Earlier this year, a study was released suggesting that children are better off when raised by heterosexual couples than by same-sex couples.1 That study received widespread media attention, despite the fact that it was fundamentally flawed and really said next to nothing about the parenting skills of gay and lesbian parents (you can read more about my take on that study here). In contrast, a new study about adopted children just came out concluding that such kids do equally well irrespective of the sexual orientation of their parents. Although the newer study was far more academically rigorous, it was largely ignored by the mainstream media. In this post, I will review the findings of this study and discuss why the media just doesn’t seem to care about it.
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Entries in children (5)
There are countless myths and stereotypes about gays and lesbians spanning everything from their mannerisms to their sex lives to the nature of their relationships. In this article, I will review five of the most common myths and evaluate them in light of what scientific research has to say.
MYTH #1: Gay men sleep around a lot more than straight men.
Researchers have known for years that parenthood has some predictable effects on heterosexual couples. Specifically, relationship satisfaction typically decreases1 and sexual activity usually drops off markedly once kids enter the picture.2 Given the significant increase in gay couples raising children through surrogacy and adoption in recent years, researchers have begun to explore whether similar effects occur among persons in same-sex relationships. Perhaps not surprisingly, the answer appears to be yes.
Vaginal Delivery VS. C-Section: Does Different Bacterial Exposure During Childbirth Affect Kids' Health?
I heard a fascinating edition of NPR’s On Point this week about how the bacteria that colonize our bodies impact our health, influencing everything from digestion to immune functioning (you can listen to the entire show here). The thing I found most interesting about this program was when they discussed how some of the most vital bacteria for promoting healthy development and functioning are acquired during childbirth, specifically through vaginal delivery. The bacterial composition of a woman’s vagina actually changes during pregnancy, presumably to allow certain bacteria to coat the child as it passes through the birth canal. However, if a child is delivered via Caesarean section (or C-section), that child does not have the benefit of being exposed to those bacteria and, as a result, could potentially experience worse health outcomes. After hearing this program, I just had to do some digging to learn more about the research in this area.
Every time a new study comes out comparing the outcomes of children raised by same-sex and heterosexual couples, it garners a huge amount of media attention. It doesn’t matter what the actual findings are or whether the study is even of good quality—reporters, politicians, and activists take it as an opportunity to reignite the debate over whether a couple’s sexuality affects their parenting skills. In my view, such media reports are not only inconsequential, but they are also offensive and counterproductive. Let me explain.