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icomeanon6
August 8th, 2011, 08:09 PM
Lately I've been thinking about sexual orientation, and trying to reconcile conflicting testimonies from individuals whom I trust but won't identify. On one hand, I've heard some state that their sexuality has been present since birth and that to change it is impossible, but on the other I've heard some claim that their sexualities have in fact changed slightly over time. There was even one individual who claimed that the small changes were in at least a minor way influenced by their conscious action. Again, I trust all the people I talked to, but this has left me perplexed and curious about the exact nature of sexuality.

Then I started thinking about the differences between genotype and phenotype. As in, two people who both have brown hair may have very different combinations of genes that influence hair color. This got me thinking: Is it possible that there is more than one physiological/psychological phenomenon that we identify as homo/bisexuality? Perhaps some of them are genetic, while others are acquired? I want to hear other people's thoughts on the matter.

By the way, I would appreciate it if people would keep their moral opinions and personal dogmas to themselves on this one. I'd like to keep this discussion purely scientific.

Esper
August 8th, 2011, 09:05 PM
I can't speak a whole lot from a scientific perspective, but I believe that most people are genetically gay, or born gay, or however you want to word it. I also believe that there are people who are/could be gay by other means, whatever those might be. I would say that it's possible for there to be people who choose to be gay because sexuality isn't such a rigid thing and what people find attractive (and I don't mean just gender) can change over time. I would cite some personal experience, but... yeah.

If I could simplify what I'm saying, I'd word it as something like: people are predisposed to certain attractions, but there's room to "wiggle."

Ausaudriel
August 8th, 2011, 09:27 PM
Scarf's got it, I think. Human attraction is a very fluid thing and it's very colored by society and what we deem to be acceptable.

I personally grew up in an environment where being gay wasn't shunned, and when I started to mature and the age where I started to, you know, look at other people came around... I just happened to prefer looking at the guys. Because I was taught no different, it wasn't a big deal and that was that.

There are some people who grew up in places where being gay could literally mean you'd be murdered. In that kind of environment it would be hard even to accept yourself, to the point that it might not even be an "option." If you're brought up to believe that "man marries woman. Period. The end," you might not even be able to conceptualize the fact that homosexuality exists. It's an extreme example but there are varying degrees of social acceptance between the two.

I don't think either of your friends are lying, but there are no hard fast set-in-stone rules for this kind of thing. Everyone will have different experiences that shape them into who they are. I do think it's safe to say, however, that you absolutely don't choose between the two. I know I can't imagine trying to make myself be attracted to women. The attraction just isn't there, and I could pretend all I want but at the end of the day I'd still be looking for a guy.

Alice
August 8th, 2011, 09:28 PM
Well, I personally don't believe we're born with it completely, although genetics could still influence it in some way.

For myself, I always just assumed I was straight, but in reality I think I was much closer to asexual, until about a year ago, when I really started to crave a relationship. At that point I started to develop feelings for both guys and girls, and after a lot of conflict, and confusion, I eventually found myself to be gay.

I still had sexual desires before that point, but I wasn't attracted to either gender all that much, and had no desire to ever be in a relationship with anyone. I couldn't really say whether I was born with it or not. I have no clue. I will say though, that I grew up in a Christian home, and was taught that being gay was a bad thing, and I was in fact very homophobic until just a few years ago. Who knows what could cause someone to change that drastically.

Shining Raichu
August 8th, 2011, 09:40 PM
I have no conclusive idea of how human sexuality is formed. I personally believe that it is a genetic or chemical thing, but if it is through nurture and circumstance then I'm open to that possibility too.

The one thing that is clear, however, from my experience and the experience of everyone I've spoken to, is that it is not a conscious choice. Nobody chooses what or who they are attracted to, your body somehow decides for you. HOW your body decides is still very much up in the air.

Melody
August 9th, 2011, 10:30 AM
I believe that genetic predisposition to one orientation or another isn't the only reason people do it. I honestly don't think there IS a gene for that which specifically causes it, because like Audy said, attraction is fluid. If you're raised up in a place intolerant of them, then you're lucky if you turn out bi, even if you ARE predisposed genetically to like the same sex. Conversely if you're raised in an environment where people don't care or don't mind, you'll sprout right up into the orientation you're predisposed to. Quite simply I believe it also ties into your gender more than your sex. If you believe yourself to be masculine, you'll seek out feminine companionship. Conversely, if you believe yourself to be feminine, you'll seek out masculine companionship. Sex does not matter in that analogy because feminine males and masculine females exist. Personal preference rules...and I for one like to believe that my generation and the ones after it are much more accepting of things like that than our parents were.


Speaking from experience here really, I've grown up in a place where if I openly declare my orientation differently from the expected norms, you tend to get treated roughly. While I've never seen anyone being seriously harmed or killed for it...I don't take chances.

In the end, all that matters is that you pursue happiness. Whatever makes you happy, and damn what others think of it. If that one person makes you happy, it does not matter what they are. People MUST TOLERATE IT eventually in order to maintain civilization.

Esper
August 9th, 2011, 11:19 AM
If you believe yourself to be masculine, you'll seek out feminine companionship. Conversely, if you believe yourself to be feminine, you'll seek out masculine companionship. Sex does not matter in that analogy because feminine males and masculine females exist. Personal preference rules...and I for one like to believe that my generation and the ones after it are much more accepting of things like that than our parents were.
I have to disagree here. I don't feel particularly masculine, nor am I particularly attracted to masculinity. A friend of mine is a moderately masculine guy and, more importantly, feels and likes to feel masculine and is attracted to masculine men.

The idea that masculine people are attracted to feminine people reinforces the (artificial) gender binary. Besides, "feminine" and "masculine" vary from person to person and culture to culture.