May 30, 2013

Is promoting same-sex sex wise?

By Hendrik van der Breggen
The Carillon, May 30, 2013

Is promoting same-sex sex wise? 

During Gay Pride Parade seasons I sometimes hear versions of the following argument: Yes, some people engage in same-sex sex, but it's harmless, so live and let live. 

With all due respect to the philosophy of live and let live (I favour choice, but informed choice is important), I would like to question the wisdom of promoting same-sex sex.

Before I begin, I should make a preliminary clarification. In my June 21, 2012, column (“Is being gay like race?”), I argue that being gay is not like race. Whereas one's race status does not involve choices or decisions, indulging in or acting on same-sex attractions and constructing one's self-understanding via the gay identity/script apparently do involve choices and decisions. Also, whereas race cannot be changed to any degree, it very much seems that same-sex orientation and same-sex attractions—or at least the decision to act out on the orientation and attractions—can be changed to various degrees.

All this to say: If a reader thinks that questioning homosexuality is unjust—as racism is unjust—I suspect the reader may be under the influence of a faulty analogy.

Let's get back to today's topic. I want to question the wisdom of promoting same-sex sex. I am raising the following question: Is same-sex sex harmful to self or others?

The answer seems to be Yes.

It turns out, sadly and often tragically, that there is considerable evidence for thinking that many persons who act on their same-sex sexual propensities (especially men) have closely associated health concerns.

According to the 2009 study What Research Shows, done by the National Association for Research and Therapy for Homosexuality (NARTH), “Researchers have shown that medical, psychological and relationship pathology within the homosexual community is more prevalent than within the general population.” For substantiation, see part III of NARTH's What Research Shows plus check NARTH's medical issues webpage.

According to the Family Research Council (FRC), there are “significantly elevated health problems experienced by homosexuals.” For substantiation, see “Is Homosexuality a Health Risk?” which is chapter 4 of FRC's 2004 book Getting It Straight: What the Research Shows about Homosexuality.

Also, according to the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA), there are serious medical concerns clearly associated with same-sex sex. For substantiation, see CMDA's webpage on homosexuality; see especially the “Physical Health” section under Annotated References.

At this juncture, a critic might dismiss the above sources as biased because the sources advocate for a particular position on homosexuality or are Christian. Yes, we should be careful of bias. But, I quickly add, part of critical thinking involves not dismissing relevant evidence and argument merely because of the political or religious predilections of the persons who present such evidence and argument.

In other words, we shouldn't be too hasty to dismiss the truth of a message just because we don't like the messenger.

Significantly, the findings of NARTH, FRC, and CMDA are confirmed by others.

Consider the following February 17, 2009, report from Canada's largest gay newspaper Xtra!: “The…list of health issues affecting queer Canadians includes lower life expectancy than the average Canadian, suicide, higher rates of substance abuse, depression….”

Xtra! quotes Gens Hellquist, executive director of the pro-gay Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition: “There are all kinds of health issues that are endemic to our [gay-lesbian] community…. We have higher rates of anal cancer in the gay male community, lesbians have higher rates of breast cancer.”

Also, consider the website for the prestigious Mayo Clinic: “All men have certain health risks. Gay men and men who have sex with men face an increased risk of specific health concerns, however.”

Also, according to Robert Cushman, a senior medical advisor at Health Canada, as reported in the May 22, 2013, issue of Xtra!: “HIV is much more common in the MSM [men who have sex with men] population than in the general population.”

According to U.S. researcher Thomas Coy, in MercatorNet, November 13, 2012: “The risk of HIV from sexual contact for MSM (men who have sex with men) was approximately 150 times greater than the heterosexual male population in 2010.” For the sake of perspective, Coy adds: “According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) the risk of lung cancer for men who smoke is 23 times greater than for men who do not smoke.”

One might object that there are individuals who smoke and remain healthy. In reply, it should be noted that those individuals are the exception, not the rule. Statistically, smoking is a serious risk to health. The parallel to same-sex sex should not be ignored.

Or one might object that the psychological issues which result in depression, substance abuse, and suicide may be due to social stigma attached to homosexuality. In reply, we should be careful neither to underestimate nor to overestimate the effects of social stigma. Still, stigma or no stigma, the physical-medical health issues remain. As Cushman points out in Xtra!: “MSM is a risky behaviour. There's anatomical reasons.”

In conclusion, the above evidence provides the outline of a cumulative case argument which strongly suggests that serious health-related problems are associated with homosexual sex, more so than with heterosexual sex. 

Is it wise, then, to promote same-sex sex? I recommend further inquiry into the effects of same-sex sex—and greater public awareness of these effects.

If promoting smoking is not wise, it may also be that promoting same-sex sex is not wise.

P.S. For the record, my raising of the above concerns about same-sex sex does not stem from homophobia (an unreasonable fear or hatred of homosexuals) nor is it an attempt to show disrespect to homosexuals (I believe that all people are made in God's image and deserve respect—health care included—so disrespecting people with same-sex attractions is wrong, period). Rather, I am deeply interested in the pursuit of truth. In view of the present prevalence of Gay Pride Parades and these parades' apparent purpose of encouraging the larger society—and our public schools—to accept and celebrate same-sex sex, my raising questions about same-sex sex is akin to seeking truth in advertising.

(Hendrik van der Breggen, PhD, teaches philosophy at Providence University CollegeThe views in this column do not always reflect the views of Providence.)


Carolyn said...

After reading your article, I'm having difficulty with a number of the "truths" you present. I honestly believe that you are trying to look at this in as unbiased a light as possible, but unfortunately you didn't achieve that. The idea that homosexuality can be changed or cured is false. You can certainly learn to suppress who you are, but there are health risks that are associated with that sort of behavior (depression, suicide, etc). The facts you chose to present are very one-sided and lead the reader to seeing only one side. Saying that "lesbians have higher rates of breast cancer" is misleading in that it presents the fact as related to sexual orientation. This would seem to suggest that engaging in lesbian acts will give you breast cancer--which is ridiculous.
What would be wise is to educate people, including the LGBTQ community, of the possible health risks of engaging in sex (just like we do with the straight community) so that people are able to make wise, healthy decisions when it comes to their sex lives.
I really think that the analogy to smoking is awful, because it would suggest that homosexual behavior is dangerous and will eventually kill you. I would caution how you present your "truths" in the future. I may not have a PhD, but I have a MSc and I've learned that the most effective way to arguing your point is to present both sides equally. You may think that you didn't have an agenda when writing this, but the facts you chose to present would suggest that you did.

Hendrik van der Breggen said...

Carolyn, thanks for your comment. Please bear with me as I respond.

I think your claim, that it's false that homosexuality can be changed, is probably false. There is considerable evidence for thinking that same-sex sexual attractions and acting thereupon can be changed. Not all same-sex attracted persons change, of course, but there are those who do change. In those who do, change seems to be a matter of degree, and the degree of change seems to vary from person to person. This is significant, surely.

Psychologists Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse have done some investigation in this area. See their book Ex-Gays? (IVP Academic 2007). Stanton Jones' article "Same-sex science," First Things, Feb 2012, is helpful, too. Also, see the work of NARTH (check the link to What Research Shows in my column). Exodus International and Living Waters Canada are worth checking out, too. Also, has some testimonies of ex-gays. Also, the book Out of a Far Country (Waterbrook Press 2011) is a testimony of Christopher Yaun, a gay man, who changed. Also, see Bob Davies and Lela Gilbert's book Portraits of Freedom: 14 people who came out of homosexuality (InterVarsity Press 2001). The work of Joe Dallas, an ex-gay, is important, too. Also, ex-gay Sy Rogers' work and testimony are important. Here is a 19 minute interview with Sy Rogers.

(Note: Wesley Hill's book Washed and Waiting is helpful for those who continue to have unwanted same-sex attractions, seem unable to change, and thus choose celibacy. Hill's book has been a blessing to many, myself included, who struggle with other identity issues/unwanted desires that continue to reside deep in one's heart.)

I agree that educating all people (of appropriate age) about the health risks of engaging in sex is important. That's why I wrote my column. It seems to me that the mainstream media and larger public aren't aware of the greater health concerns that are (a) "endemic" to the gay-lesbian community (the word "endemic" is from Gens Hellquist, executive director of the Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition) and (b) due to "anatomical reasons" (per Robert Cushman, senior medical advisor of Health Canada). If I'm being "one-sided," as you assert, it's because I'm setting out evidence that isn't often set out in the mainstream media. It should be noted, though, that I've presented relevant evidence via voices of the gay community and secular Health Canada, not just via voices of groups with religious affiliations.

I think that the smoking analogy is helpful in the sense that some same-sex sexual behaviour is in fact risky, as smoking is risky, if engaged in for a prolonged period. The smoking analogy is also helpful in the sense that smoking was once advertised as a behaviour that's healthy and fine, but, as evidence turned up, we learned that it isn't healthy and fine.

My agenda is to try to get clearer on the truth of the concerns associated with same-sex sex. There's a lot of medical evidence that should encourage Canadians to pause and say, "Hey, let's examine this topic more carefully before we celebrate it as if it's all okay—and especially before we teach a new generation of youth that it's all okay." If it's not okay, then we should be concerned for our youth. Of course, the challenge is to do the examination carefully and all the while show respect to all persons.

Also, I sometimes wonder: If same-sex sex isn't healthy in fact, will government proponents of gay sex be sued one day for false advertising as, say, tobacco companies were sued? Will the government of a decade or two from now be asked to apologize to today's school children, as today's government has been asked to apologize to adults raised in residential schools? It's food for thought.

Aaron Scott said...

There have been several reports and papers written on the subject of religion being bad for your health. It has been linked to increased stress and anxiety, and in some cases has been found to cause deep psychological damage or exacerbate existing psychological traumas. Does this make the promotion of religion unwise?

Having a child is, universally, extremely bad for your health. Your body self-destructs on you, exposing you to many conditions that you may never fully recover from. Does this make the promotion of reproduction unwise?

I think the question that has to be asked is not whether or not something is "bad for your health", but what is gained by its practice versus what is lost. It would be ridiculous to tell people that they should not experience safe and healthy physical intimacy because, statistically, there is an increased medical risk. A risk that, I might add, nearly vanishes under proper and relatively minimal precautions.

"One might object that there are individuals who smoke and remain healthy. In reply, it should be noted that those individuals are the exception, not the rule. Statistically, smoking is a serious risk to health. The parallel to same-sex sex should not be ignored."

You seem to totally ignore the fact that everyone who smokes is exposing themselves to the risk of cancer. Not everyone who has a sexual relationship with a member of the same sex is exposing themselves to AIDS, or any other STI for that matter. The people who are exposed to an STI and do not contract it are only the exception among people who have a sexual relationship with someone who has an STI, regardless of their sexual orientation.

If I was told that physical intimacy with my wife exposed me to increased medical risks, and that being intimate with her was "unwise" because there was a chance of contracting an STI, I would tell them they were being ridiculous.

As an aside, I couldn't help but notice that you cited the Family Research Council. I'd recommend against referencing their materials; in the past, they've stated that the goal of LGBTQ rights activists is to normalise pedophelia (and even stated the LGBTQ people look up to pedophiles as "prophets"), and have been caught fabricating research linking homosexuality to pedophelia. Their research is, in a word, untrustworthy.

Hendrik van der Breggen said...

Aaron Scott,

Allow me to cut to the chase. You write: "the question that has to be asked is not whether or not something is 'bad for your health', but what is gained by its practice versus what is lost." In reply, I have two points. First, a logical point: to make sense of the question concerning "what is gained by its practice versus what is lost" presupposes that we provide an answer to the question whether something is lost, which, here, is the question of whether something is bad for your health. So the question that has to be asked, logically, is whether or not something is bad for your health. Second, a contextual/ interpretive point: in view of the cultural assumption behind Gay Pride Parades (same-sex sex is to be affirmed and celebrated) and in view of the argument I'm addressing in my column (same-sex sex is harmless, so live and let live), the question that has to be asked is (again) whether or not something (same-sex sex) is bad/ harmful for your health. Let's get clear on the answer to this question, first.

Also, your claim—"It would be ridiculous to tell people that they should not experience safe and healthy physical intimacy because, statistically, there is an increased medical risk"—is odd. If there truly is a serious medical risk statistically associated with a particular behaviour, then the behaviour probably wouldn't be appropriately called "safe and healthy."

Regarding your aside about the Family Research Council in your attempt to weaken my argument, it's good to keep in mind that my argument is a cumulative case argument (so not every individual argument has to be strong for the overall argument to be strong). Also, if my memory serves, a few years ago (in the 1970s) there were some gay activists sympathetic to NAMBLA, i.e., the North American Man/ Boy Love Association. I remember this because an openly gay professor of mine had his sociology of deviance classes read NAMBLA materials. I think that this reading was academically appropriate, and I think my professor wasn't promoting NAMBLA, but I don't recall any criticism of NAMBLA in the course. The LGBTQ movement distanced itself from NAMBLA later.

Aaron, you have a tendency to obfuscate. I've noticed this in your comment on my column "Homophobia, bigotry, intolerance?" (a comment I've also had to disentangle), and I've noticed this in your avalanche of comments over at Citizens Concerned About Manitoba Bill 18 (I think you were banned over there because of this). I believe that your obfuscation is distracting and isn't helpful. No more comments from you, please. I'm tired (of disentangling). Thanks.

Jeff Wheeldon said...

Thanks for the column as always, Dr. V.

I found the premise of the article a little confusing though. Is Pride really about promoting same-sex sex? I was under the strong impression that its purpose was to celebrate the freedom of being open about one's identity, and to challenge those in society who discriminate against homosexuals. Historically, homosexuals have hidden their orientation from the rest of society to avoid persecution; Pride began as a way to change that situation.

There certainly is a culture of promiscuity among homosexuals, but I've yet to see any organizations (particularly not the government) encouraging same-sex sex; rather, they encourage "safe" sex and the avoidance of risky behaviour. While I'm sure that organizations exist which encourage people to have same-sex sex, or even risky sex (or worse, like NAMBLA), I don't think that we can associate such groups with mainstream organizations like Pride, or the government, which is what your column seems to do.

Really, this article seems to conflate a homosexual orientation with risky behaviour - and while certainly there is a correlation, being gay itself does not require one to have same-sex sex at all, much less risky or promiscuous sex. Yes, there are plenty of health risks endemic to promiscuous people, and even some specific to men who have sex with men (just as there are some specific to anal sex in general), but these risks are not identical to homosexuality or gay rights, which is what Pride is about promoting. Surely a monogamous gay couple faces the same health risks as a monogamous straight couple, but this column seems to suggest otherwise.

To illustrate: I heard an interesting story on the radio the other day, about an outbreak of meningitis among homosexuals in New York. There was speculation about why homosexual males were by far the most affected by this, but there was one clear link: all of the men who contracted this meningitis were part of a social network for gay hookups, and had phone apps that would let them locate other gay men for the purpose of sex. Clearly, promiscuity is the problem here: getting together for random or anonymous sex exposed them to a virus that was being carried by someone they came into contact with. Their apparently high susceptibility to this disease had nothing to do with any supposed gay physiology, or even the fact that they have sex with another man, but entirely because they were meeting up for sex with people whose health was not questioned - i.e., they specifically engaged in risky sex. AIDS is a similar example: it's not somehow stronger among gay men, they've just engaged in risky behaviour.

The reason I'm commenting is that I'm concerned that you've inadvertently associated all gay sex with risky sex, and further implied (again, inadvertently I'm sure) that those who promote gay rights are also promoting gay sex, thereby implying that rights organizations and homosexuals in general are promoting something that is risky and unhealthy. I appreciate the point, and you're absolutely right that risky sex is risky, but I'm not sure that riskiness is a necessary part of gay sex, and I'm not sure that any mainstream organization is promoting risky sex, or even sex in general, though many promote safe sex. If you have examples of how the government or Pride is promoting risky behaviour, please link :)

Hendrik van der Breggen said...

You're welcome, Jeff, as always.

Perhaps I can disentangle the confusion you mention. Yes, Gay Pride is about the points you make, i.e., it's about being open about what one takes to be one's "identity" and it's about challenging discrimination against homosexuals. But it's not just about these points. Part of the celebration and challenge also involves communicating to the public the subtext that same-sex sex is a good (or is at least harmless). Clearly, this message is part of Gay Pride, too. The points you mention do not preclude this message. It's not an either/or scenario, it's both/and.

Are there organizations that encourage same-sex sex as a good (or at least as harmless)? I think so, at least in a general sense. The promotion of (encouragement to accept) same-sex sex in general as a good (etc.) is subtle, often indirect, yet pervasive and influential—it's a part of our broader culture's normalization of same-sex sex. According to Joe Dallas, former president of Exodus International (a ministry to people with unwanted same-sex attractions), television and movie industries play a role in this normalization by providing "powerful cinematic messages advocating the acceptance of homosexuality and criticizing the traditional view of sexuality as being outdated, ignorant, and dangerous" (Joe Dallas, "A History of the Gay Rights Movement in America"). Dallas lists a number of movies from the 70s and 80s. We can easily think of more recent films such as Broke Back Mountain. The news media plays a role in this normalization by misrepresenting criticisms of same-sex marriage (David Haskell points this out near the end of his book Through a Lens Darkly: How the News Media Perceive and Portray Evangelicals; Haskell is a professor of journalism at Wilfrid Laurier University). Gay Pride Parades play a role by giving those persons with propensities for same-sex sex a higher public profile and greater legitimacy in the public eye. Canada's federal government plays a role, too. Since 2005 Canada's federal government has given same-sex unions legal "marriage" status equivalent to heterosexual marriage, thereby giving the government's stamp of approval, at least indirectly, on same-sex sex, in effect treating it as a good that's equivalent to heterosexual sex. (One of the functions of law is that of a teacher; public schools are reflecting this status in their curricula already.) Also, Manitoba's provincial government is working hard to pass Bill 18 which is ostensibly an anti-bully bill, but which (if passed without revision) will undoubtedly put a chill on moral criticism of same-sex sex. That is, on Bill 18 moral criticism of same-sex sex can easily be interpreted as bullying behaviour since the criticism will probably "distress" the "feelings" of a person whose behaviour is being criticized, which, according to Bill 18's present wording, makes the person who sets out the criticism satisfy the definitional criteria of bully. Via Bill 18, then, the Manitoba government threatens (inadvertently, I think, but I'm not sure anymore) to squelch moral opposition to same-sex sex, which is, it seems to me, tantamount to promoting same-sex sex as a moral good.

(Continued below.)

Hendrik van der Breggen said...

What about promoting safe sex? Yes, we should promote safe (or safer) sex, of course. However, I'm old enough to remember decades of "safe sex" education for same-sex sex. In view of the evidence I've set out in my column, it's clear that serious problems associated with same-sex sex remain and are ongoing, strongly suggesting that "safe sex" education, though important, may not be effective. I think that the problems should be examined much more closely before our society continues on its pro-same-sex-sex path. Teaching young people that something is a good (or not harmless) when in fact evidence strongly suggests otherwise strikes me as false advertising—and risky for those young people.

Am I conflating homosexual orientation with risky behaviour? I don't think so. In my column "Is being gay like race?" I distinguish between homosexual orientation (persistent, durable same-sex attraction), same-sex attraction (occasional but not enduring), and the gay identity/script (a self-understanding that's constructed according to the cultural expectation that personal identity centers on same-sex sexual propensities and expressing them via same-sex sex). (I get this three-tier distinction from psychologist Mark Yarhouse.) In my column "Is promoting same-sex sex wise?" I'm concerned about same-sex sex, which is a behaviour.

As it turns out (as I've pointed out in my column "Is promoting same-sex sex wise?"), much evidence strongly suggests that same-sex sex (the behaviour) is closely associated with health risk, more so than heterosexual sex. Yes, promiscuity and unsafe sex figure into the mix, but, overall, there sure seems to be a larger risk with same-sex sex, especially for men. Perhaps, as you say, a monogamous gay couple might face the same health risks as a monogamous straight couple, but again, overall, there sure seems to be a larger risk with same-sex sex.

(About the meningitis outbreak in New York: I've read the story in various news sources, and it's tragic. Yes, promiscuity and random/ anonymous sex figure prominently here. Nevertheless, I suspect there would be anatomically-related health concerns even if there weren't a threat of meningitis.)

(Continued below.)

Hendrik van der Breggen said...

Have I inadvertently collapsed the distinction between gay sex and risky sex, as you suggest? Again, I don't think so. I know that my analogy with smoking isn't perfect (no analogy is wholly apt), but perhaps a look at some relevant salient features will be helpful here. Let's think about smoking, then, while keeping your comments above in mind (e.g., that gay sex isn't necessarily risky). The practice of smoking itself does not necessarily require that one inhales, which is risky, or that one smokes many cigarettes over a lifetime, which increases health risk. Also, some moderate smokers may even seem to have the same health risks as non-smokers. No doubt there's even a practice of safe or safer smoking (by continuously not inhaling, or by using filter-tipped or "light"/low-tar cigarettes). Perhaps even (let's say for the sake of argument) not all smoking is associated with risky smoking. So not all smoking is equally risky. Surely, however, these facts remain: (a) there are some forms of smoking—popular forms of smoking—which are dangerous (more so than other forms of smoking), and (b) the embrace of a culture which promotes smoking in general tends to put persons—especially youth—at greater risk of engaging in the popular, more dangerous forms of smoking. Now, in view of the ongoing and considerable evidence that health problems are associated with same-sex sex more so than with heterosexual sex, and in spite of decades of safe-sex education, these facts remain: (a) there are some practices of same-sex sex—popular practices of same-sex sex—which are dangerous, and (b) the embrace of a culture which promotes same-sex sex in general tends to put persons—especially youth—at greater risk of engaging in the popular, more dangerous forms of same-sex sex.

I recall doing some research on the same-sex sex issue in the 1990s (in the ethics part of my PhD program), when I was told (by a gay fellow) that for many gay men oral sex or mutual masturbation was more common than anal sex, and thus we needn't be so concerned about the considerable health risks associated with anal sex in male-male sex. However, the result of my research (of health studies from the Canadian government) was that anal sex among men was still a principal/ major expression of same-sex sex, unlike in the heterosexual population. As far as I can tell, the rate of anal sex among men who have sex with men is still about the same today. (There are health concerns, by the way, whether a condom is used or not, and many of the concerns remain even if there were no HIV/AIDS.) Back to the smoking analogy: Yes, one might chew gum or eat popcorn more often than one smokes cigarettes, but the amount of smoking (of the dangerous sort) is still significant, health-wise.

(Continued below.)

Hendrik van der Breggen said...

In other words, just as smoking isn't necessarily a problem—i.e., riskiness is not a logically or physically necessary part of the occasional safe smoking of a cigarette (i.e., smoking without inhaling first-hand or second-hand smoke)—its general cultural acceptance and ongoing practice strongly suggests, empirically, a linkage to risky smoking. In smoking we've seen that the more one engages in the practice, the more probable is the increase of physical-medical harm. In view of the increased cultural acceptance of same-sex sex in general, in view of the empirical evidence of health problems associated with same-sex sex in general (anal sex in particular), and in view of the apparent ineffectiveness of decades of safe sex education (education about the dangerous aspects of same-sex sex which seems to get ignored often), I wonder: Is there a significant parallel of some sort/s between same-sex sex and smoking?

So I agree that riskiness of gay sex is not a logically or physically necessary component of gay sex (I haven't collapsed the distinction between gay sex and risky sex), but empirical evidence does point to a statistical correlation which strongly suggests that some sort of connection between ongoing gay sex and risky sex holds in spite of decades of efforts to promote safe sex. The nature of this connection is worth checking out, it seems to me.

For starters, here are a few questions that I have. Sure, some or perhaps much of the risk in gay sex is due to a behavioural outworking of social stigma (e.g., what some have called internalized homophobia), but to what extent? Why does risky sex still occur in places where social stigma has significantly decreased (e.g., San Francisco, New York, The Netherlands, etc.)? What about the clear lack of anatomical complementariness and its destructive role in same-sex sex (especially among men)? Is there an addictive or compulsive quality that arises in behaviour that goes against the grain of physical design (whether the design is from God or merely apparent)?

I appreciate you, Jeff, for sharing your concern. I hope my response is helpful.

Best regards.

P.S. Some suggested reading: Robert A. J. Gagnon, "The Negative Effects of Societal Endorsement of Homosexuality," in The Bible and Homosexuality Practice, pp. 471-485.

Hendrik van der Breggen said...

For further thought:

The following passage is from Miriam Grossman's You're Teaching My Child WHAT? A Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Education and How They Harm Your Child (Regnery 2009), pp. 142-143. (This book has been recommended by Nicholas Cummings, a former president of the American Psychological Association, and Robert George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University.)

"Individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual report more problems with mental health too: higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts. While I'm sure that for some people, societal bias contributes to their distress, the entire onus for these difficulties—emotional and physical—cannot be placed at the feet of a 'heterosexist' society. It's just not intellectually honest.

"The Netherlands is probably the world's most open-minded and sexually tolerant country in the world. At the vanguard of homosexual rights for decades, gay marriage was legalized there in 2001, with over 75 percent of the population supporting the bill. A 1998 study examining sexual attitudes in 24 countries asked the question, 'Is homosexual sex wrong?' Only 26 percent of U.S. respondents indicated 'not wrong at all' or 'only sometimes wrong'; the corresponding number in the Netherlands was 77 percent.

"In light of that country's stance, it is worth noting that, as in the United States, young gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals in the Netherlands report more high risk sexual behaviors, higher rates of infection with HIV, syphilis, and gonorrhea, and more mental health problems than their heterosexual counterparts. In these studies, younger age was not protective; even as Dutch society became more accepting of sexual minorities, the health disparities persisted. Clearly, societal bias is not to blame for the disproportionately higher numbers in the homosexual populations in the Netherlands."

I ask again: Is promoting same-sex sex wise? My answer remains the same: I recommend further inquiry into the effects of same-sex sex—and greater public awareness of these effects.

Hendrik van der Breggen said...

For my extended replies to critics Aaron Scott Hildebrandt and Joseph Kugelmass, see my column (and comments) "A critical review of a critic's work".

Hendrik van der Breggen said...

From LifeSiteNews, February 13, 2013: "CDC: 94 to 95 percent of HIV cases among young men linked to gay sex".