Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Is homosexuality a choice?

This piece in The Guardian-

If we wanted to be straight, we would be

is a good example of how it is not just some on the Right who have a problem with evolution. There is still a strong social constructivist streak in many on the Left -
Attempts to identify a genetic basis for homosexuality refuse to accept that sexual desire is a social construct.
I was talking to a friend recently who is active in gay politics and we were talking about this issue. I gave a brief evolutionary psychology perspective but he brought up a point I had not considered.

Would people be less set in the sexual identity if there was no social pressure to be heterosexual? A mild form of social constructivism. So if, say, some one is inherently 80% gay, they may find themselves not exploring the other 20% because of a form of tribal loyalty.

I'm not convinced that this would make much of a difference. Many people go through a period of sexual exploration but finally settle down one way or the other.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there was nothing genetic encouraging us to be heterosexual we would all be bisexual.
So there must be some heterosexual gene - bisexuality could just be the absence of that gene, homosexuality might be a result of the fact that like attracts like - but there probably is somthing more specific.

15 December 2004 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Greyshade said...

If homosexuality is a choice then so ipso facto is heterosexuality and I don't personally remember ever making that choice. of course it might be a choice for some. In the highly artificial environment of "no social constraints" it's likely that most humans would experiment with a variety of sexual partners from both sexes and several species but we'd probably still form long-term relationships with the partners we raise our families with.

Evolution isn't going to shed that much light on human sexuality given that we practice a form of child-rearing that is associated with monogamy in any other animal species but our closest living relatives practise polygyny (gorilla), promiscuity (chimpanzee) and hyperpromiscuity (bonobo) respectively.

18 December 2004 at 10:31 AM  

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