I have modified it thus:
Second point: the average incidence of promiscuity of same-sex partnerships should not factor into whether a same-sex couple should be allowed to marry. From my book (http://bradcarmack.blogspot.com/2010/10/homosexuality-straight-byu-students.html):
Gay promiscuity will taint marriage by reducing marital fidelity
Interlocutor: “Studies show that gay men have on average more than 250 partners. It is women that tame male promiscuity- and women would be absent from male-male marriage. ‘The chaos of sexual irresponsibility (especially infidelity and promiscuity within marriage) will grow, and the moral expectations of the basic institution of society will fade as the sexual ethic of gay and lesbian lifestyles is embraced as marriage.[i]’ Also, ‘Legalizing same-sex marriage would be another notch in what Professor Helen Alvare calls “The turn toward the self in the law of marriage and family.[ii]” It would encourage gay fluidity, promiscuity, infidelity, and instability in marriage. However, if we want to foster fidelity, monogamy, responsibility, and emotional bonding in marriages, the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples would be counter-productive… The morality of marriage would be the most devastating casualty of the legalization of same-sex marriage.[iii]’”
My response: I will make five responses.
It would be unsurprising that gay men on average are more promiscuous than straight men. They lack (generally) the civilizing institution of marriage, approved sexual outlets, and societal acceptance compared to straight men. Also, the area of the male brain that processes thoughts about sex is 50% larger on average than the female brain, and men’s brains are practically saturated with testosterone[iv]. Males are more visually oriented when it comes to sex, and the number of thoughts about sex that sexually mature males have per day is on average several times that of their female counterparts of the same age. Though there may not be a strong link between sexual desire and promiscuity, it would be unsurprising that gay men, like straight men, are more sexually active, more sexually creative, and interested in a greater number of sexual variety and sexual partners than women. It is not altogether unlikely that there would be more straight sex, including more sexual partners, were women as interested in sex as men are- and thus it would be unsurprising to learn that gay men are on average more promiscuous than straight men. However, the figure you cite greatly exaggerates gay male promiscuity. The 250 average you cite came from a San Francisco Bay Area sample recruited from bars, sex clubs, and sex-cruising spots[v]. The consensus numbers are more likely similar to these descriptions:
“Now it does appear that a significant minority of American gay males do have lots of sexual partners. Moreover, the median American gay male does have somewhat more sexual partners than the median straight male (likely ten to twenty lifetime partners for gays as opposed to five to ten for straights…).[vi]”
The General Social Survey found that straight women reported having had on average three sex partners since age 18, straight men six, and gay men ten[vii]. Thus, gay men are not on average as hyper-promiscuous as you claim. Plus, it may be that a minority of gay men are responsible for the predominance of the promiscuity- and it could be argued that group is less likely to enter SSM than the less promiscuous subset.
Homosexuals may be asexual, on average, more often than heterosexuals (though the following finding is limited since it was not based on a random sample):
“An online poll suggests that there is an overrepresentation of gays and bisexuals among asexuals, with 11% of the asexuals polled self-identifying as gay, 24% as bi, and only 43% as straight[viii]. One hypothetical explanation is that among sexuals, large percentages are homo/bi-romantic or homo/bi-physical but they identify as straight because their sexual attractions are exclusively hetero, whereas among asexuals the diversity of romantic and physical attractions comes to the forefront. Alternatively, asexuality may be an effect of some of the same prenatal biological factors that cause homosexuality/bisexuality, in which case the correlation may be a result of a common origin. Another way of looking at the poll data is that a gay person is about 8 times more likely to be asexual than a straight person, and a bisexual person is about 18 times more likely to be asexual than a straight person (assuming a 3% prevalence rate in the general population for self-identified gays and also 3% for bi).[ix]”
It is well-established that men are more promiscuous than women[x]- and that includes both heterosexual and homosexual men. However, lesbian couples do not contain men- yet few if any who raise the promiscuity contention would permit SSM for lesbians, even if lesbians exhibited on average even greater fidelity that straight couples or straight women. If marital fidelity were truly the aim, then there would be no reason to bar lesbians- in fact, they may be preferred to opposite-sex couples who, due to the fact that they each include a man, may be on average more promiscuous.
Why is SSM counter-productive to fostering emotional bonding between spouses? It is not at all clear that same-sex couples do not bond emotionally with their partners in an inferior way to same-sex couples. The rush of oxytocin (a bonding/trust neurochemical) associated with orgasm in both men and women still occurs when same-sex couples kiss, hug, touch, and have sex. Authentic communication engendered by commitment and a shared life with a partner bear the potential to foster emotional bonding in same-sex as in opposite-sex pairings. Male and female brains are, on average, different. Arguably, due to the decreased median difference between the brains of same-sex spouses, an elevated level of similarity and understanding may grant an emotional bonding advantage.
“Remember that two-day, four-part Marital Aptitude Test you were required to pass before you were allowed to get your license? Remember when the social worker visited your home and interviewed your neighbors to make sure you were faithful enough to your partner to qualify for marriage? Remember how, before they issued your license, the authorities looked up your age group and ethnic group and religious group to check that the odds of your staying married were up to par? No?...
[T]he fidelity double standard—the insistence that gay people become model marital citizens before they can have the right to marry—is the bitterest of all the ironies in the gay-marriage debate, and also the most twisted… [Critics] treat gay people not as individuals but as averages… it is certainly possible for [a gay couple] to stay faithful to each other, and many do, just as many straight couples do not. Even if all gay-male couples were adulterous, their number would not approach that of adulterous heterosexual husbands. But all such considerations are deemed inconsequential, because the gay average is below par. One wonders: Exactly what proportion of gay men would need to be faithful in order to earn homosexuals the legal right to marry? Seventy-five to 80 percent- the male heterosexual average, if you trust surveys? Ninety percent? And how many heterosexuals would agree that their own legal right to marry should depend on the average fidelity of other heterosexuals?[xi]”
Barring SSM because of the promiscuity of gay men penalizes both homosexually oriented men and women for not living up to the rules of a club they’re excluded from, predicts without merit the future behavior of a group of people, assumes that any increase in heterosexual couples’ divorce or adultery would be unacceptable regardless of costs to homosexuals, and applies a fidelity prerequisite to homosexuals that is not applied to heterosexuals. As with fertility (see chapter 4), it seems that by exposing inconsistencies we have unearthed yet another façade- one that is no more pro-fidelity than the fertility-based SSM opposition was pro-fertility. Instead, it is merely anti-SSM.
[i] Lynn Wardle, "A Response to the ―Conservative Case‖ for Same-Sex Marriage: Same-Sex Marriage and the Tragedy of the Commons," BYU Journal of Public Law, Volume 22, Number 2 (Winter 2008), pg. 473.
[ii] Helen M. Alvare, The turn toward the self in the law of marriage & family: same-sex marriage & its predecessors,” 16 Stan. L. & Pol’y Rev. 135 (2005).
[iii] Lynn Wardle, “The morality of marriage and the transformative power of inclusion,” in Wardle’s What’s the Harm, Chapter 11, pg. 228.
[iv] See LouAnn Brizendine’s The Male Brain, circa 2009.
[v] Jonathan Rauch, Gay Marriage: Why it is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America, 2004, pg. 142.
[vi] Eugene Volokh, UCLA, circa 2003, qtd. in Jonathan Rauch, Gay Marriage: Why it is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America, 2004, pg. 143.
[vii] Qtd. in Jonathan Rauch, Gay Marriage: Why it is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America, 2004, pg. 143.
[viii] http://www.asexuality.org/en/index.php?showtopic=873. Also see the newer poll at http://www.asexuality.org/en/index.php?showtopic=34365
[ix] Personal friend, email to the author, December 2010.
[x] “Is Promiscuity Innate?” Washington Post, 2003: Men on average desired 1.87 partners over the next month compared to women’s .78, and over the next ten years men wanted 5.95, while women wanted 2.17.
[xi] Jonathan Rauch, Gay Marriage: Why it is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America, 2004, pg. 155-156.