anth380 sexual networks in jefferson school article

Medical Anthropology class,

this is the coverage on the study of high school romantic and sexual networks that I mentioned today in class. This is the link to the paper:

Chains of Affection: The Structure of Adolescent Romantic and Sexual Networks
Peter S. Bearman, Columbia University
James Moody, Ohio State University
Katherine Stovel, University of Washington

Ohio State University has a press release summarizing the findings:


as I explained in class, the paper studies sexual behavior of jefferson high school students and how they form a network of sorts, that sprawls fairly uniformly compared to adult sexual behavior. They do so via a number of confidential surveys conducted in 1995. Researchers concluded that

unlike many adult networks, there was no core group of very sexually active people at the high school. There were not many students who had many partners and who provided links to the rest of the community. (Grabmeier citing Moody’s conclusion, in the press release above)

I saw this paper mentioned in, a south corean blog loosely linked to an online sex toys/supplies store maintained by the same person. The posting, in turn, was referring to a news article in NaverNews [네이버뉴스] and originally developed by [조선일보].

This is how it was intially portrayed in the south corean press:

Caption: Sexual Relationship Strucutre of Jefferson High Students. Blue=male students, Red=female students. “2건” stands for “2 cases”. “63쌍” stands for “63 couples”.
Source: 윤희영, 25/01/05. 288명이 性관계로 연결: 미국고교생 실태 표본조사 832명중 126명만 ‘1대1’
[Heeyung, Yoon. 288 people were sexualy networked: only 126 out of 832 high school students were in a “1 on 1 relationship” in a U.S. high school students sample research.] article:
same artice:

It is of interest how this chart was initially pictured in the paper:

From the American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 100, No. 1. “Chains of affection: The structure of adolescent romantic and sexual networks,” Bearman PS, Moody J, Stovel K.

south corean blog entry commenting on the story:
another blog entry: Roland Piquepaille. The Sexual Network of a High School

It struck me how several reactions to the coverage at (which caters to a young readership, mostly in their late 20’s) were expressing “disappointment” (huh?) at how far “sexually perverted” the U.S. society was from what they had imagined it to be. There was abundant attack on the existence of homosexuals and “cheap girls” as portrayed by the chart. In part, I think, this has to do with how the study was portrayed (the subtitle was emphasizing how “only” 13% of the population was in a single relationship) The more conservative did not receive any readership reaction.’s article gave it a more positive spin, focusing on the fact that the research suggested a honest solution to the realities of high schools in the u.s. Readership reaction were on a similar tone as well.

anyway, I wanted to point out that the professor’s observation that “when you engage in sexual intercourse with a person, STD-wise this implies engaging in sexual intercourse with every single person that that person has had an intercourse with, and in turn with every person that those people have had an intercourse with, and so forth” was portrayed in a dramatically more graphic fashion with the blue dots/red dots chart. Ah, this has nothing to do with the elections (I think)