Ware Farms

Speaking truth to prejudice

Monday, July 11, 2005


Understanding Sexual Orientation

Catherine and David,

While homosexuals are attracted to persons of the same gender, they are no different than anyone else otherwise. This is one of the three main reasons that homosexuality was taken out of the DSM. There was no psychological test in use at the time or proposed (and many tried to construct one) that could distinguish gays as a group from straights as a group. Sure gays have problems, but in the same proportions as the rest of the population. Homosexuality is not correlated with any other psychological disorder. Certainly not pedophilia. Sexual orientation is a distinct trait, like eye color, which is separate and unrelated to anything else.

To the extent that gays are anxious and depressed, this is situational anxiety and situational depression due to the way gays are treated by some in today's society. It is not psychological anxiety or psychological depression due to any underlying personality deficiency.

Gays' attraction to other men is exactly the same as a heterosexual woman's attraction to men, no more, no less. It is derived from the same set of genes and effects the same sexual arousal centers in the limbic system. It is a primal autonomic nervous system reaction like the "fight or flight" reaction and produces many of the same hormones and physiological reactions. In addition, sexual arousal produces the hormone oxitocin, the human bonding hormone also found in lactating women, which is required to form the bonds of love and affection necessary in romance. Since women don't stimulate this reaction in gay men, these men are not able to form bonds of love and affection to persons of the opposite gender.

These primitive reactions are not under voluntary control, they occur when the activating stimuli are present, whether we like it or not. They cannot be changed by any type of therapy. This is the second main reason that homosexuality was dropped from the DMS. There is no way to cure such a primitive instinct. The best professionals can do is help gays live with this innate difference.

The way we can apply the Christian "love thy neighbor" principle is to understand the scientific basis for sexual attraction, realize that this physiological reaction is not chosen, and accept gay people as they are the way God does.

Behavior is completely different from orientation, since it is chosen. Yet we can't have a reasoned discussion about behavior if we fail to acknowledge the limits that orientation places on the available options. Love, Dad

PS: Here's the latest article that reviews the current information on gay and lesbian parenting. It appears in the Obstetrics - Gynecology medical journal. It even includes that latest study I listed in my previous e-mail.

Summary: The literature supports the notion that children of lesbian mothers and gay fathers are not more likely to become homosexual and are not measurably different from children raised by heterosexual parents in terms of personality development, psychological development, and gender identity. Larger longitudinal studies of same sex parents, particularly gay men, are needed, including those who choose to become parents through the use of assisted reproduction.

Since gays are no different than anyone else otherwise, why would we expect there to be any difference in the way their children turn out?


At 7/13/2005 3:27 PM, Blogger On Lawn said...

Gays' attraction to other men is exactly the same as a heterosexual woman's attraction to men, no more, no less.

Maybe, maybe not. As attraction is a matter determined by a number of factors, it can be concluded that who I am attracted to is a function of conditioned responses, tittilated exposure, as well as valuing many non-physical traits.

While these same general categories apply, it is not determined what specifically in each determines what. It may be safe to say definitively that personal cognitive choice (on both ends) is still the chief determination of who we wind up in relationships with.

Camille Paglia said it this way,

-- "Homosexuality is not 'normal.' On the contrary it is a challenge to the norm...Nature exists whether academics like it or not. And in nature, procreation is the single relentless rule. That is the norm. Our sexual bodies were designed for reproduction...No one is born gay. The idea is ridiculous...homosexuality is an adaptation, not an inborn trait.....

"Is the gay identity so fragile that it cannot bear the thought that some people may not wish to be gay? Sexuality is highly fluid, and reversals are theoretically possible. However, habit is refractory, once the sensory pathways have been blazed and deepened by repetition-a phenomenon obvious in the struggle with obesity, smoking, alcoholism or drug addiction....helping gays to learn to function heterosexually, if they wish, is a perfectly worthy aim.

"We should be honest enough to consider whether homosexuality may not indeed be a pause a the prepubescent stage where children anxiously band together by gender....current gay cant insists that homosexuality is 'not a choice,' that no one would choose to be gay in a homophobic society. But there is an element of choice in all behavior, sexual or otherwise. It takes an effort to deal with the opposite sex; it is safer with your own kind. The issue is one of challenge versus comfort." --

I personally find distasteful any argument that tries to exempt someone from being able to love another.

Your argument seems to hinge on an ability to not love someone of the opposite sex, asking for exemption from the requirement. That is rather bigoted, don't you think?

At 7/13/2005 4:50 PM, Blogger Bill Ware said...

Except that interest in the opposite sex (for a straight fellow like me) starts at a young age and grows significantly with the increased hormone levels that begin at puberty. This continues for many more years before there is any insidence that would produce any kind of conditioned response what-so-ever.

Pavlov conditioned dogs to salivate (a natural response) to the sound of a bell (an unrelated stimulous), but the natural response was always there to start with. One cannot be conditioned to produce a sexual arousal response if such response is not in the limbic system to start with.

At 7/14/2005 2:53 PM, Blogger On Lawn said...

One cannot be conditioned to produce a sexual arousal response if such response is not in the limbic system to start with.

As noted previously, child molestation does indeed seem to influence the sexual orientation of the person. This can be seen in whole societies such as Athens and Sparta, as well as current research.

From the "Five common Myths" we read that while it doesn't turn people gay it can "leave them feeling confused and unsure of their own identity. A heterosexual boy who is sexually abused by a man, for instance, may incorrectly assume that the abuse happened because the perpetrator picked up on some sort of “gay” signals from him. Or he may feel that he’s since he’s had a “sexual” experience with another male, he must identify as gay or bisexual. This is especially likely if he experienced sexual arousal during the abuse, a common physiological reaction for both males and females."


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