Showing posts with label Study. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Study. Show all posts

March 4, 2019

Study Shows or Highlights Differences in Suicides Between Gay and Straights

 By Tim Fitzsimons

While research has determined that gays and lesbians are among the U.S. subgroups at an increased risk of suicidal behavior, a new study shines a spotlight on the ways in which suicide among sexual minorities differs from that of their heterosexual counterparts.
The study, published late last month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is thought to be the first to use a large body of government data to examine suicides of gay males and lesbians. In order to compare suicides among sexual minorities to those of the broader population, the study analyzed more than 120,000 suicide deaths of those 15 and older across 18 states from 2003 to 2014.
"The current analysis," the report states, "revealed several differences by age, mechanism of injury, and precipitating circumstances." These differences among sexual minorities, the study continued, "underscore the need for prevention strategies for this population." 
Compared to heterosexuals, the report found gay men who killed themselves were likelier to have had a diagnosed mental health condition, a history of suicidal thoughts or plans, an argument before death and a crisis around the time of death. Like gay men, lesbians were also likelier than heterosexuals to have had a diagnosed mental health condition prior to suicide and were likelier to have tried to signal their desire to attempt suicide before doing so.
The study also compared the "most commonly used mechanism of injury” for straight and gay people who took their own lives. Straight men were the likeliest to use firearms, while straight women were likeliest to use poison. For gay men, the likeliest method of suicide was “hanging/strangulation/suffocation" (38 percent); for lesbians it was “hanging/strangulation/suffocation” (36 percent) and firearms (35 percent).
Noting that when compared to straight youth, lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are five times more likely to attempt suicide, the study suggests “a need to conduct suicide prevention activities across age groups, including youth.”
Another significant finding is that lesbian and gay people are likelier than straight people to have reported a “depressed mood” or “intimate partner problems and arguments” before dying by suicide. The authors suggest “these differences may be linked in part to the minority stress and discrimination that lesbian and gay male populations experience.” The study notes that one of the barriers that stands between sexual minorities and effective mental health care is that “some mental health providers may lack knowledge and awareness of issues (i.e., stigma and homophobia) that may be pertinent to many gender and sexual minority patients.”
In the report's conclusion, the authors suggest their findings can be used for suicide prevention efforts targeting sexual minorities.
"Suicide prevention programs developed or tailored for LGBT individuals can consider the risk factors that are most salient to the targeted population and how these factors may differ from non-LGBT individuals," the study states.
If you are in crisis, feeling suicidal or in need of a safe place to talk, call the 24/7 TrevorLifeline,1-866-488-7386, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

NBC News

November 16, 2018

Study Shows Gay Conversion Therapy is Associated with Suicide

Jack Turban MD MHS

When I went to see the new film Boy Erased this week, half the audience was in tears. The movie depicts the devastating practice of gay conversion therapy, in which therapists or religious professionals try to “cure” young people of their homosexuality. At the end of the movie appears the statistic that 700,000 LGBT Americans have been exposed to conversion therapy — an estimate that includes both conversion therapy for gender identity and sexual orientation.
Psychiatry has a dark history when it comes to supporting LGBT people — or rather, not supporting them. Homosexuality was described as a mental illness for decades until it was dropped from the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1987. Since then, the field has evolved in its stance toward homosexuality. Conversion therapy for sexual orientation is now considered unethical by both The American Psychiatric Associationand The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
What most people don’t realize, is that whether or not sexual orientation conversion therapy for adolescents is harmful was never properly studied. Most argue it doesn’t need to be. Based on expert consensus, literature from the harms of conversion therapy on adults, and inference, nearly every major medical organization labeled sexual orientation conversion therapy unethical.
new study published this month in the Journal of Homosexuality finally provides some concrete evidence, however, that sexual orientation conversion therapy during adolescence is associated with poor mental health outcomes.
The study recruited 245 LGBT people between the ages of 21 and 25. Participants were asked two questions about sexual orientation conversion therapy:
(1) Between ages 13 and 19, how often did any of your parents/caregivers try to change your sexual orientation (i.e., to make you straight)?
(2) Between ages 13 and 19, how often did any of your parents/caregivers take you to a therapist or religious leader to cure, treat, or change your sexual orientation?
They also had participants complete a number of mental health measures. Those whose parents tried to change their sexual orientation had three-fold higher odds of having ever attempted suicide (aOR 3.08, 95 percent CI 1.39-6.83). Those whose parents enlisted the help of a professional (therapist or religious leader) to change their sexual orientation had a five-fold higher odds of having ever attempted suicide (aOR 5.07, 95 percent CI 2.38-10.79).
Overall, the field of psychiatry continues to condemn efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation. We now have additional data to show that such efforts are dangerous. As I’ve written before, several states have begun to outlaw the practice. I hope this new data will help propel lawmakers in other states to do the same. 
The study has some limitations, which are further described in the manuscript. Notably, the authors recruited only people to identified as LGBT at the time of the study. The study would not have included people who identified as LGB during adolescence but not that the time of the study. Regardless, however, the study shows that there is a sizable number of people exposed to sexual orientation conversion therapy who then suffer poor mental health outcomes and that these mental health outcomes are worse than LGB young adults who are not exposed to conversion efforts.
Ryan, C., Toomey, R. B., Diaz, R. M., & Russell, S. T. (2018). Parent-Initiated Sexual Orientation Change Efforts With LGBT Adolescents: Implications for Young Adult Mental Health and Adjustment. Journal of homosexuality, 1-15.

September 17, 2018

New Findings from SDSU on Gay and Transgender Identities Finds They Begin As Early as 9 and 10

By La Monica Everett-Haynes

As early as ages 9 and 10, about one percent of children self-identify as potentially gay, bisexual or transgender, according to a national study of the sexual orientation and gender identity development of thousands of youth across the nation. 

With the majority of previous studies indicating that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) self-identification generally occurs during the mid-adolescent years, the report by San Diego State University  researchers Jerel P. Calzo and Aaron J. Blashill is providing new insights into early identity development.

“This is such an important stage, biologically and socially,” said Calzo, an associate professor in SDSU’s School of Public Health and lead author of the study. “At 9 and 10, youth—whether through their peers, media or parents—are beginning to be exposed to more information about relationships and interacting in the world. They may not see any of this as sexual, but they are beginning to experience strong feelings.”

The team’s findings were derived from datasets of computer-assisted interviews with more than 4,500 9- and 10-year-old children for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States. Protocols for the overall ABCD study were approved by the institutional review board at the University of California, San Diego, one of 21 institutions recruiting families for the study, and home for its data collection hub. All interviews were conducted with the consent of the parents. 

The findings were published in the current issue of JAMA Pediatrics.

Calzo and Blashill utilized 2016-17 data collected from the ABCD Study dataset. The study asked children, “Are you gay or bisexual?” In response, 0.2 percent said “yes” and 0.7 percent said “maybe.” About 75 percent said "no," and 23.7 percent said they didn’t understand the question.

To the question, “Are you transgender?” 0.1 percent said “yes” and 0.4 percent said “maybe.” Some 38 percent said they didn’t understand the question; the rest responded “no.”

“One percent is sizable, given that they are so young,” said Blashill, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology. 

“For so long, social scientists have assumed that there is no point in asking kids at this age about their sexual orientation, believing they do not have the cognitive ability to understand,” he said. “This is the first study to actually ask children about their sexual orientation this young. It is important to have a baseline to understand how sexuality develops and how it may change over time.” 

Blashill and Calzo also investigated identity-related stress and how parents perceived their children’s sexual and gender identities. 

More than 13 percent of parents, when asked about the sexual identity of their children, reported their child might be gay and 1.2 percent reported that their child might be transgender, the team found. 

Another finding was that the 9- and 10-year-olds in the study who identified as gay, bisexual or transgender overwhelmingly reported no problems at home or school related to their minority sexual orientation or gender identity, while 7 percent of parents reported gender identity-based problems. 

As sexual and gender minorities experience higher rates of physical and mental health issues than do their heterosexual counterparts, the research may provide crucial insights into resiliency development within the LGBT community. It could also help lead to improved programs and policies to better serve the community, Calzo said.

“If we can understand identity development earlier and can track development using large datasets, we can begin improving research and prevention around risk and protective factors,” Calzo said, adding that he and Blashill purposefully set out to study sexual identity issues among youth at earlier ages than previous research. 

Another key finding is that researchers must identify better ways to explore identity issues among younger populations, as 23.7 percent of those surveyed indicated they did not understand questions about sexual orientation. This will be crucial as researchers seek to explore other issues, such as same-gender attraction and gender expression, in young children. 

“ABCD does plan to include more measures, and other researchers are studying sexual orientation and gender expression,” said Calzo. “We know from other studies that these identities can change over time. This research helps us to understand sexual and gender identity younger, so that we can have a much better understanding of these identities over time.”

The project is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


June 1, 2018

The Partisan Divisions are Harming The Family Unity, A New Study Shows

Heightened partisan divisions associated with the 2016 presidential election resulted in a shortening of Americans' Thanksgiving dinners that year, by 30–50 minutes, a new study in science found.
Why it matters: The research, using precinct-level polling information and a vast database of anonymized cellphone location records, suggests that Americans are less willing to socialize with family members who hold opposing political viewpoints. However, at least one outside expert is raising the alarm on using that level of data for non-government surveillance.
"I have not come across a paper that relied on such precise cell phone data. This strikes me as novel and innovative. It also makes me feel a little uneasy." 
— Jeremy Frimer, political scientist, University of Winnip
  • The first is via the company SafeGraph, which looks at anonymized smartphone-location data from more than 10 million Americans, allowing researchers to observe actual travel at a precise time and geographic levels. The study examined a database of 21 billion pings from November 2016, as well as 4.5 billion pings from November of the prior year.
  • The second is a precinct-level database for presidential voting for the 2016 election, as well as 2015 voting information. That data encompasses 172,098 precincts across 99.9% of counties nationally, the paper states. 
What they did: The cellphone data gave researchers Keith Chen of UCLA and Ryne Rohla of Washington State University an idea of which precinct a voter was in, by inferring each smartphone user's home based on the pings between 1am and 4am local time.
  • They used the precinct-level voting information, along with Census data, to infer how each anonymous phone number likely voted. 
  • They incorporated Thanksgiving Day smartphone pings between 1pm and 5pm during both 2015 and 2016 for about 10,000 phone numbers (i.e. voters) that showed up in both years' data.
  • The scientists also looked at the effects of the barrage of political advertising that people living in swing states were subjected to during the 2016 election, compared to 2015.
What they found: They found that political advertising likely more than tripled the "Thanksgiving effect" in 2016.
  • Thanksgiving dinners attended by people who were likely to be of opposing parties were cut short by 30 to 50 minutes. Nationwide, 34 million hours of cross-partisan Thanksgiving dinner discussion was lost in 2016, the researchers found. 
  • The Thanksgiving effect was not there in 2015, although the sample size that year was smaller. “That’s not, you know, bulletproof but that’s kind of interesting,” Chen told Axios.
  • Cross-partisan Thanksgiving dinners were cut especially short in areas where people were exposed to high volumes of political ads, such as Orlando, Florida, which is a swing part of a swing state. 
Privacy concerns: Frimer, who was not part of this study, said the use of the precision cellphone data raises some alarm bells, particularly in the wake of the debate regarding the 2016 campaign political ad targeting methods that were used. He said: 
"Using cellphone data for national security purposes (with judicial oversight) seems like a reasonable compromise between needs for privacy and safety. Whether allowing this level of surveillance for commercial/scientific purposes is another matter and worthy of reflection and discussion. Personally, I feel uncomfortable with allowing companies to sell and distribute such personal data for commercial/scientific purposes."
Yes, but: Frimer said the analysis in the paper is "an extremely impressive demonstration of a well-established psychological phenomenon called the selective exposure," or confirmation bias, although he questioned some of its findings. 
Study limitations: The study implies that there's real personal damage being done to Americans due to the politically charged atmosphere. “It has personal costs," Chen said. However, the research is only based on two years of data, and the U.S. has been through periods of intense political divisions before.
What's next:  The study's authors plan to track Thanksgiving data for 2018 and beyond to see if the partisan divisions harden, or if people get used to this level of political tension and the effects diminish. 
“This particular blend of partisanship that is emerging now…I suspect that people are going to acclimate to that," Chen said.

The postion the US is in would be a challenge to the best but the best is not what we got since he is the one tha is got us in these looming crisis' from NKorea, Iran and Now the Whole European Union and with our best and closest alies like Canada and UK 🦊
President Trump is now confronting two nuclear standoffs and fighting a trade war on multiple fronts — all at the same time.
The big picture: Trump's March decision to agree to meet with Kim Jong-un led to speculation he might hold off on withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, so as not to face dueling nuclear dilemmas. He didn't. Common cause on North Korea had seemed to pave the way for a trade war truce with China. It didn't. Now, Trump is slapping tariffs on America's closest allies — and they're hitting back.

December 13, 2017

Research on How The Body Makes a Gay Baby

Gay men have, on average, a greater number of older brothers compared with their heterosexual counterparts. 

The pattern referred to as the fraternal birth order effect, isn’t new to scientists, but researchers from Canada’s Brock University, the University of Toronto and from Harvard Medical School now believe they have a biological explanation.

According to the study, published in the journal PNAS Monday, maternal antibodies in the womb may play a role in the process. 

Researchers believe that when a woman gets pregnant with her first boy, a protein linked to the male Y chromosome (which is only produced in males) enters her bloodstream.

Her body then creates antibodies, because it recognizes the protein as a foreign substance.

With every male baby, the woman has, the build-up of antibodies increases. At high concentrations, it’s possible that the antibodies enter the brain of the second male fetus. 

"That may alter the functions in the brain, changing the direction of how the male fetus may later develop their sense of attraction," study author Anthony Bogaert of Canada’s Brock University, told CNN.

To test this, the scientists collected blood samples from 142 pregnant women and tested them for antibodies to the brain protein known as NLGN4Y (also only produced in males). 

Here’s what they found:

*Mothers of homosexual sons with older male siblings had the most increased concentrations of antibodies against the protein.

*Mothers of homosexual sons with no older male siblings had the second-most increased levels of antibodies against the protein.

*Mothers of heterosexual sons had lower levels of the antibodies.

*Mothers without sons had the lowest level of the antibodies.

Bogaert and his team have been exploring the subject for more than 20 years and have found the pattern exists across cultures.

In a research project 10 years ago, his team of psychologists and immunologists tested antibody reactivity to two male-only proteins in 16 women without sons, 72 mothers with heterosexual sons, 31 mothers with gay sons and no older brothers, 23 mothers of gay sons with older brothers, and a control group of 12 men.

That research showed the immune response to the proteins and found that mothers of gay sons, especially those with older brothers, had significantly higher concentrations of the antibody than the other women. 

But psychologists warned that the effects were modest and even if a male child has multiple male siblings, the likelihood of that child being gay is still small. 

"The implications of this [new] study, especially if and when it is replicated by an independent team, are profound," Bogaert said in a university news release. "Along with more deeply understanding the exact origin of the older brother effect, it helps solidify the idea that, at least in men, there's a strong biological basis to sexual orientation” and “adds to the growing scientific consensus that homosexuality is not a choice, but rather an innate predisposition.”

But, he added, though the research is getting closer to finding a mechanism, “I wouldn’t say we’ve solved the fraternal birth order effect puzzle.”

October 26, 2017

New Study Shows Sex is Not Seen As Sex for All People

Sexual activities like oral sex or fingering may or may not actually count as sex, depending on who you ask.

Prior research has examined how heterosexual individuals define sex; however, these studies have rarely focused on sexual minority individuals or included a full range of applicable sexual behaviors. Participants were recruited from a local Pride Festival across two years. 

Study 1 (N = 329) was primarily descriptive and examined which physically intimate behaviors lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) participants included in their definitions of sex and the behaviors in which they had previously engaged. 

Study 2 (N = 393) utilized a between-subjects design to assess differences in definitions of sex when judging one’s own behavior compared with that of a partner outside of the relationship. The behaviors in which participants were most likely to have engaged were manual-genital (82%) and oral-genital stimulation (79%). Regarding definitions of sex, a clear “gold standard” emerged for men, with 90% endorsing penile-anal intercourse as sex. 


Earlier research shows that a majority of straight people count only penetrative sex(vaginal or anal) as sex, but do not count oral sex or genital touching. But straight people are only a portion of the population, and certainly don't get to define sex for all of us. So a new study published in The Journal of Sex Research set out to learn what gay, lesbian, and bisexual people count as Sex

No equally clear standard existed for women. Participants who were asked to consider their partner’s behavior outside of their relationship were more likely to endorse the behavior as “having sex” than participants asked to consider their own behavior. This study addressed a major limitation of prior research by investigating definitions of sex among a community sample of LGB adults, with implications for the provision of healthcare and sexual agreements between same-sex couples.

Surprisingly, about 30% of women who have sex with other women also don't count oral sex as actual sex, though the 70% who do is a much larger percentage than among straight people (less than 25%). Use of sex toys like double-ended dildos also counted as sex for 70% of queer women, while acts such as fingering, scissoring, and mutual masturbation counted for at least 50%, Women's Health reports.

Among queer men, penetration once again became the "gold standard," according to the study — 90% said that penetrative anal sex definitely counted as sex. A majority (more than 50%) also counted oral sex and rimming (oral-anal stimulation) as sex.

July 3, 2017

Pilot Study Finds Discrimination Against Gay Men In Housing in US

 Rainbow burnt right from the window on this house

 pilot study released Thursday by the Urban Institute found instances of housing discrimination against gay men and transgender people in three major U.S. metropolitan areas.

In Los Angeles and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where researchers sought to compare the experiences of gay men to heterosexual men and lesbians to heterosexual women, field testers posed as equally qualified rental home seekers who differed only in their sexual orientation. In Washington, D.C., the researchers compared the experiences of transgender and non-transgender people seeking a rental home.

After more than 2,000 paired tests across the three three metropolitan areas, the pilot study found gay men and transgender people — though not lesbians — were treated differently by housing providers. House providers told gay men about fewer available rental units, quoted them higher prices and were less likely to schedule appointments with them. Transgender people were less likely to be told about available rental units than their non-transgender counterparts.

“Differential treatment matters," Diane Levy, the study's author and a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, said in a statement emailed to NBC Out. "When people are discriminated against in their housing searches, not only does it go against our collective value of equal opportunity, but it limits their options for where to live, which can affect how they get to work, the schools their children attend, and other facets of their daily lives.” 

Most of the information about discrimination against the LGBTQ community comes from surveys, according to Levy, which is often anecdotal in nature and may not go beyond the most blatant forms of discrimination. She, therefore, hopes this pilot study, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will help establish protocols for collecting more data on LGBTQ discrimination.

"The pilot study results, though not generalizable, add to the emerging picture of discrimination in the housing market against lesbians, gay men, and transgender people, and lay the groundwork for more expansive studies of this kind," Levy told NBC Out.

Past HUD-funded discrimination studies have focused on federally protected classes such as religion, race, national origin, sex and familial status. While the Fair Housing Act has does not specifically include federal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, this type of discrimination may be covered if it's based on non-conformity with gender stereotypes. Despite the absence of federal protections, 20 states and Washington, D.C., prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

April 11, 2017

New Harvard Rigorous Study:’The More FB the Worse You Feel’

The average Facebook user spends almost an hour on the site every day, according to data provided by the company last year. A Deloitte survey found that for many smartphone users, checking social media apps are the first thing they do in the morning – often before even getting out of bed. Of course, social interaction is a healthy and necessary part of human existence. Thousands of studies have concluded that most human beings thrive when they have strong, positive relationships with other human beings.

The challenge is that most of the work on social interaction has been conducted using “real world,” face-to-face social networks, in contrast to the types of online relationships that are increasingly common. So, while we know that old-fashioned social interaction is healthy, what about social interaction that is completely mediated through an electronic screen? When you wake up in the morning and tap on that little blue icon, what impact does it have on you?

Prior research has shown that the use of social media may detract from face-to-face relationships, reduce investment in meaningful activities, increase sedentary behavior by encouraging more screen time, lead to internet addiction, and erode self-esteem through unfavorable social comparison. Self-comparison can be a strong influence on human behavior, and because people tend to display the most positive aspects of their lives on social media, it is possible for an individual to believe that their own life compares negatively to what they see presented by others. But some skeptics have wondered if perhaps people with lower well-being are more likely to use social media, rather than social media causing lower well-being. Moreover, other studies have found that social media use has a positive impact on well-being through increased social support and reinforcement of  real world relationships.

We wanted to get a clearer picture of the relationship between social media use and well-being. In our study, we used three waves of data from 5,208 adults from a national longitudinal panel maintained by the Gallup organization, coupled with several different measures of Facebook usage, to see how well-being changed over time in association with Facebook use. Our measures of well-being included life satisfaction, self-reported mental health, self-reported physical health, and body-mass index (BMI). Our measures of Facebook use included liking others’ posts, creating one’s own posts, and clicking on links. We also had measures of respondents’ real-world social networks.  In each wave, respondents were asked to name up to four friends with whom they discuss important matters and up to four friends with whom they spend their free time, so that each participant could name up to a total of eight unique individuals.

Our approach had three strengths that set it apart from most of the previous work on the topic. First, we had three waves of data for many of our respondents over a period of two years. This allowed us to track how changes in social media use were associated with changes in well-being. Most studies done to date only use one period of data, limiting interpretations of conclusions to simple associations. Second, we had objective measures of Facebook use, pulled directly from participants’ Facebook accounts, rather than measures based on a person’s self-report. Third, in addition to the Facebook data, we had information regarding the respondents’ real-world social networks, which would allow us to directly compare the two influences (face-to-face networks and online interactions). Of course, our study has limitations too, including that we could not be certain about how fully representative it was because not everyone in the Gallup sample allowed us access to their Facebook data.

Overall, our results showed that, while real-world social networks were positively associated with overall well-being, the use of Facebook was negatively associated with overall well-being. These results were particularly strong for mental health; most measures of Facebook use in one year predicted a decrease in mental health in a later year. We found consistently that both liking others’ content and clicking links significantly predicted a subsequent reduction in self-reported physical health, mental health, and life satisfaction.

Our models included measures of real-world networks and adjusted for baseline Facebook use. When we accounted for a person’s level of initial well-being, initial real-world networks, and initial level of Facebook use, increased use of Facebook was still associated with a likelihood of diminished future well-being. This provides some evidence that the association between Facebook use and compromised well-being is a dynamic process.

Although we can show that Facebook use seems to lead to diminished well-being, we cannot definitively say how that occurs. We did not see much difference between the three types of activity we measured — liking, posting, and clicking links, (although liking and clicking were more consistently significant) — and the impact on the user. This was interesting, because while we expected that “liking” other people’s content would be more likely to lead to negative self-comparisons and thus decreases in well-being, updating one’s own status and clicking links seemed to have a similar effect (although the nature of status updates can ostensibly be the result of social comparison-tailoring your own Facebook image based on how others will perceive it). Overall our results suggests that well-being declines are also matter of quantity of use rather than only quality of use. If this is the case, our results contrast with previous research arguing that the quantity of social media interaction is irrelevant, and that only the quality of those interactions matter.

These results then may be relevant for other forms of social media. While many platforms expose the user to the sort of polished profiles of others that can lead to negative self-comparison, the issue of quantity of usage will be an issue for any social media platform.  While screen time in general can be problematic, the tricky thing about social media is that while we are using it, we get the impression that we are engaging in meaningful social interaction. Our results suggest that the nature and quality of this sort of connection is no substitute for the real world interaction we need for a healthy life.

The full story when it comes to online social media use is surely complex. Exposure to the carefully curated images from others’ lives leads to negative self-comparison, and the sheer quantity of social media interaction may detract from more meaningful real-life experiences.  What seems quite clear, however, is that online social interactions are no substitute for the real thing.

Holly B. Shakya is an Assistant Professor of Global Public Health at UC San Diego. She specializes in social network analysis and social norms theory, and is currently on an NIH funded project to understand the social network and social normative determinants of adolescent fertility in the developing world.
Nicholas A. Christakis directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale University and is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science. He is the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science, appointed in the Departments of Sociology, Medicine, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Bioengineering at Yale University.

September 13, 2016

JSM*: Homophobia An Impulsive Attraction to Same Sex

Often political and religious leaders who campaign against gay rights are implicated in sexual encounters with the same sex.

Ted Haggard, for example, was once one of America’s most charismatic and powerful evangelical leaders with an audience of more than 30 million people.

Haggard opposed same-sex marriage and gay rights, but was later exposed for paying a male escort for crystal meth. He later admitted he spent years trying to deny his attraction to men and that "if I were 21 in this society, I would identify myself as a bisexual".
So, in the study, the group of homophobic men were challenged to prove this theory wrong, by proving that they are straight.


*The Journal of Sexual Medicine published the study, by researchers at the University of Geneva, where they tested 38 heterosexual male subjects for their impulsive approach tendencies toward homosexual stimuli.

"These findings confirm the importance of considering the variability in impulsive processes to understand why some (but not all) men high in homophobia have homosexual interest. These findings reinforce the theoretical basis for elaborating a dual-process model for behaviors in the sexual context."

Okay, some but not all.

However, direct comparisons may be made between this study and another one conducted in 1996.

This study literally monitored increases in penile circumference in response to sexually explicit videos and their conclusion was similar.

"Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli. The groups did not differ in aggression. Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies."

So let your homophobic loved ones know, honey it’s okay to be gay because you might be.

July 22, 2015

Sexual Study of 105 Women Rating the Importance of 8 Penile Aspects


 Changes sought after by average men today. Not related to study.

Women (n = 105) were asked to evaluate photos of surgically repaired genital malformations. They did not know that half the photosets showed “normal”, circumcised genitals.
For every photoset in the questionnaire, women had to indicate on a 4-point scale ranging from total disagreement (1) to full agreement (4) how much they agreed with the statement: “This is a normal (-looking) penis.”

Importance of Penile Aspects

In the questionnaire, women were also asked how important they consider eight different aspects of a penis on a 5-point scale ranging from very unimportant (1) to very important (5). The penile aspects were penile length, penile girth, position and shape of meatus, shape of glans, appearance of scrotum, shape of penile skin, appearance of pubic hair, and general cosmetic appearance. These penile aspects were chosen based on the Penile Perception Score (PPS) [12] and the work of Mureau et al. [13] and Winter [14].
We were not sure whether the exposure to multiple photos of HASRGs would affect the way women looked at genitals, with a possible influence on their evaluation of particular aspects of the appearance. Consequently, one half of the women (n = 55) evaluated the importance of the penile aspects before rating photosets of HASRGs and the other half (n = 50) after rating photosets of HASRGs.

Sexuality of Women

Furthermore, the questionnaire included questions on women's own sexuality (e.g. numbers of sexual partners). A short Sexual Interest Scale (on the basis of the work of Bucher et al. [15] ) was calculated by the averaged sum of two items, women's level of sexual desire and women's frequency of masturbation for the last 3 months. Both items were scored as follows: 0 = never, 1 = less than once a month; 2 = once a month; 3 = twice or three times a month; 4 = once a week; 5 = twice or three times a week; and 6 = every or nearly every day.

Socioeconomic Status (SES)

SES for adults was calculated on the basis of their education and occupation, and SES for adolescents was calculated on the basis of maternal education and paternal occupation. Education and occupation were scored on a 6-point scale. SES scores (range: 2–12 points) were subdivided into three social classes: lower (2–5 points); middle (6–9 points), and upper (10–12 points). This measure has proven to be a reliable and valid indicator of SES [16].


The study was approved by the ethical committee of the Canton of Zurich, which is responsible for approval of all research studies. All selected women received an information letter about the study. Those who were interested were asked to return a signed consent form. Women younger than 18 years old had to provide a consent form signed by their parents to participate. After a few months, a reminder was sent to all nonresponders.
Adolescents were interviewed at school and adults at the hospital. After answering the questionnaires, participants had the opportunity to talk to a psychologist.

Statistical Analysis

Data were analyzed with SPSS (version 16) for Windows (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). A P < 0.05 was considered significant. Two-sided tests were performed for all calculations. Effect sizes (Cohen's d) were calculated to show the clinical relevance of group differences [17]. Mann–Whitney U-tests were performed for comparisons of the ratings of penile aspects that were made before and after the evaluation of photosets. Wilcoxon tests were computed regarding the appraisal of photosets.
Two multiple regression analyses were computed. After square-root transformation, both dependent variables were normally distributed (Kolmogorov–Smirnov test). Dependent variables were “normality of penile look of HASRGs” and “normality of penile look of circumcised genitals.” According to their significance in bivariate correlations with the dependent variable and based on a priori assumptions, the following predictors were chosen: age, number of sexual partners, sexual interest, importance of penile length, importance of position and shape of the meatus, and importance of general cosmetic appearance.


Characteristics of the Study Sample

Table 1 shows the demographic and sexual characteristics of the final study sample consisting of 105 women in three different age groups with a mean age of 28.37 years (SD = 9.65). Regarding their sexual experiences, only 18 of 33 women (54.5%) in the youngest age group (16–20 years) reported that they had experience of sexual intercourse. In contrast, all participants of the two older age groups (25–30 years and 40–45 years) had experience of sexual intercourse.
Table 1. Demographic characteristics and sexual characteristics of women (n = 105)
  1. SD = standard deviation.
Age (years)                    Quantity
Mean (SD)28.379.65
Median (range)27.016–45
Socioeconomic status (n)
Relationship status (n)
Living in a relationship6561.9%
Number of sexual partners
Mean (SD)7.227.75
Median (range)4.50–40
Sexual interest scale
Mean (SD)3.441.29
Median (range)3.500.00–6.00

Importance of Several Penile Aspects

As displayed in Table 2, on average, “general cosmetic appearance” was rated as the most relevant aspect of penile appearance, “penile length” was ranked sixth, and the item “position and shape of meatus” was ranked last.
Table 2. Rating of eight aspects of penile appearance by women
Importance of eight penile aspectsRating before evaluation of photosets (n = 55)Rating after evaluation of photosets (n = 50)
OrderMeanSD    -{*}-OrderMeanSDPCohen's d
  1. *P < 0.05, **P < 0.01.
  2. U-tests according to Mann–Whitney.
  3. Bold indicates significant results.
    1 = very unimportant; 2 = unimportant; 3 = neither important nor unimportant; 4 = important; 5 = very important.
  4. Effect sizes according to Cohen: 0.20 small effect size; 0.50 medium effect size; > 0.80 large effect size.
    SD = standard deviation.

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Importance of penile length63.190.7563.540.870.02*−0.43
Importance of penile girth33.410.7473.460.820.74−0.06
Importance of position and shape of meatus (where is pointing)82.370.8882.631.120.29−0.26
Importance of shape of glans53.280.9033.710.900.005**−0.48
Importance of appearance of scrotum73.021.0043.690.850.001**−0.72
Importance of penile skin33.411.0023.890.890.02*−0.51
Importance of appearance of pubic hair23.431.1653.601.200.38−0.14

Importance of general cosmetic appearance

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