Savin-Williams and Ream – Fluidity of Teen Sexuality

Savin-Williams, R.C. and Ream, G.L. (2007)  “Prevalence and Stability of Sexual Orientation Components During Adolescence and Young Adulthood.”  Archives of Sexual Behavior  36, 385-394. is not currently publicly available free to view, so this post displays the key parts of the research with the statistical model of sexuality change. A link to this post will go on my Online Directory for Sexual Orientation Change Research.

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9 Comments on “Savin-Williams and Ream – Fluidity of Teen Sexuality

    • What’s all that about? Well, Jill, if any one knows what it’s all about, you should, since it was you who triumphantly threw this study in our faces in the first place. Perhaps you’ll kindly produce a synopsis for us.

      • Gugli, can we get one thing straight? There is no ‘triumph’ in my producing these studies. What sort of a person do you think I am, glorying in the misfortunes of others? It is an absolute disgrace that these figures are so high, and it is not people like me who bring them into the open that are to blame, but those who deliberately conceal them because they are frightened of gay activists and want to appear ‘nice’ and ‘compassionate’. Do you really think it is nice and kind to hide the fact that anal sex is the best way to get HIV and AIDS? Do you really think I want people to get it?

        You should really go and think about who are actually the compassionate ones.

        • Jill, it was you who triumphantly brandished this paper, which you admitted that you hadn’t read and now admit that you don’t really understand. It is NOT a paper on HIV/AIDS but on “Fluidity of Teen Sexuality”. Whatever the merits of the paper – and it is clear from your own admissions that you are not competent to evaluate them – what, pray, has it got to do with “glorying in the misfortunes of others”?

          Quite some time ago you cited on another blog the Home Office Report “Sex Offending Against Children: Understanding The Risk” (1998), which you also clearly hadn’t read, claiming on the sole authority of a Daily Mail journalist that it showed that gay men bear special responsibility for sexual offences against children. His one-sentence quotation was accurate, but, as I pointed out at the time, either he had not read the Report properly or, if he had, he knew perfectly well that he was deceitfully using the quotation to imply something that the Report itself expressly contradicted. I would have thought that my exposure of that blunder might have brought home to you the lesson not only that it is a bit risky to cite a book or paper which you haven’t read, although I’m sure we have all done it, but that it is downright foolhardy to do so on the say-so of a journalist or of any biased source. But apparently not.

          When, as a 14-year-old schoolboy, I clumsily spilt ink on my desk two days running, one of my teachers quoted at me a saying which he still remembered seeing on a wayside pulpit in Yorkshire when he was a lad himself: “A fool is he who buys the same experience twice.”

          • Well, Gugli, as I don’t keep such a careful record of my other posts as you appear to do (this feels uncomfortably like stalking) I have no way of telling whether or not it is true. I certainly have no recollection of it. But as you have seen various studies come up with different conclusions, some of them widely at variance, and this is a topic on which we will probably never know the truth. Even the brainiest people can come up with differing conclusions, and people don’t always tell the truth.

            I don’t read them all, because I have neither the patience or the inclination to make sense of a load of figures (I admit to being a mathematical nitwit) and funnily enough, the initial response I gave on this particular blog was for a different study to the Savin-Williams one – it was actually entitled something else, which I found in the daily CEN. Perhaps Peter can throw light on this. If you had seen it, you would probably have drifted off to sleep before getting to the end of the first paragraph, unless you are the geeky type who gets excited at the sight of a lot of mathematical symbols.

            None of this alters the fact that the teenage brain has not fully matured, and patterns can be laid down which may affect the whole of life. This is not just for the Tom Daleys of this world, but how many girls who become sexually active at a very early age bitterly regret it later? It can destroy their trust in the opposite sex, which can carry on into their lives as adults and parents, leaving them unable to form stable relationships.

            And I don’t need a survey to tell me that.

            • No, Jill, I have not kept any record of your posts. I have better things to do with my time than that. I simply have a phenomenal memory. Not for figures – I am hopeless at remembering telephone numbers, dates, prices, Mozart symphony numbers, post codes etc. – but for things that people have said and written.

              As I have already pointed out, teenage same-sex sexual experimentation is quite common. The vast majority of those who engage in it grow up with a permanent heterosexual orientation. Many of those who never engaged in it grow up with a permanent homosexual orientation. Even gay men who have had no homosexual experience, and who in their late teens or early twenties marry women, remain gay after years of marriage. Similarly, gay male “virgins” who try to cop out of being gay by becoming celibate RC priests or monks and who keep their vow of celibacy still find that in mid-life they remain as gay as the day they entered the seminary. No matter how fluid teen sexuality may be – and I would be extremely sceptical of the contention that it is equally fluid for all; mine, for example, was never fluid even though back then I would have liked it to be – the evidence simply does not support the idea that sexual orientation is determined by patterns being laid down by sexual experience. Yes, premature sexual experience can certainly be harmful, especially for girls, and is best avoided, but that is an entirely different issue and is not relevant here. It is regarded as completely normal for a heterosexual man of 19 to have a girlfriend, whether or not they have sex. No-one would dream of telling him that he shouldn’t have a girlfriend but should hang on, because his brain hasn’t fully matured and his sexuality might change. There is no justification for trying to pull the same kind of trick on a gay man of 19. (I hope that nowadays no gay man of 19 would listen to such cruel nonsense anyway.) The suitability of a particular relationship is, again, a different issue.

  1. So….what it is basically saying is that of people who consider themselves heterosexual, a minority DO experience same-sex attraction at one point or another, and that sexual orientation is not bi-polar but gradual?

    Also, what are the “waves”?

  2. Peter you seem to be in a great deal of distress and I guess this is your attempt to convince yourself that you haven’t lost this fight you have taken upon yourself. As a gay person, I can empathize with your need to validate your own personal experience but like many ex-gays, you are unable to divorce your personal sense of identity from the social, political and religious activism to deny LGBT people the rights and dignity you enjoy. Unfortunately, the very concept of “ex-gay” is a function of political resistance to gay rights and social tolerance of gay people. There will always be people who cannot accept their sexuality due to homophobia and they are free to live however they choose. Why can’t you just live your life in peace? You have to realize that outside of your conevo anglican bubble, you are aligned with people like this…

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