Sex Ed in Bed

One on one research
By Jallen Rix, Ed.D. (c).

A few years ago, a television news magazine did a live, primetime program about America’s sex life, touting that their findings were supported by a thorough and accurate study they conducted. During the special they went to great lengths explaining how the research was gathered. Prior to the show they interviewed 1500 strangers by phone and then extrapolated from this small number the sex lives of millions of Americans. Even an amateur reporter (a T.V. newscaster perhaps?) can see the weaknesses in the methodology of this kind of research.

I don’t condemn the television show for its courage and attempt to gain knowledge about sexuality, even if the bottom line was to boost ratings. In our society I think the more dialogue about sex the better. However, sex research is fraught with challenges that make it difficult to get an accurate picture of sexuality.

In general, there's a lot of “research” out there that isn’t research at all. I have heard that eighty percent of statistics are false. Now, doesn’t that sound legitimate? Yet, the only part of that statement I can substantiate is that I heard someone say it, and I don’t even know who it was. We now live in a pop-statistical society where anyone can find or fabricate statistical evidence to validity their agenda. That’s why before you can really accept research as credible; you have to look more closely at the methods and motivations used to gather it.

With all the negative, obsessive, and hysterical misinformation permeating our society regarding sex, any study on the subject has to surmount strong obstacles of bias. Researchers with outstanding skills and the purest of motives have lost all credibility simply because they wanted to research childhood sexual development. The assumption being anyone who would do that sort of thing must be a pedophile.

Another bias-based obstacle is the myth that sexology is an illegitimate field of study. Because of this and other reasons sexological higher education has all but disappeared. Several prestigious schools have absorbed their sexology programs in with the psychology or medical departments, when the study of sex is neither, although there are elements that overlap.

Of course, the almighty dollar seems to have the most influence on this nation’s research. The response I’ve heard when someone seeks funding from the government for a sex study is, “Yeah, right… NOT!” It’s no secret how our government withholds millions in education funds to manipulate the teaching of sexuality in schools. Could you imagine the public outrage if there was similar discrimination about teaching engineering, business or law? Not to be outdone, the government is not the only one who uses money to affect sex research. Drug companies throw millions into testing their products, like Viagra, but how much can we trust a study when the backers have a vested interest in its outcome?

Another challenge is that the vast majority of sex research is a result of interviews and often anecdotal. Even Alfred Kinsey, the father of sexology mainly used an interview process to gather information and had great success in getting subjects to be honest. His research was so thorough that he is, to this day, looked to as a shining example in any field of research. Yet, there is still the possibility that some people plainly lied to him. Even when we are earnestly telling the truth, our memories change over time. Furthermore, depending on how questions are asked can have an influence on how we answer.

Ultimately, the only way to be sure of people’s sexual behaviors is to actually observe their experiences. There have been sexologists that have done just that back in the seventies, but not so much today. Obviously, this concrete research gathering is almost beyond possibility in the minds of our population. It simply falls into the pervert file. Though, I ask you, how else are we to gather the information?

Keep in mind, statistical and analytical research is neither the ultimate, nor the only process to finding the truth. Even the most tightly monitored scientific method will have weaknesses. For example, if there was a study done that consisted of watching volunteer couples fuck, how would we know if what we’re observing is the behavior of exhibitionists while missing the rest of the population?

I believe as long as the study of sex is stifled people will similarly stifle their understanding about it. So despite all the interference, this sexologist says, “Study? We must!” The good news is you can always do our own experiential research. Thankfully, no statistics can determine what arouses you. That’s something you will have to investigate for yourself!

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