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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  • clasact Butterfly 2012/05/08 05:15:49
    and you think hugging started this and it should be delt with in the schools ? How about the parents deal with it
  • Bali 2012/05/06 13:43:51
    depends on how and who and where on what it leads to.
  • P. Sturm 2012/05/06 09:45:38 (edited)
    P. Sturm
    It depends on what you're doing with the rest of your body, at the time. Now doesn't it?

    Is shoving your head up your ass, like a Tennessee lawmaker, a gateway sexual activity?
    Or is it just a sad fact of life.
  • Butterfly P. Sturm 2012/05/07 03:52:43
    They are talking about SCHOOL CHILDREN, who are having sex oral ,sex in the class rooms. I would hope SOME of you understand that is NOT proper behavior for elementary kids, some as young as nine years of age. You can still get STD's at that age. Reading comprehension? No touching, hugging............NO SEX FOR these nine year olds.
  • P. Sturm Butterfly 2012/05/07 03:59:24
    P. Sturm
    Then address "THAT" with the law.
  • Jeh 2012/05/06 04:21:50
    Isn't puberty a gateway sexual activity? Banning hugging?!? What's next, banning waving at somebody because it might look like a sign of masturbation? I know that is a bit far out there but so is thinking hugging leads to sex.
  • Butterfly Jeh 2012/05/07 03:53:45
    None of you have reading comprehension. School children are having sex in class! Please, someone think this through. Sigh.
  • Beanybudd Butterfly 2012/05/07 05:57:12
    pics or it didn't happen
  • Jeh Butterfly 2012/05/07 06:20:10
  • Beanybudd Jeh 2012/05/07 05:56:59
    haha, right on, Jeh :)
  • joe mauro 2012/05/06 02:51:57
    joe mauro
    in brooklyn gateway sexual activity is boarding a subway train.
  • Revolution 2012 2012/05/06 01:23:22
    Revolution 2012
    Outlawing hugging? What has this world come to? This is seriously one of the most idiotic things I have heard in a long time, even competing with pizza being a vegetable in terms of sheer stupidity.
  • Butterfly Revolut... 2012/05/07 03:55:35
    Again, ONLY FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN. Are you all liberals? All for giving little children STDS early? Elementary kids are having oral sex in class. This is not for the general public, hug away; no one is outlawing hugging.
  • Jeh Butterfly 2012/05/07 06:22:36
    Elementary kids are having oral sex in class. WTF lady, where is this happening? And were are the parents and teachers. I guess to busy having sex in front of nursery kids. You gotta get them early.
  • Revolut... Butterfly 2012/05/07 12:11:48
    Revolution 2012
    Hugging is not a gateway sexual activity. Bad parenting and poor education are gateway sexual activities, since a lack of control and a lack of knowledge about the consequences of sex are the best ways to trigger deviant sexual behaviour in teenagers. Hugging has never been an issue of sexual conduct before. If anything, hugging has always been seen as comforting, not provocative. I'm 18, I've grown up in a generation of corruption and lazy parenting. Don't tell me what triggers sexual behaviour, because I see the evidences every day at school and at home.
  • stevmackey 2012/05/05 23:27:39
    I got hugged by most of my family. I had sex with none.
  • Beanybudd stevmackey 2012/05/08 02:00:01
  • Muriel 2012/05/05 21:04:43
    I do think, one thing leads to another without a shadow of a doubt. People who disagree must have different hormones . Touch has always ment something, hugs too, lead to kissing and before you know it ,watch out. Get out the aspirin tablet.
  • EmoGirl 2012/05/05 20:48:02
    it does if it goes to far
  • CODE 11 2012/05/05 17:11:42
    CODE 11
    It does if you get a boner
  • Mr. Basket 2012/05/05 16:07:48
    Mr. Basket
    Hugging is gross!
  • I am me 2012/05/05 15:09:36
    I am me
    They are running out of things to legislate it seems. If only there were a way to monitor breathing...they have had that discussion I'm sure.
  • Zach055 2012/05/05 12:07:08
  • Michael Hertel 2012/05/05 10:28:02
    Michael Hertel
    While they certainly are things which are usually done prior to sexual activity they do not always lead to it.
  • RobertChristopherLaity 2012/05/05 09:52:15
    Depemds on who one is Hugging!
  • jere.ch... RobertC... 2012/05/06 17:53:23
    Amen to that when my favorite Redhead hugs me It usually leads to sex, but that's the plan.
  • JERSEYDUDE 2012/05/05 08:20:55 (edited)
    it doesnt matter what it leads to because its not anyones damn business!!
  • Grammar... JERSEYDUDE 2012/05/06 12:39:09
    Grammar Freak
    That's absolutely right.
    It isn't anyone's damned business... regardless where it happens.
  • Butterfly Grammar... 2012/05/07 03:58:10
    OMG, even underage SCHOOL CHILDREN? They are not talking about the general public. Hello, waiting to see if ANYONE really read this thread? They are not talking about YOU ALL. Only little school children, having oral sex.
  • Grammar... Butterfly 2012/05/07 22:31:19
    Grammar Freak
    In my opinion, humans have childhood to learn. Touching & messing around is part of learning. Forbidding touching each other in school is horrendous... & a detriment to children's development. It is unnatural not to touch.
    Children touching each other is fine.
    What has to be deterred is adults touching children inappropriately. But even teachers hug their students sometimes. That doesn't mean they're molesting them, it means they're showing affection & support.

    I believe Tennessee's action will do more harm than good.
  • Gina 2012/05/05 06:13:29
    That is absurd! If someone is unable to hug without thinking about going further than that, then maybe their relationship is based on pure physical attraction and sexual desire, come on! Even kissing is something that wouldn't always lead to sex.
  • Muriel Gina 2012/05/05 21:07:18
    I agree, but the right time, right place and things unplanned happen. That is just human nature.
  • Gina Muriel 2012/05/06 01:59:00
    But it's usually choice of the couple, it's not like they say "Oh, we're hugging now we have to have sex." haha x]
  • Butterfly Gina 2012/05/07 03:59:56
    SCHOOL CHILDREN, underage school children having oral sex in class.
  • Butterfly Gina 2012/05/07 03:59:19
    Another one that didn't read the thread. SCHOOL CHILDREN, underage ,school chrildren having sex, not the PUBLIC at large.
  • mzemma 2012/05/05 05:53:18
    this is not really a face to face hug... you see this a lot in parks where guys have girls rest against their genitals... come on.. look at his face.. he's getting off
  • Wilde~MoonChild ™ 2012/05/05 04:48:47
    Wilde~MoonChild ™
    This law is stupid and America is going the wrong way... figures!!
    It seems like they believe if they stop the 'idea' of sex at its early stages teens won't do it..
    That kind of logic only back fires!
    America's teen pregnancy rate in the U.S has dropped BUT Mississippi, where they teach Abstinence only, has the highest rate of all the states. Apparently THAT isn't working. We have to be realistic when it comes to sex or it'll only make things worse.
  • Butterfly Wilde~M... 2012/05/07 04:01:35
    Going through this thread, still no one has really read this thread. SCHOOL CHILDREN HAVING ORAL SEX IN CLASS, hello, not the general public. And, the school teachers, WILL BE SUED.
  • Wilde~M... Butterfly 2012/05/07 05:54:11
    Wilde~MoonChild ™
    If you're referring to the actually article, Yes I did read it.
    So now what are YOU talking about? School children having oral etc.....
  • Larry777 2012/05/05 03:34:47
    This is rediculous. There is no such thing as a sexual gateway. There is intercourse, and the other things.

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