acknowledge gay, lesbian, and bisexual relationships."

Now just try for a moment and get past these scientific inhibitions you might have about things like scholarly integrity and actual scientific causation and try to see if you can just sort of get in the politically correct zone on this issue and think this through.

These teens having sex with other teens of the same sex are more wreckless than than the ones that don't. Now I know there are some naive traditionalist rubes out there thinking that maybe these findings (higher rates of risky sex and higher rates of forced sex with people who decide not to cross the gender boundary when they do have sex--not to mention all the gay teens now apparently killing themselves) indicate that sex with others of the same sex is not a good idea.

They're thinking that if some other, less politically correct behavior was found to be more dangerous to engage in, the so-called experts would be out in force lecturing us all about how we should cease and desist from the behavior in question. When smoking, for example, is found to have bad health consequences, we deploy an army of health experts all of whom tell us that we should stop doing it. They don't tell us that we should be more tolerant of smokers or how we should portray smoking more positively in health programs or that we should teach students how to smoke more safely. They just tell us to stop.

So why, they will ask, are we doing this with teens having sex with other teens of the same sex?

If you are asked this question simply cover your ears and start talking about tolerance and diversity. Just say it and keep repeating it, over and over and over again.

Oh, and did we mention that these are the same people who want to teach our kids the "facts" about sex?

Facebook readers can access Vital Remnants here.

HT: Cranach


KyCobb said...


Based on your previous post, isn't it your position that no-one should ever be touching a teen's naughty bits until marriage, whether male, female or the teen him or her self? But if you focus on telling teens not to have gay sex, wouldn't that suggest to them that heterosexual sex or masturbation are ok?

Martin Cothran said...


Perhaps you could make your logic a little clearer. It certainly isn't clear from your post.

KyCobb said...

Choose, Martin. Do you want to teach teens not to have gay sex in particular, or do you want to teach them not to have any sex at all, including masturbation?