Atheism and sexuality.

I am a little drunk but please forgive that for the purpose of this thread. I am not very drunk.

I have always been hetrosexual. And for a period I was homophobic (a long time ago)

I am still hetrosexual. But as recently as within the last minute or so I have got to wondering if heterosexuality and the fact that the vast majority of 1st world citizens are heterosexual is a product of religion?

My limited knowledge of history tells me that the ratio of homosexuality:hetrosexuality during the greek period was far more even than it is today. Obviously the greeks didn’t have christianity or judaism or islam, two of which (and probably the third) shun homosexuality.

I think modern human beings are conditioned to be repulsed by the idea of having feelings for anyone of their own sex because of their upbringing within the main three religions. Even those humans who have become atheists. I think the conditioning must have been so powerful that most atheists are probably hetrosexual.

So I come to the purpose of this thread: Asking the members of this board who are atheists are they homo or hetro?

Complicated situation, here. It dips into the nature vs. nurture debate about sexuality, for one, and it also ignores a big percentage of the population that is relatively unaffected by these religions.

In any case, I would disagree because I tend to think heterosexuality is more nature and less nurture - and your assertion is based on social effects.

FTR, I’m atheist and heterosexual - but not by social or religious pressure.

Anecdotical evidence won’t help you, but you might want to look up what percentage of people admit to having had one or more homosexual experiences, and compare that to what percentage says they’re atheistic.

I’ve always wondered bout homosexuality in ancient greece and rome, as well. It seems homosexuality almost was the norm back then. Admittedly, it was a very specific form of homosexuality: adult men could admit being attracted to adolescent boys and young men, besides being attracted to women. Sex would only be okay if the dominant male played the male during sex also. An adult male who enjoyed being the bottom would probably keep that fact private.

Atheist since approximately age 14, heterosexual.

Why limit it to the first world? Why not look at the third world and developing countries? Why not look at various tribal and native populations? Moreover, what would you expect the baseline heterosexual/homosexual percentages to be in a “neutral” environment? 50/50? Something else?

If your hypothesis is true we should be able to set up some sort of grand social experiment so we could raise a new generation of mostly homosexuals. I’m not sure how you’d go about it – some town would have to be cut off from the outside world, every household would be headed by gay couples, all the media would have to be gay friendly, and everyone would be encouraged to form a gay marriage when they get older. The social fabric would need to mirror ours as closely as possible, just with heterosexuality taking the role of homosexuality in ours. It would either be wildly unethical or require a lot of volunteers, money, and people letting us use their kids, so we can only guess at the result. My feeling is that it would be impossible to flip the numbers. The new generation would have some interesting views, but you’d still end up with roughly the same percentage as now, approximately 90% straight and 10% homosexual, with some portion of the 90% being bi. Maybe others think differently.

I grew up in Indiana. My parents are not what I would call overly serious Christians, but they are religious and they did take me to church every once in awhile when I was a child. Granted, Indianapolis is a major metropolitan city and the most liberal area of the state, but I don’t think my experience was too unusual. I can’t remember any conditioning or anyone talking about homosexuality. Ever. I remember a lot of talk about Jesus, forgiveness, and various boring Bible stories being read aloud, some really dry singing, but nothing about sexuality. Hell was talked about, and what one should do to avoid going there, but having sex with men was never brought to my attention.

I don’t know anything about ancient Roman or Greek sexual practices, especially among normal citizens. This all just seems like one of those things “everyone knows.” Regardless, that doesn’t sound like homosexuality at all, if the men are attracted to the women. That sounds more like bisexuality to me. It’s important to recognize that human sexuality is a continuum, and some individuals may be “gayer” or “straighter” at various points in their lives compared to other points.

By homosexuality, do you mean a single experience or an exclusive preference?
I’m heterosexual because that’s what turns me on. I was when I believed in god, and now that I don’t. Religion might cause some natural homosexuals to repress their desires, but if religion disappeared I doubt the ratio of heterosexuals to homosexuals would change significantly.

As for the Greeks, I read somewhere that men having sex with boys was a cultural thing. They’d no doubt consider themselves heterosexuals, but I don’t think the divide was that strong back then, since it was not considered sinful. (After all, Zeus did it with Ganymede.)

Athiest and heterosexual.

But I doubt that, even when homosexual sex was more prevalent, that this was because more people were homosexual. They just didn’t care. They still married someone of the opposite sex and raised children with that person.

Stepping gingerly into the waters here with a theory.

I don’t believe THAT many people have a hard and fast sexuality. I think there’s a fair bit of gray we just don’t talk about. Our body’s respond to what they respond to…

I’d say since guys are typically more visually aroused… there’s a greater incidence of strict hetero activity. Even so… you can see the occasional “man crush” play out. It happens.

And ALL that joking? Where in hell does that material come from? A guy can’t joke to me about what he thinks “I’m thinking about doing” (not)… without me thinking… “so that’s what you think about… interesting to know…”

Sex is sex. Not that it’s plain. Or emotionless. Or cold. Or that we should just go and have sex with everyone.

Women, in my experience, are more motivated by emotion. As such, a connection of a certain depth and comfort MAY trigger wonderings on a sexual level. This may be taboo to some, may not. It may result in activity, awkward activity, awkward nothing, or just nothing.

It happens. Just not like people imagine it.


For the anecdotal poll… atheist - hetero.

Sex often carries with it a lot of societal baggage. While some Greeks and Romans partook in homosexual acts it would be a bit simplistic to refer to them as homosexuals, at least not in the way that we would understand homosexuality. Even in Athens there were all sorts of ways to insult someone based on their sexual preference. I wish I could remember these quotes but one wrote of his politial rival “in your ass and in your mouth” and insults such as “cistern assed” and “he who plucks the hairs from his anus among the tombs” abounded. Heck, try being a male with a clean shaven face in Athens during the days of Socrates and see if they don’t giggle at you behind their back. Even in the Iliad, whatever the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles might have been, there are several references that make it clear that the Greeks are horny for women. A cite for this isn’t handy, but I think after the Marius reforms homosexuality within the ranks of the Roman army was punishable by death.

To remain on topic, I’m an atheist and I never recalled hearing people at church go on and on about the sins of homosexuality. In fact, I don’t recall anyone sitting down to explain to me that homosexuality was wrong. What I can recall is that people often made jokes at the expense of homosexuals and I knew there were some people who liked beating up homosexuals which all led to me thinking that homosexuality must have been a bad thing.

Of course my views of homosexuality are radically different these days. However I jut want to point out that you don’t need religion to create an atmosphere that is hostile towards whatever sexual orientation isn’t shared by the mainstream.


Unfortunately, I’m not drunk but I’ll reply anyway.

Japan is a 1st world country which is essentially nonreligious. It may not be atheist per se, but close enough. There isn’t any particular religious prohibitions against homosexuality, but there isn’t an universal acceptance either. There are a number of predominate tv personalities, comedians and film critics who are okama, drag queens, often overly effeminate, and *okama[i/] bars and “hostess” clubs, which are frequented by straight businessmen.

I don’t see a particular correlation between atheism and homosexuality. I’m atheist and straight, although my sister is pagan and gay. We grew up in a strict Mormon family which viewed homosexuality as a sin. While I reject Mormonism, and it’s odd views of human sexuality, I’m still straight.

I think it’s pretty clear that humans are inherently predominantly heterosexual. It doesn’t take a genius to see the problems that would arise in a predominantly homosexual species, namely propagation of the species. However, it also doesn’t take a genius to see that human behavior, including sex, is extremely malleable. There are societies that practice Polygyny (one man, many wives), Polyandry (one woman, many men), both, or neither. There are societies were gay sex is accepted, societies where it’s completely forbidden, and many in between.

Of course we are all at least affected by the society we grow up in. The problem with your theory is that there is no baseline to compare to. There was more gay sex in Ancient Greece than there is in Western Europe today. It’s impossible to tell what is the proper level though. In other words, there is no way to tell if Anceint Greek society caused people to have more gay sex than is natural or if Western Europe is causing people to have less gay sex than is natural.

The trouble is that the OP is looking at one particular society, ancient Athens, and imagining that ancient Athenian attitudes toward male-male sex are typical of societies that aren’t Christian, Jewish, or Muslim.

Except this isn’t the case. Despite being culturally similar, the Romans didn’t share Greek attitudes towards male-male sex. Modern China and modern India certainly don’t. Acceptance of male-male sex certainly isn’t universal in Sub-Saharan Africa.

And acceptance of male-male sex shouldn’t be equated with acceptance of a homosexual orientation. In Japan or Athens a prediliction for buggering young men might be seen as a harmless eccentricity, but you’re still expected to marry a woman and father a family, regardless of how many boys (or girls) you have on the side.

Other societies might have a “place” for the homosexually oriented, but that societal expectation might not match modern ideas. They might be allowed to live as transgendered, but not as a gay man.

I love showing up in these threads after TP. Saves me some typing. :slight_smile:

Atheist since the age of 13.
Homosexual since the age of 5 (or earlier).
Not drunk.

Anything else you wanna know?

Gay and atheist since I was born. My parents, both straight, never indoctrinated me into any church.

Actually, you may be reversing cause and effect. I would say off the top of my head it’s far more likely that a homosexual is likely to “cause” atheism (rejecting many religious views that preclude homosexuality or make it a sin) than vice versa. I don’t think a lack of religion would increase the number of exclusively homosexual people, but a culture-wide acceptance of certain types of homosexual encounters may well increase the number of people who have such an experience, as suggested by the “malleability” of our sexuality mentioned above, and situational extremes.

I think religion is the reason for most (not all certainly) of the world’s homophobia and the reason for a lot of men who see themselves as (to quote Roy Cohn from Angels in America “heterosexuals who like to fuck around with men”.

I also think that there’s probably not one cause to homosexuality- I think there’s a biological predisposition in all cases and absolute “you will be same sex oriented” in some cases, but I think nature plays at least the first hand always. As has been said a gazillion times, “nobody would choose to be gay”, BUT where certain same-sex sexual activities are tolerated (ancient Greece & Rome, for example), many do choose to be bisexual (to an extent- most still seemed to prefer women).

About Roman and Greek ‘homosexuality’: it was not acceptable for two men equal in social status to be in a sexual relationship. The key was for males to perform the penetrative role, and males who were penetrated were very much stigmatised. Free males could penetrate pretty much whoever the wanted except other adult citizen males (in Rome, future adult citizen males were ‘off-limits’ too) - prostitutes, slaves of either sex, &c; they were of course expected to produce children with their wife as well. To call this set up ‘more accepting’ of homosexuality is inaccurate, and completely ignores female sexuality (which was, except for prostitutes, constricted to heterosexual marriage).

OK, off soapbox.

You guys are too easily marrying Greeks and Romans - they were two separate societies. Homosexuality was accepted by Greeks but it certainly wasn’t by Romans. Another interesting difference is that while the Greeks valued small penises aesthetically, the Romans were like the rest of us.

You think religion is the reason for homophobia in China and India today?

Ultimately, yes. Mao in China and the 20th century changes in India don’t erase thousands of years of tradition and culture. A good debate could be had regarding “to what extent do personal prejudices inform religion and vice versa”, but that would be a separate debate.