Sexual orientation is neither nature nor nurture, but culture?

I argued several times that the Ancient Greece example shows that sexual orientation can’t just be inborn. I had also noted that “people are born gay” doesn’t fly that well over here (France), including amongst gay people. So, I can’t say that I disagree.

Although I know nothing about the science on this issue.

How do you know this? Isn’t it far more likely that Iran’s sexual landscape looks more like the 50’s-70’s in the US? People who were gay would start a family and have kids because it was the only way to live life. You couldn’t show yourself as openly gay and not get your way of life ended. (Note that in Iran, it would be actually over. You’d get executed.)

As it became more culturally acceptable to be gay in the US, people would “Come out of the closet.” Some even after they’d been married for 20 years and had adult children.

As children grow and recognize these feelings that are already latent in their psychology they look for cultural affirmation. If that culture is “You will [become destitute/die].” how likely is it that they will affirm their feelings and “be gay”? In many cases, if you don’t have a choice, you rationalize it and live as a heterosexual for your entire life without much regret.

Genetics plays a huge role. So does culture. They are intertwined.

It’s very possible. Start a global religion that lasts for 2000 years that wants to kill all straight people and demonizes them and you could probably get to the 90/10 split of gays. The problem with this is that it’s just as abhorrent to do it to straights as it is to do it to gays.

Except that it’s not, really. I came from a conservative household and I knew what “gay” was before my 12th birthday. In my high school years, I knew several kids that identified themselves as homosexual. My mother was quite surprised when I knew more about the homosexual movement than she did. Adults tend to discount or forget the fact that children in schools are a giant game of telephone. That phenomenon has only expanded with the rise of the internet.

A “strange” man on the face would be a faux pas in most of those cultures. You generally have to have a relationship (heh) with the other man. He is your boss, your friend just introduced you at a party, et cetera. If you walk up on a random guy in the street and kiss them on the face, you are acting too friendly and at best you’ll get suspicion. At worst, you’ll get a punch. These aren’t “gay markers” they are deeply ingrained social norms with their own rules and circumstances of use.

As for the spectrum, it’s true. But no matter where you start on that, genetics-wise, culture can stop that and force you into a role that many not be “Genetically ideal.” That’s how our wretched meat husks are designed. We start with very generic programming and then that programming can be shaped, altered, and even completely overwritten as many times as needed to make us successful.

Can you really call it “homosexual” or “bisexual” though? In the same way that you seem to be calling a male-on-male kiss in other cultures “bisexual” this seems to be more of a projection of what you consider that term to mean than what it should actually imply. Bisexuality is an attraction to both genders. That doesn’t mean that a cultural aspect of womanhood in the US (being able to express feelings differently and more directly than men) is somehow “bisexual”. It’s only bisexual if it’s an indication of romantic attraction.

farin totally agree.

conditioning is exempt from the arguments. whether social, cultural, religious.

I think people have been beating the drum of “Born This Way” for so long and now they’re realizing that there are some icky implications in its angle of attack, namely that homosexual couplings should be recognized not because they are equivalent in nature but because they’re the best the broken darlings can do and also that if you’re born that way, then bisexuals should aim for heterosexual relationships because they have the potential for a ‘real’ relationship.

When it comes to innate and learned behaviors, I think things are messier than people like to think. My hair color is innate and my faculty with English is learned. According to the direction the debate has gone, it should be more traumatic for me to be forced to dye my hair blonde than to have to learn and only speak Portuguese. Yet, I think we can all agree that the reverse would be true. Basically, I want people to accept my homosexuality, not because they feel I can’t be anything else but because they respect my choices in terms of the relationships I want to pursue.

I do.

does what you do in the bedroom merit coming out? i mean some people are into gerbils.

western society places too much importance on sexual orientation.

who cares.

Hospitals and estate lawyers, to name two. It’s one of those things which is private except when not.

With respect to your views on the subject: I disagree. I accept your homosexuality because you are a human being and there’s no reason to treat you any differently or with any kind of disdain unless you are causing harm to someone else…against their wishes (- added in case someone brings up S&M :slight_smile: ).

I honestly view homosexuality (and bisexuality, asexuality, that weird phrase that says you want to do it with objects-sexuality) exactly the same as heterosexuality: Is it hurting someone? No? Well, then. Have all the fun that lifestyle can give to you. It’s not my place to judge you until you cause harm to someone else.

They could be dividing nurture from culture in a number of different ways. It could be the attitudes of close family vs. the expectations of society. It could be the actions taken while children are growing vs. what a child or adult can see is expected of adults. It can even, in a way, be past vs. present.

Since the blog post concentrates on culture, there’s no way to tell if the author would consider nurture and culture to be nearly the same thing.

It was a joke referencing Ahmadinejad’s trip to the U.S. in 2007 where he claimed, to everyone’s amusement, that there weren’t any gay people in Iran.

I’d think this would be like prison. Gay behavior due to unfavorable circumstances, but not gay orientation. Maybe if women were completely sequestered away in society and weren’t ever present in the media you’d get men thinking they’re attracted to men since they wouldn’t know any alternative. Heh, that’s practically what Islamic fundamentalists want to do.

Yeah, kids will learn about gays and all sorts of stuff starting in middle school since that’s when the really colorful bullying language is introduced. But 12 is pretty late for developing an orientation. I dunno about you, but I was already crushing on girls and teachers in elementary school. Maybe 2nd or 3rd grade.

I’m guessing that marshmallow is referencing a claim made by then-President Amedinejad in a speech at Columbia University in 2007. It inspired laughter from the audience and general mockery afterward.

It’s possible he doublethink-believes this, and were he speaking before an Iranian audience, they’d know when to cheer.
ETA: Well, I see marshmallow’s more than capable of explaining. Carry on. Harrumph.

I think it’s important to differentiate between:

Sexual orientation: Whom one “falls in love” with

Sexual behavior: Whom one has sex with
It might very well be that traditionally “straight” people are more than willing, under the right circumstances, to have sex with people of the same gender. But do they fall in love with such people and want to form pair-bond?

Sexual behavior may very well be largely influenced by culture, but I think we have seen that sexual orientation is largely inborn (though not necessarily genetic or wholly genetic).

  1. Transgender and transsexual are not sexual orientations nor identities, they are gender identities. There is a weak and often inconsistent link to sexual preferences among transgender persons.

A social influence component to transsexuality has been studied for a century, with no proof found, other than in some individual cases where there was a coincident serious mental illness.

  1. The spectrum of transgender to transsexual is not so large. I think you meant to say “from cisgender to transsexual.”

My apologies. I meant those options as a spectrum of sexuality with “points” along the way (in no particular order) and less of a pairing of each “set”. I could have spaced them out better.

As for the the social component, most sexual behaviors is poorly understood both socially/culturally and genetically. Outside of the context of a biological need as the basis for one form of sexuality (reproduction), all of the sexualities are poorly understood in terms of both genetics and cultural/social contributions.

For example, why does a hetero male’s preference for their counterpart’s age vary so much? Some men prefer younger women. Some men prefer women in their own age range. Some men prefer older women. We can guess, but we don’t have a lot beyond conjecture, even after years of study. All of human sexuality and romance is a rich tapestry of an intricate play between nature/nurture that we don’t really understand.

I missed that one. Right over my head.

That could probably work. I just picked a tried and true path. :slight_smile:

I pick 12 because of my personal bias. Before 12, my mind gets hodge-podgy. I can’t clearly remember the difference between 7 and 10, for instance, and my concept of the passage of time in relation to the memories I have is pretty much right out the window. I do agree, however, that most children will crush. That’s just a normal part of growing up.

Why should I respect your choices any more that I respect the choices of heterosexuals?

I can respect that you are a human being who can make their own decisions and that you will have to live with the consequences of those decisions. Maybe you’ll make good decisions for yourself, maybe you’ll make bad decisions. I don’t have to agree with your decisions to recognize that it would be futile for me to try to make them for you.

As for the notion that homosexuality is genetic, we know that it can’t be. There are plenty of identical twins where one twin is gay and the other is straight. If we look at identical twins, if one twin is gay we find that the other twin is also gay only half the time. If homosexuality were 100% genetic that couldn’t happen. Of course this also shows that identical twins are much more likely to have the same orientation than fraternal twins, or siblings, or random strangers.

Epigenetics, dude.

While I feel that sexual orientation is likely caused by a confluence of a wide variety of factors, both innate and cultural, that article was just incredibly bad.

Her first “reason” why homosexuality isn’t inborn makes no argument for homosexuality not being inborn, it’s just pointing out that political advantage shouldn’t trump facts. Which is true, but does nothing to show that homosexuality is not innate. So, already what we have here is not five reasons why people aren’t born gay, we have four reasons an an explanation why it matters.

In her second “reason,” she has either totally misunderstood the study, or she thinks finger length is a social construct.

It’s only by her third point that she starts to veer towards relevance. Unfortunately, she seems to have confused the idea of innate sexuality with the concept of polar sexuality. The prevalence of male homosexual activity in Ancient Greece (which I think she overstates, btw) isn’t evidence that sexuality is not innate, it’s evidence that pure heterosexuality may not be as common as we think, given an environment where homosexual activity is not censured.

She rounds this section out with some general purpose anti-science whinging. The last paragraph here, where she asserts that all studies into the causes of homosexuality are done with the explicit goal of finding support for sexism and homophobia are particularly interesting.

Her fourth argument is an assertion without evidence, and is full of some pretty dodgy comparisons. I don’t think one can meaningfully analogize from sexuality to a love of dairy products, for example.

And, in her fifth point, she just goes completely to pieces. Almost every sentence in this paragraph introduces a new species of dumb and wrong. She titles it, more or less, “Secretly, you know I’m right,” and immediately uses people who are afraid that women’s studies classes will turn their daughters into lesbians as proof.

I’m going to go out on a limb, here, and suggest that very few people reading have that particular concern.

She mentions gay parents who are afraid of “pushing” homosexuality on their children, apparently entirely missing what that phrase actually means. She suggests that gay reparative therapy works. And, of course, she caps it off with her own deathly dull story of her own personal trajectory of sexual identity, which at last reveals the root of this whole essay: she, personally, feels that she chose her sexuality, and of course, her experience must be universal.

The postscript where she brags about how rebellious and anti-authority she is, and how that’s what makes her a good feminist, is simply embarrassing.

Human sexuality is an incredibly weird thing, and I’m increasingly suspicious of one-size-fits-all theories about how it works. There’s a good argument to be made for some level of choice or malleability in human sexuality, at least for some individuals.

I do not think this author is capable of making that argument,

How did we see that? Using again the Ancient Greece example, they exalted love between men. Similarly, same-sex love stories in boarding schools and such have been frequently depicted in literature, and I’m pretty sure they weren’t a figment of the authors’ imagination. Given a proper cultural acceptance or even encouragement, I’m pretty sure that many same-sex close friendships would turn into/be identified as loving relationships.

I’m heterosexual, but my slight interest in men is more affective than sexual. In the unlikely case I would someday meet a same sex partner, I’m pretty sure I’d be more interested in cuddling than fucking. In fact, I would have zero interest in having sex with a man I’m not very fond of. As a teen, when I was more ambivalent, my interest in boys and girls were equally romantic. When I see short movies, for instance, about homosexual relationships, I’m indifferent to the sexual aspects, but very moved by romantic aspects. And I’ve no reason to assume I’m that peculiar.

Frankly, I think that “gay behaviour” in prison precisely shows that people’s sexual orientation are much fluider (is that a word?) than generally assumed. Let’s me give an example : I’ve no sexual interest in dogs. Regardless of how long you will leave me in a kennel without access to a human partner, I can guarantee you I will never have sex with a dog.

It’s often said that heteros/homos are deeply, somewhat inately, repulsed by the idea of having sex with a partner not of their prefered gender. If it were true, “gay behaviour” in prison would be mostly non-existent. Heterosexuals wouldn’t have sex with men anymore than I would have sex with dogs. The fact that in the right circumstances, plenty of them turn to homosexual sex if proof enough to me that this repulsion isn’t that deep.

Nope; I’m not a scientist, and don’t have access to “actual scientific literature.” Best I can do is the usual Google and Wikipedia search. However, I will alter my opinion:

I can agree with this.