Sexycologists seemed a little bit excited today when a new study was announced, claiming that
DAUGHTERS OF LESBIAN PARENTS MORE LIKELY TO BE BISEXUAL!
I think they may have had their ears pricked up as ‘bisexuality’ really is not a subject deemed worthy of research very often. And the research at first glance looked solid. It is conducted by a UNIVERSITY and not a dating site which is good. It is LONGITUDINAL which means it has been based on couples who have been taking part in the research since their children were born (most of whom are now 17).
Department of Psychiatry and Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, University of California, 3570 Clay St., San Francisco, CA, 94118, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I had a look at the abstract and it stated that the research was based on 78 adolescents, 39 girls and 39 boys. Their parents are all lesbian women I think in relationships. For a longitudinal study this is a good-sized cohort and I am sure has produced a lot of fascinating data. But this doesn’t seem to be it.
The abstract quotes statistics from the research, making statements such as:
18.9% of the adolescent girls and 2.7% of the adolescent boys self-rated in the bisexual spectrum, and 0% of girls and 5.4% of boys self-rated as predominantly-to-exclusively homosexual.
These figures were compared with age- and gender-matched adolescents of the National Survey of Family Growth, and the study offspring were significantly older at the time of their first heterosexual contact, and the daughters of lesbian mothers were significantly more likely to have had same-sex contact.
Interesting? well yes but for what reasons?
18.9% of 39 young women, is by my calculations, 7 young women.
2.7% of 39 young men is 1 young man.
Is this data worthy statistically of comparison to a survey of the population of the whole of the United States of America?
Dr kinsey would be turning in his grave.
The thing that gets me is that it seems people can’t do or report on research into gender and sexuality these days without resorting to reporting statistics. And yet, researchers seem to throw all their knowledge of statistical ‘validity’ out the window when it comes to the study of sex and gender, almost as if these subjects are not as important and as scientifically worthy of rigour as other subjects. They rush to conclusions based on the flimsiest of flimsy data and then the conclusions are reported by the press, eager for stories of sex and sexuality because sex sells.
Those of us who do pay attention to the changing behaviours and social /sexual identities of people, maybe especially young people, are sure that change is occuring at an impressive level. A ‘statistically meaningful’ level. But without proper, viable, large-population research, that doesnt consist of survey researchers knocking on your door and asking if you are gay, we won’t be able to ‘prove’ what we think to be true. Also, qualitative research can be just as ‘meaningful’ as quantitative, it just doesn’t produce neat little numbers to put in newspaper headlines.
AND: This research was based on a self-administered online questionnaire. I presume the young people filled it in at home. They could have been in the same room as their parents. They were asked if they had ever been ‘abused’ and by whom. You decide if that is a way to find out about sexual/physical abuse of children by lesbian or any other kind of parent…
Some of Kinsey’s research methods have been criticised, but I think he would not be happy at the tendency in ‘sex research’ these days for people to churn out random, pointless ‘statistics’ in a desperate attempt to explain and categorise our fascinating and ever-evolving sexual identities.
‘This study assessed Kinsey self-ratings and lifetime sexual experiences of 17-year-olds whose lesbian mothers enrolled before these offspring were born in the longest-running, prospective study of same-sex parented families, with a 93% retention rate to date. Data for the current report were gathered through online questionnaires completed by 78 adolescent offspring (39 girls and 39 boys). The adolescents were asked if they had ever been abused and, if so, to specify by whom and the type of abuse (verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual). They were also asked to specify their sexual identity on the Kinsey scale, between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual. Lifetime sexual behavior was assessed through questions about heterosexual and same-sex contact, age of first sexual experience, contraception use, and pregnancy. The results revealed that there were no reports of physical or sexual victimization by a parent or other caregiver. Regarding sexual orientation, 18.9% of the adolescent girls and 2.7% of the adolescent boys self-rated in the bisexual spectrum, and 0% of girls and 5.4% of boys self-rated as predominantly-to-exclusively homosexual. When compared with age- and gender-matched adolescents of the National Survey of Family Growth, the study offspring were significantly older at the time of their first heterosexual contact, and the daughters of lesbian mothers were significantly more likely to have had same-sex contact. These findings suggest that adolescents reared in lesbian families are less likely than their peers to be victimized by a parent or other caregiver, and that daughters of lesbian mothers are more likely to engage in same-sex behavior and to identify as bisexual’.