PUBLIC OPINION > Hugging Is Definitely Not 'Gateway Sexual Activity'

News 2012/05/02 16:00:00
Tennessee passed a unique and controvesial law recently that makes it possible for parents to take legal action against teachers who condone "gateway sexual activity." The problem is, no one is quite sure what "gateway sexual activity" is. That's how it's worded in the law, which means it's open to interpretation. Do they mean hugging? Holding hands? Kissing? Groping? What are we talking about, here? We took it to the obvious extreme and asked the public if hugging, cuddling, and holding hands -- the most basic forms of romantic physical contact -- could be considered "gateway sexual activity."

For the sake of laid back teachers, let's hope Tennessee courts agree with the public. Only one in four thinks hugging, holding hands, and cuddling could be considered gateways to sexual activity, whatever that means. Even some of those responses were sarcastic. The Top Opinion wrote, "Yes! Add to that walking, talking, touching, seeing, breathing, and being human. I believe they are all gateways to sexual activity." So what could be considered "gateway sex"? Some said kissing, others said naked wrestling. A couple people said marijuana. (They were a little confused.) Just not hugging, for crying out loud!

Men Think Hugs Mean More

All of the demographics were pretty much in agreement that hugging and cuddling is a safe distance from sex, but there were a few interesting differences. For instance, men were nearly twice as likely to say that kind of activity was a gateway to sex. That could offer some insight into the minds of men, or it could just represent the protective father demographic.

Teens Think It's Silly

The strongest correlation was, not surprisingly, age, and there was a sharp change of heart at about age 25. On average, voters 25 and up were 3.5 times as likely to think of hugging and cuddling as gateways to sex. That's even more than the difference between parents and non-parents, married and single, liberal and conservative, and atheist and Christian.

Conservatives More Than Christians

In the comments, a lot of opponents treated this like a religious issue. However, based on the demographics it was more political than religious. Conservative voters were 7% more likely than Christians to think of hugging as a gateway sexual activity, and liberals were 4% less likely than atheists. Though religion and politics do often go hand-in-hand, there's clearly more to it.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll about Tennessee's new law. We'd love to hear from you!
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Top Opinion

  • Beanybudd 2012/05/02 17:32:05
    Outlawing affection... something humanity needs to show more of getting disallowed. Can someone please slap the old men making these rules. YOUR GRAND DAUGHTERS ARE NOT GOING TO GET PREGNANT FROM HUGGING! Who ever makes these dumbs things should go to a health class and get a good learning about sex education. It's there for a reason and it appear sthey need that education more than teens with this bullscheisse.

    the amount of stupidity is too damn high

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  • gocar 2012/06/03 06:26:13
    School if for education and all the hugging, hand holding, and mooning of each other is not appropriate on the school premises. Save it for elsewhere.
  • Pamela 2012/06/01 08:23:30
    Hugging is definitely not a gateway to sex. Oh, so, I've hugged my friends so that means I want to have sex with them.
  • Sue 2012/05/28 23:22:04
    My junior high school principal (early 1970's) did not allow holding hands, he said that "holding hands leads to pregnancy". Maybe he was from Tennessee.......
  • Delphine 2012/05/24 21:47:34
    omg lol me n my friends r like hug-whores we hug just about anybody lol
  • Professor Wizard 2012/05/22 15:59:08
    Professor Wizard
    Looking at a person of the opposite sex (or in some cases, the same sex) is a gateway to sexual activity!

    Therefore: All should be put blind at birth.
  • Anna Profess... 2012/05/28 04:08:26
    Ahh, but there are still pheromones in the air, and what if they hear a sexy sounding voice. Better chop off their noses and ears too.
  • Jeremiah 2012/05/10 00:16:19
    None of this is "gateway sexual activity". You know what's gateway sexual activity? Taking your clothes off so that you can have sex with someone. Hugging? Jeez, little kids are hugging their stuffed animals!!! BAN THOSE FURRY SEX HUNGRY INFLUENCES ON OUR CHILDREN!!!! The level of stupidity in our society is reaching scary levels. Smart people, upgrade to DEFCON 2.
  • dog 2012/05/08 20:18:21
    No but getting head is
  • ronnie..its_his_war 2012/05/08 07:39:18
    oh you'll be surprised..
  • Yuki ~ ♦Lion King of PHÆT♦ 2012/05/08 00:34:18
    Yuki ~ ♦Lion King of PHÆT♦
    Outlawing affection should be outlawed.

    It's like we don't want people to grow up to be normal, healthy, socialized, comfortable human beings.
  • Beanybudd Yuki ~ ... 2012/05/08 02:01:37
    Exactly. It's like they want us to become emotionless robots.
  • Michaela★ 2012/05/07 21:51:00
    I don't see a problem unless the hugging turns into groping which it easily can. I'd perfer couples hugging in the hallways at school then making out with their tongues down eachothers throats.
  • deborah sletten 2012/05/07 18:36:17
    deborah sletten
    Children emulate elders, not necessarily knowing what it is all about. Children are forced to congregate in a school atmosphere, eachstudent comes from a diverse background and should be protected from peer pressure.
  • Dave0626 2012/05/07 14:54:09
    Who is it exactly that says hugging IS "gateway sexual activity"?!
    Or is this just more 'made up' stuff for the sake of creating controversy?
  • irish 2012/05/07 14:11:44
    control ,control,control....when will people learn to mind their own damned business?
  • wtw 2012/05/07 13:30:34
  • skull+crossbones 2012/05/07 10:32:00
    No. Hugging is not a gateway to sex! So, I have a sexual relationship with every single one of my family and friends, do I? Interesting theory... XD x
  • Brandon 2012/05/07 09:12:27
    We'll try them as adults for murder. But treat them like little tiny children when it comes to sex.

    They either know right from wrong or they don't.....which is it?
  • Brownielover504 2012/05/07 04:34:12
    No big deal
  • Butterfly 2012/05/07 03:44:14
    Omg, you are all raving a TEENAGERS POST! Beany is 19 years old. They are not talking about no hugging ever in your life time. ONLY AT SCHOOL. Hug your mom, dad, grandparents, siblings, outside of school.
  • Beanybudd Butterfly 2012/05/07 05:45:45
    I am indeed 19 years old and actually it's considered young adult, since I am an adult according to LAW. Your point is invalid.
  • zionosp... Beanybudd 2012/05/07 18:24:25
    I think Judy needs a hug.
  • Beanybudd zionosp... 2012/05/07 20:07:10
    Let's give her a bigggggg group hug
  • Beanybudd Butterfly 2012/05/07 20:07:19
    *group hug*
  • zionosp... Butterfly 2012/05/09 15:10:52
  • big T 2012/05/07 03:18:14
    big T
    If yooour wraping your legs aroound a girl it does with your pecker on her back
  • Butterfly 2012/05/07 03:08:12 (edited)
    OH, hugging, holding, kissing does not HAVE to lead to sex, but if you are talking about some teenager's and their hormones, better to not ,have ANY, of that kind of activity.
    If you don't start with the touching, you can't do too much of anything else. There is no guarantee that it will lead to sex, but without touching, it IS a quarantee, there will be no sex.
  • Butterfly Butterfly 2012/05/07 03:37:13
    "Outlawing affection... something humanity needs to show more of getting disallowed."
    They are not talking about everyone in life,,,,,,,,,,, only those in SCHOOL. Elementary kids are having oral sex in school now. You are all raving a TEENAGERS post on here. Beany is 19 years old, and I would bet, NOT A VIRGIN. Go hug your mom and dad, grandparents, OUTSIDE of school. This is about school behavior, not for the rest of the public. You are in school to learn about the Three 'r's, not to worry about hugging, or hand holding with someone. Apparently, there is already soooooooooo much sex going on in school, they have to do something! Beany's brain won't be developed totally till she/he reaches about 25 years of age. I would guess, some of you are in your twenty's?
  • Beanybudd Butterfly 2012/05/07 05:54:53
    Your behavior is completely uncalled for and disrespectful.

    And for your information, I haven't even kissed a boy. Generalizing is incredibly disgraceful and you will be reported if this behavior continues. Please treat your neighbors respectfully just as your Jesus would want you to :)
  • Jeh Butterfly 2012/05/07 06:31:37 (edited)
    Listen, there must be 10's of students in Elementary school having oral sex. Molestation in the church is a greater problem. Seriously think about this, I think most 7 year old boys believe that you could get coodies from oral sex.

    This tread is about teenage sex in school.
    Stop talking about elementary kids having sex, it's really creepy and a minor problem. Didn't you play doctor as a kid? Whatever happened to 'you show me yours and I'll show you mine'. Everything is so sensationalized nowadays and sorry Judy but you are feeding that hysteria.
  • Butterfly 2012/05/07 03:05:18
    75% said "no" , hugging, holding, and kissing is not a gateway to sexual activity?
    OMG, try having sex WITHOUT one of these! Must all be liberals? 'free love', Wood stock people?
  • Butterfly 2012/05/07 03:02:06
    I am a very affectionate person. So, of course hugging is a gateway to sexual activity! First, you have to 'get together' and touch each other, NO? If you never touch each other or get close to hugging, hand holding, nothing can happen. Elementary Watson.
    My opinion has nothing to do with being conservative or religious. It is based on common sense. That thing that most people are lacking in 2012. Must be all that MJ smoking. lol
  • CuresCancer 2012/05/07 01:47:40
    There's a big difference between hugging and cuddling. Okay, let's get real: are we talking about vertical or horizontal hugging and cuddling?
  • Beanybudd CuresCa... 2012/05/07 05:55:52
    haha! Right on :)
  • _Fake Smiles Hide The Truth_ 2012/05/07 00:52:29 (edited)
    _Fake Smiles Hide The Truth_
    No. It doesn't always but sometimes.
  • jere.chievres 2012/05/06 17:50:22
    Not always.
  • Justin Garrison 2012/05/06 17:27:48
    Justin Garrison
    I don't think hugging or holding hands leads to more. Now, cuddling could. There are many ways someone can "cuddle".
  • umapathy Krishnamurthy 2012/05/06 16:32:19
    umapathy Krishnamurthy
    Definetly it is eas to sex
  • clasact 2012/05/06 16:12:22
    you would think law makers would have something better to do then come up with laws that are not defined.Someone will get busted on this and it will have to go to court and waste the tax payers money and the courts time ....ant that just great
  • Butterfly clasact 2012/05/07 03:49:58
    They are talking about SCHOOL childrens behavior, and suing the teachers, because now, elemetary school children are having oral sex, and think it is no big deal.

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