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Sexual strategies predict religiosity and attitude toward drug use

A new study from the University of Pennsylvania has indicated that your sexual attitudes help cause not only your attitude toward drugs, but your religiosity. It was previously commonly believed that religiosity and/or political beliefs were the primary causative agents, but it appears to be the other way around. Here’s an excerpt from the paper explaining this in more detail:

Moreover, the relationship between sex and drugs tended to mediate items that, from the perspective of canonical views in political science, might have been thought to be driving views on drugs. For instance, while it is true, as one might have expected, that people who are more religious and those who are more politically conservative tend to oppose recreational drugs, in both our samples, the predictive power of these religious and ideological items was reduced nearly to zero by controlling for items tracking attitudes toward sexual promiscuity.

These reductions are difficult to reconcile with a model in which abstract political views are the underlying causal variables driving attitudes toward drugs. They are, however, consistent with the model we propose, in which individuals’ sexual strategies drive views on recreational drugs.

It is also plausible given our results that abstract commitments drive sexual attitudes and sexual attitudes drive drug attitudes. In both models, sexual attitudes directly influence drug attitudes, with the difference being that our model views sexual strategy as a major causal influence in determining abstract commitments, while the other model takes the opposite causal position, viewing items like religiosity and ideology as major influences in determining sexual attitudes. We note that recent work with regard to religiosity shows substantial evidence that the causal arrow runs at least in significant part from sexual lifestyles and attitudes to religious commitments (McCullough et al. 2005; Weeden et al. 2008; Li et al.
2009).

The authors rightfully note that sexual attitudes don’t account for all variance, but they do account for a significant amount. This is obviously a complex issue, so I would like to see more research, but it’s still interesting. If it is true, I think it has profound implications for religion. There’s a difference between “Divine mandate says we must be monogamous, therefore I am” and “I’m monogamous, so I feel comfortable in a belief system that affirms my opinion.” Moral judgments sort of fall flat when they’re based on arbitrary personal opinion. Although, this concept isn’t too shocking to atheists.

Of course, if there’s one hole in this study, it’s all the religious fundamentalists who keep popping up in the news for their inability to keep their pants on. You think they would all be sex-crazed liberals.

(Via Carnal Nation)

Comments

  1. says

    Me, personally…I love sex. It’s both fun, and beautiful. And there-in lies the problem with religion fighting sex, and nudity. “If the human body is made by god, then what do we say about god by declaring the viewing of his work a sin?” This also applies to sex.And personally, I find a sort of artistic view on sex. Nothing should be more beautiful than the human body enraptured in passion, euphoria, and climax. Damn religious wackos and zealots. Not only do they take all the fun away, but also try to rob us of true beauty.

  2. says

    I wonder if being sex positive, relaxed about drugs and non religious spring from a the same thing, rather than one causing the others?

  3. says

    Thanks Vinny,for your truly raw, and asinine “take” on things.––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––”If it is true, I think it has profound implications for religion.”The only thing that is going to have profound implications for religion is your current president’s world-wide tour of Islamic ass-kissing, his betrayal of long-time Jewish ally, Israel, and his inability to comprehend the religious sensibilities of the Christian (Catholic and Evangelical) half of the country. The only half that actually matters.Of course, Obama keeps bungling…and not just on the religious homefront. Look at the BP spill! Obama refused help from countries and firms that offered him the most advanced oil skimming ships out there! But, at least he held fast to 1920s legislation, and refused to waive the Jones Act. At least Obama is consistently stupid.Barack…who just keeps putting the woo, back into the woo-woo.

  4. Introbulus says

    Admittedly I don’t know the study as well as Jenn does, but before someone less reasonable calls her out on it, I feel the need to remind everyone that correlation does not imply causation. While it is possible that sexual preference is a determining factor in religious and political views *in fact, it is likely a major determining factor*, this does not make it the absolute factor. It could have an influence, but it is equally likely that it is simply one factor in a multitude of factors. However, this does not detract from the validity of the study, as it proves at least that there is a causative relation from sexual preference to political and religious views. This does not mean that there is a 100% relation to the two, but it does mean that it is a significant contributing factor. Yes, this is rather persnickety of me to specify, but I believe it also clarifies the message.

  5. says

    Agreed. I think it fits into the monkeysphere notion that the more broadly one can interpret the needs of others as equally valid to their own needs, the more likely they are to pursue a reason-based response to situations involving the joy and suffering of others.

  6. Introbulus says

    This is a possibility, though I think the point of this study is that sexuality is a contributing factor to religious and political affiliation. Note that it is a contributing factor, and not a deciding factor. Other factors likely still influence both sexuality and your political/religious stance, but according to this study, sexuality is the contributing factor towards both, rather than the others being contributing factors to your sexuality.

  7. Sagerobison says

    It’s unclear from this study what impact a person’s sexual attitudes have upon their interest in Rock and Roll.

  8. Introbulus says

    Interesting…though the real question is how much of a difference it makes for…Christian Rock. :o

  9. Svlad Cjelli says

    Err, this doesn’t seem to make one single substantive statement. “Sexual attitudes affect drug attitudes”? What does that even mean?

  10. says

    Nietzsche was way ahead on this one. Our explicit ideas about value follow our lifestyles rather than the other way around since we are finding articulating in our value judgments what we are already finding valuable in our practice.

  11. says

    I’m a little skeptical of this research simply because it’s a big issue of causation or correlation (or even having little to nothing to connect them) Views on sexuality and personal preferences dealing with drug use seem to be two different ballparks, we still don’t 100% know what causes a person to sexually tick (I know there is some good research into it which talk about hormones and oxytosen and biology, but I also know that if you throw a homosexual into their research it tosses the numbers right out the window)There can be deep psychological scarring that is caused by being raised in certain religions that vastly affect ones sexuality and ability to express themselves, plus is in neccisarily a persons sexuality that makes them less likely to be religious, or their intellegence (since quite a few of the researches volunteers were university undergraduates, or owned computers which already implies they’re studying a specific economic niche, even more-so a specific age niche since undergrads are between 20-30 and someone using an internet survey site as a mode of income is usually in the same bracket.)I’d like to see more research on it, partially as personal bias (I’d rather believe that I chose to leave my religion because it was destructive and it was a logical move rather then I just have a bigger hard on then everyone else) and partially just because of the amount of abnormalities that seem to crop up (the more religious someone is the weirder and more likely their sex scandal will be)

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