Daily Data Dump – Wednesday

By Razib Khan | October 13, 2010 12:36 pm

Gay Sex vs. Straight Sex. Is gay male sexual promiscuity a myth? “…in fact we found that just 2% of gay people have had 23% of the total reported gay sex, which is pretty crazy.”

Bloggers that deserve a wider readership. I second Andrew Gelman.


Fiber Meets Flavor in New Whole-Grain Pastas. I like whole-grain pastas!

Parallel Adaptation: One or Many Waves of Advance of an Advantageous Allele? “Models for detecting the effect of adaptation on population genomic diversity are often predicated on a single newly arisen mutation sweeping rapidly to fixation. However, a population can also adapt to a new environment by multiple mutations of similar phenotypic effect that arise in parallel, at the same locus or different loci.”

Why public genomics is not a purely personal decision. A must read from Dan Vorhaus.

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  • muffy

    While I’m not exactly sure that okcupid’s survey meets the criteria for adequate scientific rigor (to say the least), their results about gay male promiscuity are consistent with other studies on the topic — namely, that high rates of gay male promiscuity is driven by a small subset of the population. Hence, the mean number of sexual partners is higher for gay men, but not the median. There are more references to studies here

  • Sandgroper

    I’m thinking that OKCupid piece is somewhat bullshit, or at least not very rigorous, or that a dating site is not a really good place to gather data on sexual behaviour.

    “The subtext to a lot of homophobic thinking is the idea that gays will try to get straight people into bed at the first opportunity, or that gays are looking to “convert” straights.”

    As a fairly good looking straight male, my life has been bedeviled by gay males trying to convince me that I am really gay, if only I would admit it to myself, or that “If you just try it, I know you’ll like it”, or other aggressive approaches – I was once even threatened with being physically overpowered and pack-raped by a bunch of very fit and muscular gay males and was backed up to a wall fighting physically to defend myself until I was rescued by a very capable Chinese lady police officer – the cops deliberately stayed outside and sent in a lone female uniformed officer to get me out because they realized that I was punching and kicking any male who came anywhere within range, but wouldn’t hit a woman. She pushed her way through the throng of gay males surrounding me, threatening them with arrest if they didn’t back off, talked softly to me, put her arms around me and led me out, then the male cops encircled me protectively and got me out of there and saw me safely away. Very smart, very efficient, all over in seconds. I got the strong impression it was a situation they were familiar with.

    I have been told by several gays that “We can tell you are gay by your eyes.” (I have rather large dark eyes which my wife refers to as “sad doggy eyes” (she means like a cocker spaniel or similar dog breed, which she also found an attractive feature when she first met me.) Now, obviously, not all gay men I have encountered have behaved in this way – I am not so moronic as to believe that – no doubt most of them have not behaved like this at all. But it happens, and it has happened to me often enough to make me fed up with it, and aggressive when it happens.

    To be honest, I started out as an idealistic and humanistic teenager with a very “live and let live” attitude, but after decades of having to fight off gays, it is difficult for me not to be male-homophobic, at least in relation to those who are aggressive and predatory about it towards me. I guess I understand what it is like to be a woman and constantly having to fight off aggressive males who have no interest in me except for wanting to screw my brains out.

    So the statement “Gay people are not sexually interested in straights” is not true in the absolute sense – in my experience, some gay men are definitely interested in straight men when they think they are convertible or accessible. They may not search for them on a dating sight, for some obvious reasons, but on the ground, they are out there hunting.

    “Gay people aren’t promiscuous.” – I know one male in his 60s (married with children, who concealed his homosexual activities from his wife for 40 years) who claims, proudly, to have had (unprotected) sex with more than 500 other males – that sounds far-fetched, but it’s doable . I know several other gay males who engage in what I regard as highly promiscuous behaviour, and in my life I have not been a celibate little angel – I love women and, prior to marriage, I did my best to love as many of them as possible. Post marriage, I have remained faithful out of love and respect, not lack of desire or opportunity.

    Now, again, that obviously does not mean that all gay men are promiscuous, but as an absolute statement, the statement is clearly not true. A non-trivial % of gays are hugely promiscuous.

    When my daughter dragged me to an outdoor concert last May by those lovable Canadians Tegan and Sara Quin, who are both lesbian (they like to talk a lot at their concerts, and at this one they actually quoted a statistical probability that monozygotic twins will both turn out to be gay, which really cracked me up – a genetics class in the middle of a rock concert, with all these stoned and drunk people in the audience going “huh?” – my biological science nerd of a daughter was doubled up with laughter), they were talking invitingly to the audience about how after the show they would both be “hunting for pussy”. Which by my standards is fairly promiscuous behaviour. When I played in a band, I never overtly invited groupies.

    (Note – I don’t condemn Tegan and Sara in any sense, I like them and find them very endearing.)

    Finally, I’m hugely amused that, in the map on “Who is gay curious?”, the answer is “the whole of Canada”. In defence of my Canadian cousins, times I’ve been in Canada, I have never been hit on by a gay or gay-curious guy – not even once, eh? I’ve seen em, but they’ve left me alone after the initial eye search, eh?

    For the several billion of Razib’s Best Blog readers who have never heard of Tegan and Sara, catch this, and see if you like them as much as I do:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLDo0SKMRzU&feature=avmsc2

    I think that from my experience I could be forgiven for having a strong aversion to gay males, but in the generality I don’t, because I’m a moderately rational being and realise that I have encountered only a subset. And speaking of spectra, it is also evident to me that I am on the extreme 100% hetero end of the spectrum, so stay away from me.

  • muffy

    … But of course, while okcupid’s results are totally meaningless, we should completely trust sandgroper’s strictly anecdotal data =)

  • Sandgroper

    muff, yeah. I did not say their results are totally meaningless, I said their headlines are demonstrably not true in the ABSOLUE sense in my real life experience with what have presumably been a SUBSET of gay males.

    Who you might try to attract on a dating site might be a whole lot different to who you hunt at street level, out in the real, nasty world. No? Especially if you hunt in packs. And rape is still illegal, in case you hadn’t noticed.

    My data are strictly anecdotal, but they are strictly real and true – this is not some bullshit posted on some fucking cyber-dating site, this is how it has gone down in real life on the street in the true physical experience of one urban hetero male. Repeat – SUBSET. REAL. I don’t tell lies or make stuff up. I don’t see the point. As a strictly non-gay person, I have no vested interest in representing gays as lovely, nice, gentle people, unlike OKCupid – in my REAL experience, they absolutely are not. But my logic tells me I must have encountered a SUBSET, at least overtly. I presume, BEING OBJECTIVE, that the majority did not make their sexual preferences known to me, like most people that I encounter in life.

    Why does it not surprise me that you think the dating site crap is more real than real life? And why does it not surprise me that I am talking about a possibly small SUBSET, but which has a real life impact on attitudes to homophobia? Which is precisely the point that the OKCupid post was seeking (I think ineptly and inaccurately) to address.

    When you learn to read and understand objectively, not filtered by your priors, get back to me. If you don’t, don’t.

  • miko

    He’s right about Tegan & Sara being charming, so I’ll trust him that packs of male gays are to be avoided at all costs. For future reference, Sandgroper, you can always tickle your way out of those situations–especially if you tickled your way in.

    Anyway, fine to share anecdotes and shoddy data, I don’t think either is going to influence anyone too much.

  • Katharine

    Sandgroper, to be fair, you may have various looks about you that cause their gaydar to go off. Particularly extremely feminine-looking dudes – and I mean really, really feminine-looking, or ones with certain mannerisms – tend to make me think ‘oh, probably gay’ (merely in the being observant of my surroundings way).
    Packs of male gays who act like this toward men are like packs of male straights who act like this toward women, viewed from my eyes as a straight female: They’re both male, their targets are just different sexes, and clearly, not all men of any sexual orientation act like this.

  • Katharine

    I am not so moronic as to believe that – no doubt most of them have not behaved like this at all.

    Then why are you seemingly tarring all of them with the behavior of a few?

    I would suggest that you are not being as rational about this as you claim.

    Just as most straight men I’ve run into don’t act like this, most gay men I’ve run into don’t act like this.

    Certain people are just aggressive assholes who need to be put in prison for their behavior. Sexual orientation, race, nationality, ethnicity, etc. has no impact on that.

  • http://www.parkourvisions.org Rafe Kelley

    I was raised more or less by a gay man after the age of 8 because my dad was negligent, I went on to be a bouncer at gay club for 3 years in my early twenties.

    The idea that gays are not interested in straight people strongly contradicts my personal experience and the fact the ysearch for other gay men on dating website doesn’t seem like strong evidence for their attraction patterns in day to day life. Smart well adjusted gay men and women surely learn to key in on people who are similar because that actually gets them somewhere, but I have known many gay men who were hopelessly in love with straight men.

    The man who raised me never fell in love with another exclusive homosexual in his life. Many gay men have expressed the fact they found typical gay characteristics sexually unattractive. My impression was that gay men were stuck in paradox of generally being behaviorally less masculine while being primarily attracted to highly masculine males. The same was doubly true for lesbians, though the really dyke lesbians seemed to be able to attract feminine bisexual women though these pairings were not super stable. The pool of bi-curious masculine males seemed rather smaller for gay men.

    I have also been aggressively hit on by men starting at the age of 14(to be fair I had weird old ladies hitting on me at the same time) though nothing near the ridiculousness sandgroper describes, perhaps because everyone always assumed I was straight. I do have a lot of sympathy for women due to having been leared at groped and subjected to highly sexualized come ons. I was never in position of having to worry about my ability to defend myself from advances but some were none the less disturbing and I can imagine for a woman who did not share my size and athletic ability how intimidating this behavior could be.

    Thats good sensitivity training for a straight guy.

  • Sandgroper

    “Then why are you seemingly tarring all of them with the behavior of a few?”

    Katharine, in challenging the absolute statements made in the OKCupic article, I was trying not to do that. I don’t have any disagreement with what you have said.

    In Australia, the number of confirmed sexual assaults on females recorded by police every year is about numerically equal to 10% of the total female population.

    I find that utterly loathesome.

  • dave chamberlin

    One of my adult sons just happened to win the genetic lottery and be incredibly handsome. I totally sympathize with the comments of Sandgroper as to what it is like for both men and women when they are very very good looking. He has been slipped a date rate rape drug at a bar and hit on in an aggressive fashion his whole life. Being very tall, muscular, and gay tolerant he simply brushes these advances off as annoyances, but I can see just how warped and sometimes threatening the world must be to beautiful women.

  • Katharine

    Not to totally hijack the discussion, of course, but yes, dave, men have a certain amount of de facto freedom from being leered at and made advances on that women don’t generally have, largely because of their greater ability to exert physical force with their muscles (we’ve got better physical endurance, but that doesn’t count for shit in a situation where seconds can make the difference between life and death). To really equalize that, you would have to give a gun to most women in the same situation.

    Women have lower muscle mass, less muscle fibers, and less capacity for muscle hypertrophy as a consequence of having less testosterone – our lower average physical ability to exert physical force is a direct consequence of our sex, too.

    Men, of course, are more likely to be attacked physically at all whether they are in the situation intentionally or accidentally, but for an individual who is a woman it has an extra component of being more likely to result in being more badly injured in a fight and being sexually assaulted, if her opponent happens to be an individual who is a man.

  • Sandgroper

    dave, I think the date rape drug thing would have been even worse than my experience of being attacked physically by a hateful pack intent on domination, because at least I was physically able to keep them off me until the cops arrived to extract me. I have tried but don’t remotely understand miko’s “tickle” comment (because miko is not a trivial commenter by any means in my estimation) – this was not a situation where tickling someone had any relevance.

    And the world is not just threatening to beautiful women, it is also threatening to any female human. (Not to mention sheep and a variety of other animals, as GC periodically reminds us.) There is such a thing as rape of geriatric females by young, fit males, and also of female babies, as mind numbing as that concept is, so no human female can feel safe, at any stage of life. Which is something that enrages me. I have a young, shy, awkward, physically beautiful, highly intelligent and very hard working daughter who aspires to be a medical scientist and wants to dedicate her life to helping people, and she doesn’t deserve to have to put up with this shit for her whole life.

    But I liked Rafe’s comment – being given the treatment by gay males that women are subjected to by a lot of straight males is great sensitivity training for straight males.

    Katharine, you haven’t hijacked anything, you are totally on track, as usual, and I know enough about sports science to be completely on board with everything you have said.

  • miko

    Ha…sorry…it was trivial, and borderline homophobic. Sorry.

  • Katharine

    And the world is not just threatening to beautiful women, it is also threatening to any female human.

    Meh, I find it mostly irritating. I feel safe the vast majority of the time, myself.

    One is also less likely to be attacked if one doesn’t make themselves look like a good target.

    Also, the vast majority of men don’t rape – and there are some choice statistics on rape here: http://www.rainn.org/statistics .

    Note also that on a smaller scale there are unfortunately also women who are perpetrators too, and rape can happen in any combination of people.

  • Katharine

    This disturbs me the most, really:

    44% of all people who are raped are under age 18.

  • Sandgroper

    miko, at the risk of being an irritating parody of my less cerebral country-persons, no worries, mate. No need for sorry, sibling.

  • Katharine

    And since 75% of people under the age of 18 who are raped are girls, that means 33% of all people who are raped are female children. Most of them kids who are about your daughter’s age, Sandgroper.

    By the time they reach age 18, 12% of girls will have been raped. If the statistic is that one in six American women will be raped – approximately 16.66% – then nearly 75% of women who were raped were raped as children.

    In most cases, the perpetrator is an acquaintance.

  • Sandgroper

    No, there’s something screwy with my number. Perhaps what I saw included indecent assault, like groping and such. Theses numbers appear to be confined to completed or attempted rape.

    http://www.secasa.com.au/infosheet/Statistics.pdf

    Yes, my daughter is in one of the largest target groups – young, female and mixed race. The only group that score higher than mixed race w0men are native Americans. But I’m totally unclear on the race definitions, I presume these are self-reported. They don’t give a separate number for Latinas, which seems odd.

  • Sandgroper

    “One is also less likely to be attacked if one doesn’t make themselves look like a good target.”

    Any suggestions on how?

  • Sandgroper

    I guess she could start wearing a burqa, like one of her classmates.

  • Katharine

    The website seems to suggest, and in fact I have implemented these sorts of ideas in my daily life, that the simplest way to not get raped is to not get drunk.

  • Sandgroper

    Oh well that’s easy, she doesn’t drink.

    There’s more to it than that – it says that in 1/3 of cases the perpetrator was intoxicated, not the victim.

    I think I could probably think up a better list than they have. For example, they make no mention of clothing or footwear, but it’s a serious point for more than one reason.

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This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com

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