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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