Category archives: Human Sexuality

Virginity Pledge Study “Misses the Boat” on Abstinence Education

by Moira Gaul

December 30, 2008

The Rosenbaum study comparing the sexual behavior of “virginity pledgers and nonpledgers” is a distraction from increasingly effective risk avoidance, or abstinence-centered, health prevention programs. Such programs are not the same as virginity pledge programs, and have stronger foundations in behavioral change than such pledges. The implication that this study should discredit federally funded abstinence programs for youth misses the boat from a behavioral science standpoint.

There are important ways in which abstinence programs are different from “virginity pledge” presentations. In order to accomplish behavior change or have a person successfully practice a specific behavior, precursors affecting that behavior have to be influenced. These include things such as knowledge as well as attitudes and intentions towards the behavior. The theoretical construct viewed as having the strongest effect on practicing a behavior is “self-efficacy.” Self-efficacy is the belief of a person that he or she can actually practice the behavior - the belief that they can actually do it successfully. Abstinence education programs teach skills in communication and refusal and impart additional information to youth for example about healthy relationships, goal setting, disease prevention, and social responsibility. All these elements serve to better equip youth, thus increasing self-efficacy. Collectively they provide a holistic health message helping youth to navigate the practice of sexual abstinence until marriage. Additionally, the longer the duration of the intervention or program, the more the health message, information, and skills imparted are reinforced. Such important program content cannot be adequately summed up and delivered during a short-term or one-time presentation. And if youth do slip on this behavior, the abstinence programs provide a sound foundation for returning to the practice of abstinence, whereas virginity pledges can leave one feeling as though there is utter failure for a return to the behavior.

Scholars are still building an evidence base for this relatively young field of abstinence education health promotion/disease prevention programs. Studying what is most successful within abstinence curricula to determine the best prevention practices would be a better use of research time and funding. Guiding youth away from high-risk behaviors which act to the detriment of both their physical and emotional health needs to be at the forefront of prevention strategies.

Two Important Pieces from the Washington Times

by Chris Gacek

December 2, 2008

Over the extended holiday weekend, the Washington Times published an editorial and a commentary piece that are well worth reading:

  • The Times editorial appeared on Friday, November 28, and was entitled “Judicial Imperialism.”  First, the paper discusses the worrying ramifications of the recent settlement by eHarmony, a California company, which was forced by the state of New Jersey to offer dating services to gay customers in New Jersey.  Second, the editorial discusses the dangerous and illegitimate effort to have the California Supreme Court thwart the will of the Golden State’s voters and declare its recently-passed marriage amendment unconstitutional. 
  • The commentary piece was authored by Jeffrey T. Kuhner.  His first Sunday opinion column with the Times was published on September 28th.  In Kuhner’s latest, entitled “Obama vs. Pope Benedict,” he recognizes the struggle that may erupt between Mr. Obama and the Pope should the new administration pass the Freedom of Choice Act.  He sets the stage as follows:

Mr. Obama signing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) “would be the equivalent of a war,” a senior Vatican official told Time magazine last week. “It would be like saying, ‘We’ve heard the Catholic Church and we have no interest in their concerns.’ ”

Study Links Exposure to Sexual Content on T.V. and Teen Pregnancy

by Moira Gaul

November 7, 2008

A recently released study published in Pediatrics and sponsored by the Rand corporation has linked watching sex on television and teen pregnancy. Data from a national longitudinal study on adolescents from 12 to 17 years of age were used from over a three year period to measure experience of a teen pregnancy. Adolescents were surveyed to assess whether exposure to sexual content on television predicted subsequent pregnancy for girls or responsibility for pregnancy for boys.

Results showed that teens who were exposed to high levels of sexual content on television, were twice as likely to experience a pregnancy (either directly for girls or to be responsible for a pregnancy for boys) in the subsequent three years, compared with teens watching less sexual content on television.

Points to make regarding and related to the study findings:

  • The majority of television shows teens are exposed to with sexual content as described by the study release don’t accurately communicate the health outcomes, either physical or emotional, associated with the high-risk behavior. These can include increased risk for sexually transmitted infections, impaired reproductive health, and negative emotional repercussions. Rather, television shows typically glamorize sex with little, if any, depiction of potential consequences.
  • In addition, television shows typically do not portray characters that choose to practice sexual abstinence outside of marriage who do not have the accompanying concerns of their counterparts who engage in sexual activity - two being concerns about possible nonmarital pregnancy and being at increased risk for disease.
  • While as the study author states, the amount of sexual content on television has doubled in recent years, prevention messaging has not. Broadcasters need to take a more responsible approach to public health given the current epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases and infections which exists among our young people.
  • Accurate health messaging, including the knowledge about the consequences and repercussions of high-risk behavior, such as adolescent pre-marital sex, is critical for prevention efforts. Reinforcement that youth are capable of practicing risk avoidance behavior or sexual abstinence is also key.
  • Given the level of exposure teens have to both the television shows measured in the Rand study and similar messaging from other media bombarding youth with sexual content, both parents and health care providers need to emphasize the prevention message, the best of which is risk avoidance or abstinence, and the benefits of practicing it.

Recommended reading for both parents and young adults: “Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting our Children,” by Drs. Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush. Watch for an FRC Book Lecture at the beginning of 2009 at which Drs. McIlhaney and Bush will discuss how new research in the field of neuroscience is shedding light on the impact having sex has on teens and young adults.

Homosexual TV Characters — Proportional Representation, or Propaganda?

by Peter Sprigg

October 2, 2008

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) reported in triumph last week that the number of “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)” characters on broadcast TV will more than double in the new TV season.

Of course, TV writers, producers, and networks are free to create whatever type of characters they want, but the public needs to look at those characters and programs with a discerning eye. Are they just there to reflect what America actually looks like (GLAAD’s claim)? Or are they really there for propaganda purposes, to promote a sociopolitical agenda demanding affirmation of homosexual conduct?

There are two ways to test this question. One is to ask whether the depiction of homosexual characters is accurate. Does it accurately reflect the higher rates of sexual promiscuity, STDs, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse among homosexuals? If the homosexual characters are always depicted as the smartest, funniest, most noble characters on the show, on the one hand, or only as victims of persecution, on the other, then you know you’re seeing propaganda.

The other test is whether other groups are proportionally represented on TV as well. For example, how many evangelical Christian characters are there on TV series, and how are they portrayed? There are many times as many evangelical Christians in America as there are homosexuals, but I doubt you’ll find that reflected on TV.

[See also CNN.com: In Hollywood, sexuality is less secret, still can be big deal]

Gay” Soldiers in George Washington’s Army?

by Peter Sprigg

July 24, 2008

One of the most bizarre aspects of the July 23 Congressional hearing on homosexuals in the military was the effort to read 21st-century political correctness back into American history.

Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) insisted, “We’ve had gays in the American military from the first unit that was ever formed.” Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) echoed this astonishing claim, saying that “gays have served in every conflict, every war” this country has fought.

In fact, Shays was even more specific, noting a patriotic event in his district at which they read the names of “everyone who lost his life in the French and Indian War—some of whom were gay.”

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) declared that allowing homosexuals to serve would be an expression of the high value Americans place on the principle of equal opportunity. He even claimed the father of our country, George Washington, as an ally who believed that “the way to the top should be open to everyone.” In context, that referred to the respect Washington had for enlisted men in relation to officers—but Sestak apparently would have us believe that Washington felt the same way about equal opportunity for homosexuals.

Actually, though, we have some very precise evidence in the historical record of what Gen. Washington thought about homosexual conduct. It can be found in his General Orders issued on Saturday, March 14, 1778, toward the end of his army’s long, bitter winter at Valley Forge. Like today, his army was at war. Like today, his army had serious problems of recruitment and retention. Perhaps, like today, there might have been some people who would have argued that his army could not afford to lose a soldier over something like his sexual conduct.

But that argument carried no water with Washington. On the 10th of March, a General Court Martial was held to try Lieut. Frederick Gotthold Enslin “for attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier.” Having been convicted, he was sentenced “to be dismiss’d the service with Infamy.”

That may have been the verdict of the court martial, but is there any evidence of what Washington himself thought? In fact, there is: “His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence and Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Lieutt. Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return . . .”

If members of Congress and homosexual activists want to argue for repeal of the existing law in order to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military, let them make their case. But it is sheer nonsense to claim that such an action would be anything but a radical deviation from the unbroken practice of the American military throughout our country’s history.

Defamatory statements” - or the politically incorrect truth?

by Timothy Dailey

June 27, 2008

The theme of this week’s episode of the FX series 30 Days was homosexual adoption. FRC’s own Vice President for Policy, Peter Sprigg, was interviewed, during which he referred to several problems with homosexual parenting that are rooted in the homosexual lifestyle itself: “Homosexuality is associated with higher rates of sexual promiscuity, sexually-transmitted diseases, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse.”

Predictably, homosexual activists were outraged by what they characterized as a “defamatory statement,” and pulled out all the stops to coerce the producers to edit out Peter’s statements. To their credit, the producers refused, and those watching were at least presented with the other side of the story, which contradicts the positive and uncritical depictions of homosexual parenting typically found in media stories.

But what about the statement itself - are homosexual activists correct in asserting that there is “no credible scientific research that backs Sprigg’s claim”? There is, in fact, credible research indicating the negative health effects of homosexuality, including the following:

  • Higher rates of promiscuity: In their study of the sexual profiles of 2,583 older homosexuals published in Journal of Sex Research, Paul Van de Ven et al., find that only 2.7 percent claimed to have had sex with one partner only. The most common response, given by 21.6 percent of the respondents, was of having a hundred and one to five hundred lifetime sex partners. [Source: Paul Van de Ven et al., “A Comparative Demographic and Sexual Profile of Older Homosexually Active Men,” Journal of Sex Research 34 (1997): 354. Dr. Paul Van de Ven reiterated these results in a private conversation with Dr. Robert Gagnon on September 7, 2000.]
  • Increased susceptibility for sexually transmitted diseases and mental illness: The American Family Physician reports that “men who have sex with men are at increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases (including human immunodeficiency virus infection), anal cancer, psychological and behavioral disorders, drug abuse, and eating disorders.” In a survey of studies of mental illness in homosexuals, Family Practice News finds “higher rates of major depression and panic disorder in men in the gay and bisexual groups than in heterosexual men. Three of the four individual studies find more cases of major depression, and two of three individual studies showed more cases of panic disorder, in gay and bisexual men.” [Sources: Daniel Knight, “Health care screening for men who have sex with men,” American Family Physician 69 (May 1, 2004): p. 2149; Sherry Boschert, “Higher Rates of Mental Illness in gays, bisexuals,” Family Practice News (September 15, 2003): 26.]
  • Higher rates of substance abuse: According to the CDC, “[m]ethamphetamine and other ‘party’ drugs (such as ecstasy, ketamine, and GHB [gamma hydroxybutyrate] may be used to decrease social inhibitions and enhance sexual experiences. These drugs, along with alcohol and nitrate inhalants (‘poppers’), have been strongly associated with risky sexual practices among MSM.” [Source: HIV/AIDS and Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM),” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) June 28, 2007. Available at: www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/msm/index.com.]
  • Higher rates of domestic violence: In their book Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them: Battered Gay Men and Domestic Violence, D. Island and P. Letellier report that “the incidence of domestic violence among gay men is nearly double that in the heterosexual population.” [Source: D. Island and P. Letellier, Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them: Battered Gay Men and Domestic Violence (New York: Haworth Press, 1991), p. 14.]
  • Increased incidence of child sexual abuse: A study in the Journal of Sex Research found that “approximately one-third of [child sex offenders] had victimized boys and two-thirds had victimized girls.” The authors then make a prescient observation: “Interestingly, this ratio differs substantially from the ratio of gynephiles (men who erotically prefer physically mature females) to androphiles (men who erotically prefer physically mature males), which is at least 20 to 1.” In other words, although heterosexuals outnumber homosexuals by a ratio of at least 20 to 1, homosexual pedophiles commit about one-third of the total number of child sex offenses.
  • Similarly, the Archives of Sexual Behavior also noted that homosexual pedophiles are significantly overrepresented in child sex offence cases: The best epidemiological evidence indicates that only 2 to 4 percent of men attracted to adults prefer men (ACSF Investigators, 1992; Billy et al., 1993; Fay et al., 1989; Johnson et al., 1992); in contrast, around 25 to 40 percent of men attracted to children prefer boys (Blanchard et al., 1999; Gebhard et al., 1965; Mohr et al., 1964). Thus, the rate of homosexual attraction is 6 to 20 times higher among pedophiles.” [Sources: Freund, “Heterosexuality, Homosexuality, and Erotic Age Preference,” p. 107. In this and previous studies, Freund claims that homosexuals are no more likely than heterosexuals to be attracted to children (p. 115). However, Silverthorn, et al., mentions the limitations of studies by Freund and others: “Studies of homosexual male preferences are also limited… . The Freund et al. (1973) study was possibly compromised because the homosexual men used in the study were selected to be sexually attracted to adults, but not teenaged, males. The Bailey et al. (1994) study was limited in that it did not present participants with objective stimuli but simply asked participants to report what age of sexual partner they preferred … the Jankowiak et al. (1992) study … was limited in two ways: the homosexual male participants had a limited age range of ‘middle-aged professionals’ and the stimuli presented to participants were also of a limited age range (‘university to middle-aged’).” Silverthorn attempted to correct these deficiencies, and in his study found that homosexuals “preferred younger partners than those who preferred female partners”—including those as young as fifteen. Zebulon A. Silverthorne & Vernon L. Quinsey, “Sexual Partner Age Preferences of Homosexual and Heterosexual Men and Women,” Archives of Sexual Behavior 29 (February 2000): 67-76; Ray Blanchard, et al., “Fraternal Birth Order and Sexual Orientation in Pedophiles,” Archives of Sexual Behavior 29 (2000): 464.]

Inside the Brain of Homosexual Activists

by Peter Sprigg

June 23, 2008

Three studies in the early 1990’s gave birth to the widespread belief that homosexuality is determined before birth by some biological (possibly genetic) factor. Although those three studies have been largely discredited, the search for the “gay gene” or, in some cases, the “gay brain,” goes on. Now another such study is in the news, reporting difference between the heterosexual and homosexual brain.

Studies like this are invariably reported as providing evidence that people are “born gay” and can’t change, when they don’t provide anything of the kind. All they show is a limited correlation between certain biological markers and homosexuality, but one of the first principles of statistics and science is that “correlation is not causation.”

I can’t critique this entire study on technical grounds, although I have read it. The sample size of 20 to 25 in each group (by sex and sexual orientation) seems fairly small, but the authors claim statistical significance for their findings. However, they give no explanation of how the study subjects were recruited, so there’s no way to evaluate whether this sample is likely to be representative of the larger population.

What many people don’t understand is that conservatives on the issue of homosexuality have never denied that there may be biological factors which correlate with homosexuality, or even ones which may, to some extent, influence its development. But what has never been found is any such factor that can be proven to cause homosexuality in a deterministic way.

If there were a genetic or biological factor which could fix and determine for all time that a person would be homosexual, then you would expect that factor to be present in every homosexual and in no heterosexual. That’s not what you find in this study, or in any of the similar studies. While there may be a difference is the average level of “cerebral asymmetry,” for example, there’s also considerable overlap between members of the homosexual and heterosexual sample.

One irony in this study is that, in essence, all it is saying is that the brains of homosexual men are more “feminine” that those of heterosexual men, and the brains of homosexual women are more “masculine” than those of heterosexual women. But don’t homosexual activists object to that as stereotyping? I thought they liked to claim that sexual orientation and gender identity are two completely different things.

The real bottom line here is that the “gay brain” and “gay gene” studies have so far produced findings that are only marginally interesting from a scientific perspective. The real reason these studies get so much media attention is because proving that people are born homosexual and cannot change would serve the political purpose of persuading people that sexual orientation is like race, and that it should be treated like race under the law. That’s all that’s really going on in the brains of homosexual activists.

(To learn more, order Getting It Straight: What the Research Shows about Homosexuality)

Heterosexual AIDS Pandemic Won’t Happen

by Peter Sprigg

June 9, 2008

25 years after the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, the leader of the World Health Organization’s efforts against the disease has finally admitted the obvious—there will be no worldwide AIDS pandemic among the general heterosexual population.

Whereas once it was seen as a risk to populations everywhere, it was now recognised that, outside sub-Saharan Africa, it was confined to high-risk groups including men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers and their clients,” reported the British newspaper The Independent, which published an interview with Kevin de Cock of the WHO on June 8

In the article, however, one line stood out in particular:

Any revision of the threat was liable to be seized on by those who rejected HIV as the cause of the disease, or who used the disease as a weapon to stigmatise high risk groups, he said.”

In other words: We couldn’t tell the truth, because it might have made people think there is something wrong with homosexuality, prostitution, and drug use.

Does R. Kelly believe he can fly?

by Ken Blackwell

May 12, 2008

Jury selection in the high-profile child pornography trial of rapper R. Kelly begins today in Cook County, Illinois. Mr. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to having videotaped himself having sex with a minor. Cook County prosecutors have doggedly pursued this case in order to protect children, arrest the degradation of women and establish community values of decency.

We can only hope and pray that the old comedic line “don’t believe your lying eyes” does not prevail.

Student to appeal ban on criticizing homosexuality

by Timothy Dailey

May 2, 2008

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has ruled against the First Amendment rights of students in Boyd County, Ky, to express beliefs about the morality of homosexual behavior, prompting an appeal to the full appeals court.

At the instigation of the American Civil Liberties Union, Boyd County High School allowed a “Gay Straight Alliance” club, and the school district instituted a “diversity” program mandated for all students.

As reported by WorldNetDaily, a video about “diversity” prepared by the school addressed those who might have moral objections to homosexual behavior: “But here is the kicker, just because you believe, just because you don’t like them, just because you disagree with them, just because you believe they are wrong, wholeheartedly, absolutely, they are wrong. Just because you believe that does not give you permission to say anything about it. It doesn’t require that you do anything. You just respect, you just exist, you continue, you leave it alone. There is not permission for you to point it out to them.”

The video also prescribed punishment for such speech, as described in the petition filed by lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing student Timothy Morrison, who has filed a lawsuit against the school: “In both the Code of Conduct and the video, the students were told that violating the district policy could result in a suspension, with ‘a possibility of court referral and local law enforcement agency notified …”

Students were specifically told by the defendant that if they insulted a person by saying that homosexual behavior was wrong, they could face dire consequences.”

One Kentucky paper editorialized in favor of the appeals court decision, claiming that “Morrison was never disciplined for violating the policy or even accused of violating it. Thus, the appeals court said Morrison failed to show he was harmed by the policy.”

However, according to the ADF, the ruling that “chilled speech is not an injury-in-fact” is erroneous: “Other circuits have held, both implicitly and explicitly, that a chill on an individual’s ability to exercise his or her right to free speech is a constitutional injury-in-fact. In our case, the ‘government regulation’ was a direct prohibition against the exercise of First Amendment rights. Students should not be forced to subject themselves to criminal prosecution before they can seek judicial relief from unconstitutional speech policies.”

Let’s hope and pray that, in its ruling, the full appeals court will uphold the right of free expression of all citizens—including those who object to homosexual behavior on moral grounds.

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