A Scientific American discussion of current thinking on a biological basis for same sex preferences

by fulltimestudent 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • fulltimestudent

    The Scientific American web-site has the above article, dated April 25, 2017. Its entitled, "Cross-Cultural Evidence for the Genetics of Homosexuality - Mexico's third gender sheds light on the biological correlates of sexual orientation."

    Here's the link to the article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cross-cultural-evidence-for-the-genetics-of-homosexuality/?wt.mc=SA_Facebook-Share

    And the first few paragraphs ...

    The reasons behind why people are gay, straight, or bisexual have long been a source of public fascination. Indeed, research on the topic of sexual orientation offers a powerful window into understanding human sexuality. The Archives of Sexual Behavior recently published a special edition devoted to research in this area, titled “The Puzzle of Sexual Orientation.” One study, conducted by scientists at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, offers compelling, cross-cultural evidence that common genetic factors underlie same-sex, sexual preference in men.
    In southern Mexico, individuals who are biologically male and sexually attracted to men are known as muxes. They are recognized as a third gender: Muxe nguiiu tend to be masculine in their appearance and behavior, while muxe gunaa are feminine. In Western cultures, they would be considered gay men and transgender women, respectively.
    Several correlates of male androphilia — biological males who are sexually attracted to men — have been shown across different cultures, which is suggestive of a common biological foundation among them. For example, the fraternal birth order effect—the phenomenon whereby male androphilia is predicted by having a higher number of biological older brothers—is evident in both Western and Samoan cultures.
  • Rainbow_Troll

    It's an interesting question on a purely academic level, but what's always bothered me about the nature vs nurture debate on sexuality is the implication that the answer could have moral implications. If someone is born with a certain sexual preference then it is utterly pointless to try to change them, let alone condemn them; but if it's a result of imprinting at an early age then perhaps gays, sado-masochists and even pedophiles could be 'cured' someday. Maybe they should be forced to seek treatment.

    I don't have an opinion either way but I am personally very happy to see that scientists are looking for a biological cause rather than a psychological one. If the only way for prudes to finally accept the sexually different is to say "well, they were born that way so there is nothing to be done." then I am all for it. I just hope that it doesn't backfire to "Well, we can't change them, so let's kill 'em!"

  • Simon
    the nature vs nurture debate on sexuality

    The reality is it's probably neither and both. How much influence nature vs nurture has depends on individuals. For some people, no amount of nurturing will change them, for others they are how they are raised. Most people are somewhere in between but you can't point to one set of circumstances and predict the outcome from it.

    but if it's a result of imprinting at an early age then perhaps gays, sado-masochists and even pedophiles could be 'cured' someday.

    While most abused children don't become abusers, many abusers were themselves abused. That would point to a significant "nurture" effect for this at least (totally the wrong word of course as it denotes 'care').

    There's also studies that have shown better treatment outcomes / lower re-offending rates by not stigmatizing and excluding people from society.

  • Village Idiot
    Village Idiot
    ...the phenomenon whereby male androphilia...

    I learn a new word every day when I read the posts.

  • waton

    "" aka.the phenomenon whereby male androphilia...

    yeah, I wished David would have stuck (no pun intended) with Jonathan, and left Bathsheba alone. Did David have older Brothers? got kicks out of collecting those 200 foreskins?

    P.S. the article mentioned a common genetic source for the condition and "anxiety from separation fro parents " aka (sissy) .a more interesting detail:

    sex during pregnancy might make men gay? mothers' elevated sex hormones during pregnancy affects the unborn son's brain? like: I want that female rush again?

  • Rainbow_Troll
    Simon: The reality is it's probably neither and both.

    You are probably right. I'm no expert on sexuality, but experience has taught me that there is almost never a single cause behind any phenomenon; most effects are the result of multiple chains of causality that come together to form 'the perfect storm'.

    I had one gay friend who confided in me that he was 'abused' as a child by several older males. I put 'abused' in quotation marks because he said that he really didn't consider himself a victim and in fact enjoyed every second of it. This man was not into boys at all; he liked big, hairy manly men! In his case I suspect that he was probably just born gay; though I'm sure a fundy Christian would point to his early sexual experiences as the root of his homosexual feelings. I think if he had been straight, he would have looked back on those experiences in very different light. The lucky bloke hit the jackpot!

    But on the nurture end, I could use my own kink as an example: I'm straight, but I have been a hardcore masochist for as long as I can remember. When I was six years old I was already the sub of a very domineering and sexually precocious little girl who would molest me at our daycare when no one else was around. When I was seven I had a crush on my summer school teacher; a young woman who was as cruel as she was beautiful... I remember having sexual fantasies about her before I even knew what sex was. Could my early sexual experiences have predisposed me towards lusting after cruel and domineering women? There is no 'could have' about it.

  • LoveUniHateExams

    Interesting article.

    But homosexual people do not form a third gender - gay men are still men and lesbians are still women.

    Transgender people do not form a third gender, either - they are merely transitioning from one gender to the other.

  • fulltimestudent
    LoveUniHateExams : Interesting article.
    But homosexual people do not form a third gender - gay men are still men and lesbians are still women. Transgender people do not form a third gender, either - they are merely transitioning from one gender to the other.

    Basically I agree, most of the gay males I've met are male (in fact, some are SUPER masculine. But some effeminate* guys are surely NOT easily definable, even though they do not identify as trangender.

    But is 'gender' identical to biological sex? Is the 'gender' of an effeminate* male identical to his XY genetic identity?

    A study course I enrolled in at Sydney U insisted that 'gender' is an act, not a fact.

    Think for a moment:

    Reference: http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2016/gender-lines-science-transgender-identity/

    And ...

    Quote: Earlier this month, the Medical University of Vienna issued a press release announcing that “the very personal gender identity of every human being is reflected and verifiable in the cross-links between brain regions,” with distinctions specifically in what’s known as brain “white matter.”

    Translation: We now have some proof of a neurological distinction between gender identity and biological sex. Says the report:
    “While the biological gender is usually manifested in the physical appearance, the individual gender identity is not immediately discernible and primarily established in the psyche of a human being.” ..."

    Reference: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ravishly/neuroscience-proves-what-_b_6494820.html

    * apologies for using effeminate - I think its been rendered offensive, but I cant quickly think of an alternative word

  • fulltimestudent

    I liked this response by a gay student to an 'Ex-gay (christian) counselor.


  • fulltimestudent

    My gay friend (also and ex-jw) sent me this reference to a commentary on Matthew 18:10-12 by Clement of Alexandria ( a second/third century CE. christian), which is interesting for his perspective that some males have a 'repulsion' to (presumably regarding sex with women) to women and therefore do well not to marry. So it seems that this Clement (different to the Clement who was a Bishop in Rome) had observed that some 'naturally' had a no attraction to women, but fails to carry his thought further and conclude that an attraction to the same sex could be natural to them,

    Here's the quote:

    Clement of Alexandria: The Stromata, or Miscellanies
    Translation from: Henry Chadwick, ed, The Library of Christian Classics: Volume II, Alexandrian Christianity (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1954), pp. 40-92. (Transcription by Jay Raskin, 2002; corrected by Lance Owens, 2011.)
    I. The Valentinians, who hold that the union of man and woman is derived from the divine emanation in heaven above, approve of marriage. The followers of Basilides, on the other hand, say that when the apostles asked whether it was not better not to marry, the Lord replied: "Not all can receive this saying; there are some eunuchs who are so from their birth, others are so of necessity." And their explanation of this saying is roughly as follows: Some men, from their birth, have a natural sense of repulsion from a woman; and those who are naturally so constituted do well not to marry. Those who are eunuchs of necessity are those theatrical ascetics who only control themselves because they have a passion for the limelight. [And those who have suffered accidental castration have become eunuchs of necessity.] Those, then, who are eunuchs of necessity have no sound reason for their abstinence from marriage. But those who for the sake of the eternal kingdom have made themselves eunuchs derive this idea, they say, from a wish to avoid the distractions involved in marriage, because they are afraid of having to waste time in providing for the necessities of life.

    Reference: http://www.gnosis.org/library/strom3.htm

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