Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thinking about Extramarital Sex


Extramarital affairs are fairly common. Estimates are that by the age of 60 somewhere between 50-60% of men and 40-50% of women will have had at least one incident of extramarital sex.

Affairs are generally very intense and passionate and sometimes loving but tend to end painfully in an average of 2 years. However both men and women who have had affairs consider it a good experience. Some affairs evolve into intimate friendships, and those that do can last a lifetime.

A major motive for having an affair is dissatisfaction with one’s marriage. In fact many who have affairs claim that it helps their marriage, but the evidence is that affairs do not stabilize marriages. The desire for a new mate may be compelling and seemingly irresistible but having an affair is very risky because a fairly high percentage of divorces are the direct result of infidelity.

Slightly less than 15% of couples are currently in marriages where they agree that it is acceptable to pursue sex outside their marriage however most partners deceive their spouse rather than negotiate an open marriage. Furthermore open marriage is not a successful means of preventing divorce. More than half of all open marriages end in divorce.

Another option is swinging. In swinging both partners in a committed relationship agree, as a couple, for both partners to engage in sexual activities with other couples as a recreational or social activity. It provides sexual variety, adventure, the opportunity to live out fantasies as a couple without secrecy and deceit, and the possibility of reconnecting physically and emotionally. About 5% of married couples have been engaged in swinging at some time. Active swingers tend to be happier with their sex life, marriages and life in general than non-swingers, and women were just as happy with the arrangement as men. However when swinging works it’s because the marriage was solid and happy to begin with. Swinging too is not a solution to a bad marriage.

So there are reasons to have extramarital sex and reasons not to have it, and large proportions of the adult population find themselves on either side of the divide. The question I want to deal with in this post is whether having extramarital sex is a smart or foolhardy thing to do.

Attitudes and morality

Let’s start with attitudes toward the acceptability of extramarital sex. Although the practice is very common, social norms in virtually every society are opposed to the open and flagrant practice of it. In the table entitled ‘Smart Vote Score’ the first 4 rows tell the tale of the acceptance of extramarital sex. Opinion differs strongly and systematically along IQ lines. Smart opinion fairly decisively rejects (and stupid opinion accepts) the notion that extramarital sex can never be OK. On the other hand this trend doesn’t imply that extramarital sex is generally OK either. The biggest ratio of smart to dull opinion was found on the “Extramarital Sex is Almost Always Wrong” option, and the next highest ratio on the “Sometimes Wrong” option. So while the bright are much more likely than the dull to think there are circumstances where extramarital sex is not immoral or a mistake, they are also more likely to think these circumstances are fairly unusual and rare. (Bright means an IQ over 116 and dull an IQ below 88.)

Moral philosophy agrees with the conclusion of the Smart Vote perfectly. It concludes that an affair is wrong most of the time but that there are exceptions. There are three basic approaches to morality – utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics. Justifications for affairs can be made in all three approaches. Utilitarianism says having an affair is wrong because it can hurt your spouse (as well as children, other family, friends and co-workers). On the other hand maybe you believe you and your affair partner stand to gain more than the sum of all the hurt, or that by not having an affair you (and your paramour) will suffer more than everyone else will gain in happiness. Maybe the person figures that even if it does create a net hurt in the short term in the long term things will be better for everyone. This approach is very demanding with respect to the foresight it requires, so even though it concludes exceptions are sometimes justified it also concludes that the odds are against a good outcome.

Deontology says affairs aren’t wrong because of consequences but because it involves violating important principles – like the duty to keep a promise, tell the truth or respect your spouse, or it violates the other’s right to fidelity, respect and the truth. However, most deontologists place conditions on duties and rights, e.g. ‘thou shalt not kill unless your own life is at risk’. A deontological condition for fidelity would be things like a spouse not neglecting their duty to see to your emotional needs. This approach requires less in the way of insight than utilitarianism because it refers to clear conditions around your rights and duties rather than guessing how a multitude of people will feel.

Virtue ethics says affairs should be avoided because they would smear those qualities that make you a good person – or character - even if only in your own eyes. Being honest, kind or wise are obvious examples of virtues one should strive to have to be a good person. Some that are outstanding with respect to certain virtues are deemed so good they are declared saints. Fidelity is generally seen as one of the virtues one should have to be a good person. Nonetheless sometimes virtues clash. For example one can be honest to the point of telling unkind truths that hurt, in which case you are failing to be kind, and perhaps failing to be wise too. Virtue ethicists such as Aristotle therefore argued that one not take any virtue to the extreme but try to find some balance or practice moderation. Goethe too preached balance. With respect to affairs there will be some circumstances where remaining faithful would not be virtuous e.g. where denying your own wellbeing is unwise and dishonest to yourself.

The justifications of moral philosophy aside, research suggests that one of the biggest contributing factors to affairs is simply opportunity. So those with greater means of controlling their time, and meeting people, are more likely to have affairs. In fact, the greater independence of men almost fully explains why they are more likely to have affairs. When the opportunity is the same, women have affairs as readily as men. That’s why it’s important to control for social class and income, along with marital happiness. The results of a multiple linear regression on attitude to extramarital sex (controlling for important confounding factors) can be seen in the table below entitled ‘Extramarital sex is not wrong’.

As expected, higher social class is associated with greater acceptance of extramarital sex (especially for men), and being older and more conservative with being less accepting of it. Unsurprisingly, marital unhappiness is clearly a major factor in accepting extramarital sex. There is also a trend toward less tolerance for affairs in more recent years. Nonetheless, even when all these risk factors are controlled, intelligence remains associated with accepting extramarital sex (at a very high level of significance for both sexes).


Attitudes are one thing but actually engaging in extramarital sex is another. The 5th and 6th rows of the table above, entitled ‘Smart Vote Score’, show the ratio of smart to dull people who have actually had affairs, or haven’t had them, by gender. Bright men are 30% more likely to have affairs than dull men. Bright women are 50% more likely than dull women to have an affair. Alternatively bright men are 80% as likely as dull men to remain sexually faithful to their spouse. Bright women are only 75% as likely as dull women to remain faithful. (Bright means an IQ over 116 and dull an IQ below 88.)

The table entitled ‘Have had extramarital sex’ below shows the results of a logistic regression on having an affair with a number of risk factors controlled.

Unexpectedly, unlike with attitudes, social class doesn’t seem to play a role in actually having an affair. For men there is a similar trend toward less infidelity in recent years. Conservative men are also less likely to have affairs. There is a trend toward older men being more likely to have had an affair, no doubt because they had far more time. Again, as expected, marital unhappiness is associated with having affairs. Strangely age, ideology and the fashion of the day don’t have any significant effect on female infidelity. Still higher intelligence increases the odds of an affair even when all these risk factors are controlled. This result suggests that intelligent opinion leans toward the benefits of infidelity often outweighing the risks or costs.

Combining behavior and attitudes.

Interesting things happen when one combines attitude and behavior. I call those who both accept that extramarital sex is sometimes justified, and have had extramarital sex, ‘swingers’. Those who ethically accept that extramarital sex can be justified but haven’t been unfaithful I call ‘open’. Those who think extramarital sex is wrong but have had an affair anyway, I call ‘cheaters’. Finally those who consider infidelity to be wrong and have been faithful I call ‘traditional’. Rows 7-10 in the table above entitled ‘Smart Vote Scores’ show that brighter people support all options other than ‘traditional’ in greater proportions than do dull people. Nonetheless the ratio of smart to dull support for ‘cheating’ is close to equal. The Smart Vote is thus not for ‘cheating’ but goes to the ‘open’ group for men (although the ‘swinger’ group is pretty much the same) and strongly for the ‘swinger’ group for women.

The table entitled ‘Attitude and Behavioral Interactions on Extramarital Sex’ below shows the results of a multiple linear regression on the combination variable (scored as shown below the title) with the usual risk factors controlled.

For women being liberal and unhappily married move her from ‘traditional’ toward ‘swinger’. Other factors do not appear to matter much. For men, extra time to have an affair and the status of higher education also make the move more likely. The effect of higher intelligence still matters for men even after controlling for the risk factors (and comes close to significance for women). There is however some noise in this combination variable.

The graph below looks at the extreme groups – ‘swingers’ and ‘traditional’ (or rather ‘not traditional’). The chance of a person rejecting strict fidelity, in attitude, behavior or both – ‘not traditional’ - climbs from about 1/3rd for low IQs to around ½ for high IQs. The effect is slightly stronger for men. The chance of accepting both attitude and behavioral violations of marital sexual fidelity – ‘swinger’ - rises from 16% in low IQ men to just over 40% for very bright men. For women the change is even more marked – from 7% to 46%.

Many years ago I conducted some research relating a variety of personality scales to sexual attitudes and behavior in women. One of the personality scales was the California Psychological Inventory, which includes a scale called Intellectual Efficiency. This is a scale made up of personality items and interests that correlate highly with IQ. The total of this scale is so highly correlated to IQ that it can serve as a rough IQ test. I found that this scale correlated very highly with many sex related items – particularly those concerned with sexual permissiveness, and impersonal sex (or sex as recreation) such as swinging, sexual attraction toward women, group sex or orgies. Smarter women were very much more accepting of these activities. Alternatively, those who were accepting of these activities were much smarter than those who weren’t. They start expressing positive attitudes toward and admitting to taking part in some of these activities, when their IQs exceed around 130.


It appears that it’s silly to demand or expect strict sexual fidelity in marriage at all costs. It is often the sensible thing to do if trapped in an unhappy marriage, and not because it will help to preserve the marriage but because the marriage is probably not worth preserving. Also within happy and stable marriages swinging apparently adds spice to life without threatening, and usually enhancing, the relationship. The fact that the Smart Vote is for extramarital sex, implies that too much stress is being put on the costs, and too little on the benefits, of sexual relationships outside of marriage. Still, it is also silly to undertake sexual infidelity thoughtlessly. Most of the time, extramarital sex really is the wrong thing to do. Perhaps those who would struggle to think through the issues should avail themselves of help. My results suggest that anyone who isn’t smart enough to get through university should ask for wise independent council to help them think the issues through before embarking on extramarital sex.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dear God

By chance I came across some articles and debates involving the late Christopher Hitchens on the question of the existence of God, and the reasonableness of religion. Hitchens was vehemently anti religion but many of his pro religion opponents were very able and erudite people. There is no doubt the existence of God is a very controversial question with a great deal at stake. Those who believe invest a great deal of time and resources into their faith. If they are wrong they face the realization that this has been an enormous waste of the limited time they have and will look ridiculous for having an imaginary friend. If they are wrong then if they had put their weight behind secular humanism mankind would be far better off than it is today. If they are right however those who don’t believe may face a much graver fate and may be missing out on a more meaningful life now.

In the US 60% of the adult population are certain of God’s existence. On the other hand atheists are becoming a lot more aggressive and vocal. The divide is being expressed in the struggle over the teaching of evolution or intelligent design at schools. Muslim medical students in the UK recently walked out of class in protest of evolutionary approach taken in the course. I have heard both prominent atheists and a Christian bishop claim, with equal arrogant certainty that the other side privately knows that God doesn’t or does exist. The truth is so obvious to either side that they literally can’t comprehend that someone could genuinely hold a different view. Intellectual argument seems to have very little influence either way. This is one of those issues where there aren’t an infinity of possible answers where you never know if you are right. In this case there are only two options – God exists or does not exist – and one of them has to be right. So which camp is right?

Although the two camps don’t seem to respond to reasoned argument the Smart Vote is still perfect for this sort of question. People usually don’t form opinions on the basis of a carefully reasoned argument but instead use arguments to justify their choice after the fact – explaining why those who have already formed opinions don’t change them in response to the other side’s rationalizations. Intelligence is not however irrelevant to the forming of unreasoned opinions. The smart tend to be more correct even when they can’t tell you why they believe something. So if opinion differs systematically along IQ lines, and it cannot be accounted for by vested interest in the answer, then the option preferred more often by the more intelligent is extremely likely to be the correct option.

Let’s look at what the Smart Vote says about the existence of God. The General Social Survey asks several questions that are relevant to this issue. The first asks about the person’s confidence in the existence of God. Several alternatives were allowed.
1. Confident that God does not exist
2. It is not possible to know whether God exists or not
3. Does not believe in God but believes in some higher power.
4. Basically doesn’t believe in the existence of God but sometimes doubts.
5. Basically believes in the existence of God but sometimes has doubts.
6. Is very confident, if not certain, that God does exist.

I used those responses to form a scale of the degree of confidence in God’s existence. 0 would mean that everyone picked option 1 and 100 that everyone picked option 6. 80 means that the sample has settled on option 5 and 60 that they settled on option 4 etc. Below is graph of the scale over time.

There is a very mild trend toward greater disbelief over time. Below an IQ of 116 there are systematic differences but these are modest. Those who have an IQ above 116 however are considerably and consistently less confident that God exists. While the rest basically believe in God, but have the occasional doubt, the bright tend to hover between belief and disbelief, with a fair amount of doubt either way. Nevertheless it looks like the direction of intelligent opinion, the Smart Vote, points squarely away from theism. I did a linear regression so that I could control for a few possible confounding variables. The results can be seen in the left column in the table below.

Women, those who are older or more conservative are more likely to believe that God exists, while those with more education and who are more intelligent are less likely to believe. The association between IQ and non-theism holds up when these variables are controlled. So the Smart Vote is for atheism then. Actually it isn’t.

When I calculated the Smart Vote for each of the alternatives allowed in the General Social Survey question I found the following.

A value above 100 implies that the intelligent favor the alternative more than do the unintelligent and a value of less than 100 implies the opposite. One can see that while the Stupid Vote is for Belief in God the Smart Vote is for Agnosticism – the view that the existence or non-existence of God cannot be established either way – and not Atheism (the conviction that God does not exist). In fact in the earlier period Atheism wasn’t even the second most intelligent choice, Belief in a Higher Power was. There has however been a shift toward the more disbelieving alternatives being smarter over time. For example the Smart Vote on Atheism increased from 121 to 131, and for Sometimes Believes it increased from 85 to 117. At the same time the Smart Vote dropped from 166 to 120 for Belief in a Higher Power and from 114 to 106 for Sometimes Doubt.

Another way of looking at the question is by seeing who changes their mind. The General Social Survey had some information on that too. Firstly they asked directly about changes of belief in God and allowed four choices.

1. Don’t believe in God and never did (Smart Vote 178).
2. Don’t believe in God but used to (Smart Vote 241).
3. Believe in God now but didn’t before (Smart Vote 122).
4. Believe in God and always did (Smart Vote 66).

Firstly, whether one ends up a believer or a non-believer, it is smarter to have started from the opposite view.

Secondly, for those that didn’t change their mind about God, non-belief is smarter than belief.

Thirdly, for those who did change their minds, going from a belief to non-belief is smarter than going from non-belief to belief.

Fourthly, if one started with non-belief, it is smarter to stay there than become a believer.

Finally, if one started as a believer then it is far smarter to lose the belief than keep it.

In short, everything points towards the intelligence of changing from believing in God to not believing in God, and that whatever one believes, having to change one’s view to get there takes more intelligence than staying in one’s comfort zone.

A final way the General Social Survey allows us to look at the question is via shifts among those that believe in God i.e. between fundamentalist, moderate and liberal religious beliefs from what they were at 16 to what they became as an adult. The right hand column of the regression table above shows the results of a regression on the degree of change from fundamentalist to liberal. The scale went from -2 for a change from liberal to fundamentalist to +2 for change from fundamentalist to liberal. As can be seen, IQ is independently and significantly associated with the degree of shift towards the liberal side, and away from the fundamentalist side. What that means is that smarter people are more inclined to cease believing in some of the more literal religious beliefs or alternatively less intelligent people are more likely to seek more literal and less contingent religious views. Younger, more liberal people and males are more likely to change from a fundamentalist to a liberal religious view. There is also a significant trend over time towards a more liberal religious outlook.

So even among those that believe, it is smarter not to take religious stories and claims literally and maybe not to believe many of them at all.

I have seen a study that looks at belief in groups with much higher IQs than are represented in the General Social Survey and the trend toward less belief with higher IQ shows no sign of tapering off at even the highest IQs. As we saw though, the effect only seems to start in earnest at an IQ of 116. For 85% of the population IQ has less effect. Disbelief in God seems to be quite a difficult problem to think about.

At every point along the continuum of belief in God, from absolutely certain literal belief to atheism, the intelligent response is always to move further away from belief in God. The only position more intelligent than atheism is agnosticism.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Grass IS Greener on the Other Side.

With the exception of alcohol and nicotine recreational drug use is illegal in most places in the world. Most take it so seriously that using drugs will get you fired, expelled or even some jail time. Supplying drugs is very likely to result in jail time, and in a few places will get you executed. It’s reasonable to conclude that drugs must constitute a serious threat to social order and wellbeing, if so many societies punish it so harshly. Stories of the problems drug users can cause families, not to mention the violent crime around the supply chain, seem to reinforce this view.

On the other hand a World Health Organization survey found quite high user rates. In the US for example 42.4% of adults used marijuana. If such a high proportion of the population use it, without society collapsing, can it be so bad? Some don’t think so. There have been many attempts to have marijuana use made legal. Generally these attempts have failed but in a few places they do succeed.

In this article I turn the torch of intelligence on the issue of marijuana legalization.

The Smart Vote is clearly for legalizing marijuana, or grass. The graph below shows the support, by IQ level, over time. There was a major drop in support during the Reagan and Bush administrations but support has steadily increased since then. It doesn’t look like changes in support for legalizing grass have much to do with intelligence. Nevertheless at all times there was a clear ordering of support for legalizing grass along IQ lines i.e. the Smart Vote always pointed toward legalizing grass being the correct idea.

Maybe the Smart Vote effect is just due to special interests. Recreational drug use is after all something more common in affluent societies and groups. I ran two separate logistic regressions so that the downward trend over time till 1992 and the upward trend since then would hide each other or dampen any other effects. The table below shows the results.

The different trends for the two time periods show up very clearly. As expected youth, being more liberal or male go with support for legalizing grass. On the other hand that education and income are unrelated is unexpected. For our purposes though the association between higher IQ and support for legalizing grass holds up when these confounding variables are controlled. The independent effect of IQ is so strong that it has a less than 1 in 10000 probability of being due to chance. We can therefore rule out interest biases relating to these variables accounting for the Smart Vote.

But why should legalizing grass be the correct thing to do?

Economists have long argued that the war on drugs is counterproductive. For example of Chicago University’s Economics Expert Panel 100% agreed that making drugs illegal raises the street price of the drugs because suppliers require extra compensation for the risk of incarceration and other punishments. 79% of them agreed that the Netherlands restrictions on “soft drugs” combined with a moderate tax aimed at deterring their consumption would have lower social costs than continuing to prohibit use of those drugs as in the US. Only 2% disagreed and the rest were uncertain.

The evidence suggests these economists are right. Attempting to outlaw an essentially victimless crime (or very low victim), greatly encourages serious crime with a far higher victim count. The experience of the Prohibition in the USA strongly supports this. Policing drugs uses up resources and manpower that could be better employed elsewhere. Furthermore, if it were legal it can be used as a government revenue stream.

With respect to drug usage becoming a social problem, note that making drug use illegal doesn’t reduce the actual use of them much, if at all. Some places where cannabis is illegal, like France or the US, have higher user rates than some places where it is basically legal, like the Netherlands or Spain. The US has a user rate of 42.4% for marijuana and 16% for cocaine. For the Netherlands the rates are 19.8% and 1.8% respectively. Furthermore the Netherlands has about 60% of the problem drug user rate as similar countries in Europe. It looks like the other measures the Netherlands takes to discourage drug use work quite well.

It makes no sense for something to be illegal if it is demonstrably less harmful than something which is legal. Yet cannabis continues to be illegal in most places, in spite of scientists classifying it as a ‘softer’ drug than alcohol.

Legalize grass (and maybe recreational drugs in general) – it’s the right thing to do.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Stupidity of Opposing Gay Rights

Homosexuality, “the love that dare not say its name”, is far more widely accepted than it used to be. People aren’t jailed for being gay anymore, and gay bashing is way down. Overall public support for the right of homosexuals to marry has quadrupled, and opposition nearly halved, between 1988 and 2010. Opinion is evenly divided on whether homosexuality is a choice or something that cannot be changed. Almost all gays of course think it isn’t a choice and that they should have the right to marry.

Still a great deal of opposition to homosexuality remains. It’s regarded as unnatural, sinful, immoral, debauched, promiscuous, an aberration and a threat to normal ways of being and not too long ago was classified as a mental illness. While support is increasing for gay marriage resistance to it is formidable. For example 42 states define marriage as the union between one man and one woman and 30 of these states have gone so far as to add amendments to their constitutions banning gay marriage, in order to make any future recognition far more difficult. In 18 states the constitution bans any kind of same sex union. Some states grant some rights to same sex unions e.g. right of hospital visitation. Only 5 states have, or soon will, recognize same sex marriages and a total of 6 (plus the District of Columbia) recognize some form of same sex civil union or domestic partnership.

One would like to know whether homosexuality is a threat to be concerned about and contained or discouraged, or whether it is a normal harmless option that should be embraced, or is it something in between? In this article I will look at what light intelligence can shed on this. My information comes from the General Social Survey and Kinsey’s two volumes on Human Sexuality.

Is Homosexuality a Choice?

Here the Smart Vote is very decidedly for homosexuality not being a choice. Nearly 2/3rds (63.5%) of those with IQs below 88 believe gays chose to be homosexual. In contrast 74.3% of those with IQs above 116 believe sexual orientation is not something that can be chosen. This association holds up when confounding factors like education, political ideology and gender are statistically controlled (see the right hand column in the table “Regression Analysis of Attitudes toward Homosexuals” below.)

The Smart Vote is broadly correct but strictly speaking the true situation is a bit more complicated. Some people can change their sexual orientation. Occasionally the anti-homosexual therapy practiced by some fundamentalist Christian churches does work. In response to the AIDS crisis there was a detectable increase in the proportion of both sexes who had sex exclusively with women. Furthermore, gay sex between female swingers is very common – even among those with a long pre swinging history of exclusively male partners. This suggests that to some extent – at the margin as economists would say - sexual orientation is susceptible to incentives.

Nonetheless it’s also clear that very few people do change their sexual orientation and that the orientation seems to exist from the very moment people first become sexually interested. Twin research shows that sexual orientation is moderately heritable. The locus is probably mostly on the X-chromosomes because males have a much stronger either-or sexual orientation than women. There are proportionally fewer male than female bisexuals and proportionally more males than females are exclusively homosexual. Other research has shown that gays have differences in certain brain structures and that these differences may be caused be stress during pregnancy e.g. an especially high proportion of the children born to women who experienced the WW2 bombing of London turned out to be gay. All this points to sexual orientation being inborn – either genetically based or a biological response to circumstances.

Why then can a few change their orientation? Alfred Kinsey had the answer. He showed that sexual orientation isn’t clearly either-or but that there is a continuum from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality. By far the majority are exclusively heterosexual in that they only ever been sexual with the opposite sex. He recognized 6 other categories of sexual orientation. The first 5 grade from mostly heterosexual to mostly homosexual and the sixth is exclusively homosexual. The ability to shift sexual orientation is probably limited to those in the 5 intermediate categories who are significantly attracted to both sexes because they have to choose to focus on one of two likes rather than swap a like for a dislike.

If sexual orientation is correlated with IQ then one would suspect that choice was possible, and that there existed a correct choice. On the other hand, one would expect deliberate rational consideration to be impotent if choice was irrelevant, or played an insignificant role. It turns out that there is also no statistically significant association between declared sexual orientation and intelligence – further supporting the view that sexual orientation isn’t really a choice.

Is Homosexual Sex Wrong?

The General Social Survey has asked this question since the 70s. In the graph below you can see that there has been a shift toward greater tolerance for homosexual sex across all IQ groups, since about 1990. The other obvious thing is that tolerance is consistently higher as IQ increases. The Smart Vote leans toward viewing homosexual sex as never or seldom wrong. Furthermore this association holds up well when confounding variables are controlled (see the second column in the table “Regression Analysis of Attitudes toward Homosexuals” below). Morally condemning homosexual sex is, among other things, stupid.

Should Same Sex Marriage be Legally Recognized?

Considering that the Smart Vote says that sexual orientation isn’t something chosen and that there is nothing wrong with gay sex, it would be a surprise is the Smart Vote opposed same-sex marriage. It doesn’t of course, as the graph below makes clear. Support for legalizing gay marriage has consistently been higher among higher IQ groups since the GSS began asking this question. The association also holds up well when confounding factors are controlled (see first column in the table “Regression Analysis of Attitudes toward Homosexuals” below).

Regression Analysis of Attitudes toward Homosexuals

Summary of Attitudes Toward Homosexuality

The Smart Vote is for acceptance of homosexuals and homosexuality. It is very probably correct to believe that homosexuals aren’t choosing homosexuality at all (let alone for dubious motives), and that it is rather a state of being they are more or less born into. As such homosexuality is no threat to those who aren’t already gay, and trying to stamp it out will achieve nothing but the senseless suffering of gay people. There is therefore no good reason to attempt to contain homosexuality. Furthermore it is correct, and more compassionate, not to condemn gays when they try to live and gain satisfaction according to their nature, by having homosexual sex, or by wanting to form a union or family with those they love. In an earlier post on free speech the Smart Vote was also in favor of protecting the civil rights of homosexuals.

In the regressions one can see that education, being female or liberal (and probably young) predispose people to greater tolerance of homosexuality – quite apart from higher intelligence, and visa versa.

Homosexual Behavior

Kinsey found that 28% of all women had some kind of erotic reaction to other women in their lives, and 20% had acted on it - 13% to the point of orgasm. He found that men had 2 to 3 times these response rates. For unmarried women 14% were asexual, 72% were heterosexual (or very close to it), 6% were homosexual (or close to it) and 8% were bisexual. For men the figures are more like 5% asexual, 74% close to heterosexual, 14% close to homosexual and 7% bisexual. Even among the married, homosexual experience is not so rare. 3% are at least bisexual, but if they are far along the Kinsey scale they are quite likely to get divorced. Around 1 in 20 people who consider themselves straight have had sex with a member of the opposite sex – often more than once. Being religiously devout doesn’t make a person immune to homosexual feelings or activities either. But what purpose could it serve for a straight person to have a homosexual experience?

The table below looks at homosexual experience by intelligence level, and is confined to those who consider themselves straight. The way to read it is as follows. The first column of figures is the % of those with zero homosexual experience in each of the intelligence categories i.e. 16% of those with no homosexual experience at all are Smart. The next column is the same for those who have had at least one homosexual experience. The third column is the % of each intelligence category that has had at least one homosexual experience i.e. 4.6% of the dull have had one. The final column is the ratio of each intelligence category’s % homosexual experience over that of the Stupid category i.e. Smart women are 43% more likely to have a homosexual experience.

I calculated a Smart Vote index for homosexual experience for each gender. For women it is 144 and for men it is 172. That means is that the propensity to have homosexual sex (relative to not having it) is 44% higher for women with IQs over 116 than it is for those with IQs less than 88. That’s very close to the Smart/Stupid ratio. For Smart men the propensity is 72% higher than for Stupid men. In other words for a straight person to have at least one homosexual experience is if anything an intelligent thing to do, and is probably not so pointless. This seems to contradict my earlier point that sexual orientation isn’t a choice because it seems as though homosexuality or bisexuality, is not only a choice, but is the correct choice!

The paradox is resolved when potentially confounding factors are controlled for. When they are the IQ association doesn’t hold up. What looks like an intelligent decision is due to something correlated to intelligence, rather than intelligence itself. For women it’s education. Maybe it’s the ‘experiment in college’ thing or maybe greater autonomy from men allows them to live their real choices more. For men it is higher income. I have no idea why more money translates into a greater chance of gay sex among straight men.

For both there is a sign that the politically conservative are more likely to have a homosexual experience than liberals, although the effect is not statistically significant. Perhaps Conservatives are just more likely to declare themselves straight after having a homosexual encounter.

Sexual orientation is neither correct nor incorrect but it is correct to let gays and lesbians live their lives as they see fit – just like the rest of us.