A CAVEAT: I have no desire to open up the debate on whether or not adults should spank children. That topic can get out of hand far too easily and isn't what I'm mad about anyway. I'm angry about this section of the article:
They found that spanking and other corporal punishment is associated with an increased probability of verbally and physically coercing a dating partner to have sex; risky sex such as premarital sex without using a condom; and masochistic sex such as spanking during sex.
There is a "dose response" at work here. "The more parents spank, the higher the probability of harmful side effects," Straus noted.
Of course, there's a similar dose response for smokers. But if someone reaches the age of 65 without developing lung cancer, it doesn't mean that smoking isn't harmful. It means the person was one of the lucky ones.
It's the same with spanking, Straus said. "If a person says, 'I was spanked, and I don't have any interest in bondage and discipline sex, that's correct, but it's not because spanking is OK, it's because they're one of the lucky ones."Are you kidding me? Are you freaking kidding me? We've all read studies and heard discussions about spanking making kids more violent or at least normalizing violence; that's not new. But these studies (there are four of them) aim to show that spanking your kids will make them run out and find unmarried, nonconsensual partners they can spank and then fuck without condoms. And that all of these things are equally bad. I see so many flaws in this rationale I think the researcher should be embarrassed to publish his work. And I would personally like to kick him in the shins and call him some bad names--to his face.
Let's start with the idea that 90% of parents spank their kids at some point (these are his statistics). If that's the case, there are either a lot more kinky folks out there than we know about, or a lot more lucky folks than Straus knows about. Then let's talk about the implausibility of trying to link teenage/adult unprotected sex with childhood spankings--where, exactly does he find any remotely logical connection between the two? Successive occurrence of unrelated actions does not imply causality.
But I think what bothers me most is the ignorance and fear-mongering latent in his conclusion. Straus' concludes that parents are condemning their children to dangerous, kinky, immoral, and deviant sex lives because he assumes that spanking/BDSM/kinky sex is inherently wrong and to be avoided at all costs. Which is either laughably, pitiably stupid, or maddeningly, damnably ignorant. I'm leaning toward the latter.