TCU Researchers Conclude that Absent Fathers Turn Women into Sluts

clear_heels.jpg
Another clear sign that Daddy missed one too many of your birthday parties, or maybe you just attend TCU.
Human sexuality is a complex beast, its expression influenced by an intricate tangle of psychology, biology, emotion and social norms, all tempered by personal experience. Sexual behavior is certainly much too complicated to be boiled down to a single factor. Unless you're a college-age girl whose father wasn't around when you were growing up. Then, you're basically a slut.

So says TCU psychology professor Danielle DelPriore, whose report on the influence Dad has on his offspring's love life got a lot of attention this week. And why wouldn't it?

The study was simple enough. Researchers, led by DelPriore, enlisted 64 straight female TCU undergraduates. Researchers told half of the subjects that they were evaluating their writing style and instructed them to think of an important life event Dad wasn't around for and "describe in detail how your father's lack of support -- or his physical or psychological absence -- made you feel." The other half were asked to muse on the same subject, only for events when their fathers were actually there.

Some women from both groups were asked to fill in the blanks in incomplete sequences of letters (e.g., S_X, _AK_D) to make words. The rest were given a list of statements about sexual permissiveness (e.g., "Sex without love is OK"; "For me, sex with someone does not necessarily imply that I am committed to that person"; "I dislike using condoms due to reduced sexual pleasure") and asked, on a scale of 1 to 9, how strongly they agreed. Those girls primed to think about their father's absence were more likely to add an "E" to "S_X" and to tend toward the 9-end on the sexual permissiveness questions.

Previous studies, like this one from the National Institutes of Health, reached a similar conclusion, but they've typically done so in a much more rigorous way. Slate and Jezebel in particular take issue with the methodology of the TCU study.

For starters, the study participants are young, relatively affluent and mostly white, hardly a representative slice of America. Beyond that, the conclusions you can draw from a college student seeing "S_X" and thinking "SEX" are basically nil. There's certainly not enough to proclaim, as the researchers do, that the "results provide the first true experimental evidence supporting a causal relationship between paternal disengagement and changes in women's psychology that promote risky sexual behavior."

Here's Slate's L.V. Anderson:

This is enough of a stretch to make Stretch Armstrong look like he needs to loosen up. In fact, the idea that this study suggests anything at all about the effect of absent fathers on women's sexual behavior is so ludicrous that it's hard to believe the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology accepted it for publication. I am not disputing the notion that fathers' presence or absence may affect girls' sexual development: Previous research has indeed suggested that this is the case. Nor am I contesting the idea that a woman's relationship with her father has some impact on her later romantic and sexual choices -- the thriving state of the psychotherapy industry is the equivalent of a big fat "no duh" on this point. But this study does not demonstrate either of those conclusions. This study merely demonstrates that female TCU students would rather not think about loving Daddy and having sex at the same time.

And Jezebel's Callie Buesman thinks the researchers' conclusion is, well, kind of paternalistic:

To attempt to prove that a woman who is comfortable having and/or thinking about casual sex is the byproduct of paternal neglect is to imply that a woman in possession of a sex drive is a bad thing. In the end, the way in which this study was framed says far more about the researchers than the test subjects.

Meanwhile, frat guys everywhere are drafting absent-father pickup lines.


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
54 comments
Americano
Americano

One trip to a strip bar answers this mystery.

pchbanapple
pchbanapple

The methodology does seem questionable; nevertheless, it's fun to read how people pick apart studies that do not support their pre-existing notions. Just as climate change deniers reject any study suggesting that climate change is taking place, people of a progressive disposition reject any study that suggests there are any drawbacks for children who grow up in a home other than one headed by their biological straight female mother & biological straight male father who are married to each other.

Obummer
Obummer

Yo as long as Sandra Fluke gets her free birf control pills what difference do it make?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Thank Heaven for Paternal Disengagement !

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

Dubious methodology.

ruddski
ruddski

White sluts better get busy, more whites died than were born in the US last year.

Paul Patterson
Paul Patterson

Blame men for everything. No personal responsibility.

Mira De
Mira De

horrible! and people who write things like like the above one are idiots

Bradley Herron
Bradley Herron

*sigh* Stop killing my hope for humanity, please.

Meredith Doherty Potyondy
Meredith Doherty Potyondy

Wow. Slut, huh? What would you call a very sexually active man who had an absentee father? A man. Sexist fail on your part, Observer. I've come to expect more from you. Shame.

Clarissa Nicole
Clarissa Nicole

Um, no. I know girls with present fathers who are sluts. And by sluts I mean in control of their own sex lives, "who are we to judge them?"

Ambelleina Warwillow
Ambelleina Warwillow

I went to TCU and I can say without a doubt that all those girls WITH fathers in their lives are pretty darn...yeah.

sherilenoir
sherilenoir

Sex is fun, and the basis of our power over men, to say we use it for the sake of some daddy issues is really not giving women any intellectual credit at all.

Stephanie Cook
Stephanie Cook

I disagree, I had no father presence, and I didn't turn out to be a slut..very misleading article..

Arden Ellis
Arden Ellis

People have known this for years. Why is money being wasted on something so obvious?

ruddski
ruddski

This whole thing about fatherless households is just blatant racism. Cosby Crap.

IAmNotTheFather
IAmNotTheFather

I've watched enough daytime TV to know this is true...

MichaelinLH
MichaelinLH

Sure seems to be the case with strippers. Well, so I have heard. I wouldn't know anything about that first hand or anything.

Daniel
Daniel

Every prog-rock outfit reaches that stage in its career when a compilation album is in order. But what to call it? Might I recommend: 


"An Complex Beast"

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Just remember ...

A male that engages in casual heterosexual intercourse is called a "stud" and this behavior is typically viewed affirmatively by their peers.


A female that engages in casual heterosexual intercourse is called a "slut" and this behavior is typically viewed negatively by their peers.


Other than that there is no cultural bias based upon gender where casual heterosexual behavior is concerned.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Occam's Razor.

Single parent households mushroomed after 1960s Great Society legislation, and abstinence has been abandoned in secondary education.  

Replaced with RU486 and how to slap a rubber on a banana.

And Occam's Razor also applies to why this whine is hoisted up.  

The simple answer is, the above scribe who laments the results of the survey knows the truth is self-evident.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away. - Philip K. Dick (1928–82), U.S. science fiction writer. Definition given in 1972. Quoted by Dick in: I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, “How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later,” Introduction (1986). 

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

And statistically insignificant sample size.

Daniel
Daniel

@bmarvel It would appear they went into the endeavor looking to answer the question, "Why are girls with daddy issues such gosh damn dirty little sluts?" 

DSmithy3211
DSmithy3211

@Meredith Doherty Potyondy You didn't actually read anything past the headline, did you?

TheTexasHammer
TheTexasHammer

@Stephanie Cook It would be impossible to want to take you home anyways.

Daniel
Daniel

@ruddski   But make no mistake, this study is a piece of shit, as laid out -- er, elucidated -- by the Slate writer.

Daniel
Daniel

Eric/Joe corrected it, of course. Using "an" just makes it seem more British, somehow. 

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul How old are you and how much time do you spend with people under the age of say 60? 

"Stud?"

No one that is actually having intercourse with anything other animals(guitarplayer) talks like that. 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@holmantx except..... those single parents of those households were in their secondary education during the 50's or early 60's (the first cohort of the baby boomers).  They were taught abstinence in school (as have been generations since, no matter how idiotic it is to teach against natural instinctive urges), and it apparently didn't take.

Your quote from PK Dick is more appropriately applied to the principle of teaching abstinence in school than it is to the article in question.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx

RU486? "abstinence has been abandoned in secondary education"? good grief, where do you pull this crap from? oh yeah, it's evident.

The "Great Society legislation" didn't foster the sexual revolution, the approval of the birth control pill in 1960 lit that fuse.  (RU486 didn't arrive until the '80s). And how did the pill get researched and developed for public use? thank Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood. They saw that not conceiving was the best solution to preventing unwanted pregnancies (and hence fewer abortions, too...), and as it is natural for humans to want/engage in sex the idea of just saying no doesn't work very well in reality.

As for you quip on abstinence, frankly that's about all the sex education that is being taught in secondary schools these days in Texas. All about abstinence, all the time.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@holmantx 

You keep pushing this crap as if the USA prior to 1960 was some sort of wonderland.

It makes me wonder if you've ever read a history book outside of elementary school.

Daniel
Daniel

@DSmithy3211 Nah, she ain't far off. The entire, um, thrust of the study's "conclusions" is that having a sex life is a negative thing -- if you're a single woman. The "blame the men" aspect is there, too, for sure.. This is just a hodgepodge of lazy cultural assumptions under the bogus guise of research.

ruddski
ruddski

TCU was a silly place to do the study in the first place.

ruddski
ruddski

Misogynistic then. Anti-government as well.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @holmantx 

In the FACE of the reality we have experienced over the past 35 years (the destruction of the family unit), precisely how can you conclude de facto it is God's Will?

It's causal.  That's all.  Why fight it?  

Must it reduce itself to Reductio ad Absurdum?


holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@mavdog 

and based upon that f'd up logic, you'd have us all teach gun safety in Jr. High since kids are gonna get guns and gang bang.

go wash yer face.  you are the problem.

handwringer.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk @holmantx

It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.~ Sir Josiah Stamp ~

we are all at fault.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

It's the sisters and grandmothers who turn men gay, not the mothers.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Daniel "Where is the study demonstrating that men's maternal relations determine their ..."

Gayness ?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@ruddski The man in the house is now a financial liability.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ruddski"Men were built for promiscuity, it's our job."

You're a gem, ruddski. You really are.

Daniel
Daniel

@ruddski   So were women. This is the thing. Of course, if there's one universal in human societies throughout time and space, it's proscriptive rules surrounding sex. But historically, the proscibin' has been laid -- er, imposed -- rather more heavily on women than men. Like, as in a lot more heavily. Dig?


ruddski
ruddski

Men were built for promiscuity, it's our job.

Daniel
Daniel

@ruddski  

It's most certainly misogynistic. Agreed. Where is the study demonstrating that men's maternal relations determine their level of promiscuity? Oh, wait, men can't be "promiscuous." I keep forgetting it's 1964. 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx

wow, what a wonderful, well thought out, lucid reply to my showing that your comments were just plain inane. and wrong. not to mention juvenile.

well done holman! you never fail to almost reach the low bar we expect from you!

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@holmantx @TheCredibleHulk 

No, it's easy to post the words of others on some internet forum. It is much more difficult to engage in debate that might challenge our ideas, our doctrines or our reflexive assumptions.

~TheCredibleHulk~

I agree with your last bit.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...