Human Sexuality: Static or Variable?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by goofyfish, Mar 25, 2002.

  1. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

    Is a person's sexuality fixed or can it change? Can heterosexual person turn gay (or would it just be that they were gay all along but never knew it?) or vice versa.

    I realize that there is much debate about this and some will point to genetics, others to conditioning, others will simply shrug, but is (for example) the general view that a person's sexuality is beyond their control justifiable.

    As a child, I used to swear that I would never eat peas, but one day I changed my mind for no apparent reason and now I quite like them; I used to drink coffee with milk and two sugars, but now I drink it black and unsweetened; the list is endless. Now somebody will quickly jump in and exclaim that sexuality isn't like that, but it's the reason that it's different that I'm after.

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  3. justagirl Registered Senior Member

    All of us are who we are from biological reasons at birth, our environement in our early years(many shrinks say your sexual preference is complete at 5 but many try to suppress it) and the choices we make in our life as we fight to become ourself.
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  5. bbcboy Recovering christian Registered Senior Member

    I think the idea that a persons sexuality is beyond their control is on one hand true, in that the essence of the sexuality, tho defined by many factors, is basically intrinsic. (genetic,
    conditioning, whatever?)
    Where the "control" comes in is in personal choice. I suppose I'm talking about denial but that's only one aspect. Some choose to have multiple partners, others celibacy and the rest of us can find our preferences somewhere along that continuum.

    I've had lots of female partners and enjoyed the time I spent with all of 'em. However I would describe myself as intrinsically Gay.

    My thing is it can be detrimental to pidgeon hole sexuality. It's so limiting

    Homosexual, Heterosexual, Asexual. These words all share one commonality


    Maybe we should all just describe ourselves as that and get a little peace

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    See ya
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  7. Xev Registered Senior Member

    I would say that they were either

    A: Gay to begin with
    B: Bi and they simply did not realize it

    I think of sexuality like a spectrum. You have blue visible light, and UV light, and red visible light, and radio waves....

    Just as you have gay, gay but I'll boink people of the opposite sex, bi, bi-curious, straight but I'll boink people of the same sex, absolutly straight....

    I do not know, however, why people are a certain sexual orientation. As for control, we can hide our true sexual orientation or we can deny it, and that is a form of control....

    But I do not think we can control orientation. In fact, I am very sure that we cannot.

    We can, however, control the labels we give ourselves. I could easily pass for 'completly straight' and not suffer for it. I don't think any of my gay friends could, or my hetero friends could pass for 'completly gay'.
  8. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    Most psychology studies that I have read suggest that sexual orientation is influenced by surroundings (parents and such) before the age of 5, though they don't know what things would make someone gay/bi/straight.
  9. bbcboy Recovering christian Registered Senior Member

    Hey Xev,
    You could have just agreed with me and saved yourself all that typing

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    Anyway Goof'

    Are you thinking of batting for the other team?
  10. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

    Naw… I think the only position I could handle would be Left Out.

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    To somewhat paraphrase the opening post: "Can a person's primary sexual gender preference change over time?"

    I will opine that, based my reading, the answer is gender dependant. There are a fair number of clinical examples of women whose primary sexual preference changes in the course of their lives. In fact, it is not uncommon in such cases to see "round trips" as it were, with some women shifting from essentially heterosexual to essentially homosexual and back again over the course of years. But to the best of my knowledge from my reading, there are no generally accepted clinical cases of males undergoing such fundamental changes. Oh, you'll see allegations of such, but my clear impression is that they are quite controversial.

    Unfortunately, as to the reason why this is the case -- as asked in the O.P. -- I can only repeat speculations of those who are actually highly knowledgeable in the psychological and biological issues involved (and I cannot count myself among them).

    One interesting hypothesis comes from Daryl Bem of Cornell. He has proposed the "Exotic-Becomes-Erotic" theory of sexual orientation, which posits that what is seen by children as "exotic" (i.e., atypical of themselves) in the behavior or attitudes of one of the two genders produces a kind of physiological excitement or arousal, which evolves into an "erotic" sexual arousal and thus preference in adulthood for members of that gender. It's a fun idea to play with, but it seems rather post hoc to me. Also, it fails to take into proper account the undeniably established fact that genetics plays some role -- certainly at least in males -- in establishing sexual preference, which Bem explicitly rejects (yet another example of the common (and in my view irrational) bias against sociobiological ideas in the social sciences).

    Nevertheless, Bem's hypothesis does seem to provide a potential explanation for the variability over time of sexual preference in females which also serves as an plausible explanation for the apparent fixity of males' primary sexual preferences. This idea centers on the fact that there is a considerable social "cost" (or strong social bias against) men expressing or even feeling a sexual attraction to other men, while such "costs" are far smaller for women. The primary reason for this, in my opinion, is that ours is a traditionally male-dominated society where it is considered "natural" for women to be the object of sexual fantasies and interests. That's why you see so many heterosexual men who become aroused (or report arousal) by the prospect of lesbian sexual activity, while male homosexuality remains the object of fierce derision.

    Given this social disparity, Bem argues, some girls (female children) are more inclined to engage in tomboyish behavior and activities and thus (I gather) are less inclined to see boys as being "exotic". While from what I have read of Bem he is quite vague about why, exactly, female sexual preference is variable while male sexual preference is not (or at least MUCH less so) according to his hypothesis, my guess is that perhaps he believes that even adult women can continue to pass through the "Exotic-Becomes-Erotic" progression, while that avenue is closed off for adult males.

  11. bbcboy Recovering christian Registered Senior Member


    No actually I think it's a good question.
    Then again if you saw some of the lard arse, tattoo-knuckled, take-me-home-and-squash-me, diesel dykes that hawk around the pool tables of this fair city, the word exotic is one of the last on my lips.

    By the same token, my first experience of gay 'culture' was a group of ol' farts in drag, miming to shirley bassey records and I very quickly started to wonder if this was what I got beat up in school for?

    Funny ol' game... life!

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