Monday, December 29, 2008

Apparently I can speak Italian!

Someone sent me myself in Italian, but somehow the link got deleted. I'll add it back.
an article that quotes me as saying, "Sembra che l'astinenza debba derivare da una convinzione personale piuttosto che dall'adesione a un programma." Exactly.

Here's more coverage:
WebMD: I had a really enjoyable interview with them in 2006 and they wrote a great article. This article is just based on the paper's abstract.

This blog is wrong: pledgers and non-pledgers have anal sex at the same rates. I bet the writer just wanted to include the phrase "unprotected anal sex" and quote Dan Savage's column from this week. I don't blame him. It was a funny column.


Here's the rundown of what I've seen so far.

My favorite so far is a note from a virginity pledger which amazingly says what I speculated about in some interviews today:

As a 28-year-old Christian, I made my pledge more than 10 years ago, but that didn't stop my mother from educating me about sex (of all kinds) condoms and what happens when the "hose meets the flower" (she was a lot less delicate about it -- but I won't say what she actually said in print). I don't even think that she expected me to stay a virgin this long (she actually supports a little sexual experimentation before I marry), but the decision was mine from the beginning -- and the decision has to be your teen's as well. If you pressure them to make a decision that they are not ready for -- they won't keep it, they will lie to you about their activity and then you might be wondering why a bundle of joy is calling you Grandma.

Reflections on my study from a parent: conclusion: advocate abstinence, teach birth control, and try to keep open communication. Right on! she asked really good and thorough questions, and so far, this is the most thorough article. I'm glad that it worked out because I was interviewed in the car on the way from Indiana to Chicago, and I found the corn fields slightly distracting.

One blog post on the study is interesting, and I want to think about it.

Virginity pledges portray premarital sex as a sin. We tend to sneak around or be impulsive about things that make us feel guilty. We tend to take more reasonable approaches to things that don’t make us feel guilty.

What this study didn’t control for (and what I don’t think can be controlled for) is whether or not the pledge takers would have approached premarital sex with a high level of guilt and the same aversion to birth control even if they hadn’t take a pledge. What comes first? The view that premarital sex is a sin? Or the pledge?

The reasoning about not using birth control because of guilt is entirely the blog poster's. I didn't look at that. I am inclined to say that guilt isn't the intermediate variable, and instead having been taught inaccurate information about birth control, but it's an interesting question.

The big report was, of course, the Washington Post's and the

The Today Show really impressed me because they were able to cover the study so succinctly in the 5 minute segment. I know it was a written script and the psychologist wasn't improvising her answers on the spot, so that's why it could go so quickly, but it was still impressive that they fit so many details in.

One report referred to "The Rosenbaum study" and "Her team’s conclusions". The UK Daily Mail calls me "Miss Rosenbaum" and it's also slightly inaccurate: it's 15-18 year olds; no 14 year olds in my study.

Dan Savage quotes someone named Atrioson my study.

While the fact that virginity pledges and abstinence-only sex "ed" don't stop teens from having sex is unsurprising, I doubt that even proponents are particularly surprised. They aren't interested in abstinence, really, they're interested in making sure "bad girls" get punished for having sex by being subject to the appropriate consequences. So it actually works as designed.

I've read Dan Savage's column since I was in high school, and I often agree on his sex advice. On this count, I completely disagree with Atrios. The virginity pledge was an attempt by adults to make abstinence cool. I've not seen any evidence that anyone wants to demonize anyone else. Incidentally, from a health standpoint, it makes sense to focus more on girls: they are more vulnerable to STDs.

Health Day: part of ABC news?.


One article describes me as "the researcher in charge of the study". We're a pretty small operation here: me and my computer.

One article has the baffling headline "Teenage self discipline as effective as promiscuity".

Okay, that's enough for now. Somewhat disorganized.

1 comment:

Rob McGee said...

I've read Dan Savage's column since I was in high school, and I often agree on his sex advice.

As a counterpoint to Dan Savage, I would refer you to Bill Weintraub, who since the late '90s has been encouraging homosexual and bisexual men to abstain entirely from anal sex while NOT abstaining from other forms of male/male erotic intimacy, such as fellatio and mutual masturbation. (Specifically, he promotes a type of mutual masturbation that he terms ''frot,'' which involves two men rubbing their erect penises together.)

Weintraub's basis for arguing that gay/bi men should not have anal intercourse at all, even though they can be sexually intimate in other ways, is that even with a condom, anal sex entails much too much health risk and physical discomfort for the receptive partner, and that the risk and discomfort aren't sufficiently outweighed by the mild pleasure of being anally penetrated.

Along with this, he argues that the widespread popularity of anal sex among gay men is something of a scam, perpetuated by gay porn that hugely exaggerates the pleasures of being anally penetrated, while simultaneously downplaying and whitewashing the drawbacks of anal sex.

Speaking as a 37-year-old homo with more than 15 years of firsthand male/male sexual experience, including plenty of experimentation with receptive anal sex, I am mostly inclined to agree with Weintraub. (The point on which we disagree is that he says the proper response to anal sex is "Never!", while I say that "Hardly ever" is sufficient. I.e., there's no need to prohibit it entirely, but gay men would be better off if gay male culture viewed anal sex as something kinky that should only be done in a very, very committed relationship, rather than a "vanilla" act that's acceptable during casual dating -- as is currently the prevailing view.

Anyway, I just wanted to bring Weintraub to your attention because I think he represents a Third Way between total abstinence and "anything goes so long as you wear a condom."