Sexuality: Nature vs Nurture

Discussion in 'Current Affairs & Debate' started by dUb, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. dUb

    dUb IFFY

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    OT: Am I alone in thinking that it’s conceivable for someone to enjoy sex with someone of their own gender or identify as gay due to circumstances and experiences in their lives rather than how they were born? :o I know it’s a controversial stance but surely human sexuality is complex enough for that to be possible in some cases. I should look up some research on the topic :david:
     
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  2. Kate

    Kate SLAGS 4 TAGS

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    Interested. Start a new topic hun!
     
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  3. Beverley

    Beverley I Don't Wanna Change A THI-ING

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    not at all - yes make the topic!
     
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  4. Ag

    Ag BRING BACK TAGS

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    Yes. There are numerous examples - prisoners, military, porn actors, those who do it to fit in, even victims of sexual abuse. There is research into this I don't recall by who. I can have a flick through my books at some point.
     
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  5. cwej

    cwej User

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    I was going to mention victims of sexual abuse too. This research paper seems quite interesting though I haven;'t got time to read it fully now:

    Does Maltreatment in Childhood Affect Sexual Orientation in Adulthood?
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535560/
     
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  6. dUb

    dUb IFFY

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    Looks very interesting, thanks!
     
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  7. Ag

    Ag BRING BACK TAGS

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    I have done some reading on this and I'll copy what I wrote in the other topic...

    Yes. There are numerous examples - prisoners, military, porn actors, those who do it to fit in, even victims of sexual abuse. There is research into this I don't recall by who. I can have a flick through my books at some point
     
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  8. Ag

    Ag BRING BACK TAGS

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    I had a debate about this on Twitter a few years ago. I made the mistake of pointing out that my undergraduate degree was basically on sexuality and was told that my degree was useless and his wasn't so I was wrong and mental.

    Actually the debate was about people who don't identify as gay who have gay sex. Bit too nuanced for him.
     
  9. Barnacle

    Barnacle Climb on through my window.

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    I mean, if it's a spectrum then it's entirely feasible for circumstances to dictate how someone identifies.

    I'm sure there are innumerable examples of people who identified as heterosexual throughout history and just never fully realised their homosexual feelings for what they were, so it's conceivable that it can work the other way and circumstance can lead to self identification as a gay person.
     
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  10. Kate

    Kate SLAGS 4 TAGS

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    Interested in @Rachey's take seeing as her "circumstances" are surely that she happened to meet a woman that she fancied and then fell in love with.

    Also this sounds horribly facile but you wouldn't blame the odd woman for choosing to date other women because straight men are so awful.
     
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  11. dUb

    dUb IFFY

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    I remember watching something about the way someone's sexual interests can be influenced or put on a new path in early adolescence. What I'd seen was more to do with fetishes I suppose, an anecdote about a guy on a school bus whose bully grabbed him by the balls and squeezed them. This led to a life-long obsession with having his testicles crushed. Also the idea that being frightened by a popping balloon at a certain point in one's development could lead to a balloon fetish in later life, etc.

    Personally, I have always wondered about the fact that when it came to guys I was attracted to, I felt like I actually more wanted to be like them, or be them. With this kind of intense admiration combined with low self-esteem about my appearance and some pretty traumatic bullying, I used to think that perhaps my own development had been skewed a bit.

    Then I realised it wouldn't really explain the Mariah thing/every single other interest I have and I was just trying to make my life more interesting :D

    Also I diversified in terms of the guys I was into since then, as my recent hot fling with a 22yo Slovak twink would indicate. My main type is still myself but hotter though.
     
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  12. dUb

    dUb IFFY

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    Yes!
     
  13. Barnacle

    Barnacle Climb on through my window.

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    It's also something that crops up in literature/fiction a lot more often. Women getting to a point in their life when their circumstances change and they're able to drop it all and get together with another woman, even if they were never aware of the desire before.

    You obviously hear stories about men leaving their wives for other men later in life too, but it's usually presented differently, as something they repressed and knew since the beginning but couldn't give into.
     
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  14. Kate

    Kate SLAGS 4 TAGS

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    My mum did this for reals :D

    Although she has also dated men since.
     
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  15. Phoenix

    Phoenix The Nest

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    I think in general it’s more likely for someone straight to deny their homosexual experiences (especially men since it makes you less of a man in terms of general societal view, while for women it’s a thing that men fetishize) but for a certain group of kids these days being fluid and/or more open to all kinds of experiences is easier and more acceptable.
     
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  16. Barnacle

    Barnacle Climb on through my window.

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    Maybe media coverage impacts on it? We aren't exposed to female homosexuality nearly as much, so people who aren't bombarded with gay thoughts aren't going to be as conscious of the feelings. Whereas homosexuality is usually depicted as male, so there's more opportunity for younger gay men to find something they identify with.
     
  17. cwej

    cwej User

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    I love that being a Mariah loon is the biggest key decider of sexuality in this whole post :D
     
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  18. cwej

    cwej User

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    Does she identify as bisexual?
     
  19. vespertine

    vespertine God damn it Claude

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    Well we know it can't be purely genetic since you can have two genetically identical twins and one can be homosexual and the other heterosexual. In fact, where one identical twin is gay, only about half the time the other one is as well. So it can't be pure Mendelian genetics at work.

    At the same time it can't be purely environmental as @Tetris-Rock said because we all grew up in a heteronormative society. The answer must lie somewhere in the middle and is highly complex, I just read for instance that siblings of gay people have more children statistically than siblings of straight people. So it brings the evolutionary advantages of homosexuality into the topic.
     
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  20. vespertine

    vespertine God damn it Claude

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    Of course we know the mother playing ABBA Gold during pregnancy is one of the strongest determinants.
     
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  21. Phoenix

    Phoenix The Nest

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    Also bisexuality is a lot more acceptable in 2020 than it was ten years ago.
     
  22. Kate

    Kate SLAGS 4 TAGS

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    This reminds me of something I've been wondering about recently - to what extent do your pre-pubescent crushes, back when the feelings were not sexual, influence or predict your adult preferences?
     
  23. cwej

    cwej User

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    One of my sister's best friends had a lesbian relationship in her early 20s for maybe 2 years? She's only been with guys before and after. When she was with Kerry, it was a very controlling and manipulative and borderline-abusive relationship. At the time Liz identified with being gay - but now identifies entirely as straight. I always thought it was a really interesting example that appeared to break the 'nature only' argument that I'd always believed in before.
     
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  24. Kate

    Kate SLAGS 4 TAGS

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    I don't think she really gives any consideration to what she identifies as!
     
  25. Ag

    Ag BRING BACK TAGS

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    Women are far more statistically likely to end up in a same sex relationship without identifying as gay. Multiple factors such as safety or simply love. Due to a heady mix of social construct and biology women are seemingly more like likely to follow their heart.
     
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  26. cwej

    cwej User

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    Maybe not - but if someone asks the question, most of us would be able to answer it. It's interesting to not really consider it a part of who you are at all.

    Most people who have only have been with one gender would almost always automatically call themselves straight (and vice versa). I guess it's not as simple when you are someone who is attracted to more than one gender.
     
  27. Barnacle

    Barnacle Climb on through my window.

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    I'd be interested in knowing whether gay people on here had childhood crushes on the same sex to begin with.

    All my crushes (or at least crushes I recognised) were on girls until puberty happened. Now looking back I can identify what could be called hero worship of boys, but obviously I never thought of it as any kind of crush until I was old enough to reflect.

    Which I think plays into that childhood idea of crushing. Do we actually have feelings for the people, or is it purely because we're exposed to Disney and romance and love and feel like it's the thing to do?

    Do romantic feelings exist separately from sexuality? I sometimes feel like they're tied together as forms of attraction, but then I speak to asexuals who identify as asexual but, for example, homoromantic.
     
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  28. Kate

    Kate SLAGS 4 TAGS

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    There is also the theory that the desire to have children is often stronger in women than men and that primal need to find a man to give them babies CAN override and disguise their underlying sexuality. So once the kids are grown up they are like "oh! don't need a penis anymore, fuck that shit" and off they go :disco:
     
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  29. Loufoque

    Loufoque BATTLE FOR YOUR LIFE

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    The older I get, the more confusing it gets. Ten years ago, I would have said I was just a sub-bottom, but the end of my previous long-term relationship with a guy fifteen years my senior, the subsequent two years of exploration, and then my current relationship with a guy my own age, with whom I am much more the dominant figure has led me to reconsider.
     
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  30. Barnacle

    Barnacle Climb on through my window.

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    I was thinking that. There's such heavy social expectation on women at a young age, so when they bypass the point when they're expected to raise families they have the chance to embrace the life they actually want. Not that the trope that a woman should be a traditional mother and grandmother vanishes once she can't have kids anymore, but there might be something in it.
     
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  31. Ag

    Ag BRING BACK TAGS

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    I've never read up on fetishism. But the fact that so many are not remotely sexual suggest something far more complex at work. Or simply what gets blood to the dick.
     
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  32. ZenGiraffe

    ZenGiraffe Anum Rapax

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    That isn't necessarily true. That presumes that Homosexuality is something bequeathed by the sperm and egg, which might not be true. Having more older brothers makes you more likely to be gay, and one theory around this is the levels of estrogen foetuses (foeti?) experience in the womb. So if twins, whilst genetically identical, have different exposures in the womb, I would argue that would still be entirely nature. But I'm no womb specialist so this could be horse shit.
     
  33. Phoenix

    Phoenix The Nest

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    I don’t remember having any romantic notions until I was in university and even then it was more based on the need for validation (which is really what most of my life is about) and fitting in. The period between when I first had sex and the first time I had a crush on someone was mostly just ruled by teenage desire.
     
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  34. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    I don’t know if I have understood the original question, but does it imply that we are born a certain way, which we aren’t, or at least it’s not proven yet.

    I used to think that we’re all more or less bisexual and it all depends on factors in our upbringing that determines which way we end up, but I don’t know if I believe that anymore.

    I do however think that you can ”learn” to enjoy a certain type of sex
     
  35. Tetris-Rock

    Tetris-Rock wo ist der party?

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    Now I recognise that a comment that I made was part of what provided an impetus for this thread. I feel I should explain that my thoughts on sexuality are a bit more complex but in that thread I felt talking about sexuality as innate was the easiest way to explain that what I thought RaspberrySwirl was suggesting was false equivalence.

    The reason it is a false equivalence is because society is heteronormative and has a strong bias towards heterosexuality. One thing that gets talked about a LOT in queer female circles is the notion of compulsory heterosexuality. People are socialised to assume they will be straight, and women in particular will run rings around themselves trying to find explanations for why they feel and act different to their straight female friends and will settle on any possibility other than them potentially being gay. I had experience of this myself - I went through a phase of thinking I was asexual a full two years before realising I was gay. :D It has been suggested that this is particularly common is women is misogyny and the way that women are socialised to define themselves vis-a-vis their relationships with men and their “role” as mothers as others have mentioned.

    I think a lot of later-in-life gays are victims of compulsory heterosexuality. Of course there are was criminality and then mass discrimination, but heteronormativity was also even worse in the past than now and LGBT visibility was close to non-existent. It’s definitely true that the more visibility and information there is available, the more people are able to understand who they are.

    I think this is totally possible for a few reasons.

    1. I think that it is possible to experience different attractions to how you identify. If you are a woman who is overwhelmingly attracted to women and only very occasionally attracted to men, you may prefer to identify as a lesbian because of how people misunderstand bisexuality as being 50/50.

    2. There is also the factor of lifestyle. Living as a gay man has the potential to change a lot more about your life than merely who you shag. I think some men who experience attraction to men do not want to buy into the gay lifestyle.

    3. Like Chlammy said, there can be a distinction between being romantic and sexual attraction and how this can sometimes vary. Some people have had sex with someone of the same gender but can’t imagine developing romantic feelings or being in a relationship with someone of the same gender.
     
  36. Tetris-Rock

    Tetris-Rock wo ist der party?

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    In terms of how sexuality can change, I don’t have the evidence to back it up but imagine it could be affected by trauma?
     
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  37. Pingu

    Pingu Noot noot

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    I’ve always found this pretty interesting, because we as humans have so very few qualities or preferences that are so innate and locked in at birth that can’t be altered in some way by life experience that I’ve always found it hard to buy sexuality being one of them.

    Of course when anybody says that, the assumption always seems to be that they’re implying it’s a “choice” which of course isn’t the case either.

    The identical twin thing is a perfect example and makes perfect sense that the identical twin of somebody homosexual is statistically more likely to be so too, but nowhere even close to 100%.
     
  38. Rachey

    Rachey A little bit lesbian

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    Well....I always used to think people were "born gay" and nothing would change that. It was just in their DNA.

    Until I met Mandy.

    Apart from the odd girly crush most women had, I'd never ever looked at a woman. But then I met Mandy and now I guess I'm a really bad lesbian.

    But I still fancy men. And I've got a friend who is straight, always had boyfriend's, had a kid. Met a woman through work, fell in love. Now they're married, but she still fancies men.

    So I very much believe for a lot of people, it's nothing to do with how they were born / brought up etc. It's just who they meet and fall in love with.
     
  39. Star

    Star Homo Secretary (OB)

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    And what about playing Kylie? :o
     
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  40. cwej

    cwej User

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    This is interesting. I've always been and always will be gay - but my 'role' for want of a better word, has changed immensely depending on the person I'm with... so it almost feels like your sexuality sort of changes with it in a way, like you say.
     

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