All that is wrong with the world…

August 18, 2011

Thoughts on sexual orientation and identity

Filed under: Issues...the world...etc.. — allthatiswrong @ 10:12 pm

I think sexual orientation is a very interesting subject, not least because of the controversy surrounding it and the amount of people trying to push their opinions or hopes as fact. It’s also something that many people seem to describe as hugely complex and unable to be limited by simple labels, when I don’t think that is true at all. For me, its actually a very simple thing. To be fair I don’t know much about this are specifically and have just gone by what I have read, however everything seems to be supported by evidence and current studies.

Simply, for the most part opposite sexes are attracted to each other because this is necessary for the species to reproduce. Other orientations are for the most part not choice, but are more than likely the result of development in uteri due to a chemical imbalance or something similar. Either men get wired to like men the same way females do, or vice versa. I don’t think there is anything more to it than that. This is somewhat supported when looking at the physiological differences which are thought to be a result of the same cause of whatever causes the different orientation. This makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t think it would be genetic, although there may well be genes that perhaps contribute to the likelihood of a particular orientation emerging.

If this turns out to be the case, then it is interesting for people with a non commonly accepted orientation. If homosexuals are simply wired the wrong way (no insult intended), then is this also not true for people attracted to children or animals? Obviously such orientations can not be accepted by society and should be harmed from hurting children or animals, however they should be helped and coached rather than persecuted for something they can’t help. Transsexuality is another interesting area. Male to female transsexuals outnumber female to male transsexuals by a vast ratio. Considering the default template for a fetus is female, it is perhaps possible that while a body may be a perfectly functioning male body, the brain was not completely masculanised.

If this is the case then perhaps a ‘cure’ could be invented. No doubt that would be controversial, but would it be the correct thing to do? For people attracted to children or animals, there would seem little doubt. Even for Transsexuals who are not happy with the current progress of sex change technology, feeling at home in your body would probably be a welcome change. What about Homosexuals? That is the most interesting topic of discussion, as they don’t hurt anyone and are proud of their culture. What about if you were having a baby and could prevent it from being homosexual, would it be right to do so? I would think so, simply because there are greater advantages to being straight. The ability to have children naturally with the opposite sex, a greater population of people to date and interact with etc.

I would think arguments against correcting a sexual orientation in uteri would meet many of the same arguments the deaf community has against repairing the hearing of children. When people have a culture and community they want that preserved, even through future generations. If the culture and community is based around a defect, does it still make sense to harbor that when the defect can be fixed? It’s not an easy question and while on the surface I would think it makes sense to do so, I know there are far more complex arguments on both sides.

So far I have not mentioned bisexuality as an orientation, because I don’t really think it is one. I think more or less it is a conscious choice where people have an orientation, but then decide to have fun with both. A straight person can decide to do stuff with someone of the same sex and find it enjoyable without having the same instinctual attraction for their primary orientation. Which isn’t to say bisexuality does not exist in a physical sense, I just think it being due to a true physical cause is negligible most of the time when compared against people choosing to be so.

Asexuality is also interesting. I thought for a long time that I was asexual as it took a long time for my orientation to manifest. When I started noticing women…it was crazy to see them in a different way. To notice curves and to have that attraction all of a sudden. It was so strange and subjectively, the only way I have to take it is as an instinct. Obviously with myself it was more of a psychological block but I see no reason it couldn’t exist also due to physiological factors. In which case surely it would make sense to correct as well, as being able to experience and enjoy sex is something that should not be denied to anyone.

While I firmly think that there is a physiological cause for pretty much everything, this is not to diminish the psychological component. Humans are very complex and there are many different ways they may manifest sexual attraction or desire. Any physical urge or orientation can be augmented, supplemented but not overridden. When it comes down to it, sexual orientation is a simple thing likely determined by a mishmash of chemicals while your brain is still developing. All these people saying sexuality is too complex and is a manmade construct have it wrong. We simply assign labels to what exists for convenience. I may well be wrong, but if I am right I hope that we can finally stop complicating the issue and just accept it as well as stop persecuting those who were simply born differently and indeed, try to help them as much as possible.

6 Comments »

  1. In your post you seem to ignore the implications of the fact homosexuals usually do not have offsprings. This obviously takes out of the picture the possibility of a genetic underpinning that would have been all but swept away by evolution.
    Of course the fact homosexuality is alive and kicking notwithstanding this tremendous evolutionary burden implies this “mutatation” to be a very frequent event. Then you funnily mention some esoteric uterus chemistry that, to me, has less grounding than astrology, for the simple fact that at least this latter has some history on its back….

    Comment by Fabrizio Bartolomucci — August 19, 2011 @ 8:37 am

    • The fact that homosexuals don’t have offspring is irrelevant. I’m not saying I think there is a gene for homosexuality, but that there could be a genetic factor which may be recessive. In any event, there are plenty of homosexuals that still do have offspring for whatever reason.

      There is also no reason to assume that homosexuality would have been selected out assuming that were a possibility in the first place.

      Finally, the prevailing view at the moment seems to be that sexual orientation is caused by a mix of genetic factors and uterine development. There is a lot of information on the relevant wikipedia pages, where there are also many citations.

      Out of curiosity, if you don’t think sexual orientation is determined biologically, what do you think causes it?

      Comment by allthatiswrong — August 19, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

  2. I don´t know what “causes” sexual orientation but to me, as a gay man and very conscious and curious about these things, it has always seemed right that there is a scale varying from totally heterosexual to totally homosexual. Most people can probably be situated somewhere towards the far ends of the scale but I personally know bisexual people who are truly and honestly bisexual. Actually I think many people who are roughly said about 70 or 80% heterosexual (if we stick to the scale) can easily push the remaining 20 or 30% of their sexuality towards the unconscious, as homosexuality (especially male homosexuality) remains a taboo in most parts of the world (including the Christian/western world). No surprise that women tend to be more open when it comes to experimenting with their sexuality.

    Besides, when one talks about human sexuality and reproduction, a note should always be made that the vast majority of sexual contacts between humans have another purpose than reproduction and this is quite natural.

    Also, I agree that people who feel a sexual attraction towards animals or children are not necessarily *sick* but are simply rather unfortunate to have an attraction for individuals who are not able to provide their consent for sexual activity.

    Comment by tihomirr — August 27, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

    • I could see there being a sliding scale of sexuality, although that makes less sense to me. Although, as I said I don’t know much about this are at all — so my speculation is not well founded. I would think however that since sexual selection serves a specific purpose, that it would not be so flexible. What would the point of that be? It seems simpler to suppose that you have a primary orientation which can be supplemented with conscious choices, rather than large range of possible orientation combinations from a biological cause.

      At the same time though, if different chemical makeups are responsible for orientations, perhaps different “recipes” correspond to different orientations giving a wide range of possibilities…

      Comment by allthatiswrong — August 29, 2011 @ 1:09 am

  3. tihomirr said
    “Besides, when one talks about human sexuality and reproduction, a note should always be made that the vast majority of sexual contacts between humans have another purpose than reproduction and this is quite natural”

    As can be said for dolphins, and perhaps other mammal species.. Their sexuality seems to be for other reasons than reproduction as well, and they seem to be as playfully about it as us humans.

    Fabrizio Bartolomucci said:
    “In your post you seem to ignore the implications of the fact homosexuals usually do not have offsprings. This obviously takes out of the picture the possibility of a genetic underpinning that would have been all but swept away by evolution. This obviously takes out of the picture the possibility of a genetic underpinning that would have been all but swept away by evolution.”

    When the same kind of behaviour is found with animals I find that at least shows how such behaviour can be tolerated and allowed to exist by evolutionary mechanics, seeing as how separated these evolutionary systems sometimes are yet the same ‘symptoms’ exist in parallel (I am thinking of wildlife compared to the human evolutionary system as of the last couple of centuries).

    More information could be found i think with the following Wikipedia entry:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_behavior_in_animals

    Comment by x0backslash0x — August 28, 2011 @ 8:08 am

    • I’m glad you brought up the animals aspect, as I am actually planning to update my post to mention that. I think it further backs up my point…that sexuality tends to be a conscious choice — biologically it tends to be “programmed in” in one of a few specific directions, with sometimes a mix up happening.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — August 29, 2011 @ 1:12 am


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