"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Friday, September 16, 2005
The National Center for Health Statistics released the government's most comprehensive survey of American sexual practices and reproductive health yesterday, delving for the first time into such sensitive areas as the prevalence of oral sex among teenagers and same-sex activity among adults.
Oral sex among teenagers has in recent years become a topic of rampant speculation and little solid data, apart from a 1995 Urban Institute study of adolescent boys. The new statistics confirm that study's findings that oral sex is very much part of the teenage sexual repertory. According to the survey, more than half of all teenagers aged 15 to 19 have engaged in oral sex - including nearly a quarter of those who have never had intercourse.
The interesting thing about the article, I think, is what it reveals about teenagers' (and others') attitudes concerning homosexuality:
About 4 percent of men and women described themselves as homosexual or bisexual, but in a finding that surprised the researchers, 14 percent of the women aged 18 to 29 reported at least one homosexual experience, more than twice the proportion for young men.
The report offers new information about homosexuality in the United States. Among adults ages 15 to 44, almost 3 percent of men and 4 percent of women reported having a sexual experience with a member of the same sex within the past year, and over their lifetimes, 6 percent of men and 11 percent of women had such experiences. About 1 percent of men and 3 percent of women had had both male and female sexual partners in the previous 12 months.
Nearly 6 percent of all men ages 15 to 44 reported having oral sex with another man at some time in their lives, and nearly 4 percent reported having anal sex with another man....
While many of the findings in the government report parallel those of the last large-scale study of American sexual behavior, a 1992 study of 18- to 59-year-olds by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, the lead author of the new study said it found a new and unexpected increase in lesbian activity among young women. It may not be such a surprise among those of college age, who speak of LUG's - lesbians until graduation....
The study also asked about sexual attraction. Among men 18 to 44, 90 percent said they thought of themselves as heterosexual, 2 percent as homosexual, 2 percent as bisexual and 4 percent as "something else," findings similar to those in 1992.
Wow, we got us some serious denial here among young men - I mean, "something else"? Dude, the choices are pretty strightforward; you get to choose straight, gay, or bi. Unless I'm supposed to believe that one out of every 25 men is simply asexual - possible, but unlikely - I have to conclude that some of you just don't want to face the truth. Especially when 6% of you have engaged in some boy-on-boy knob slobbing. And the women are only slightly less deluded - only 4% of you will admit to being gay or bi, but 14% have actually had sex with another woman? Excuse me, but what, exactly, do you think "bisexual" means?
Really, though, I only have two reasons for mentioning this story at all. First, while I am familiar (not intimately so, I'm afraid) with the phenomenon of women experimenting with bisexuality in their youth, I had never before heard the expression "lesbian until graduation" - which adds a new dimension to that old expression, "I love ya, you big LUG." Second, I couldn't help but get a chuckle out of the name of one of the researchers cited in the story (emphasis supplied):
"One thing that surprised me is that we expected, based on anecdotal evidence, that girls might be more likely to give oral sex and boys more likely to receive it, but we didn't find that at all," said Dr. Jennifer Manlove, of Child Trends, which, like Ms. Brown's group, released an analysis of the data, "There's more gender equality than we expected."
Cue Beavis and Butthead.