Heterosexuals: did you choose your sexual orientation?

I like breasts. I like pussy. I like ass. And I like personality.

Men only have two out of four, so one of those two had better be REALLY damned good to make up for the lack of the other two. Note: Man-boobs don’t count.

Women, on the other hand… I like women. They’re just… nice to look at. And smell. And talk to. Unless that woman happens to be an idiot… but then, there’s roughly the same number of idiot women as there are idiot men, so we won’t hold that against them.

Well, they count to two.

I think the argument that the fundies make is that everyone is born hetero, so therefore if you are gay it is because you choose to be gay.

Such an argument is immune to the logic-reversal of the OP.

I’m straight because part of being me is being straight. It’s just the way that I am. I suppose most of us straight guys have our doubts at first, but those go away the first time we see a naked woman :smiley:

I don’t like the thought of playing Freud here but I have to say that growing up, my mother wasn’t as nice to me as my father was. Yet I ended up being straight anyway. For a while I worried that women might remind me too much of her but it turns out the attractive ones really don’t.

On the other hand, should some unusual circumstance turn me into a woman I think I would have little difficulty adapting to guys. (Of course then I’d be bi, not straight :D) I even know what my “type” would be.

Hope this isn’t TMI.


Yet another invisible post.

Okay, I’ll address the nature/nurture thing.

I am not inclined to believe that genes have anything to do with it. But the question of are we born a certain way is, to me, another matter entirely. Different people are inherently different and behave differently, and nothing is going to convince me that genes have any direct role in behavior.

People have unique personalities, and while the environment has quite a bit of effect, IMO something else entirely is involved. We are all born equal, but we are not all born identical.

So: was I born straight? Probably. But not because of genes.

PS - please don’t interpret the last 2 lines of my sig in this context! I respect everybody’s orientation, even those I do not share. I am not a bigot.

Well, that it’s wrong, to start with. On what basis do you claim that choices you made caused your speech impediment or sexual orientation?


What would they be? What potential environmental conditions could make you close your eyes and enjoy thinking of naked Billy?

Not all of your reactions are volitional. The fight or flight response, for example, is something that will simply happen when the brain senses that there is danger afoot. It is not a process whereby you deduce from a set of axioms whether you ought to fight or flee.

So, no, I’m not talking about a bizarre social experiment. I’m talking about whether or not you believe that sexual response is volitional. I’m inclined to believe that it is not. In fact, some sexual dysfunctions, such as failure to achieve erection in the absence of physical cause, are the result of conscious deliberation, e.g., concentration upon the act of getting an erection itself, rather than concentration upon the object that, if viewed in a raw sexual context without strenuous analysis, would cause you to become erect nonvoluntarily.

It is not that you see a beautiful woman and go, “Okay, the proper response is for me to become erect. I shall now proceed to invoke a syllogism that will cause my penis to stiffen.” Nor do you see a handsome man and go, “This is a male. Therefore, it is incumbent upon me that my penis remain flaccid.” They just plain happen, and the less you think about them, the more normal your reactions will be.

To me, this sort of nonvolitional response is indicative of something that is instinctive rather than intellectual.

I can see where the incentive for a heterosexual to change his sexual preference is, in the ordinary course of living, usually quite small. In fact, I would say that there exist certain compelling disincentives: he stands a good chance of being socially ostracized, rejected by his family and peers, physically beaten and abused, and possibly even murdered.

Because of that, it would seem that the incentive for the homosexual to change his orientation if he could would be enormous. The single act of changing his emotional attraction from men to women would, in one fell swoop, solve for him a multitude of extremely serious problems.

Since such a change is rare (possibly even nonexistent — who knows whether alleged cases of change are genuine?), it seems to me that sexual orientation is not at all a matter of social incentive. And indeed, there seems to be no effect whatsoever based on whether you are raised in a heterosexual or homosexual home environment. There is nothing to indicate that if both your parents are lesbian or gay that you will choose your own orientation accordingly, even if you believe that there is incentive to choose homosexuality.

For the reasons cited, I cannot accept that postulate.

I don’t think it has been shown that, for example, a man who engages in homosexual sex in prison has lost his attraction to women in preference to an attraction to men. It does not appear to be the case that prison system recidivists prefer men while inside and prefer women while outside. Rather, it appears to be the case that they simply make do with whatever resources they have available. I suspect that even as they engage in homosexual sex in the dark recesses of their confinement, their eyes are closed, their noses are curled, and their fantasies are about women on the outside. They likely get it over with as quickly as possible.

I disagree again with your premise.

There is a distinction between a conscious decision and an unconscious one. A person might decide to change his religion from Jewish to Christian based on careful thought that he has put into the matter, including perhaps that it might be more politically expedient. Such a decision is conscious, and the result is little more than a change in association from one congregation to another, and not necessarily any change in deeply held beliefs if they existed at all.

However, if a person has undergone an epiphany, say in the form of a personal experience with God, then that person would have to make the bizarre conscious decision of denying his own experience in order to resist changing his faith. It is rather likely (as it was in my case) that his change of faith will be entirely involuntary. His is not an intellectual belief, but an epistemic one.

I think the question is simpler than that, and in fact I can see it in the title bar of my browser. :slight_smile:

Did you choose your sexual orientation?

I know that in my case, I no more chose my sexual orientation than I chose whether I was allergic to seafood. For the reasons I’ve espoused, it makes absolutely no sense to me to say that sexual orientation is a matter of environment and incentive.

Sexual activity? Yes, possibly. For a great deal of money, a man might turn some butt. To avoid being beaten up, a man might resist making a pass at a stranger. But these are the same sort of incentives and constraints that apply to any and all conscious decisions as a whole. Any man might do anything that he considers to be immoral given sufficient incentive or constraint, such as an offer of money or a gun to the head.

But sexual orientation? No, most certainly not. Sexual attraction is not a deductive process.

Another reasonable analogy, it seems to me, is a sexual fetish — for example, a foot fetish, or a boob fetish. Is this a conscious choice? Does someone work to develop an attraction to feet, or legs, or hands? Or is it simply that they see a foot and realize that they are turned on? I think that’s the case.

The idea that gays are influenced by their environment is likely taken in part from the tendency of gays to segregate themselves into gay and lesbian communities. But they are not doing this in order to orient themselves to a particular sexual desire; they are doing this out of necessity, the idea being that it might be easier to survive in environments that are less hostile.

That is to say, they did not become gay by moving to San Fransisco; they moved to San Fransisco because they were gay.

Well, I guess if it suits you, go 'head & keep telling yourself that. But the rest of the world acknowledges that sexual attraction does exist.

Does it really have to be argued that the typical order of events is sexual attraction first, followed by love and eventually a commitment?

I must be one of these “monosexuals” you speak of. While I have male friends that I love, some deeply, there was no “falling in love” with them as there was with my wife. There was friendship first, then love.

Do you acknowledge that there are different varieties of love? Some with a sexual component and some not?

For me, the romantic “falling in love” is not possible to have with men, because, as I understand it, “falling in love” includes some amount of sexuality. The most well-put-together man is still less physically attractive than the most homely woman. While I can have deeper relationships with some men than some women, I will never have a deeper relationship with a man than I do with my wife.

I submit that the life-long, joining of two lives, committed love includes some sort of sexual component. Unfortunately, I can offer naught more than anecdotal evidence to support this claim. And I doubt that significant empirical evidence will ever be collected to prove/disprove it.

As for the OP:

"I couldn’t be gay. I don’t even like that gum that squirts in your mouth."

Aw, c’mon. Janet Reno or Brad Pitt. Seriously, now… :smiley:

[sub][…just kidding… …more or less…][/sub]

I think you misunderstood what Priceguy was saying – I don’t think you’re disagreeing with him at all. He was saying that being gay is not primarily about who you have sex with, but who you are attracted to and can “fall in love” with. I know straight men who have sexually experimented with other men, and gay men who have experimented with women, and neither they nor I think of this as necessarily making the straight men gay or the gay men straight, or even bisexual. It’s a matter of who you find usually find attractive, males or females – what kind of physiology arouses your sexual desires.

Of course, this may seem obvious, but I’ve heard a lot of people say things like “The true test of being a gay man is if you have sex with men,” and I don’t think that’s necessarily true. It’s if you want to have sex with other men, preferring it to sex with women.

IMO you don’t choose what sexual orientation you want… You play the cards you are dealt.

I think that most people expiriment or fantasies about what might have been or could of been. More act on it than they care to admit.

Not sure if expirimenting would technically make you bi.

I don’t have a strong opion either way. I am just me and I go with whatever hand I am dealt.

If experimenting makes one bi, then sexuality is not about desire but about sexual experiences.

In which case I am almost as straight as they come (bad pun, I’m sorry).

If, however, DESIRE makes one bi/gay/straight/whatever, then sexuality IS about desire and I am what I am, and Tygr is what he is, and Lib, and etc.

I think there’s a range of preferences. It’s not always so cut and dry.

I agree it’s a matter of desire.

Maybe in my earlier post I should have said it has less to do with the people themselves than with the type of interaction. I am only equipped to interface with a woman, if ya know what I mean. For me, it’s all about the right type of receptacle. :smiley:

If there was a way around that I suppose yes I could choose to change but I see no reason to.

Kieras, I don’t think experimenting makes you bisexual, because I think “bisexual” means that you are attracted to both sexes – maybe not attracted to both sexes equally, but attracted to both sexes nevertheless. And, alas, just experimenting sexually with somebody doesn’t necessarily mean you’re attracted to them. It could be curiosity, or even just libido overcoming squeamishness.

To use the words iampunha wrote while I was writing this, sexuality is about desire, not experience(s). If that weren’t the case, then, for one thing, nobody could be considered gay or straight (or anywhere in between) until they had their first sexual experience, and, well, things would be pretty ridiculous.

raises some interesting points.

I would hazard that if homosexuality became extremely fashionable and I was surrounded by (forgive me :slight_smile: ) ugly women and inexpressably handsome men, then perhaps its possible.

Yet, astonishingly enough, sometimes one sees an ugly woman and over time find them sexually attractive and one sometimes rapidly finds an unpleasent but beautiful woman sexually unattractive. One also would find an otherwise beautiful woman not sexually attractive because of other environmental factors. (ie foster daughters and such)

Just because sexual attraction is not always the results of a conscious decisions does not mean that it isn’t governed partly atleast by one’s mind.

In my experiance, a significant number of people who first decisioned that they were homosexuals, reevaluated their choice and figured that they were actually bisexual or even heterosexual. Similarly, I have heard of cases of homosexuals who descided that they were heterosexuals and then chanced their mind a few years later.
Which seems more likely, that they were merely following what they felt at that time, or that there is one true orientation for them and those that change their minds will inevitably change back to their ‘correct’ orientation.

Frankly the issue raises itself to my mind because of the aforementioned reason, I have known people to change their orientation more than once, and also because if it were genetic, one would expect to see an even distribution of homosexuality and bisexuality across the world, perticularly in ‘equally liberal’ regions. I do not believe this is the case, although I will readily admit that it is quite possible that environmental factors play such a big role that it skews what is in actuality an even distribution.

Let us not forget the emiment possiblity that because of past conditioning many people will not change their orientation whatever the circumstance. This doesn’t have to mean that they are geneticly predisposed to one orientation or another, just that they were conditioned early.

The question that the original poster asked feels mildly confrontational to me.
Be that as it may, did I chose heterosexuality ? Perhaps not, perhaps I was too young for me to have an option to resist environmental conditioning. Does this mean that I did not honestly evaluate heterosexuality in such a way that I might have switched to it ? Definately not.
If the original poster meant to point out that many homosexuals and bisexuals did not have the option to chose what orientation they were conditioned for, then I have no further comments,
but if he means that they did not chose it because they merely discovered their one true orientation, the one that they were born to espouse - then I am rather skeptical.

This is apparantly quite a hotly debated question in medical circles, and it appears that there are several conflicting studies.
I would be happy to post a few links to some if people are interested.

If you can show me where I said “sexual attraction doesn’t exist”, I’ll eat my hat, buy you a Ferrari, tattoo your name into my forehead and… I’ll think of more. If you can’t, I’d like you to apologize for your tone.

Well, if you’re not bisexual you’re monosexual, since there are only two genders among humans. Pretty easy concept, I’d say. So, judging from the rest of your post, yes, you are a monosexual. So?

To sum up, I think chorpler is right; you misunderstood my post.


I respect your position (mainly because of the civil manner in which you espouse it), but the problems that I have with it remain.

With respect to whether you might develop homosexual attractions if all the women were ugly and all the men were beautiful, I submit that it is not beauty per se that causes sexual stimulation. You don’t get a hard-on when you look at a beautiful lake in the woods. (Unless, of course, the lake evokes memories of a pleasurable sexual encounter.)

I can tell whether a man is good looking. You don’t have to be gay for that. It is obvious to me that Dean Cain is better looking than James Carville. But that’s not what sexual attraction is about.

I’m fairly surprised by your experiences with so many people you know who are moving all around the sexual orientation spectrum, but I won’t dispute your word. In my own experience, it is very rare that I even know someone’s sexual orientation, much less is it the case that they flock to me in droves and report to me that they are changing their minds to prefer this over that and then that over this.

Finally, I don’t believe that an even distribution would be evidence that homosexuality is genetic. There exist many genetic deviations that are not evenly distributed across the population.

A sexual preference is not based on what you do in a given environment; it is based on what you prefer (hence, “preference”) in whatever environment you find yourself. A sure clue is what you fantacize about when you masturbate. Sex is not driven by the genitals; it is driven by the brain.