Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Langer G.; Discordance between Sexual Behavior and Self-Reported Sexual Identity. Ann Intern Med. 2007;146:539. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-146-7-200704030-00017
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 2007;146(7):539.
TO THE EDITOR:
The article by Pathela and colleagues (1) underemphasized an apparent limitation in the data cited. Self-identified heterosexual male respondents were asked whether they had had sex with a man in the previous 12 months and then were read a definition of sex, including vaginal sex. Respondents who said “yes” were disproportionately foreign-born, had low education, and were married. They also overwhelmingly reported a single sex partner in the previous year and had a very low prevalence of risky sexual behavior. This profile suggests that many may have misunderstood the question and were reporting sex with their wives rather than “vaginal” sex with other men. Persuasive supporting evidence in the article's Discussion section described a repeated study, as yet unpublished, 2 years later, in which asking men about sex with women before asking them about sex with men produced “a much lower self-reported prevalence of men who report sex with other men.” This marked difference in data, produced by a simple flipping of question order, deserved greater attention. Instead, the only limitation prominently reported was that random digit–dialed samples exclude households without residential telephone numbers—-a triviality in light of the effects of the question wording and question order that were much less prominently disclosed. The press release (2) associated with the report made no mention of these effects, and subsequent press reports (3) described the finding as far more conclusive than the relevant data suggest.
to gain full access to the content and tools.
Learn more about subscription options.
Register Now for a free account.
Copyright © 2016 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only