The Anti-Christ, Immaculate Conception, and Gay Men’s Sex Roles

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What a title! Of course, the three have little in common. Here are three different studies I happened upon today.

First, Rachel Maddow shared a poll that found that 35% of New Jersey conservatives answered “Yes” or “Not Sure” when asked if President Obama is the Antichrist. Rachel and guest Frank Schaeffer have some really hard-hitting conversation about how numbers like this turn up. I highly suggest you watch it; the clip covers most of the points I would write here.

I have a question, though: so what? I mean, what do they do about it? There’s apparently some statistically relevant population of people who believe it. What does that mean? If I say I believe Obama is the Antichrist, what do I do next? What’s my next step once I have identified the Antichrist? What will the Antichrist do, bring about some Buffyverse-style apocalypse? Like, I just don’t get it. If anyone can explain what leads a person to believe in the Antichrist or what significance that has, please let me know.

Maybe antichrist references should be wrapped up into Godwin’s Law?

Here’s another fun study about fundamentalist religion in our nation. Apparently, the more religious a state is, the higher its teen birth rates, at least by correlation…

However, the results don’t say anything about cause and effect, though study researcher Joseph Strayhorn of Drexel University College of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh offers a speculation of the most probable explanation: “We conjecture that religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging the use of contraception among their teenagers than they are in discouraging sexual intercourse itself.”

But of course, since we know that abstinence-only education works so well, this must be evidence of immaculate conception. Clearly these teens have committed to be celibate/chaste/(liars), so all of these pregnancies must be the result of a higher power (lying)!

When you really talk about sex, you can actually learn something. That’s what researchers did in this study about the sex roles of gay men. I think the article title of “Top scientists…” is a bit funny. At any rate, they looked at the sexual practices of those who identify as “top,” “bottom,” “versatile,” or didn’t identify, and they found some pretty interesting (though not particularly surprising results. Here are a few highlights:

(1) Self-labels are meaningfully correlated with actual sexual behaviors. That is to say, based on self-reports of their recent sexual histories, those who identify as tops are indeed more likely to act as the insertive partner, bottoms are more likely be the receptive partner, and versatiles occupy an intermediate status in sex behavior.

Great! Gay men are more honest about their sexual practices than Christian teens in Mississippi. (See what happens when you take out the shame piece?)

(2) Compared to bottoms, tops are more frequently engaged in (or at least they acknowledge being attracted to) other insertive sexual behaviors. For example, tops also tend to be the more frequent insertive partner during oral intercourse. In fact, this finding of the generalizability of top/bottom self-labels to other types of sexual practices was also uncovered in a correlational study by David Moskowitz, Gerulf Reiger and Michael Roloff. In a 2008 issue of Sexual and Relationship Therapy, these scientists reported that tops were more likely to be the insertive partner in everything from sex-toy play to verbal abuse to urination play.

Tops really like to be tops. I wonder why that is…

(3) Tops were more likely than both bottoms and versatiles to reject a gay self-identity and to have had sex with a woman in the past three months. They also manifested higher internalized homophobia—essentially the degree of self-loathing linked to their homosexual desires.

Internalized homophobia. That makes sense. As long as they’re still doing the fucking, they aren’t entirely “gay.” That parallels a lot of the machismo culture among Latino men as well. I wonder to what extent a person’s preference for top is motivated by their fear of how allowing themselves to bottom affects their own self-identity.

(4) Versatiles seem to enjoy better psychological health. Hart and his coauthors speculate that this may be due to their greater sexual sensation seeking, lower erotophobia (fear of sex), and greater comfort with a variety of roles and activities.

Alright, it’s about time the vers crowd got some kudos. As in all cultures, there is a lot of dichotomic separation among gay men. It would be interesting to do more studies about how committed tops and bottoms perceive those who self-identify as versatile. I also really wish this study included more details about gay men who do not participate in anal sex, a group often ignored and forgotten.

One important walkaway:

Tops also may be more likely to transmit HIV to women because of their greater likelihood of being behaviorally bisexual.

Honesty seems to be the best policy:

» There is no such thing as an antichrist.
» It doesn’t seem to matter if there were.
» Teaching contraception is important.
» Religious faith and sexual health don’t seem to be have the most positive relationship.
» Be safe and be honest about who you have sex with.

Kurt learned that last night. You have to be honest with yourself and honest with those you care about.


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