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The bogus “couples study” is back… and this time doing more harm than ever

Timothy Kincaid

July 15th, 2010

Remember back in February when the news was all atwitter about how gay couples aren’t monogamous? Oh, gosh, it was a study, you know, in which half of the gay marriages were open!

Well, it’s back. And the reporting on Colleen Hoff’s work is no more accurate this time than it was last time. The San Francisco Chronicle – which calls non-monogamous relations “San Francisco relationships” – breathlessly declares:

In her study of gay couples, 47 percent reported open relationships. Forty-five percent were monogamous, and the remaining 8 percent disagreed about what they were.

We analyzed the claim – thoroughly – and it DID NOT support the claims. In fact, the sample was just about as far from representative of the gay community as you could get. As I said at the time:

In short, those reporting on this study got it wrong. If there is any story here, it would be that a study of San Francisco bay area gay male couples, a sample which was highly skewed to include many participants who are less likely to value monogamy and which defined “couples” to include those who have been dating as little as three months, still found that half of them set monogamy as the agreement for their relationship.

But based on the pattern of the stories and my communication with the authors, I have a new conclusion: When the news repeatedly and consistently reports conclusions that cannot possibly be determined from your data, it’s not because you’re trying to correct them. Hoff has, in all occasions I’ve seen, made broad generalizations about the nature of gay relationships – not just those in her study – that lead me to wonder if her research is little more than an attempt to provide talking points to support her presumptions.

And Hoff’s study – which does, at least, seem to have structure – now leads to press reports about a “study” which has almost no validity whatsoever.

Lanz Lowen and Blake Spears, two men in an open relationship, set out to find others who shared their values. And – surprise of all surprises - they did. They asked their buddies to participate and recruited where they socialized and, by golly, they found 86 non-monogamous, long-term (8+ years), gay male couples and (ok, here’s the shocker) the vast majority of those folks who were non-monogamous reported that they liked being non-monogamous. I suppose their next project will be to prove that those in line at Baskin Robbins like ice-cream.

And why do we know all about this non-study? Because Colleen Hoff was right there supporting them all the way:

“The ground-breaking work Lanz Lowen and Blake Spears are doing is providing important information and modeling about gay couples. The findings from their study will end up supporting gay couples for generations.”

Now I have never run across good statistics on monogamy in gay relationships. And I would not be surprised to find that statistically non-monogamy is higher; maybe it is. But I also would not be surprised by good research that its no higher at all than heterosexuals.

In fact, I have no idea whether some, many, most, or very few gay relationships are open. And neither does Colleen Hoff, Lanz Lowen or Blake Spears. Nor do any of you. It’s all just speculation based on the experiences we each have and those of the people we spend our time with.

I don’t know anything about the frequency of occurance of monogamy and non-monogamy among gay couples. But I do know someone beating an agenda when I see it. And that’s what is going on here.

And it isn’t admirable. It isn’t an honest contribution when conservative loons like Paul Cameron cook the data to get the conclusions they want. And it isn’t an honest contribution when liberals do the same thing.

Hoff, Lowen and Spears want to believe that gay men are non-monogamous. It fits their preconceptions. But they didn’t study that.

Hoff did not conduct a study of gay men to see who is monogamous; she studied how HIV-positive men negotiate communication and agreements. And Lowen and Spears did not conduct a study of gay men to see who is monogamous; they sampled non-monogamous couples to see if they liked it.

But are they reporting it that way? Hell, no! They are too busy trying to preach the joys of non-monogamy to bother to tell the truth.

And even more frustrating is that this selfish declaration of “how many gay couples are” (ignoring lesbians entirely) can do tremendous damage to our hard-fought effort to win rights and determine our own destinies. Freely speaking for all of us – with absolutely NOTHING to back it up – the Chronicle article ends with this:

Having an open partnership is not incompatible with same-sex marriage, said Spears, 59.

At least half those interviewed were married, having taken their vows during one of the two brief times when it was legally sanctioned in the city or the state.

“It’s a redefinition of marriage,” Spears said. “The emotional commitment, the closeness, all of it is there.”

Have you ever heard the claim that the “homosexual agenda” is to redefine marriage? Ever hear how “gay couples aren’t monogamous, anyway?

Anyone want to guess how long it will take for that completely fake “study” to make its way into an anti-gay commercial? Or be presented in court as evidence of why we should not be allowed to have relationships at all? Or be used by some bigoted judge to take some lesbian’s children away from her?

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Chris Marshall
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

This reminds me of the “ex-gay” study Robert Spitzer did over the phone where he interviewed 200 hand-picked “ex-gays” who where happily given to him by NARTH, Exodus International, and Love Won Out. In the course of the study and talking to “former homosexuals,” (actually just extremely religious and severely repressed ‘homosexuals’) he concluded that one can change their sexual orientation. Forget about the face to face, or the follow up’;in a matter of 30 minutes on the phone with each “ex-gay” Spitzer concluded this. Sadly he still believes in it today.

This junk science, which it what it is, needs to be more than exposed it needs to be vilified for what it is. Thanks to Spitzer and his idiotic carelessness and narrow insight on such a topic, his study was used to set us back nearly a decade. To this day his 2001 study is still used to deny us rights to our families and children. These studies that were discussed here are no different. Junk science by narrow sighted individuals which will continue to set us back.

All the work from Dr. Judith Stacey, and Dr. John Gotmann washed completely down the drain. The studies that prove same-sex couples are more stable and committed than opposite-sex ones. The studies that prove that we can raise children equally and sometimes better than our heterosexual counterparts.

Thanks to these terrible scientist the hard work of ALL OF US, in the science community is thrown away because it is studies like these that make media ratings, not studies that prove just how similar and normal same-sex couples are when compared to opposite-sex couples.

Gus
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

Strange, I don’t think 50% of the gay/lesbian couples I know have open relationships. I know of only one long term open relationship, and they are not often invited to couples’ dinners, theater, concerts, etc. The trust level is not there for the rest of us in relationships.

Donnchadh
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

A recent post on Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science” blog describes a study showing the strength of bias on the perception of research results. People see the faults in contrary findings but not supporting ones. Or they dispute that science can give answers to the question.

http://www.badscience.net/2010/07/yeah-well-you-can-prove-anything-with-science/

So all the people promoting this study might be entirely sincere.

TampaZeke
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

Even if there is a difference between the number of gay couples identifying as non-monogamous and the number of straight couples identifying as non-monogamous, the difference lies, not in the ACTUAL number/percent of couples that are monogamous/non-monogamous, but in the qualifier “IDENTIFYING”.

I have no doubt that, on this issue, gay couples would be more likely to be honest about having a non-monogamous relationship. Gays, having already broken THE sexual taboo, are less likely to feel “shame” or reservation in revealing the fact that they’re “broken” another social-sexual taboo. I also think the reason straight couples would choose to be, or would NEED to be monogamous (to protect their children from a parent abandoning them) is much less often an issue for gay couples; yet even still I don’t think that straight couples are ACTUALLY monogamous in much greater percentages than committed gay couples. I do think that gay couples are more likely to be honest with EACH OTHER and agree to an open relationship than straight couples are.

I don’t think the effects of the gender dynamics of mixed sex relationships can be underestimated either. There are issues of gender roles, gender interaction and gender influences that are present in straight relationships that are absent, or at least greatly diminished in gay relationships. These dynamics have as much to do with why straight couples are less likely to admit to extra-relationship sexual encounters as they do with the sexual encounters themselves.

Christine
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

Journalists who do such shoddy reporting should have their credentials revoked, as should researchers who knowingly allow their research to be misused (some professional associations in fact do require their members to correct misuse of their research when they become aware of it).

Gary Burton
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

This is tough to explain to straight people. Yes to the above comment that gay couples are more comfortable breaking taboos, and yes they usually don’t have to worry about possible custody issues. Another factor: it is pretty well established that there is a different perspective between males and females (I can’t quote any studies, but I bet the incidence of non-monogamy among lesbian couples is quite low). As for my own experience, my partner and I have been a monogamous couple for the six years we have been together, but we’re the exception around here. When I list every other long-time couple we know, I come up with eight who have been together ten years or longer, and none of them are monogamous! They are also all solid citizens, ranging in age from mid-30s to mid-50s, and happy in their relationships. Seems like the “study” in the article is asking the wrong questions as well as drawing the wrong conclusions. Definitely not helpful, but how do we go about explaining our different perspectives on all this?

Pender
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

Ahhh crap. This is the kind of “science” that has the potential to change judges’ and legislators’ minds. The anti-gay side has been spinning its wheels for some time now to justify bigotry in contexts where tautologies like “defending the sanctity of marriage” don’t work anymore: in court and before a legislature.

Now they get this facially stupid “study” which oversamples HIV-positive people by a FACTOR OF FOUR but still gives them something quasi-academic to hold in the air as they denounce us as strange and alien and morally inferior. “So-called homosexual ‘marriages’ really are different from good old Leave It To Beaver-style opposite-sex marriages! Opposing same-sex marriage really is linked to public health, commitment to monogamy, protecting our children from sexual promiscuity, etc.!” It feeds every single one of their arguments.

Of course, if you tried to survey heterosexual couples by posting fliers at STD clinics, and you tried to draw conclusions from a heterosexual population in which 50% of the individuals had herpes and a large proportion were recruited from the Casual Encounters section of Craigslist, and your conclusion was that straight people don’t believe in monogamy, you’d be laughed out of town. At best, you’d have proven that straight people who have had or are currently seeking promiscuous sex… tend to have promiscuous sex.

If I were an anti-gay activist, this is exactly the tactic I would take. I would use shoddy methodology and develop subtly biased criteria to reinforce gay stereotypes. I’d find the stereotypes that are for some reason trumpeted in Queer Studies programs and I’d publish studies supporting them in Queer Studies journals. I’d get gay-friendly and liberal news sources like the SF Chronicle and the NYTimes to report on them. Then I’d email a link to Maggie Gallagher. Probably nothing I could do would be more effective.

Neon Genesis
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

Isn’t polygamy the marriage pattern approved of by God in the bible anyway, so what are these Christians worried about?

Uki
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

The study about monogamous or non-monogamous gay couples doesn’t interest me anymore.

The idea that the ‘other party’ wanted to prove that gay people are non-monogamous, is because they wanted to prove that being gay is a choice, a lifestyle to support a certain ideology.

They want to hide the truth that there are gay couples who still value monogamy, marriage, and family. That there are gay people who can be as conservative as they are in a matter of love and relationship.

They obviously didn’t understand why our pride color is rainbow :P

Jon
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

Any statistical study of gay and lesbian people is suspect because it depends on the respondents self-identifying as gay or lesbian in the first place. There’s simply no way to do random sampling of glbt people, because only the most out subset of the community will identify as glbt to a stranger. As a result, many studies of glbt people recruit subjects at bars or gay events or through gay newspapers, which are not reflective of the glbt population as a whole. And the fact that it’s easier to be out today than it was in the past makes it difficult to compare current studies with those conducted 20 or 30 years ago.

Responsible researchers should always point out these difficulties, and should always stress the limited reliability of their data. I think you can use these kinds of studies to see general patterns, but anyone who uses a study like this to declare that x percent of glbt people do one thing or another is an idiot.

That said, this “study” joins a long list of others dating back to the ’70s that suggest that gay men are more likely to be non-monogamous, often by mutual agreement. These studies also suggest that as the culture shifts and it becomes easier for gay men to have lives fully integrated with their families, workplaces, and other communities, the trend has been towards monogamy rather than away from it.

Evan Hurst
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

LIKE CLOCKWORK, the disingenuous hacks at NOM are trumpeting the Chron piece.

http://twitter.com/nomtweets/status/18698737079

Jason D
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

yep. A stopped clock is right twice a day, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the clock is broken.

Bryan
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

Thank you for this post, Timothy. We really need to see more of this responsible journalism in the gay media.

Emily K
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

Thank you, Timothy, for also saying that lesbians are being left in the cold.

Hell, even if this “study” were factually accurate and unbiased, it STILL wouldn’t break the case for LESBIAN marriage! So at LEAST legalize marriage between the most monogamous couples there are (statistically!)

FBG
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

Validity of the results or no, I hope reacting to this study isn’t going to push us down the route of insisting that all homosexual relationships ape idealized heterosexual ones.

Marriage is an option within the community for the people who need and want it, and that’s why I’m for it. And fidelity is reasonably considered the ideal within marriage. But not all GLBTQ need to get married and not all marriages need be monogamous.

Though the law sides with one party in a marriage when the other is unfaithful, non-monogamous straight marriages are still marriages until one party within the marriage objects. The law doesn’t police for fidelity. It should be no different for us.

Having people fully accept that gay relationships aren’t just hetero ones with the partners swapped is going to take more doing and I understand not being in your face about it during a fight for equal treatment. But I hope we won’t forget that ourselves.

ricky
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

my partner and i have been together for 15 years in a monogamous relationship.

these people need to come out and say what they really mean, traditional marriage is permission to have sex granted by a religious institution.

EZam
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

@ Chris Marshall

Spitzer later said that anti-gay activists twisted his research to make it seem like he was supporting their views. He actually believes that in some (very rare) cases sexual orientation can change, not that it applies for all homosexuality.

TampaZeke
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

I know that the anti-gay marriage people will use this information to make some kind of case against same-sex marriage but for the life of me I can’t imagine what that case would be.

Is MARRIAGE not the MAIN reason why long-term straight couples, that are monogamous, are monogamous?

Isn’t it a bit unfair to hold a community of people who have NEVER had the institution of marriage, or the history of the institution of marriage, or public support for their relationships, or legal encouragement or protection of their relationships to the same standards of monogamy as those who have lived their whole lives in a world where their relationships are respected, promoted, legally contracted and encouraged to be monogamous.

It seems to me that, if their point is that gay people don’t have monogamous, committed relationships and that such relationships are healthier, happier and preferable, then their opposition to same-sex marriage looks even more spiteful, hateful and contrary to their stated goals.

Such people should be the MOST ardent supporters of same-sex marriage.

Ben in Oakland
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

If i have a time to write a letter to the chronicle today, I will.

The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior says that “More than one-third of men and one-quarter of women admit having had at least one extramarital sexual experience.” A survey by the National Opinion Research Center (University of Chicago) found lower percentages: 25 percent of men had been unfaithful and 17 percent of women.

The actual figures are probably higher. I don’t think people like to admit adultery, even to complete strangers. In short, heterosexuals have no corner on the morality market in this issue.

And what is truly important to keep in mind: This is ADULTERY we’re talking about, not negotiated non-monogamy. When you throw in that factor in the hetero world, one has to wonder what the true figure is for non-monogamy, negotiated or otherwise.

Why is it that the alleged attitude of some gay men only towards sexual exclusivity is sufficient justification to deny all gay people legal marriage, but the demonstrated infidelity of at least 25% of married heterosexuals is irrelevant? That any given couple should be denied the right to marry because others behave unacceptably is no more applicable to gay people than to straight people.

Unless, of course, hypocrisy is now as moral as adultery.

Dr. Matthew
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

Wow, maybe I’m just used to San Francisco journalism, but I feel like we’re reading different articles! It seems obvious to me that the article points out, time and again, that this is a) a very local sample, and b) inspired by high rates of HIV seroconversion *within* couples. In fact, they quote Colleen Hoff (not Huff, btw) herself stating that her focus was on exploring negotiations around outside sexual behavior and how to reduce HIV risk that started it.

Almost no HIV prevention efforts target couples, but in large cities highly impacted by HIV, coupled men seroconvert at high rates. Hoff is working to increase prevention efforts for these men. Since when is valuing HIV prevention “junk science” because most participants fit at-risk stereotypes?

Dr. Hoff is a very approachable, thoughful scientist I’ve met personally (she regularly presents around the country at many HIV research conferences). I would recommend you consider emailing her directly (every university maintains public email addresses for faculty) and ask her to respond to your concerns? Or ask other researchers (I’m sure many read your blog) to turn a skeptical eye on Hoff’s recent publications and let you know if they’re in line with other work in the field? I’m sorry, Timothy, but while I usually enjoy your posts, I think you’re a little off on this one. Your motives, I’m sure, are in the right place, and I also know many same-sex monogamous couples, but exploring the risks and rates of non-monogamy in HIV-epicenters is a very needed effort in the fight against HIV.

Timothy Kincaid
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

Dr. Matthew,

Thanks for the correction on Dr. Hoff’s name. I’ve revised my commentary accordingly.

But I have to disagree about the message conveyed by the article. I did not see one instance in which the author suggested that the conclusions about monogamy could not possibly be drawn from Hoff’s sample. Nor did I see even one reference to the fact that this “local sample” was not representative of gay people as a whole. In fact, the article implied quite the opposite.

And I agree that exploring the rates of non-monogamy in HIV-epicenters is very needed. As are appropriate efforts to target messages to discourage HIV transmission.

Let me be clear: I do appreciate Dr. Hoff’s efforts to look at how HIV is transmitted within couples. That is valuable.

What I do NOT appreciate is Dr. Hoff’s complicity (if not participation) in using this study as support for a conclusion that CANNOT be drawn from the study.

That is irresponsible.

It is true that half of Dr. Hoff’s sample was non-monogamous. But it is also true that 48% of her study are HIV-positive. Yet somehow I think that if a newspaper implied that 48% of all gay men are HIV positive that Dr. Hoff would be quick to correct such a false statement.

She should be as quick here.

Timothy Kincaid
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

Dr. Matthew,

I did send my previous article in February to Dr. Hoff’s associate Sean Christian Beougher (who was quite helpful) and asked for correction before it was posted.

I received no correction.

Peter in Canada
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

Somebody Please, contact Celeste Lavin at 365gay and berate her for following up this story without fact checking. And thanks to BTB for exploding the myths.

Dan
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

I read the article in the San Francisco Chronicle, and I completely agree with Timothy. The article misrepresents the study’s findings as showing that many Bay Area male couples have open relationships: “A new study released this week by the Center for Research on Gender & Sexuality at San Francisco State University put statistics around what gay men already know: Many Bay Area boyfriends negotiate open relationships that allow for sex with outsiders.”

The article mentions HIV, but only after several leading paragraphs about open relationships, and the article never acknowledges that participants were disproportionately HIV+. If this article is reflective of the study itself, I’m incredulous that Hoff received funding from a reputable granting agency. It’s difficult to know for sure if this is junk science or only junk journalism, but it sure is junk!

a. mcewen
July 16th, 2010 | LINK

Funny story that just happened. That study was posted on the NOM facebook page. I put a link to this post on it and it was taken off within five minutes. Plus I’m barred from commenting. LOL

justsearching
July 17th, 2010 | LINK

Tim- “Anyone want to guess how long it will take for that completely fake ‘study’ to make its way into an anti-gay commercial?”

A. mcewen- “That study was posted on the NOM facebook page.”

It looks like less than 24 hours would have been a good guess. NOM is one long anti-gay commercial.

BobN
July 17th, 2010 | LINK

For some insight into just how non-representative this study is, see the section on Recruitment in their Spring 2007 newsletter:

http://crgs.sfsu.edu/pdf/newsletter_-_2007_-_spring.pdf

Typical “study” of gay men, recruiting at bars, STD clinics, etc.

Sigh

David
July 17th, 2010 | LINK

The solution is simple.

Fund a study of heterosexual couples, using comparable recruitment strategies. When that study shows comparable rates of non-monogamy, this one becomes useless as ammunition against same-sex couples.

Non-monogamy among heterosexuals is an extremely common thread in art, music, literature, and history. In those same sources, it is rarely the produce to mutual consent.

The issue of consent is important, but not in the way that homophobes will/have interpreted it. In an “open relationship”, both parties have consented, indicating parity between the participants – the power to define the relationship is shared.

But, and this is of vital importance, every relationship in which non-monogamous behavior has occurred, that is not an “open relationship”, one person consented to non-monogamy while the other did not, indicating a serious imbalance in the power to define the relationship.

If, as appearances suggest, heterosexual relationships trend to non-monogamy without mutual consent, then mixed-up relationships are inferior to same-sex relationships because of the marked lack of parity in the relationship.

Timothy Kincaid
July 17th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks, BobN

Somehow I think that recruiting in the bathroom of the Eagle and the Folsom St. Fair is not going to find a sample that proportionately includes monogomists. Just guessin’

Amicus
July 17th, 2010 | LINK

Is the article available online, yet, anywhere? I’d like to read it.

I looked at the purposes of this study, and just don’t see why this type of research is worth funding.

Until I do, the answer is to just stop talking to Hoff and her associates, in terms of filling out their unseen agenda.

Jason D
July 18th, 2010 | LINK

BobN and Timothy — see that’s my issue. I rarely go to bars, since entering my relationship 4+years ago I stopped needing to go to STD clinics, Outside the handful of gay blogs I visit, I’m fairly removed from what is largely and loosely considered “gay culture”. It isn’t something I avoid, mind you, but just a lack of interest. If there’s something good on Logo, I’ll watch it. But a lot of the other gay culture aspects are geared toward dating and or sex. The bars and gay.com were a means to an end for me. I don’t subscribe to any magazines or newspapers(gay or otherwise).

So I’m always skeptical when I read about a study “of gay men” because clearly they keep missing me. I don’t know anyone who’s participated in a study about gay people. So it’s hard to take anything as reliable when it seems to skip my corner of the world entirely.

Mary Mactavish
July 19th, 2010 | LINK

Me: Bisexual
Husband: Heterosexual

We have a non-monogamous relationship, and would were I heterosexual. We don’t share (well, rarely, our taste isn’t all that similar), swap, all that … we are just not monogamous. It grew out of a long, “casual,” non-exclusive relationship, during which we fell in love, and we saw no reason to close it up. We each have other *committed* partners, besides each other.

I know lots of people in open relationships. Among them, there doesn’t seem to be a strong correlation in terms of the orientation of the people involved.

Chris Marshall
July 19th, 2010 | LINK

@Ezam:

Spitzer said his research was twisted by the anti-gay right. Yes that is correct, but his sample was far from non-bias. He was given 200 “ex-gays” from Exodus International, Love Won Out, and NARTH. All the examinations were 30-45 minute phone conversations, nothing more nothing less; a general survey that could have easily been lied on. Given that fact that those who prescribe themselves as ex-gay are either severely closeted, repressed and religious homosexual males and females, or bisexuals, its safe to say they will answer more on the lines to their faith, and personal delusion rather than honestly on how they truely feel.

Remember, Ex-gays believe that a person who has same-sexual attraction is not, in their mind, gay. Only people who engage in sex with those of the same sex are homosexual. These so called ex-gays believe that as long as they dont have sex with members of the same sex that they are effectively cured of their “homosexual disorder.” But they still have “homosexual feelings” or as they say, “struggle with same sex attraction.”

These are the people that Spitzer studied with those 200 short phone calls. He did not do followups, nor did he meet face to face with these people. Further more, there could easily be LGBT within the united states that number close to 40 million individuals. 14 out of 200 is not even close to a representable number to conclude that even a minuscule number can change their sexual orientation. Yet despite this Spizter made his claims. His survey was irresponsible and nothing short of poor science. His apology should not be accepted because his survey was far from conclusive and he himself even knew that.

The study is also half complete given the fact that it only covers homosexual and a few bisexual males and females. Spitzer never studied “formerly straight males and females.” For his study to be conclusive he has to study heterosexual males and females as well, who have changed their sexual orientation to be homosexual. He did not do that. He only studied homosexual and bisexual males and females. Finally he stated that a “few homosexuals” could change their orientation, but didn’t even question if few heterosexuals could do the same. This leads into the false stereotype that homosexuality is not a normal, valid sexual orientation, but simply a sexual deviance associated that heterosexuals “suffer from.” This is far from the general knowledge that has been gained by countless studies done by doctors throughout seventy years on the LBGT community, starting even before Dr. Evelin Hooker.

To finalize my point. Every major medical and mental association within the United States, Europe, and Canada, has stated that a person cannot change their sexual orientation and that doing so causes harm to the patient. This was not a claim simply made up to protect scientific interest and data. This was concluded on multiple studies that actually evaluated all sides of this argument on whether or not “any” sexual orientation can be changed; not just to see if homosexual-orientation can be changed. Again Spizter study was irresponsible. He should have conducted a proper study that looked at all sexual orientations rather than just homosexuality and possibly bisexuality. He should have look for his own “ex-gays” to study instead of asking the “ex-gay” industry to give him a select hand picked set of 200.

Lanz Lowen
July 21st, 2010 | LINK

Timothy,
I’m not sure it will do any good to respond, but I do want to reinforce what you got right in your blog. Where we agree: 1)Our study is of a very skewed sample: Male couples in acknowledged non-monogamous relationships who have been together at least 8 years AND who were willing to be separately interviewed and included in this study. That sample was difficult to find and is by know means random. However, since our purpose was to describe what couples learned about non-monogamy, particularly what works, this skewed sample fit our needs.
2)Our study was in no way comparing or commenting on the preponderance or percentages of monogamous vs. non-monogomous relationships. That was not our point. And anecdotally, most of our couples friends are monogamous or appear to be, which is why we initiated this study, to hear from other couples who weren’t. BTW, research about percentages of monogamy vs. non-monogamy in male couples already exists(and maybe it too is bogus in your mind, but it’s hardly new).
We did not ask participants if they ‘liked’ non-monogamy, but we did ask in what ways non-monogamy had impacted their relationship. We heard lots of different responses, most positive, some mixed and some solely negative (you can read the summary for the findings). Again, this is admittedly skewed – couples having difficulties were probably much less likely to participate. We were not and are not advocating non-monogamy. For some couples it may be a good choice, but it comes with risks and requires work, honesty and definitely both partners need to want the same thing. We do think it warrants learning about and have been pleased to hear from many younger non-monogamous couples who found descriptions and lessons from others valuable.
Lanz Lowen

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