Boyz-2-Men

The Mark Foley scandal has afforded an opportunity for social conservatives to revive the old canard that gay men are unusually likely to be pedophiles, with the Family Research Council touting an old study by Timothy Dailey "Ph.D." (in theology) purporting to show just this. Andrew Sullivan links a sound scholarly response which gives the Dailey study a good thrashing. The key point here is that child molesters are overwhelmingly male, and the rate at which their victims are also male is higher than the rate of homosexuality in the general population. If you don't know anything about the psychology of sexuality, it's apparently intuitive to call these men "homosexuals" and conclude that there's a disproportionate amount of homosexual pedophilia. Of course, to recycle an analogy I've used earlier, this is a little like asking men who have sex with goats whether they're boy goats or girl goats and drawing inferences about the goatfucker's sexual orientation. Men who molest prepubescent children are almost never "homosexual" in the sense of "being attracted to men in general."

Dailey is aware of this, and goes to some really spectacularly dishonest lengths to get around it. The debunking linked above covers a lot of this ground, but I ended up doing some further research when I was writing my piece on gay adoption. I could've done a whole separate article on Dailey's mendacity, but much of that had to get cut, since it ran too far afield of the central topic. So now's an opportunity to give a little taste of that.

Dailey tries to undermine the consensus that male-male pedophilia isn't related to homosexuality in the broader sense by establishing that the general male homosexual population is attracted to younger partners than the male heterosexual population. (That's in itself a suspicious move: Why resort to a proxy measure like this when there's already ample data on the sexual orientation of child molesters?) He's forced to be fairly selective in the research he cites in order to arrive at his desired conclusion. In several papers, for instance, he concedes that one of his main sources, the late sex researcher Kurt Freund, denies a general preference among gay men for younger partners. Dailey suggests relying instead on a study by Zebulon Silverthorne and Vernon Quinsey showing a preference among gay men for younger partners, "some as young as 15," as Dailey stresses.

The problem is, I called Quinsey to see what he thought of Dailey's interpretation of his findings. And Quinsey emphasized that his study made use of groups of photographs representing ranges of ages to test attraction, that the mean age for their youngest category was 18, and that "the only statistically valid conclusions that could be drawn concern these average ages." Moreover, he noted that "we wondered in the paper whether the heterosexual men's very high ratings of the 25-year female faces were an artifact of unusually attractive pictures in that category (there were some very pretty models) on the similar grounds that...data from a better controlled study show age preference gradients for homosexual males viewing men and heterosexual males viewing women." That's significant because Dailey's avowed reason for preferring the Silverthorne-Quinsey study is his concern that selection bias had provided Freund with an unrepresentative sample skewed toward gay men with older age preferences. But what distinguishes the Quinsey-Silverthorne study and accounts for the age-preference gap it finds, Quinsey told me, is the unexpected (and, he suspects, perhaps idiosyncratic) "spike" in attraction to older women among heterosexual men. In other words, Dailey is trying to base his conclusion that homosexual preferences tend unusually young by relying on a study where there's an unusual difference—but the difference is accounted for by how uncommonly old the women picked by heterosexuals were.

Keep in mind, that's just one of the studies Dailey uses. It's stunningly mendacious, but the study as a whole is so packed with footnotes that it's likely to seem impressive to a casual reader who's not going to dig into the research Dailey draws on.

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  • ||

    Even though it isn't appropriate behavior, how is havng sexual thoughts or contact with a 16-17 year old "pedophilia"?

    I was kinda a "late bloomer" myself, but IIRC almost ALL the guys ( and certainly gals, who seemed to develop faster) were physical ( if not mental, but hey some 25-30 yr olds arent mental adults yet) ADULTS by the mid to late teens.

    I don't know exactly what pedophilia is, but doesnt it concern sex with "kids" not "young adults."?

  • ||

    The key point here is that child molesters are overwhelmingly male, and the rate at which their victims are also male is higher than the rate of homosexuality in the general population. If you don't know anything about the psychology of sexuality, it's apparently intuitive to call these men "homosexuals" and conclude that there's a disproportionate amount of homosexual pedophilia.

    So what are the numbers of homosexual men molesting young girls? I'd imagine that someone that knows anything about the psychology of sexuality should be able to answer that.

  • ||

    "I don't know exactly what pedophilia is, but doesnt it concern sex with "kids" not "young adults."?"

    You're right of course, but the infantilization of our adolescents and young adults knows no bounds.

    "We'll ship you out to fight and possibly be killed in our oil wars, but don't even think about touching that booze. That's for grown-ups."

  • uncle sam||

    The Mark Foley scandal has afforded an opportunity for social conservatives to revive the old canard that gay men are unusually likely to be pedophiles,

    Wouldn't it also revive the observation that homophobic conservatives are likely to be closet cases?

  • ||

    "If you don't know anything about the psychology of sexuality, it's apparently intuitive to call these men "homosexuals" and conclude that there's a disproportionate amount of homosexual pedophilia."

    If you don't know anything about the psychology of sexuality, it's apparently intuitive to call these men "pedophiles" when they're actually ephebophiles--men sexually attracted to teens. Foley wasn't a pedophile--a man sexually attracted to pre-pubescent children.

    By the way, don't the social conservatives have a point that homosexual men might be attracted to teens? Most heterosexual men were attracted to teenage females when they (the men) were teenagers. Are we supposed to assume that this attraction just switches off when you reach a certain age? Or maybe I just don't know anything about the psychology of sexuality.

  • ||

    "The Mark Foley scandal has afforded an opportunity for social conservatives to revive the old canard that gay men are unusually likely to be pedophiles, with the Family Research Council touting an old study by Timothy Dailey "Ph.D." (in theology) purporting to show just this."

    I think there's another related canard bouncing around out there suggesting that gays and lesbians disproportionately were victims of molestation. ...a belief that molestation may have in some way contributed to their orientation.

  • Gimme Back My Dog||

    I think there's another related canard bouncing around out there suggesting that gays and lesbians disproportionately were victims of molestation. ...a belief that molestation may have in some way contributed to their orientation.

    I have to admit that I believe this to be true. That is, if you were to take 100 gay men and 100 straight men at random, you would find that more of the gay men had been molested as children. I am basing this on people I have known, admittedly a very small sample size. I can't find any studies that address this point, they all seem to address the related point that men tend to molest girls more than boys.

  • ||

    "they're actually ephebophiles--men sexually attracted to teens. Foley wasn't a pedophile--a man sexually attracted to pre-pubescent children."

    What sort of a 'phile' is a person who is attracted to men or women past the age of 19 then? Following Abdul's lead, while I'm very comfortable in demonizing people attracted to pre-pubescents, and even people attracted to young teens, slapping them with labels, it strikes me as categorically or nearly categorically different being attracted to pre-pubscents vs. being attracted to a 16 or a 17 year old. The former seems clearly whacked and perverted. The latter, where the young adult as reached full physical and sexual maturity, is fairly natural, at least for men, who are biologically driven to seek out healthy young women. Youth and beauty (in full maturity) are the sociobiologically features that are most attractive to men on a biological level, just as success is for women. Of course we are not all just driven by our genetic programming alone, that we can't make other choices, but it just seems sort of silly to demonize these desires when they so much a part of our programming. I'm not saying it follows that dating someone that young when somone is much older is necessarily a good thing, often quite the opposite, but better to try to understand the phenonemon then lump it with another category inappropriately.

  • ||

    Most heterosexual men were attracted to teenage females when they (the men) were teenagers. Are we supposed to assume that this attraction just switches off when you reach a certain age? Or maybe I just don't know anything about the psychology of sexuality.

    Among the consolations, or if you will torments of aging is that a widening age-range (raising the ceiling, not dropping the floor, thank you very much) of partners becomes attractive. * Sigh. *

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Overheard at the Old Perverts' Home:

    "One time I had a nine-year-old with the body of an eight-year-old."

  • ||

    so, that's what that guy from the hit teevee show Wings is doing now -- sticking it to teh gheys. Okay!

  • ||

    That is, if you were to take 100 gay men and 100 straight men at random, you would find that more of the gay men had been molested as children. I am basing this on people I have known, admittedly a very small sample size. I can't find any studies that address this point, they all seem to address the related point that men tend to molest girls more than boys.

    I think the common version of the story is self-contradictory. Male victims of molestation supposedly enjoy being molested on some level and want more of the same so they become gay. Female victims of molestation, meanwhile, hate being molested so much that they forgo sexual relations with men forever. ...unless being molested renders them unusually promiscuous, or so the canard would have it.

    Please note that I'm not saying any of these things positively have no truth to them whatsoever--I'm saying that like the suggestion that child molesters are disproportionately gay, I recognize these as generally accepted assumptions without much generally accepted data behind them.

    But it does seem like all these ideas branch off of the same tree--the suggestion that child molestation is ultimately responsible for every sexual behavior south of the missionary position. ...and that's why we have to protect children from Janet Jackson's nipple and Gay marriage, you know?

  • ||

    But it does seem like all these ideas branch off of the same tree--the suggestion that child molestation is ultimately responsible for every sexual behavior south of the missionary position. ...and that's why we have to protect children from Janet Jackson's nipple and Gay marriage, you know?

    Bingo, that's what it all comes down to. Even if homosexuals were more likely to be child molesters it doesn't mean homosexuality itself is evil or sick or wrong.

  • ||

    Adam Clayton Powell was kicked out and re-elected, but never took his seat. I don't remember if there was another vote to keep him out or what. His successor, by the way, was Charles Rangel, whose still there after 35 years.

  • ||

    "One time I had a nine-year-old with the body of an eight-year-old."

    Some eclectic, satiric website touted microscopic photos of hours-old, or maybe it was seconds-old embryos as "the freshest" kiddie porn. Brilliant.

  • Paul||

    touting an old study by Timothy Dailey "Ph.D." (in theology)

    Just to play devils advocate, who better than someone deeply involved in theology to tell us how gay men tend to be pedophiles?

    *ducks*

  • ||

    20,000 years ago people had much shorter lifespans than us, the oldest people in the tribe would have been in their late 30's or 40's with bad teeth and lots of health problems. The alpha-males, the top hunters and warriors who ran the tribe, would probably have been in their late teens. These people were biologically modern humans, as highly evolved as us. Waiting for the females to reach their 18th birthdays before finding them attractive and allowing them to have sex would have been a castastrophe, we wouldn't be here. Being sexually attracted to attractive teenage girls is programmed into the male brain, there's nothing perverted about it. Now that we're civilized with long lives we need to behave ourselves and control theses urges, there is no hurry to produce the next generation. The sexual attraction some men have to children might be connected to this, it's hard to say what the root of perversion is. Sex is weird.

  • tomWright||

    Among the consolations, or if you will torments of aging is that a widening age-range (raising the ceiling, not dropping the floor, thank you very much) of partners becomes attractive.



    Yup. When I was 15 I was attracted to: 15 year old girls, 25 year old girls, 35 year old girls, 45 year old girls and a few 55 year old girls.

    At the rapidly approaching age of 48 I now find that I am attracted to: 15 year old girls, 25 year old girls, 35 year old girls, 45 year old girls and a few more 55 year old girls. And I suspect that as I get older that range will extend upwards.

    The difference is that I have more self control now, am subject to laws that say 15-16-17 year old girls are off limits to me now, and I find that I have little enough in common with anyone under about 35 to make any relationship longer than a few hours of any interest to me. Plus, I have no interest in being someones 'Mr. Robinson'. Been There-Done-That in my 20's, don't want the job any more.

    So, beyond a few neck-wrenching double-takes and muttered "Holey-moley's!", (hey, I am NOT blind yet), the younguns are safe around me.

    But "older" chicks...yummy.

    So far as whether gay men are more likely to molest than straight men, I doubt it.

    For one, with the dislike of homosexuality in our society, specifically male homosexuality, I suspect it has more to do with a higher rate of reporting than of occurrance. After all, heterosexual relationships, even if one partner is underage, are "normal". And female homosexuality is not likely to leave someone with the expense and effort of raising a child, plus it's "teh hotness", if still frowned upon.

    Add to that the attitude that a male that has sex is a stud, and the earlier he starts the more admirable it is, and you have a reason for an under-reporting of that activity.

    So Male gay sex and male involvement with underage females both have pressures that encourage reporting and objecting to the activity, whether justified and rational or not. When it is male gay involvement with underage males it would seem to have a multiplier effect for many.

    While female gay sex and female involvement with underage males has little pressure for reporting. When it is female gay sex with underage females there is less multiplier effect, if any, compared to the male-male version.

    While "Mr. Robinsons" may be regarded as predators, "Mrs. Robinsons" have a long and welcomed history in our society.

    So male involvement with underage males or females is more reported than female involvement with underage males or females. I suspect they both occur at the same rate though.

    Too bad I have no evidence, other than general impressions from reading and life experience. Older wonem made passes at me when I was a teen, as I later realized, but I was too dumb to know what was going on at the time. Getting invited into a home and upstairs to the bedroom area, by a woman dressed in a nighty while collecting for my paper route happened more than once. I too was a late bloomer.

    I wonder what research is available, other than the ones mentioned by Julian.

  • ||

    "when they're actually ephebophiles"

    That's true of *Foley*; I was referring to studies of actual pedophiles.

  • ||

    But it does seem like all these ideas branch off of the same tree--the suggestion that child molestation is ultimately responsible for every sexual behavior south of the missionary position. ...and that's why we have to protect children from Janet Jackson's nipple and Gay marriage, you know?

    While I'm not gay, I have been the victim of this sort of illogic. Here's an anecdote that makes me glad I'm writing under a nom de plume:

    Around age 12 I discovered the joys of masturbation and one day my ultra-conservative parents caught me red handed (pun intended). While they proceeded to ground me (1 month, no TV or leaving the house), my arch-Catholic father screamed: "So now that you are beating off, what's next? Are you going to start raping 6-year old girls?" I was also assured that there was a good chance I was going to Hell for this.

    It takes s stupid mind, or in this case a stupid religion, to equate one form of sexual activity with molestation, whether it's jerking off or gay sex.

  • ||

    Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. was indeed refused his seat, but the Supreme Court ruled against the Congress on that in POWELL v. McCORMACK, 395 U.S. 486 (1969)

    MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court. .....

    Further, analysis of the "textual commitment" under Art. I, 5 (see Part VI, B (1)), has demonstrated that in judging the qualifications of its members Congress is limited to the standing qualifications prescribed in the Constitution. Respondents concede that Powell met these. Thus, there is no need to remand this case to determine whether he was entitled to be seated in the 90th Congress. Therefore, we hold that, since Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., was duly elected by the voters of the 18th Congressional District of New York and was not ineligible to serve under any provision of the Constitution, the House was without power to exclude him from its membership.

    Kevin

  • Jennifer||

    So just what is it about the Republican Party that makes it so attractive to these evil gay pedophiliacs anyway, hmm? Is it the party's embrace of hypocrisy?

    By the way, I think "ephebophiles" is not a real condition, but something purely made-up in the context of our legal system. Does anyone remember the name of the "mental illness" that made black slaves suffer from a yearning for freedom?

  • ||

    I think you are avoiding the fact that the general population conflates the terms "homosexual" and "effeminate." Foley, John Mark Carr, several of the Catholic priest pedophiles all exhibited traits that a more politically incorrect time would have labled with the gay pejorative of your choice. Perhaps there is a distinction between the two behaviors, but most opponents of gay equality are going to see it as quibbling over an acedemic debater's point.

  • ||

    My wife and I saw a group of high school cheerleaders recently, and she asked if I was attracted to them (Which would be perfectly alright with her; it's great being married to the right woman). I thought about it for a few moments and answered: "I'm not very attracted to 17 year old cheerleader virgins. However I AM very attracted to 30 year olds who are smart enough to PRETEND to be 17 year old cheerleader virgins. That day we went shopping, and that night I had sex with a 17 year old cheerleader virgin.

  • ||

    My wife and I saw a group of high school cheerleaders recently, and she asked if I was attracted to them (Which would be perfectly alright with her; it's great being married to the right woman). I thought about it for a few moments and answered: "I'm not very attracted to 17 year old cheerleader virgins. However I AM very attracted to 30 year olds who are smart enough to PRETEND to be 17 year old cheerleader virgins. That day we went shopping, and that night I had sex with a 17 year old cheerleader virgin.

  • ||

    My wife and I saw a group of high school cheerleaders recently, and she asked if I was attracted to them (Which would be perfectly alright with her; it's great being married to the right woman). I thought about it for a few moments and answered: "I'm not very attracted to 17 year old cheerleader virgins. However I AM very attracted to 30 year olds who are smart enough to PRETEND to be 17 year old cheerleader virgins. That day we went shopping, and that night I had sex with a 17 year old cheerleader virgin.

  • ||

    The privacy partition in the confessional booth slides and an excited voice bursts through the screen,"Father, I gotta tell you what happened to me last night. I'm 90 years old, and I made love to two 18-year-old women for eight hours last night!"

    The stunned priest, replies incredulously, "You did what?!"

    "I said, I'm 90 years old, and I made love to two eighteen-year-old women last night for eight hours."

    The stern priest replies, "Boy I've been waiting all my life for a guy like you. I'm gonna give you a penance you'll never forget."

    To which the voice replies, "Father, you can't give me a penance."

    "Why not?" asks the man of the cloth.

    "Because I'm Jewish," claims the voice.

    The perplexed Father asks, "Then why are you telling me?"

    "I'm telling everyone!!!"

    Bah-dum-bum.

    Squirrels. Sure it was the squirrels.

  • ||

    "I'm not very attracted to 17 year old cheerleader virgins."

    Not a lot of those around, I'm afraid. 17 year old cheerleaders, yes, but 17 year old cheerleader virgins, not too many.

  • dhex||

    ""So now that you are beating off, what's next? Are you going to start raping 6-year old girls?""

    the correct response is "i would father, but i'm having trouble getting them to hold still." btw. if you ever build a time machine you can get that zinger in there, cause the expression on his face would be totally sweet.

  • ||

    My wife and I saw a group of high school cheerleaders recently, and she asked if I was attracted to them (Which would be perfectly alright with her; it's great being married to the right woman). I thought about it for a few moments and answered: "I'm not very attracted to 17 year old cheerleader virgins. However I AM very attracted to 30 year olds who are smart enough to PRETEND to be 17 year old cheerleader virgins. That day we went shopping, and that night I had sex with a 17 year old cheerleader virgin.

    Comment by: wsdave at October 15, 2006 05:49 PM

    You are my hero, and so is your wife.

  • ||

    we went shopping, and that night I had sex with a 17 year old cheerleader virgin.

    I guess the free market can solve everything.

  • ||

    ""So now that you are beating off, what's next? Are you going to start raping 6-year old girls?""

    the correct response is "i would father, but i'm having trouble getting them to hold still." btw. if you ever build a time machine you can get that zinger in there, cause the expression on his face would be totally sweet.

    unless stillman is regional dialect for one's hoohah

  • ||

    tom wright:
    So male involvement with underage males or females is more reported than female involvement with underage males or females. I suspect they both occur at the same rate though.

    this is very far from being true. males form a large majority of both true pedophiles and adults with legally underaged sex partners. really, no comparison. people also have a general sense that women who have sex with underage males are punished less harshly, but I read a study that shows this isn't the case when other factors are taken into account, such as threats of violence or threats of exposure to parents/peers, which men are much likelier to employ.

  • ||

    btw. if you ever build a time machine you can get that zinger in there, cause the expression on his face would be totally sweet.

    Ahhh.. but knowing dear old Dad as I do, If I did that he'd kill me, thus creating a temporal paradox that not even James Cameron could overlook.

    The point is conservatives by-in-large have moronic notions about sex. especially the religious ones. If you are not popping out white, Christian, babies in the bonds of holy matrimony with your church and state approved heterosexual spouse, then you might as well grab a buthcher knife and make yourself a eunuch because any other use of the genitals is a no no.

    And people wonder why I'm so fucked up emotionally.

  • ||

    "I'm not very attracted to 17 year old cheerleader virgins."

    Honestly, if you truly believed that, you'd be a homosexual. Of course I know you were just being nice to your wife. But you can be honest with us... it's ok, they were 17 year old cheerleaders! I bet you didn't go get any refreshments while they were cheering.

  • ||

    my arch-Catholic father

    May I offer an observation?

    There are a number of arch-Catholics in my family. My own dad doesn't quite qualify, although he frequently pushes me to go to confession, and he'd be apalled at how much I've been skipping church lately. On the other hand, he's a little wobbly on abortion.

    But several other relatives do qualify, IMO. They include a nun (until recently; she died) and (I think) a couple members of Opus Dei (or at least they've been approached about joining, I believe). All of them are actually nice people, who rarely scream at children or anyone else.

    Your father may not be so much an arch-Catholic as an arch-controlling-asshole.

    He sounds like the mother in Stephen King's Carrie, for gossakes.

  • ||

    Tom Wright said,
    "So male involvement with underage males or females is more reported than female involvement with underage males or females. I suspect they both occur at the same rate though."

    Belle Warring said,
    "this is very far from being true. males form a large majority of both true pedophiles and adults with legally underaged sex partners. really, no comparison."

    But how would you know that if they are not being reported or being undereported? I happen to have met a lot of beyond 18 year old women who quite enjoyed being with a young man, not quite of legal age and the young man was quite happy about that.

  • ||

    Last night I went out looking for a 30 year old woman to make love to. I couldn't find one so I had to settle for two 15 year olds.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    Ephebophilia is indeed a real term, but it doesn't refer to "attraction to teenagers." As has been noted to a rather creepy degree, many older teenagers look like adult women, and men who are attracted to adult women are attracted to them, as well.

    Ephebophilia is attraction to adolescents - that is, people just beginning to develop secondary sex characteristics. Ephebophiles aren't attracted to teenagers who look like adults or even young adults, but to those who do not. It is the non-adult, immature appearance that is the attraction.

  • Jennifer||

    Fair enough, Joe.

  • ||

    Dude,

    You are SO wrong, but my trying to correct you would never take, so I'll not use up the time.

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