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Every so often, a study comes along that intends to further our understanding about sexual orientation. A recent column, entitled "Why Women Are More Likely to Be Bisexual" gets right down to it. While this study has its detractors, its hypothesis is at least compelling, and does not (for the most part) peddle over-the-top pseudo-science. Naturally, none of its findings can be conclusively proven, but the study does make for interesting speculation.

Bisexuality cannot be explained easily by science or humanity. Nor, in all fairness, can it often be defined without difficulty by those who identify as such. Studies like these have tragic flaws. For one, it's impossible to separate scientific theory from cultural attitudes, looking at both of these in strict isolation. The conclusion is automatically suspect. When conventional masculinity is no longer threatened by homosexual conduct and behavior, a truly objective survey might be possible someday. I once never believed the day would come, but it may well yet.  

Understanding my own sexual orientation has been one of the most difficult endeavors of my life. Along the way, I've had the great fortune to have considerate, helpful LGBT friends inform me that they accept me as I am. A few of them may express some consternation that, in spite of their open-mindedness, they still can't guide me towards full self-acceptance. I have come a great distance but know that this journey towards inward exploration is ongoing. Perhaps it's more realistic to expect that I'll always be learning about myself, but without as much insecurity or doubt.

Auspiciously, the article begins like this.

Women may be more "hetero-flexible," or be primarily attracted to men with some same sex attraction, because same-sex behavior allowed women to raise their children with other women, a new study has proposed.

The hypothesis, published this April in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, suggests that more fluid female sexuality may have evolved because it benefited women's offspring. Some women who were raped or fathered children with absentee or deceased dads formed sexual relationships with other women, which may have made it easier to raise children together, according to the theory.

"Being born with the ability to [be attracted to men and women] may have been beneficial to ancestral women," said study co-author Barry X. Kuhle, a psychologist at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

When I was in my early twenties, a bisexual girlfriend who was considerably older than me was fond of saying that all women were bisexual. Though her assertion is unlikely, it is possible that there was some glimmer of truth in the statement. Once again, none of this can be conclusively proven, but it does make for interesting speculation. Should I classify her as hetero-flexible, or say the same of any of the other bisexual women I have called friends?

Now that the stigma against men who have sex with men grows less damning by the day, one wonders if new research will entirely disprove the conclusion of this study. I recognize that this may be easy for me to say. I have the great fortune of living in a liberal bubble. In this blue city, it is possible for lots of gender-bending and stereotype-challenging to take place. Women who dress up and wear pantyhose for work conceal proudly unshaven legs displayed, of course, while not at the office. Men who seek other men signify their preferences by a particularly understood style of dress and haircut.

I was socialized a man. My vision will always reflect the view from the dominance of one particular lens. I find myself utterly unqualified to speculate about the particulars of female sexuality and I will not try. My role here is that of an informed observer. This study reports upon variables that are too subjective to be taken seriously and I look forward to whomever wishes to expend the energy to pick these conclusions apart.

The article continues.

But exactly why has been a puzzle. Researchers have proposed that women's sexual fluidity enabled women to bond with sister wives in polygamous marriages. Still others have argued that it's a byproduct of the fact that women have weaker sex drives that are therefore easier to channel to different objects of attraction, Kuhle wrote in the paper.
At what point does biology and societal conditioning meet? Was polygamy a product of a Patriarchal culture or honest human behavior? Polyamorous couples would likely opt for the second option, even though strict secrecy continues to be necessary to protect them against disapproving attitudes. Is it possible to divorce the two from each other and, in so doing, form a new identity? We may instead find different combinations, not the death of one and survival of another.

Personally, I'd like to know how it was determined scientifically that women have weaker sex drives. That would be my first question to whomever who worked upon this study. As I have grown more liberated myself, I've come to understand that much of my understanding about women was wrong at worst, distorted at best. Nevertheless, studies like these surface and are published, and the discussion begins anew. What can be set aside as inaccurate, and what can be preserved for posterity as truth?

We are drifting towards some greater destination, though I would be willing to wager that none of us know where that might be. The sterility of scientific certitude would remove doubts and disagreement once and for all, except that we live together. We are forever interacting, creating a blending of cultural mores and biological truisms. Educated guesses that discourage sloppy logic and sloppier science might be our best defense.    

Originally posted to cabaretic on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:07 AM PDT.

Also republished by Milk Men And Women, Angry Gays, Sluts, Sex, Body, and Gender, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Most Scientific Inquiry (16+ / 0-)

    About sexual orientation revolves around how you can detect homosexuality in males without needing them to disclose it to you first.

    Usually, this is all about measuring size and proportion of various parts of the body (hands, brain, face, genitals) or bodily mechanics, like gestures or gait.

    This type of inquiry is predicated on the idea of male homosexuality as a threat and on the non-existence of female homosexuality.

    Its goal is to allow society to gain the means for detecting the homosexual threat and eradicating it before it can do harm.

    That's why science has failed to provide much insight into sexual orientation in humans.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:14:15 AM PDT

    •  Actually, no. (7+ / 0-)

      Not if you're talking about research in the last couple of decades anyway. While the type of research you outline was certainly done in the past (the 1950s and 60s were rife with it) it has long since been replaced by other types of studies in the scientific community. The vast majority of recent work on sexual orientation has either been genetic research to solve the "nature or nurture" question (overwhelmingly resulting in conclusions that favor "nature", by the way) or sociological research on the impacts of "gender nonconformity" (i.e., orientation) on individuals and more rarely on social groups, as the study cited in the diary is doing. One of the more prominent focuses of the latter kind has been outside evaluations of the effectiveness of attempts to change orientation (and almost universally concluding that all such attempts are ineffective and often also concluding that they cause psychological harm.) That research was instrumental in the APA taking reference to reparative therapy and other such "treatments" out of the new DSM-V.

      The old "the fags are coming for us" kind of bigoted research is a thing of the past in the legitimate scientific community. There are, no doubt, plenty of right-wing god-botherers who keep at this sort of thing, but as the Prop 8 trial revealed, no actual scientist takes them seriously anymore.

      Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

      by Stwriley on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:38:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Army tested for presence or absence of gag reflex (0+ / 0-)

      They were pretty lax early in WWII but as it was clear the war would be won the military purged both gay women and men from their ranks.  Thereafter they spent much effort to exclude gays from the ranks when the draft was in force.

      But much of the recent research is directed in a more  benign way.  The problem is looking for something  that is probably a combination of genetics and circumstance.

      On the issue of female response, it is a male myth propagated to keep women in line that "good women" don't really enjoy sex so men can avail themselves of other outlets when they want and believe their women are not playing around.  But since the beginning there have clearly been women who enjoyed sex very much.  Some men fear women's supposedly unbridled sexuality.  

      My feeling is that most people are probably on a continuum from totally hetero to totally homo.  And it makes sense that women have an attraction to men for procreative purposes but also often have very strong emotional relationships with other women, particularly in situations where there is a "women's culture" or where women are left alone together for long periods when the men went off to war, out to sea or whatever.  Certainly men in all-male environments start having sex with each other to varying degrees.  It would seem that there are sex drives and connection drives and sometimes but not always they coincide.

      Don't bet your future on 97% of climate scientists being wrong. Take action on climate now!

      by Mimikatz on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 08:38:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My guess is that we won't understand jack (5+ / 0-)

    shit about sexual orientation or gender identity until non-destructive mind state backups are fairly routine and copies of lots of people's consciousnesses (memories, personality, everything that makes you you) can be then studied at will (without activating/running them in a whole brain emulator, as that would create a sentient "fork" thus creating all sorts of ethical problems).

    You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

    by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:19:39 AM PDT

  •  he doesn't account (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whaddaya, linkage, wader

    for the beneficial effects of widespread indoor-plumbing-related hygiene.

  •  Everyone is inherently bisexual (10+ / 0-)

    Every other orientation is a result of social conditioning.

    •  link? (5+ / 0-)

      Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

      by lostboyjim on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:33:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Every psychiatrist since Freud (4+ / 0-)

        Every observation of mammalian behavior.

        The violence used to enforce gender norms.

        The Kinsey report

        This isn't new.

        •  Freud really meant that everyone has a propensity (6+ / 0-)

          for being polymorphously perverse:  being able to complete a sex act using most anything as a prompt.

          In this sense, I think Freud talked more about the erotic than about orientation as we've come to think about it.  And how we've come to think about it might be really stupid :)

          This isn't the same as bisexuality.

          Kinsey reports had a lot of unscientific stuff.  Not that I mind in some ways, but he did demand being recognized as a scientist.

          •  The thing is that (3+ / 0-)

            even the most cursory glance at cultural anthropology reveals that bisexual activity is so pervasive and widespread throughout various human cultures that it's incredibly difficult to deny that exclusive sexual orientations are the norm.  They appear, rather, to be the exception.  Our sexuality is far more fluid than we admit.

          •  Comparative studies of (3+ / 0-)

            primates suggest this as well.  Witness the bonobos with whom we're 98% genetically identical.

            •  Yet not in common chimp culture -- at least not (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FarWestGirl

              to nearly the same degree.

              The difference, to me, seems to probably lie in epigenetics.

              •  The Bonobos have the bonding gene we have (0+ / 0-)

                The common chimps do not.

                I'm thinking that is a big deal.

                Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

                by splashy on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 03:17:10 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Makes sense. Women have very strong emotional (0+ / 0-)

                  Relationships and some are sexual.  Men do have a need for bonding and frequently the experience of war provides this, also to some degree sports, but it seems to require an extreme experience.   Women get together just to be together all the time, while men need an activity as a cover. But maybe that is just our culture.  I kind of doubt it though because one reads about women having circles of activity going back to hunter gatherers.  

                  Don't bet your future on 97% of climate scientists being wrong. Take action on climate now!

                  by Mimikatz on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 08:45:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  If you look at photographs of social gatherings (0+ / 0-)

                    And of work place gatherings from the late 1800's and early 1900's, it is not uncommon to see young men with their arms straddled over one another, the way that young kids will do if let to their own devices.

                    It is a common situation in societies that don't stress competition. In South America and Latin America, male friends do this. Our society  puts the kabash on this. In fact, several years ago, two young men from Central America were brutally killed on the East Coast, because their habit of walking around with there arms entertwined suggested their 'homosexuality" when in fact it was simply a cultural norm. (Not that it would have been "okay" for them to be killed  if they had indeed been gay.)

                    Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

                    by Truedelphi on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 01:30:01 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Freud was a brilliant quack (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            207wickedgood, lostboyjim

            Who shouldn’t have survived early scandals?
            He just seems so ridiculously out of date now...
            People aren’t gay because of how their mother potty train them...
            Kinsey reports were outright fraud.

            •  Freud was no quack, (0+ / 0-)

              I went to Smith College for Social work which is still mainly Freudian and I can tell you that after 13 years as a practicing psycho therapist I have more respect for him everyday. Of course he was influenced by the time he lived as is everyone, but even his thoughts about most things being related to sex may have been right in his repressive times. I can say that even stuff I though was a bunch of crap I have since learned was true.

              And as for the Bonobo, we are closer related to the common chimps unfortunately and our social organization with the male dominant pattern is more like theirs.

              As to females being more likely to be bi, I chalk that up to the fact that we all start out falling in love with a female ordinarily, that being mom, so it might actually be more difficult to switch to men.

              •  Wow, uh, that last sentence. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                radmul

                That's the quackiest conjecture I've read all morning.

                "We need institutions and cultural norms that make us better than we tend to be. It seems to me that the greatest challenge we now face is to build them." -Sam Harris, neuroscientist

                by MarthaPeregrine on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 09:05:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I had never thought about our early attchment to (0+ / 0-)

                Our mothers implying our attachment to other women. It makes sense, doesn't it?

                I know as a young child, my best girlfriend and I fantasized continually about either joining a convent together, or getting married to each other. We dropped the convent idea when we found out we wouldn't have steak very often, and I don't know the precise age when we gave up the idea of getting married to one another.

                Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

                by Truedelphi on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 01:33:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Too bad Freud covered up the extent of childhood (0+ / 0-)

                sexual abuse.



                Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

                by Wee Mama on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 03:36:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  I am not so sure of that. I have always thought (4+ / 0-)

      of it as being kind of like the variations that cause certain people to like a good flogging (hope to try it soon), hanging from shark hooks (same), or even going up on stage and sticking half a dozen needles in their face (no, no, and no though I will happily watch her do it and giggle at the "muggle" reactions from the rest of the audience).

      Though you have to admit, the human mind is an incredibly complex piece of software so who knows for sure.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:38:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not bisexual. (10+ / 0-)

      I never have been - I knew I was entirely heterosexual before I was old enough to know there were options.

      It's one of the reasons nobody else's sexuality bothers me.

      Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

      by loggersbrat on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:45:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But if anyone knows the lengths society goes to (10+ / 0-)

        to enforce "normativity"...

      •  My son took a class on human sexuality in (8+ / 0-)

        college and one theory put forth was that sexual orientation is like other human characteristics (height, weight, strength, intelligence, musical ability, verbal skills, eye or hair color, body shape, sociability, dexterity, etc. - it runs on a continuum from fully homosexual to fully heterosexual and includes every variation in between.

        Human beings are amazingly complex and varied creatures and sexuality is one of many moving parts.

        “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

        by ahumbleopinion on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:16:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is the prevailing hypothesis (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IreGyre, FarWestGirl, JerryNA

          The scale is variable 1-7, 1-10, whatever, but observation seems to put most people (from 65-90%) in the "straight camp," with a smaller percentage in the "gay camp," and a difficult to define portion in the "bi-sexual camp."

          There are clearly people who cannot find it in themselves to be gay, there are clearly people who cannot find it in themselves to be straight. These would be the ones and sevens (or the extremes of the scale -- note, we are not talking bell curves here). The rest represent the fluid middle. The people who are "mostly" straight and "mostly" gay. And the unknown percentage who can go either way based on an undetermined set of factors.

          I find the ideas in the diaried study unconvincing. It is equally likely that men would find that exhibiting "gay" behavior is a convenient behavioral subset for a number of circumstances: Instances where females are unavailable or where masculinity is highly prized. Certainly there is the phenomenon of "straight" men engaging in male to male sex when in prison (more complex and not a truly "gay" behavior, especially in that the perpetrators are often sociopathic in all sexual behaviors). There is also the phenomenon of men forming pseudo-homosexual bonds in all-male boarding schools and similar social groupings. Certainly there is the female variation of being "gay until graduation" found in many colleges, especially the seven sisters schools.

          What is undeniable is that expression of human sexual behavior is not as simple as straight and gay, but studies like this one don't really help to advance understanding. This seems more like another "just so" story.

      •  I'm a bit less than 100% hetero (5+ / 0-)

        I have no problem admiring a beautiful or intelligent female, to the point where I'd put them on my "yeah, I'd do her" list, but I married Mr. Scribe for the simple fact that he rocked my world (and still does, much of the time).

        Actual percentage has yet to be determined; if I were ever single, who knows what direction I would travel?

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:27:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have no difficulty in admiring beauty (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FarWestGirl, 207wickedgood

          in either sex.  It is usually an aestheic appreciation - and I have never felt any sexual urge toward a female.

          Quite frankly, a sexual urge is not that frequent when the person I'm looking at is male, either.  I could put at least half the men I know into a muck sweat by describing what turns me on in a male of the species, but it's quite a bit more specific than that in actual practice.

          Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

          by loggersbrat on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:32:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not so sure about that, unless you equate (4+ / 0-)

      the erotic with sexual orientation.

      Or, if true, then do you suppose that bisexuality is a 50/50 distribution?

      Or 20/80?

      Or....

      I suspect there's a before-you're-born element to lots of folks -- stronger in some and weaker than in others.

      But that this pre-disposition can be over-ridden due to societal stuff.

      Same with in animals.

      •  Kinsey Scale (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        207wickedgood

        The famous husband and wife Kinsey team in their landmark work on human sexuality purposed a sliding scale to describe how attracted humans are to the opposite sex and their own sex. Their research showed that only about 10% of the population is exclusively Homosexual or Heterosexual, meaning incapable of forming attractions to anyone not of the preferred sex. Everyone else exists on a continuum in ranging from almost exclusive to equally balanced. More people cluster near the ends of preference but people exist everywhere along the continuum. Recent studies have  challenged the exact percentage breakdowns of where people lie on the scale, but it widely accepted that the continuum exists.

        I think part of the reason there is so much fear about the emergence of the acceptance of homosexuality is that a very large percentage of human possess the ability to be attracted to their non-preferred sex given the right person and the right set of circumstances. Having strong cultural taboos against same sex relationships obviously doesn't change the desires of people who are primarily or exclusively interested in their own sex. However, it probably does a great job at stopping people who have a 20%-40% interest in their own sex from acting on it.

        As a women who is tilts towards a 60% attraction to men, the cultural constraints were sufficient that 25 years ago, I never considered forming a life time commitment with a woman. If I was a young women in today's world, although still not smooth sailing, I would be open to the possibility. I suspect that people like me who fall more towards the center of the scale are far more scary to Heterosexuality then people who are exclusively Gay.

    •  Incorrect. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, kyril, gramofsam1

      I'm not.  

      And I hardly think that those who are (for example) truly vehemently anti-gay are either.

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:01:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No. (14+ / 0-)

      Look, I like you. I really do. We have a lot in common. I don't want to get into some sort of big argument.

      But we're not going to be able to avoid it if you insist on claiming (with no evidence but your own opinion) that my sexuality doesn't exist.

      I am not bisexual. I have absolutely no interest in women. None. Zero. I'm approximately as interested in women as I am in your average chicken. I tried to be bisexual, back when I thought being a boy meant I was 'supposed' to like girls, but it didn't work.

      I am gay. Completely, exclusively, without question. I cannot function in a sexual relationship with a woman. My responses to sexual activity with women range from being non-sexually amused (by foreplay and kissing) to being vaguely disgusted (by interactions with bodily fluids).

      It's not easy to be trans and gay. One subset of trans people thinks I'm supposed to be bisexual or "pansexual" (whatever the heck that means, apparently it's different from bi). The other subset of trans people thinks I'm supposed to be straight, and if not, I'm really a girl. Non-trans straight people think I'm supposed to be a girl. Non-trans gay people think I'm supposed to be straight.

      Nobody in the entire world has ever told me that it's normal to be who I am - trans and exclusively gay. This identity is not socially conditioned. It's just who I am. I wish progressive trans people would stop telling me I don't exist. I get that enough from everywhere else.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:34:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Its not easy to be trans and anything (nt) (5+ / 0-)

        I do not demand tolerance, I demand equal rights. --Anna Grodzka

        by VeggiElaine on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:49:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This trans person thinks you are supposed (7+ / 0-)

        to be you; that seems to be the main point of this exercise.

        However, I've blown the minds of shrinks by insisting that I am normal -- for the trans population.  

        The purpose of shrinkery is to erase human mental variation and turn people into easily controlled mental clones -- the "normal". When you defy their ability to stamp you as "abnormal", their heads explode. It's fun to watch.

        •  Not all therapists (5+ / 0-)

          are trying to change you into some version of "normal," though some clearly do and they are what are called in the biz "bad therapists."

          While it is not true that a therapist's goal should be helping a person feel good about whatever they do or feel, that is a subset of the goal. Certainly it is not good to try to convince a serial killer or pedophile that their behaviors are "normal" for them and to feel good about themselves. But for transsexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals, and all the other "sexuals,' the primary goal is, more often than not, to help them forgive themselves for ideas foisted upon them by imperfect society and less-than-perfect parenting, and help them learn to express their sexuality in a way that is open, hopeful, joyful, true and oriented towards connection with others and, hopefully towards that one particular other who will be their life partner.

          Is it safe? Is it real? is it true (for you)? Does it make you happy? Does it make your partner happy? On the flip side are: Does it hurt? Does it hurt your partner? is it self-destructive? Is it obsessive? Does it make you miserable? Does it make any one else miserable? A good therapist will help you work through all these sorts of questions with the goal of living a healthy, happy, fulfilling sexual life, as a part of the rest of your life.

          "Normal is just a setting on the washing machine." -- Whoopi Gildberg
          •  Yes, I know. It's like "those bad Germans (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dogs are fuzzy

            who did those bad things". "None of us good therapists today would ever torture a transkid to make her gender conformant."

            Except that Dr Kenneth Zucker has spent his career doing exactly that -- and he is the American Psychiatric Association's point man on transsexuals. He chaired the DSM-V committee on gender identity.

            So if the "good" therapists can't even police out the "bad" ones -- the actual torturers -- from running their field as it pertains to us, why should we believe them when they tell us they are "good".

            They're not "good". They're just opportunists.

          •  Wikipedia on Kenneth Zucker, DSM-V chair on GID (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FarWestGirl, Dogs are fuzzy
            Since the mid-1970s Zucker has treated about 500 preadolescent gender-variant children to "help these kids be more content in their biological gender" until they are older and can determine their sexual identity.[7] For children assigned as males at birth, Zucker asks parents to take away their child's "feminine" toys and instruct the child not to play with or draw pictures of girls.[8] Psychologist Darryl Hill describes Zucker's approach to gender-variant children:

                Zucker and Bradley believe that reparative treatments (encouraging the child to accept their natal sex and associated gender) can be therapeutic for several reasons. They believe that treatment can reduce social ostracism by helping gender non-conforming children mix more readily with same sex peers and prevent long-term psychopathological development (i.e., it is easier to change a child than a society intolerant of gender diversity). Reparative therapy is believed to reduce the chances of adult GID (i.e., transsexualism) which Zucker and Bradley characterize as undesirable.[9]

            Zucker is at odds with gay and transgender groups, but distances himself from organizations that share this distinction.[citation needed] Zucker believes that failing to control a child's gender expression at a young age and seek early counseling for transgendered behavior can be considered "some type of emotional neglect." He claims some parents may have been swayed by an activist transsexual agenda and "cement...in more and more" behaviors that may not result from transsexualism. Instead Zucker advises such children work through their hatred of their bodies before being accepted as transsexuals.

          •  Kenneth Zucker's reparative "therapeutic" (5+ / 0-)

            techniques included regularly scheduled paternal beatings for gender non-conformant trans girls.

            This is the man the American Psychiatric Association put in charge of transsexuals for DSM-V. And he stuffed the committee with his cronies.

            But when the trans community cried out against this and sought help to get Zucker removed from that committee, all the "good" therapists were deaf. There was no outcry from therapists. None of you "good" therapists heard us.

            So fuck you bastards. At this point, we are stuck in DSM-V thank to your complete moral vacancy. But there is an opportunity now to discredit DSM as a whole. DSM-V is such as farrago of garbage, pseudoscience and drug company bribery that NIMH has disowned it.

        •  I fail to understand how any good counselor (0+ / 0-)

          or psychologist can adhere to a random abstract definition of normal. It's clear that normality is relative. Some people menstruate, some don't. People have different hair color and skin color. Personalities and preferences and connections to various groups differ. Why would there be only one type of psychology? There are some basic human norms, of course, but... it just makes no sense.

      •  Why would trans people purposefully combine (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        atana

        sexuality and gender identity in specific, limited groupings as you seem to describe - such folks would seem to be the most understanding people on the planet when it comes to their separation, I would think?

        Not questioning your assertions, I am just a bit baffled.

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:54:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We suffer from Stockholm syndrome (4+ / 0-)

          Shrinks rule our lives and control whether we transition or not. Unfortunately, not every one of us is able to realize that they are our true enemies, and that it is vital never to internalize anything they say to us.

          Shrinks impose typologies and make us jump through hoops to fit whatever typologies they believe in at the moment. It's all pseudoscience, but they have the weapons. So too many trans people come to think in terms of typologies and who is a "real" trans or not.

          The solution is to get us out of the hands of the shrinks, which is why it was so important to get trans removed from DSM, as homosexuality was removed back in 1973.

          Unfortunately, the American Psychiatric Association is an old boy's club, and the old boy in charge of us (Kenneth Zucker) got us continued into the next edition.

          The good news is that DSM-V is so bad overall that the NIMH has stopped using it for research purposes. It has no scientific credibility, but it still gives shrinks power to fuck over US trans people -- especially trans kids.

        •  Well, there are basically two major subgroups (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          atana, VeggiElaine, wader, Nowhere Man, nickrud

          of trans people.

          On the one hand, you've got the progressives of the queer theory, gender theory, and feminist traditions, who believe that gender is entirely socially-constructed, sex is a continuum, sexuality is inherently fluid, and being trans is a reaction against confining gender roles.

          This group tends to believe that everyone is inherently bisexual or pansexual because sexual orientations aren't actually real because the things they reference (sex and gender) aren't real.

          On the other hand, you've got the gender essentialists who believe sex is binary, gender roles are biologically-rooted, sexuality is fixed, and being trans or gay is an expression of a biological difference in the brain.

          This group tends to insist that all 'real' trans people are straight because thy think that the process that creates a transsexual brain is a related but more severe version of the process that creates a homosexual brain.

          Neither group is entirely comfortable with people like me.

          "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

          by kyril on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:15:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I can think of other possibilities (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril, VeggiElaine, wader, CS in AZ, sturunner

            e.g. gender and sex might be biological, but have far more diversity than any culture has recognized. Some cultures are more accommodating of the natural diversity than others; our culture is very anti-diversity in general. That is the main argument evolutionary biologist and trans woman Joan Roughgarden made in Evolution's Rainbow.

            My own view is that brains are really complicated and the truth, when we get it, will also turn out to be really complicated -- as biology usually is.

            •  Orientation & transition (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              atana, Dogs are fuzzy

              I have noticed different attitudes and feelings toward men since beginning transition.  I'm trying to figure out whether that's due to hormones or to variation in the implied social constructs.  

              In any case, we really stretch that binary idea presented regarding sexual appetites.  Once again, the scale itself does not apply.

              I do not demand tolerance, I demand equal rights. --Anna Grodzka

              by VeggiElaine on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:55:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I didn't find that estrogen had any influence (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VeggiElaine

                on my "orientation", which would describe as "asexual lesbian": i.e. I (greatly) prefer the company of women but I have no real interest in having sex with them.

                Perhaps if males had not beaten me into PTSD for the first two decades of my life, I would have found them erotic -- I don't know. As it is, I just find them to be something I avoid as much as I can.

                •  I would describe myself similarly (0+ / 0-)

                  It's not sexual re men or even necessarily physical, more aesthetic.  Just different.

                  I'm sorry about your experiences.  I had some terrible ones too.  I try to limit the scope of my damages to specific people so the contagion doesn't spread to otherwise wonderful people.  I wouldn't want to ignore nearly half the humans on earth because of the meanness & smallness of a handful of them.

                  I do not demand tolerance, I demand equal rights. --Anna Grodzka

                  by VeggiElaine on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:24:45 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You are aware, perhaps, that most men prefer (0+ / 0-)

                  the company of men, but have no real interest in having sex with them?

                  I don't know exactly what that means with respect to your personal observation, other than to say that it does not sound at all out of character for a heterosexual woman, your description notwithstanding.

                  This is an amusing subplot in a popular tv comedy: Two men, both vain and shallow, discover they have a lot in common. As they become friends, they bumble into a homosexual relationship, because neither of them has ever actually had a friend before, so they can't interpret a desire to spend time with another person as anything other than sexual.

                  To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                  by UntimelyRippd on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:51:57 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  There are too many stories like yours (0+ / 0-)

                  It's really rough emotionally even to read about the lives of trans* people, so I can't understand what it's like to live them.

                  I try to dissociate, distance myself, and hide behind the habits of thought that earned me a hard science degree, but then I just get furious about the crimes against science instead.

                  Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

                  by Dogs are fuzzy on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 11:47:46 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  well, for us materialists, at some level (0+ / 0-)

              it is all biological. so then the question becomes, to what extent can it be manipulated post-delivery? and the answer to this must itself depend on the individual -- their genetics+development, leading to their being born in an anatomy already prepped to go in certain directions.

              it might be possible to actually redirect a person's gender or sexual identity by manipulating their environment (including giving them drugs of various sorts), but attempts to do anything like that have thus far been miserable failures, not to mention pointless ones.

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:14:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  More to the point, neither group has any (0+ / 0-)

            significant body of scientific evidence to back up their absolutisms.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:42:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Neither group is scientific (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            UntimelyRippd

            Last year I suddenly found myself interacting with a large number of trans* people in another of my online hangouts. Of course I read up on their experiences and tried to learn about the science behind it.

            I was shocked at how bad the "professional" literature was even by the pathetic standards of psychology. I wondered why the field had not attracted some A-player of a graduate student who would see that she could make a name for herself by being the first competent person in the literature.

            An activist suggested to me that the bitterness of the politics in trans* studies deters potential researchers who just want to be science nerds. That includes both the public politics and the academic politics, in which job opportunities depend on pleasing the Giant Figures in the field who got that way by being pompous. This is, in the technical terms of philosophy of science, fucked.

            If so, maybe the same issue is holding back research on sexual orientation?

            Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

            by Dogs are fuzzy on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 11:42:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  A lot of people have a need to be "right" (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, wader, gramofsam1, FarWestGirl

          especially when they are continually told that they are wrong. Part of their ego formation compels them to decide that their choices are the choices everyone "should" make or "would make" if they really knew their own minds.

          This is exemplified by the "everyone is bisexual" or "everyone is really gay," subgroups. And it is common among members of groups who define themselves by their sexuality when that sexuality is atypical.  There is a need to express one's own choice as an ideal and to denigrate anyone whose choices may be different even when they are only a slight variant of your own.

          This is also seen among traditionally oppressed social, religious or political groups: The need to take their hurt and anger at their oppressors and re-focus it towards other groups. More often than not, such anger is turned towards other oppressed groups and not the original oppressors themselves.

      •  You may not be aware of how much social (0+ / 0-)

        Conditioning is involved in your absolute non interest.

        •  What social conditioning are we talking about? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dogs are fuzzy

          Was it the social conditioning meant for girls? Because none of that took. I mean, I liked glitter and playing dress-up as much as any little gay boy, but it always felt like I was doing something 'wrong' even though I knew other people didn't see it that way.

          Or was it the conditioning meant for boys, that I picked up anyway even though I wasn't supposed to? Because that's what got me to age 12 or so convinced that I was supposed to like girls...and made me really confused when I started having crushes on my baseball teammates at about the same time they started noticing girls (and I didn't, although I pretended to to try to fit in...ever met a closeted gay boy in a girl's body? it's really weird, thinking back on it.)

          "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

          by kyril on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:24:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  That was one of the most sensible damned comments (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lostboyjim, Dogs are fuzzy

        I've ever seen from anyone on this (and related) subjects.

        I am always uncomfortable with the utterly unscientific pronouncements that folks love to set forth on sex and sexual politics -- pronouncements that are usually predicated on ideology and little else.

        I don't believe we even have a functioning definition of bisexuality. katiec notes above that we should not necessarily equate ones erotic sensibility with ones sexual orientation. I'm not sure what exactly she means by that, but here's my take on it: I believe there are men who can pleasurably and "successfully" enjoy a sexual experience with a man, but who simply would not ever have a crush on any man, anywhere, ever. (Substitute any other sexes anywhere you like in there, I think it still holds true.) So: Is a "true" bisexual someone who can "fall in love with" a person of either sex? Or is a "true" bisexual someone who can become aroused during sex with a person of either sex? Or what?

        I don't have an answer to this. I lean more towards the "bisexual means you can fall in love with someone of either sex", and anything else is just garden variety hedonism: The ability to enjoy pleasure without becoming concerned about the "rightness" of it. But my leaning is of no particular interest to someone who self-identifies as bisexual without meeting my criterion. The politically correct version is that You Are What You Say You Are, and everyone else must respect that, but that's really sidestepping the issue: If a bisexual is Anybody Who Says They're Bisexual, that doesn't tell us very much at all, and it certainly doesn't give us a definition that is useful for anything much besides legal interpretation.

        Your own particular state of being, kyril, while seeming outlandish to some -- even impossible -- makes perfect sense to me. It is crystal clear that sexual anatomy does not determine gender identity or sexual orientation. It is crystal clear that gender identity does not determine sexual orientation (or, other than via surgical intervention, sexual anatomy). How then could anyone suppose that one particular combination of sexual anatomy and gender identity must determine sexual orientation? Hell, long before there was any widespread consciousness of the reality, it was a common enough joke among young men -- "I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body!" And I know that going all the way back to the public splash made by Renee Richards, this was a question us cis-gendered heterosexuals entertained: Do all transsexuals orient heterosexually with respect to their transsexual identity?

        In the end, the bottom line is that the existence of transgendered individuals calls into question some basic assumptions of the politically correct, with respect to the precise nature of gender. Girls will be girls, and boys will be boys, even when the girls have boy parts and vice versa. But why? How can it even be so, when we know that at least some gender-associated behaviors are largely cultural?

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:39:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I went through puberty and dat was dat. (0+ / 0-)

      Those hormones are incredibly overwhelming—I’m still recovering!

      Everyone is inherently bisexual
      -- tell dat to my hormones –I don’t think they’ll listen
    •  i'm not sure what you're saying is true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      UntimelyRippd

      my life would be a million times better if I were sexually attracted to my best friend, and if she were attracted to me. we both have had two terrible marriages- that's four between us.

      I love her with all my heart. i'm never as happy to see anyone on this planet (save for my children) as I am when I see her. the sad truth though is we would be the world's worst lesbians. the attraction is just not there. god i wish it were.

      i don't doubt that many people are bisexual. my second husband is. i just don't think we all are. my best friend and i can't be the only two exceptions to your rule.

      "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

      by thankgodforairamerica on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:36:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is so comically stupid that I assume you (0+ / 0-)

      are saying it just to piss people off.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:08:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for your contribution, David Bowie (0+ / 0-)

      That may be true on Mars.
      On Earth, I think the actual consensus from biology, psychology and other disciplines is theres a wide, roughly bell shaped spectrum of behavior. Probably not exactly the same shape for both sexes.
      Its definitely not the case that we're born blank slates for sexual orientation.

  •  Women by no means have weaker sex drives (25+ / 0-)

    they have been socialized to not express their sex drives through constant slut shaming.

  •  My view is that human sexuality (8+ / 0-)

    has multiple facets. There is probably a basic mechanism of physiological arousal that has been carried forward in mammalian evolution. There are other senses and emotions that become eroticized in a more indirect fashion. I am talking about the difference between having a strong physical reaction to someone you see walking down the street as opposed and a situation where you first experience affection for a person that slowly expands into more sexual feelings.

    It is easier to talk about something called sexual orientation in dealing with the former than with the latter, but they are both part of sexuality.  

  •  Kinsey had it right (5+ / 0-)

    We are all inherently bisexual, but some of us are more so than others. Remember, Kinsey had a scale from 1-6 for men, 1 being exclusively hetero and 6 being exclusively gay, with the possibility of being a 2, a 3, a 4, or a 5. In terms of actual sexual behavior, I'm a 6 now but I was in the 3-4 range for my last two years as an undergraduate because I could and because it was rural upstate New York.

    -7.75, -8.10; . . . Columbine, Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Boston (h/t Charles Pierce)

    by Dave in Northridge on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:48:31 AM PDT

  •  Most sexual orientation studies begin with an (11+ / 0-)

    assumption:  That sexual orientation is something a person is born with.

    Period.

    Thus, women's supposed greater bisexuality (it's really better defined as pan sexuality, because women get wet over pictures of monkeys, flowers and a whole bunch of other stuff too) must have an evolutionary basis.

    But then there's that whole ancient Greece thing.

    Lots of otherwise hetero men in prison find they can engage in satisfying homosexual sex.

    Then there's men who are romantically attracted to women, attracted to women physically, but find the male penis particularly erotic, and can engage in penis-focused sex.

    Then there's the whole issue of epi genetics, which studies like this seem to ignore.

    Anyway, I get the political drive to tack to the opposite of bigoted beliefs of sexual orientation being a chosen path when it goes against hetero norms.

    But doubt that sexual orientation for lots of folks (though maybe not all) is simply a matter of genetics, or womb environment, or any other thing other than a confluence of all these factors and how they interact with post birth influences.

    A gay therapist, Joe Kort, has some interesting things to say about "straight men who have sex with men".

    By the way, I'm female, find women very erotic, but don't have any desire to actually have sex with one.  This study would consider me bisexual.

    I also can get horny when looking at really good art.  But have no desire to have sex with paintings.

    I think I'm straight.

    But whatever.

    •  a bit oxymoronic, no? (0+ / 0-)

      to say ".... find women very erotic, but don't have any desire to actually have sex with one."

      How is that possible? Did you mean to say "... find women very erotic, but don't have allow myself to actually have sex with one."?

      Curious....

      •  I find watching monkeys have sex erotic. Does (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, gramofsam1

        that make me a monksexual?

        I have erotic dreams of having sex with a machine, but have no desire to actually purchase one.

        Music makes me horny.  How would one possibly have sex with music?

      •  There is a distinct difference between a fantasy (4+ / 0-)

        and pursuing an actual encounter.

        People in general can have erotic thoughts about all sorts of scenarios that they would never pursue in real life. And that restraint may be because of societal pressures, or it may be that the person, has no interest in going anywhere with that thought in real life for any number of reasons.

        Erotic art can be stimulating, but that doesn't mean that someone will directly imitate what they see or read. It may simply put sex or sexual arousal on the brain.

        •  that was kinda my point (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GreenMother, FarWestGirl

          thus my "allow myself" suggestion as opposed to "but don't have any desire to". But you've stated it much better, thanks!

          •  Oh--well I misread. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FarWestGirl

            Thank you for not taking offense :)

          •  Just think there's a difference between the erotic (0+ / 0-)

            and the sexual, though there's overlap.

            I suspect that women can more fully enjoy the purely non-sexual erotic, as they can hide their physical response.

            Men?  Not so much, and most don't want to be caught with a hard on at "inappropriate" times.

            I think that this is -- to some extent -- what these studies are picking up on regarding the "greater bisexuality" of women.

            Still, both men and women have fantasies that they have no sexual desire to bring to fruition.

            •  but again (0+ / 0-)

              not to beat a dead horse, but "no sexual desire" is completely at odds with "fantasies". I propose "no interest on acting upon those desires" as more accurate, at the risk of splitting hairs.

              •  Are we our fantasies? If you fantasize about (0+ / 0-)

                killing your neighbor for playing their radio too loud, does this make you a murderer?

                Or, to put it more in your language -- When I fantasize such a thing, do I really desire to kill, but choose not to due to other factors?

                I don't think so.

              •  Fantasy is Different than Reality (0+ / 0-)

                Take for instance the classic female rape fantasy. A women may fantasize about being forced to have sex with a strange male. In the fantasy, she is completely in control. She imagines him to look and act like her ideal male and imagines everything they do is exciting. There are no consequences because it didn't actually happen and it isn't actually anything remotely like rape because she was the one who initiated the encounter by imagining it into existence.  In the real world, rape is nothing like her fantasy. She had no choice about it occurring. She has not control over what the male look like, how he acts, what he does to her and the act has real consequences.

                Fantasy only bares a passing resemblance to reality. However the key distinction is that the person fantasizing is in complete control, allowing them to arrange things to their liking and ignore the constraints of reality. This allows people to enjoy  situations that would be not only unappealing but even completely horrifying in real life.

  •  A general critique of evolutionary psych. (9+ / 0-)

    It's one thing in biology to propose a plausible mechanism for how natural selection works, it's another thing entirely to develop the evidence necessary for confirming that mechanism in the absence of sequenced genes for the trait in question or multiple species in the clade that we can use for comparison.

    That's ignoring the basic problem that there's no consensus on how to define or measure something like sexual orientation and identity to a degree that allows us to define whether women are more likely than men to be bisexual taking into account the varying cultural attitudes and taboos surrounding male bisexuality.

    •  There is some new (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      katiec, Be Skeptical, FarWestGirl

      evidence supporting the notion that homosexuality may be epigenetic rather than strictly genetic.

      •  Agreed. The basic drive for sex and pair bonding (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JosephK74, IowaBiologist

        seems very strongly conserved in the genome, as would make sense for continuation of the species.

         Theoretically, the epigenetic factors simply orient that basic drive to either same sex or opposite sex targets, (and with varying strengths).

        I've seen data suggesting that cortisol, (the stress hormone), can be one of the factors during those phases of fetal development. Cortisol, as most of us can attest to, can interfere with the sex hormones. So if cortisol levels are high during those phases, it makes sense that it would affect development. What's a bit more abstract is how that may have affected early populations and how it became adaptive enough to be conserved. For instance; If a group is in a good territory, then stress levels would be relatively low and a greater proportion of individuals would be inclined to the type of sex and bonding that produces children. If the territory is marginal, or if there is frequent conflict, the cortisol level would be frequently higher, resulting in offspring less inclined to procreative sex, but still involved with the natal family, thus concentrating resources on the offspring of close relatives and probably increasing the chances of those fewer offspring surviving difficult times.

         Obviously there are lag times between birth and sexual maturity, but I think that over thousands of generations, it would have been enough of an advantage to have embedded itself in the genome. A difference of only a couple of percent in survivability of offspring would find its way pretty quickly through a population averaging only a few tens of thousands at any one time.

        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
        ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

        by FarWestGirl on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:11:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The first time I heard this theory (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IowaBiologist

          it rang true to me.

          It makes sense from an evolutionary stand-point and it also correlated to some of the data I'd seen where mothers who were under stress during pregnancy were more likely to have a gay child.

          •  Do you happen to have a link to the cite for the (0+ / 0-)

            stress data? I remember seeing it, too, but I'd be a lot happier if I could give a source. Thanks.

            Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
            ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

            by FarWestGirl on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:01:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FarWestGirl

              I wish I did.   I heard this first many years ago - maybe 20 years?   There should be several studies but I don't have any links.

              What is strange is that I've heard the stress theory and also separately stats that showed twins were more likely to be gay than a single birth but never seen the two tied together.   Knowing several mothers of twins, I can safely say most twin births are very stressful especially when the expectant mother is confined to bed rest the last several weeks of the pregnancy.

              •  ::sigh::Same time frame, I haven't been able to (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                According to Fish

                track them down. Seem to recall there was a German study that correlated the main development in that area was in the first trimester.

                Lol It also tracks with the stats that the more older brothers a man has, the greater the likelihood that he would be gay. The more boys a woman is already riding herd on, I guarantee you, the greater her overall stress level is. ;-)

                Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
                ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

                by FarWestGirl on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 08:19:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  And I am not sure why we would want to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radv005, page394

      measure sexual orientation. It seems futile and pointless.

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:12:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ah, yes, because when you measure (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        or analyze then the next step is to theorize remediation based on some belief that a certain outcome is desirable. Slippery, dangerous slope indeed.

        First thing to come to some people's minds when the theory of a "gay" gene was proffered was, "hmmm, now possibly we can weed out the gayz in the womb".

        •  No, but just as bad, if it's epigenetic, then the (0+ / 0-)

          gene[s] responsible may be turned on or off by certain external environmental factors.

          I don't see it as genetic. I see it as bio-chemistry that determined some of these matters, in the womb, specifically the brain.

          But new scientific data could come and wipe that out. That makes more sense to me, than a gene or epigenetic mechanisms that turn genes on and off.

        •  Which is why (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          radv005, nickrud, JosephK74

          when asked if I think being gay is an innate or learned behavior, I say, "I don't care." Because I don't.

          Gay sex is not dangerous, immoral, or irrational. Whether you choose to have sex with a person of your own gender or not, there is no valid reason to prevent it as long as both people involved are consenting and adult.

          In a free society (as ours purports to be, but which it is clearly not) the state has no interest in who an adult has sex with or their genders.

          While it may be an interesting biological footnote, whether being gay is nature or nurture should have no bearing on society's position on the subject. We are free people. Who we have sex with is none of the state's business.

          •  agreed (0+ / 0-)

            and when people start talking causation you need to start asking why they are asking. Usually "scientific" "research" in this arena leads to notions of "fixing" fairly quickly. It all starts out with a innocent "we just wanna know" stance.

            •  I have no doubt that any number of scientists (0+ / 0-)

              really just do want to know, the same way earlier scientists wanted to know what causes eye color.

              But there's no way they can stop their research from being seized upon by those with other agendas.

      •  "The proper study of mankind is man" (0+ / 0-)

        Scientific curiosity seems to be built in to us.

        Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

        by Dogs are fuzzy on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 12:09:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I always feel like those (7+ / 0-)

      of us fighting on behalf of LGBT causes are playing with fire whenever we appeal to "being born that way or genetics".  I'm just too aware of how this can be used by those who think in frames defined by eugenics; especially as we become more adept at manipulating genomes.  

      I understand the strategic value of saying "I was born this way".  If "I was born this way" I can't be other than I am and it is an injustice to try and make me other than I am.  But does it really matter whether I'm genetically this way or learned to be this way?  Someone will say, "if you learned to be this way you can be reconditioned to become heteronormal!"  This is a bizarre concept of learning.  I also learned to speak the English language.  Suppose Christian fundamentalists who had it out for the English language as Satan's language whisked me off to a "Get the English Out Camp".  What do you suppose would happen?  Psychologically you would become extremely messed up, not because speaking the English language is genetic, but because it has become so deeply wired into the fabric of your being that you can't separate yourself from it.  It doesn't much matter whether our orientations are genetic or learned; they're just as deeply woven into us either way.

      What we really should be angling for is not a demonstration that we're "born this way", but a society in which these issues are moot because adults have the freedom to pursue and develop their sexuality so long as they aren't harming others.  Our sexuality should be a space of freedom, not a space of determination.

      •  Oh yeah, I agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JosephK74, Dogs are fuzzy

        Men like me were not castrated,  shot with hormones, mutilated, sterilized, and ultimately murdered in order to show us the virtues of heterosexuality. The conservative narrative about homosexuality is perfectly comfortable with notion that we're mutants who must either be taught to control our biological urges, or be put down for the good of society.

        But, the equation Phenotype = Genetics + Environment is the foundation of modern evolutionary biology. So to put on my biology hat, political narratives of nature v. nurture are not much different from flat-eartherism in my view.

      •  Agree I hate the Biology Argument (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JosephK74

        I understand the political reasons for it, but it always seemed unnecessary. After all we have freedom of religion and yet religion is a choice, even if for many people it doesn't actually feel that way. What right can be more fundamental to a human being then the right to choose who we love.

    •  Or, to put it another way, 'fucking evopsych bs' (4+ / 0-)

      I saw a quote on the net which captures perfectly the evo psych claptrap which is currently in vogue.

      'Evo Psych is such a compelling explanation for so many things because our distant ancestors, on veldt, were never exposed to Evo Psych explanations for things, and therefore never developed any defenses against them.'

  •  A bell curve adjusted by culture is another theory (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brian A, blueoasis, FarWestGirl

    When I was in high school (the 1980s), we had a sex-ed teacher who claimed that human sexuality is a bell curve where by instinct 80% of us would be bisexual to some degree - with the majority right smack in the middle.

    Culture then adjusts this in one direction or another, and for the modern era has put strong pressure towards heterosexuality.

    So her theory was basically: "Most of you are bisexual, and culture has pushed you out of that towards heterosexual. Culture can't push someone from one end of the dial to the other, but it can cause someone to repress a part of their nature."

    BUT the modern era has also done a lot more sexualizing of the image of women and female beauty than of the male form... so I would guess this works as a contra-pressure in culture, causing the pressure towards heterosexuality to be slightly lesser among women.

    Not to mention than female homosexuality and bisexuality are highly fetishized (sp?) in modern culture (the "adult" industry would go bankrupt without this...).
    - Which may mean barriers that saw it as a threat are breaking down faster.

    In theory, if that high school teacher was right, the dial can go the other way, and her evidence was cultures like ancient Greece and Rome (but do we really know if those cultures were favoring of homosexual male conduct, or just accepting, or even just fetishized).

  •  Some comments on your point of view. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl

    I assume that bisexual women are more likely to say "all women are bisexual" than straight women, as it reflects their world-view. Hardly any of my girlfriends have ever had sex with another woman even though they have been propositioned by girl friends, at parties, at work, etc. It is not an urge for them. When I was young, some girls I knew had girlfriends for some time, but I am pretty sure most of them who were not lesbian gave it up by the time they were in their early 20's. I am not sure I would even call them "bisexual," just "unformed." I think mostly they were intimidated by boys, it was just easier to go out with girls, safer,  etc.
    People tend to play out their sexuality irrespective of whether it is stigmatized. I mean, look at Ted Haggard. I doubt there would be much more bisexuality among men irrespective of stigma, though maybe a few more men may try it once or twice. It is like drugs being illegal. Addiction and use rates don't change an iota due to legal status. I AM NOT COMPARING HOMOSEXUALITY TO BEING A DRUG ADDICT (before I get HR'd). Just saying "people do what they do."
    Not every society in the world throughout history stigmatized homosexuality. I don't know what the rates of bisexuality was in Athens at the time of Socrates. Was it more than today?

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:08:02 AM PDT

    •  wow (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      your use of language says much more than your comment:

      "world view"
      "gave it up"
      "'unformed'"
      "it is like drugs being illegal"

      Oh, and you kinda did compare homosexuality drug use and addiction.

      •  I kinda didn't. All pleasurable activity (0+ / 0-)

        is related, some people get addicted to sex, some people get addicted to religion, some people get addicted to thrill seeking, some people get addicted to drugs, some people get addicted to violence. The only thing that it doesn't apply to is homosexuality, because somehow homosexual behavior is radically different than all other human behaviors.

        "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

        by shmuelman on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:39:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "we are forever interacting" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    Was listening this morning to KQED's Forum talk show and Robert Burton (author of the new "Skeptic's Guide to the Mind") said pretty much what you say in your final paragraph - we can't really know the mind in isolation. Science needs to isolate elements in order to reduce the number of variables; we can't say we know what causes something if there are many possibilities. If a researcher can reduce the number of possible causes to one - and that action does not lead to the result sought, then that action can be ruled out as the cause. You can say with confidence that that action does not lead to the effect.

    But since our minds and actions are social creations it's not yet possible to isolate causes. What we are left with is what we've have always used - stories. We tell stories based on clues and hints. These stories prove more or less useful, more or less damaging.

  •  While the book doesn't focus too much... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, FarWestGirl

    ...on non-biological bases of sexual orientation (not homosexuality, or bisexuality, or heterosexuality but sexual orientation), the book edited by Lee Ellis called "Sexual Orientation: Toward Biological Understanding" does justice to the complexity of the topic of the origins of sexual orientation. Most of the chapter's writers underscore that there are likely interactions between biological forces and non-biological forces.

    If you are interested in a thoughtful book about a fascinating topic, this is it.

    Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

    by BoxerDave on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:24:46 AM PDT

  •  I do remember that I started noticing (6+ / 0-)

    the curve of my female classmate's flank in the shower in middle school about the same time that I was noticing the amazing blue eyes on a male classmate in English. But I knew not to talk about it too. One more difference to keep to myself.

    As an adult, I can get romantically involved with either gender but when it comes right down to sex, I much prefer men to women. Not that I never have sex with women, but it's rarer for me to find a woman I'd be interested in that way than it is for me to find a man I'd have that interest in.

    And that's leaving out entirely the monogamy-nonmonogamy axis, which is orthogonal to sexual orientation, and the fact that pain is at least somewhat sexual for me and always has been. All I can figure is that I'm just wired to be a kinky freak. (grin)

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:25:26 AM PDT

  •  Multi-cultural (4+ / 0-)

    After living in a multi-cultural world during my adult life, I notice the energetics of the person and often can't remember the rest.  The same might be true if I lived in a world where people were free to express themselves as they feel they are sexually.  As I age I find unexpected pleasures that are almost as stimulating as the sex I greatly enjoyed when young.  Perhaps we are multi-sexual within a range that is unique to each person.

  •  I used to do research into this sort of thing (6+ / 0-)

    and some scientists do understand sexual orientation. Some don't.  And often, the media gets the details of studies wrong, or quotes lines out of context. But the reporter rarely gets the blame, the scientist does.  

    Also, nearly all scientific publications have a "limitations" section. This never gets mentioned by anyone.

    •  well, wait, huh? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Whatithink, blueoasis

      How is it possible that "some scientists do understand sexual orientation. Some don't." That's like saying some scientists understand the laws of physics and some don't. Science is not secret and the purview of a select few. If there is a true understanding of sexual orientation, for which I understand you to mean a valid scientific theory with proven and reproducible results, then we all get to understand it.

      •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Batya the Toon

        Indeed, some scientists do understand the laws of physics and some don't (although Feynman sort of implied that no one really understands quantum mechanics, in any case, very few scientists understand it).

        But with any area of science (social, physical or whatever) some scientists understand it and some don't.

        But I didn't even say anything about valid scientific theories with proven and reproducible results.

        So, you've built a straw man and then failed to destroy it

        Of course, beyond that, understanding isn't really a dichotomy - we have different levels of understanding of different things.  

      •  You seem to be conflusing (0+ / 0-)

        hard sciences (physics) with soft sciences (psych).  hard sciences can experiment and hammer out details, and look at hard data impersonally.  Soft sciences cannot (without getting lynched or worse).

        There are many theories about psychological issues (including sexuality), but ... none of them are apples to apples comparable with, say, quantum electrodynamics or optics.

        "some scientists do understand sexual orientation. Some don't." is entirely accurate.  Because the social sciences are really in their infancy.  When they are as developed as far as physics (which will probably never happen - living organisms are too tightly bound to chaos) then we can argue this.

        At present ... this one study (the book the diarist is talking about) is just one study, and reflects only the people involved in it, and their perspectives.

        I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

        by trumpeter on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:57:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Some are trapped by oversimplification (0+ / 0-)

        Downright prejudice is hardly a thing of the remote past either.

        I'm OK if you say such people are not really scientists, but you're in "No True Scotsman" territory there.

        Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

        by Dogs are fuzzy on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 12:16:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "If you rub it, we will come" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader

    (quote from a good friend who is a lesbian)

  •  One point that few consider (6+ / 0-)

    is the possibility that bisexual men are being undercounted because many (most?) are in the closet.  They tend to enter heterosexual marriages without telling the full truth to their wives.  Coming out to those wives as having an occasional yen for men is not okay in the context of such marriages, and so these men remain on the down-low.

    Unless these closeted bisexual men are found and included into LGBT statistics, it is not possible to assume that more women are bisexual than men.

    -5.13,-5.64; GOP thinking: A 13 year path to citizenship is too easy, and a 5 minute background check is too burdensome. -- 1audeyrenee

    by gizmo59 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:47:24 AM PDT

  •  What about age? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, wader, trumpeter, Dogs are fuzzy

    In my experience, teenage boys get horny by ... well, breathing.

  •  Been out as a Bi for a while now... (9+ / 0-)

    Honestly, trying to define human sexuality by labels is difficult, if not impossible.

    It's one big general mish mash of fetishes, attractions, turn ons, turn offs, memories, and general grrrrrowwwwlll....

    The sooner we socially accept the fluidity of all sexuality, the faster we can stop discriminating based on it.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:01:22 PM PDT

    •  That would be nice. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      detroitmechworks

      Which is not to say I think we should stop trying to figure it out, or stop inventing and refining terminology to describe it; we just need to stop assuming rigidity where none exists.

      ... no pun intended.

      •  One activist in academia (0+ / 0-)

        She has a hard science background and likes to say "all models are false, some are useful". Our brains are not big enough to understand all of reality without using simplifying assumptions.

        Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

        by Dogs are fuzzy on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 12:19:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Huh. That's an excellent saying. (0+ / 0-)

          And it's worth pointing out that a model can be useful for some purposes and worse than useless for others.

          The "celestial sphere" model of astronomy is quite useful for describing the appearance of the stars and their apparent motion relative to the earth (and thus of practical use in matters like navigation), even though it's of no use at all in talking about (for instance) how distant various stars are from our sun.

  •  Evolutionary psychology is not science (5+ / 0-)

    and it is not the same as evolutionary biology. Evolutionary biologists study how organisms are selected by their habitats. It is impossible to do that with humans because we don't have wild study populations of humans living in the habitats in which we evolved.

    Evolutionary psychology is just speculation posturing as science. If we want to know how human brains work, we have to do it the hard way: by reverse engineering them. That is what neuroscience is about. If humans really do have genetically regulated sexual preferences, the way to demonstrate it is to find the neural processing involved and the genes.

    Note however that there have been many efforts to find genetic biomarkers of homosexuality, and so far they have all failed.

    •  While I agree (0+ / 0-)

      with your point about evolutionary psychology, the bio-theorist in me feels compelled to point out that society and culture are every bit as much selective environments as any other environment. The premise behind your remark here is pretty deeply flawed.

  •  Studies of male homosexuals (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother, blueoasis

    I've heard of a couple of studies of male homosexuals that suggest the determination of sexuality occurs during gestation.  As I understand it, the odds of being a male homosexual increase depending upon the number of older brothers you have.  The hypothesis is that to some extent the mother's estrogen "battles" the developing fetus's testosterone and gets better at it with experience.  I also read of an autopsy study from 20-25 years ago that showed male homosexuals have a larger corpus collosum (the "bridge" between the two hemisphere's of the brain) than male heterosexuals.  I have heard nothing recently about either study and thus have no information on whether these hypotheses are being proved or disproved, but they are interesting to say the least.  Both suggest scientific evidence that at least among males, sexuality is not a "choice," as social conservatives believe, but an unalterable personal characteristic over which one has no control.  That should be obvious, of course, but the more evidence there is on the subject, the better.  I'm surprised the question of the source of sexuality is not more widely studied.

  •  The thing about papers published in scientific (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, wader, TiaRachel, gramofsam1

    journals is they cite sources.  So rather than wondering about the claim about sex drives in women and men, you can actually follow the citations, if you're interested.

    The article you linked to doesn't even name the article it's talking about, which seems pretty bizarre to me, but it's presumably it's "Born both ways: The alloparenting hypothesis for sexual fluidity in women" (full text available for free, see the pdf link at the bottom of the linked page).  The article actually claims that their hypothesis on the topic is a better explanation than the "weaker sex drive" claim.

    They're just citing the claim from the article "Gender differences in erotic plasticity: The female sex drive as socially flexible and responsive", which can also be found for free.

    Skimming over it, doesn't look terribly convincing to me, but I'm not sufficiently interested in the topic to actually read it.  :)

  •  I am not sure that any human behavior, esp (4+ / 0-)

    sex and sexual attraction can been completely reduced exclusively down to some mechanical elements.

    And FYI--cultures that practice polygamy, do not necessarily allow for women, even in co-marriages to form sexual bonds. I suspect that at least in this culture, that is simply an extension of the western sexual fantasies about polygamous cultures but not in fact, reflecting reality.

    Human sexuality occurs on a spectrum. But there is more than body parts to sexual identity and sexual attraction.

    •  Ack! Stop reading my novels! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenMother, wader, JosephK74, sturunner

      Just kidding.

      Seriously though, the problem with most polygamous cultures seems to be that they are based not off consenting, sexually fluid adults, but rather male power and property.

      NOT sexy whatsoever to my way of thinking.

      I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

      by detroitmechworks on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:39:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        detroitmechworks, Cali Scribe

        Breeding your own workforce via multiple wives.

        Or is it just me?

        •  No, that does seem to be the trend. (4+ / 0-)

          Course, I did live a multiple relationship for a while.  Didn't work out too well in the end, but that had to do more with lack of honesty then anything else.

          I have no doubt that a multiple, bisexual, group marriage can work, but it requires very special/honest/open people.

          I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

          by detroitmechworks on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:50:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The concept of "possessing" another person (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            detroitmechworks, GreenMother, wader

            aka "jealousy" would definitely have to be dealt with. Whether that's societal or inborn is probably fodder for an article or diary beyond the concept of this site. Even in  novels that have tackled the issue of group marriage/living arrangements, the males tend to have their own "primary" partners -- and the higher the male is in the hierarchy, the more "primary" partners they have that are off-limits to the rank and file.

            There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

            by Cali Scribe on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:00:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Fear of loss is very real. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GreenMother

              I tend to find that jealousy is deeply rooted in the fear of loss, IMHO.

              The idea that if somebody is getting something that you aren't you somehow are being robbed.

              In my opinion, and this is STRICTLY my opinion, it's understandable but fairly ridiculous.  It's a little immature, to be obsessed with the idea that somebody being happy somehow diminishes your own happiness.

              Concerns about disease, pregnancy, etc, are understandable.  An orgasm?  Not so much.

              I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

              by detroitmechworks on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:10:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I haven't quite made up my mind how much (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                detroitmechworks

                jealousy is hardwired and how much of it is learned.

                I have no direct experience in a poly relationship, so any commentary on that would be at best, second hand.

                •  Well, from my experience... (0+ / 0-)

                  in a poly relationship, as long as there was honest communication and agreement, jealousy was minimized, if not completely eliminated.  (As far as physiological and emotional state goes, IMHO)

                  Of course, when dishonesty began... well, that's what resulted in those feelings coming on VERY strongly.  

                  It's one of the reasons I  tie jealousy to fear.  I think they're very deeply connected, but that's just my personal opinion.

                  I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

                  by detroitmechworks on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:55:45 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I don't classify polyamory with the other (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            detroitmechworks

            For now--Women are free to choose their partners.

            In those other situations, not so much.

            •  Well, those other situations are not about love. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GreenMother

              They're about power.  The idea of women as property which permeates many of those cultures is rather disturbing to me personally.

              But heck, I'm just a romantic pornographer...  ;)

              I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

              by detroitmechworks on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:07:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I've only seen a few studies that went into (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dfe

    bisexuality, usually concentrating on specific demographics (e.g., Latino men, etc.).  In each case, a statistically significant percentage of respondents who identified as "heterosexual" in a survey would also respond in the positive when asked if they had, for example, anal sex with another man, etc.

    So, sexual identification and sexual activity can tell different tales, making this topic even more mushy to study.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:57:10 PM PDT

  •  Social Evolution conditioned Biological Evolution (0+ / 0-)

    Those tribes who had extra, non-breeding men around to help with defense, child rearing, food gathering, technology creation and making, and storytelling succeeded far beyond those tribes with no extra non-breeding males. Homosexuality is a result of social and biological pressure for the TRIBE to succeed, not the individual.

    We are homosexual because we are social mammals, and we are social mammals because we are homosexual. The evolutionary selection which promoted SOCIETY promoted HOMOSEXUALITY and BISEXUALITY. It provides an enormous survival advantage for tribes with gay people in them. The teachers, librarians, priests, social workers, artists, home managment and beauty designers, writers and all those traits which bring society together are often associated with gay people. It is not a coincidence.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:05:19 PM PDT

    •  That is speculation as much as anything (0+ / 0-)

      but it's quite likely to be true.

      If true, it would make an interesting corollary to the current biological theory cited above, about how males are likelier to be gay if they have multiple older brothers; those older brothers can be counted on to pass down the family's genetic inheritance, so time to produce some non-breeding males to help raise and protect their kids.

      Like the drive to explore, it's survival-oriented on a tribal level even if it seems to be counterproductive to survival on an individual level.

  •  Here's the way I look at it: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dfe

    Most conventional thought seems to look at sexuality as an on/off switch. One position is heterosexual, the only other is homosexual. If those same people accept that bisexuals exist, they only add one other switch position, a "both" selection in the middle. This is clearly wrong. A much more apt way to look at it is as a volume control. Turned all the way down, then there's no point in having the device turned on at all but turned all the way up, it could damage the equipment so almost nobody has it turned all the way up or all the way down. You seem to be thinking of it as a potentiometer with detents. That is, there is a knob but it has several preset positions around the dial so there is no gradient from position 3 say, and position 2 or 4. 2 may be too quiet and 3 may be too loud but there is no gradient between. I look at it like a slide pot. All the way to the left and there is no sound, all the way to the right and it blows your speakers. But there is a steady gradient all the way through to slide control that allows the volume to be increased or decreased smoothly and in an almost infinite number of gradients. This is how a view sexuality. Everybody has a slide pot and while it is almost certainly preset at birth, (I'm not suggesting that it's possible or desirable to change orientation), there is an infinite range of degrees of homosexuality to heterosexuality. There are also flavors but let's keep it simple and not worry about the treble and bass right now. If my analogy holds up, then the most hetero guy on the planet could conceivably enjoy a gay relationship while the most lesbian woman ever born could possibly enjoy an encounter with a man, though the odds of either or both doing so are vanishingly small. Again, to be clear, this is not about changing orientation because that's clearly bullshit. It's just about degrees. It's about the possibility of a fuller range of experiences. I don't believe in black or white, good or bad, right or wrong in most cases. The world isn't that simple and neither are the people in it.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:59:43 PM PDT

  •  I think scientists know a lot, (0+ / 0-)

    for example, about the brain and sexual orientation.   Gay men tend to have brains that are bilateral like those of women. (link)  Brain symmetry of gay men and straight women is similar and lesbians and straight men also have similar symmetry. (link)  Those are just a couple of examples.  The things we do now about sexual orientation and the brain strongly imply a direct link between hormone washes in the mother's womb and the subsequent sexual orientation of the child. (link, link, link)

    The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

    by mikepridmore on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:05:31 PM PDT

  •  How about pheromones? (0+ / 0-)

    My hunch is that any genetic basis for sexual orientation hinges primarily on response to pheromones. I think that has been observed in some mammals. Anyone know?
    Pheromones provide a simple way for a mammal to recognize the gender of a fellow member of its species. I would think there are receptors for male and female pheromones and the prevalence of these could vary by sexual orientation.

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:35:35 PM PDT

  •  Let's face it: (0+ / 0-)

    Women are more flexible in everything than are men (not all men, of course, but most men).  They are more comfortable with change.  This makes them able to make wiser, more independent choices--no matter what society says.

    Old Hippies Never Give Up!

    by ravenrdr on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:56:07 PM PDT

  •  Considering the ramifications (0+ / 0-)

    Of women's sex drive, I think their drive is stronger than men's.

    They risk pregnancy, with all it's pain, suffering and risk of death, STDs that cause them far more pain and suffering than men get from the same diseases (men often will not even know they have the diseases) and possible abuse and murder from the men they have sex with.

    With all that, they astonishingly still go for it! The drive must be incredible.

    How many men would persist in the face of all those problems/risks? Especially the dying part from various causes.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 03:14:14 AM PDT

  •  All of these evolutionary "just-so" stories fail (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CS in AZ

    one basic test - they presume non-heterosexual relationships evolved in humans, or an immediate pre-human lineage.

    But we know this is NOT the case. Fluid sexuality pervades the animal kingdom, not just mammals, but birds (dinosauria) as well. Insofar as it conveys evolutionary advantages (or is an evolutionally neutral trait, as seems equally likely), it can not be pinned down to the lifestyles of hominids.

    Any scenario that singles out a human-occupied niche as being the "cause" for the selection of sexuality in humans, without recognizing that this will be at most a modification of forms of fluid sexuality inherited from distant paramammalian ancestors, is just an exercise in anthropocentric narrative-making.

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 06:15:39 AM PDT

  •  Science gets sexual orientation among humans... (0+ / 0-)

    wrong, because science is incapable of measuring love.


    Glottal fricative and breathy-voiced mid-low central unrounded vowel, repeated.

    by glb3 on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 01:11:11 PM PDT

  •  "Where's The Harm in That?" (0+ / 0-)

    My partner's son graduated as a Psych major from Reed College's class of 2013 on the strength of his thesis which tries to analyze the pathologization of certain sexual identities, and how the source of any given disorder may be from simply telling someone they're disordered.  He primarily surveyed people identifying as asexual, as well as therapists who treat it.  His thesis is given a brief overview here:

    http://www.reedquest.org/...

    He hopes to expand on his work.  And if anyone has a copy of the just-released DSM v5.0, he'd love to get a look at it.

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