The (Dirty) Joke’s on Researchers

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

The joke’s on a generation of human-sexuality researchers:

Adolescent “pranksters” responding to the widely cited National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the mid-1990s may have faked “nonheterosexuality.”

Preliminary results from the landmark study — known as “Add Health” — stunned researchers, parents and educators alike, recalls Cornell’s Ritch C. Savin-Williams, professor of human development: “How could it be that 5 to 7 percent of our youth were homosexual or bisexual!” Previous estimates of homosexuality and bisexuality among high schoolers had been around 1 percent.

So imagine the surprise and confusion when subsequent revisits to the same research subjects found more than 70 percent of the self-reported adolescent nonheterosexuals had somehow gone “straight” as older teens and young adults.

“We should have known something was amiss,” says Savin-Williams. “One clue was that most of the kids who first claimed to have artificial limbs (in the physical-health assessment) miraculously regrew arms and legs when researchers came back to interview them.”

Steve Sailer remembers getting handed a sex-survey in college in the 1970s and passing it on to his roommate, who filled it in with lewd, self-contradictory double entendres:

For example, while most of his answers consisted of implausible boasting about his heterosexual exploits derived mostly from old jokes about traveling salesmen and farmers’ daughters, I recall that his answer to the question “What kind of contraception do you use?” was “100% oral: Girls always tell me “No.”

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