Does Spanking Children Affect their Future Sex Life?

I stumbled upon an article in the Boston Globe (February 29, 2008) titled “Study: Spanking children affects their sex lives as adults.” Here are some quotes:

New research by a University of New Hampshire domestic abuse expert says spanking children affects their sex lives as adults. …[C]hildren who are spanked are more likely as adults to coerce partners to have sex, to have unprotected sex and to have masochistic sex.

The classical method to prove scientifically that spanking affects something is to find many parents of newborn identical twins and persuade them to treat their children the same way, with the exception that they spank one and do not spank the other. The researchers should then compare these twins in their adulthood. Such a project is impossible, as parents are likely to start feeling guilty towards the child they spank, for you can’t separate spanking from the whole package of how parents treat their children.

I decided to study the study. I found a more detailed description of the study in the Concord Monitor. As I suspected, the study was a survey. The survey found a correlation between spanking and “undesirable” sexual behavior. As every statistician knows, correlation doesn’t prove causality.

Here’s another quote from the study: “The best-kept secret in child psychology is that children who were never spanked are among the best behaved.” Did it occur to anyone that the best behaved children do not need spanking?

Could it be that parents who spank their children are tired, impatient and less loving? Could it be that not being loved as a child affects your sexual behaviour as an adult much more than spanking?

Could it be that parents who spank their children are more aggressive in general? Could it be that they pass their aggressive genes to kids and their kids’ aggressive behavior is related not only to upbringing, but to genetics?

Do not get me wrong. I do think that spanking is bad. I am saying that the study doesn’t prove that spanking is affecting anyone’s future sex life.

I am surprised that so many magazines republished the article without thinking. Now all the country is fooled into believing that the easy way to improve their kids’ future sex life is to stop spanking.

Go ahead! Stop spanking. Love your children too.



  1. PDeverit:

    Child buttock-battering vs. DISCIPLINE:

    Child buttock-battering for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

    Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

    I think the reason why television shows like “Supernanny” and “Dr. Phil” are so popular is because that is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.

    There are several reasons why child buttock-battering isn’t a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

    Plain Talk About Spanking
    by Jordan Riak,

    The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
    by Tom Johnson,

    by Lesli Taylor M.D. and Adah Maurer Ph.D.

    Most compelling of all reasons to abandon this worst of all bad habits is the fact that buttock-battering can be unintentional sexual abuse for some children. There is an abundance of educational resources, testimony, documentation, etc available on the subject that can easily be found by doing a little research on “spanking”.

    Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child buttock-battering isn’t a good idea:

    American Academy of Pediatrics,

    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,

    Center For Effective Discipline,

    Churches’ Network For Non-Violence,

    Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,

    Parenting In Jesus’ Footsteps,

    Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,

    United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    In 26 countries, child buttock-battering is prohibited by law. In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  2. Child Safety Equipment:

    Spanking your child is never a good thing. But you just need to understand how to discipine them without using force. You want your child to trust and respect you, not be afraid of you.

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