Kevin's Watch Forum Index
 HomeHome   MemberlistMemberlist   RegisterRegister   SearchSearch   ProfileProfile   FAQFAQ   StatisticsStatistics  SudokuSudoku   Phoogle MapPhoogle Map 
 AlbumAlbum StoresStores   StoresItems Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Sexuality: Natural or Social Construction

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Kevin's Watch Forum Index -> The Close
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Worm of Despite
Banned

Male
Joined: 26 Oct 2002
Posts: 9546

Thanks: 4
Thanked 25 Times in 22 Posts

Location: Rome, GA
12106 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
2 Foul Duck1 Furls Fire


PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 1:09 am    Post subject: Sexuality: Natural or Social Construction Reply with quote

Some of you may not be familiar with what this thread is talking about. Hopefully, this might clear it up:

Sexual identity
Biological Determination: Fixed at birth
Social Construction: Emerges through social experience

Sexual relationships
Biological Determination: Are the natural expression of biological predisposition
Social Construction: Provide the basis for forming sexual identities

Social institutions
Biological Determination: Are based on "natural" sexual/social order
Social Construction: Support dominant group sexual identities

Social Change
Biological Determination: Social order relatively fixed with some individual variation
Social Construction: Comes as people mobilize social movements to establish rights for sexual minority groups


I probably made that look confusing, but I'm no good at making graphs (obviously).

Anyway, before you chime in, here's something interesting to consider:

Quote:

The Ethics of Research - Methodology Case Study
source text: adapted from Giddens, Sociology (1989:67) and Atkinson et. al. Psychology (1990)


Harry Harlow experimented in socialisation in the 1950s and 1960s by taking baby
rhesus monkeys from their mothers.

All material needs were provided for the baby monkeys, they were fed and given all
they needed materially.

The baby monkeys which were brought up in isolation from other monkeys
behaved in a very bizarre and unusual way.

When they were introduced to other monkeys, they were hostile or fearful and they
refused to interact. They spent their time huddling in the corners of their cages and
their posture was not dissimilar from that of humans who experience
schizophrenia.

The monkeys could not, or would not mate with other monkeys. Some females
were impregnated by artificial insemination, but they did not pay attention to their
young.

Monkeys raised in partial isolation where they could see other monkeys, but could
not interact were also unable to mate correctly. They did however masturbate
which showed that normal sexual function was in fact present.

Harlow refined his experiment to see if the mother was essential to the develop of
the social behaviour of the monkey. He brought up the babies in age group cohorts,
without access to adults who would provide a substitute mother. These monkeys all
behaved in a normal monkey manner.

Monkeys were reared in cages with feeders attached to substitute mothers. Each
baby monkey had two model mothers, wire and terry cloth. In groups, some wire
mothers were rigged to provide food, and some wire mothers were rigged to
provide food. In all cases, the baby monkey preferred the cloth mother regardless of
which provided food.


So, what do you think? Do you think sex is biologically natural, or is sex learned? Perhaps that's a bad question. Rather, do you feel there is a biological basis for sexual identity, or do you think social experiences are far more significant?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
A Gunslinger
Mr. Bad Example

MaleRanyhyn
Joined: 08 May 2004
Posts: 8890

Thanks: 0
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

Location: Southern WI (Madison area)
1752 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 I Love KW1 Lord's Staff


PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think (simply) two things:

1) Your social experiences enhance,amplify OR work against your inborn biological identity.

2) You are risking Revan sharing too much of HIS thoughts on this matter

;P
_________________
"I use my gun whenever kindness fails"



Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Yahoo Messenger
variol son
Seer and Oracle


Joined: 05 Apr 2002
Posts: 5772

Thanks: 8
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts

Location: New Zealand
1220 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Myself, my father's younger brother and my cousin (dad's sister's son) all grew up in quite different environments.

We are all also gay.

I have always been on the side of nurture in the nature/nurture debate, but this seeming family trend seems to much to me to be merely coincidental.

Not that I'm saying that sexuality is totally genetic. Just throwing some information into the fray. Very Happy

Sum sui generis
Vs
_________________
You do not hear, and so you cannot be redeemed.

In the name of their ancient pride and humiliation, they had made commitments with no possible outcome except bereavement.

He knew only that they had never striven to reject the boundaries of themselves.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger Phoogle Map
Iryssa
Bloodguard

Female
Joined: 24 Mar 2004
Posts: 922

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

Location: The great white north *grin*
2802 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Gunslinger...people are probably genetically predisposed to a certain sexuality, but their experiences will have a lot to do with whether they go with or against the grain of their genetic makeup.
_________________
"A choice made freely is stronger than one compelled"
- Stephen R. Donaldson's The Wounded Land

http://www.xanga.com/Iryssa
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ZefaLefeLaH
Banned


Joined: 01 Jun 2004
Posts: 357

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts


0 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iím going to give my viewpoint here.

Everyone has different gifts from genetics and God. Like a person might say, ďThat artist has God-given talent.Ē
I still like to think that God has a hand in how each of us are made up.

Anyway, we also all have deficits. So you see that one guy is predisposed toward alcoholism and another person is just terrible with directions. This goes on & on throughout all aspects of everything. Some people have wide noses, some people have great musical ability, some people are a little wanting in the brains department. Everything.

So in regards to sexuality, if it is a born trait, something I disagree with for the most part, then that would be to be born with a deficit. It is extremely obvious that the peg is supposed to fit the slot & that in the natural, right way, a man is born to be with a woman. Inotherwords, it is like a person born with a predisposition toward alcoholism. It isnít right to drink a 1/5th a day and an alcoholic is expected to get help, to fight his born deficit. I see it the same way in regards to sexuality. I find it interesting that we pick & choose so often. Itís okay to be an alcoholic, it isnít against the law. But you canít be predisposed to smoke pot, even though most all studies show that pot is far, far, far less damaging. Iíve never heard of someone committing vehicular homicide because they were high, but I read about DUI deaths quite often. With sexuality, we say gay is okay because it isnít illegal, but AIDS was partially perpetuated by that exact lifestyle. Itís not like weíd accept the defense of a rapist or child-molester that it was okay because they were born that way. Weíd all be like, oh yeah, weíll how come you didnít get some help then?????

In the end, I donít think it really matters. Weíre all responsible for our actions whether we arenít very good at directions, drink too much, or are gay. Weíre crippled in some areas and gifted in others. It doesnít give us the right to use it as an excuse or for a reason to escape God. Weíll Iím gay & I donít want to deal with God because He doesnít like homosexuality. Hereís a newsflash, I might have a big problem with homosexual people, but Iím not God. God loves everyone & He created you with your gifts & deficits just the way you are. Of course Heíll accept you. Itís people like me that are the road-blocks to those with deficits from finding the road that leads away from my narrow views and to the other narrow road, the one that really matters, the one you walk with to be with God on your own.

And I donít mean it to see like I have a problem with Variol Son, because I donít. I donít agree with his lifestyle and I think that he embraced a deficit. But I drink a gallon of liquor a week & 2 cases of beer on top of that. So whoís right & whoís wrong? And if I didnít drink like a fish, then Iíd have something else bogging me down, PR0n or video games, or too much television, or reading too many books instead of living life through my own self. Even if I beat all those things, then Iíd most likely be unhinged by my own pride. But Iíll never accept that just because someone is born some way that this all of a sudden makes it okay. I find it to be a big copout & a way for people to lie to themselves or at least not try to fight. I fight with my drinking all the time. I fight it. I might continue to lose, but I donít cop out & tell me people, hey this is just the way I am, I canít help what I am. I tell them Iím working on it. Iím still working on it. Iíll continue working on it until I donít drink & then Iíll keep fighting.

So Iím going to side with the viewpoint that it is a learned behavior & if it isnít that it doesnít matter, we still have a choice. We always do.
_________________
The first ever kitten psychologist
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Avatar
Immanentizing The Eschaton


Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 53930

Thanks: 71
Thanked 147 Times in 144 Posts

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
17839 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Pantheon Veteran


PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good post Zeph.

I'm pretty much with A Gunslinger's thought there, in as far as your experiences interact with your genetic predisposition toward anything. I don't think we can say its ALL genetic, or ALL behavioural/societal. It's a complexly interwoven conglomerate.

On the whole, I too come down on the "nurture" side of the debate, but I do accept that certain physiological aspects of brain development may play a role in predisposing someone toward something.

However, a predisposition isn't a compulsion (at least, not at first). All genetic programming can be overcome, either deliberately through effort, or incidentally through experience.

--Avatar
_________________
Don't believe everything you think.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Phoogle Map
hamako
Elohim


Joined: 01 Aug 2002
Posts: 171

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

Location: Sheffield, England
44 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zef you make some humdinging points mate,

For starters, who decides it is right or wrong to drink? I like a good drink, but I'm no alcoholic.

Further I find it slighlty alarming that you compare homosexuality with paedophilia. Intended or not, your phrasing appears to give your viewpont away. Homosexuality is not a sexual or mental abberation, it's just the way some people are in the same way that I like to play my guitar, have brown eyes, like Indian food and the books of SRD.

An aberration implies a steer away from the norm. Homosexuality is merely another perspective of the norm. Irresponsible promiscuity (something else I think you were getting at, I think), is something else and not limited to sexual preference.

I can't see why people get so animated about homosexuality - hetero/homo, all it boils down to is who we find attractive. So what?

Now if you have a religious perspective on it, that's a different matter. Remember though that there is nothing in the teachings of Jesus condemning homosexuality (there might be in the Old Testament, but Christianity primarily follows Jesus doesn't it). Paul might have had something to say on it, but there are those who would argue that he was in the closet anyway!
_________________
He came dancing across the water...what a killer...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
The Dreaming
21st Century Schizoid Man

Male
Joined: 04 Oct 2004
Posts: 1921

Thanks: 1
Thanked 12 Times in 12 Posts

Location: Louisville KY
6657 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Free Lunch


PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally never really understood the Nature vs. Nurture debate. To me, the answer was clearly always both. D'uh.

A simple logical phrase explained what I mean. Say (not necessarily true! for the point of argument!) All Homosexuals were exposed at a young age to homosexual stimuli. However not all people exposed to Homosexual stimuli at a young age become Homosexual.

It seems to me that in any debate going on as fiercely as this one for as long as this one has, with so much evidence on either side, the logical conclusion is always that both are right.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Phoogle Map
variol son
Seer and Oracle


Joined: 05 Apr 2002
Posts: 5772

Thanks: 8
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts

Location: New Zealand
1220 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My only question Zeph is to ask how long I should fight for?

As a pentecostal christian, I prayed everyday for just over two years that God would heal me and make me straight. I had counselling sessions with my pastor. I even made an effort to be interested in girls.

And I had no joy. No healing. No change, not even a slight one. And so I gave up that fight, and left the church as well.

If god wanted me to be straight then he had the opportunity. If he is sadistic enough to leave me gay despite me pleas, then he isn't someone that I want to know.

I am sorry if you find that offensive at all, it isn't my intention to offend. I just don't have the time in my lunch hour to choose my words more diplomatically. Rolling Eyes

Sum sui generis
Vs
_________________
You do not hear, and so you cannot be redeemed.

In the name of their ancient pride and humiliation, they had made commitments with no possible outcome except bereavement.

He knew only that they had never striven to reject the boundaries of themselves.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger Phoogle Map
ZefaLefeLaH
Banned


Joined: 01 Jun 2004
Posts: 357

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts


0 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Letís say you have someone close to you that is drinking heavily. They drink all the time. Maybe they drink at work itís so bad. They drink at 8am for breakfast. They drink at lunch. They drink at dinner. They get drunk almost every single night.


Hey, it's not illegal. They aren't doing anything to anyone, just themselves. They have a right to do whatever they want with their bodies. But it's an abnormal life. And probably more dangerous than the chances of getting AIDS or something. It's not like gay men suddenly get AIDS, I know that; but it is well known that gay men are far more likely to have "affairs" than hetrosexual couples which already have a high enough likelihood of that to begin with. But that's neither here nor there, the point is that if there's an alcoholic that you care about in your life, then...

How long do you want them to fight?
_________________
The first ever kitten psychologist
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
A Gunslinger
Mr. Bad Example

MaleRanyhyn
Joined: 08 May 2004
Posts: 8890

Thanks: 0
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

Location: Southern WI (Madison area)
1752 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 I Love KW1 Lord's Staff


PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ZefaLefeLaH wrote:
Letís say you have someone close to you that is drinking heavily. They drink all the time. Maybe they drink at work itís so bad. They drink at 8am for breakfast. They drink at lunch. They drink at dinner. They get drunk almost every single night.


Hey, it's not illegal. They aren't doing anything to anyone, just themselves. They have a right to do whatever they want with their bodies. But it's an abnormal life. And probably more dangerous than the chances of getting AIDS or something. It's not like gay men suddenly get AIDS, I know that; but it is well known that gay men are far more likely to have "affairs" than hetrosexual couples which already have a high enough likelihood of that to begin with. But that's neither here nor there, the point is that if there's an alcoholic that you care about in your life, then...

How long do you want them to fight?


What worries me here is that your metaphor seems to suggest that homosexuality is somehow on par with a disease, which is what alcoholism happens to be.

When did you decide to be straight, my friend? That's right...you didn't decide...you just were.

I think that for the most part (as I said earlier) gays are born that way. Your environment places stress on that condition, either positively (reinforcement) or neagtively (punishment). Variol Son (very macho of you to come out to your pals in THIS context!) is an example of this very sort of phenomena.

Zef, I respect you opinion, and respect also your dipping into these waters with your viewpoint...just please be careful about mixing metaphors when the subject is so very sensitive. I was at first put off, but gave you the benefit of the doubt cuz I like ya.
_________________
"I use my gun whenever kindness fails"



Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Yahoo Messenger
variol son
Seer and Oracle


Joined: 05 Apr 2002
Posts: 5772

Thanks: 8
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts

Location: New Zealand
1220 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hehe, thanks AG, but I knew Zeph's opinions before I posted, just as he knew about my sexuality, and I'm not offended by him.

The problem is that he sees homosexuality as a disease, so of course you would keep fighting.

I see it as merely a different state of being, and so for me there was a point at which I choose to stop trying to be straight, and so gave up on the church as well.

Sum sui generis
Vs
_________________
You do not hear, and so you cannot be redeemed.

In the name of their ancient pride and humiliation, they had made commitments with no possible outcome except bereavement.

He knew only that they had never striven to reject the boundaries of themselves.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger Phoogle Map
ZefaLefeLaH
Banned


Joined: 01 Jun 2004
Posts: 357

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts


0 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might also remind you that I stated that it is people that are offended, God is not.


Also, I was careful in my wording. It might not seem so to some, but I refrain from being more descriptive in my viewpoint regarding the matter.


At any rate, it was brought up to be discussed & discussing it we are.
_________________
The first ever kitten psychologist
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ZefaLefeLaH
Banned


Joined: 01 Jun 2004
Posts: 357

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts


0 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Gunslinger wrote:
I was at first put off, but gave you the benefit of the doubt cuz I like ya.


Bang


Very Happy



(All I have to say is Stephen King better bring Roland to the Dark Tower or I'm gonna do mean things to his grave).
_________________
The first ever kitten psychologist
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Avatar
Immanentizing The Eschaton


Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 53930

Thanks: 71
Thanked 147 Times in 144 Posts

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
17839 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Pantheon Veteran


PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

variol son wrote:
And I had no joy. No healing. No change, not even a slight one. And so I gave up that fight, and left the church as well.


"The Mind orders the Body, and is obeyed. The Mind orders the Mind and meets resistance."

I think a quote from R. Bach's Illusions is in order:

Quote:
Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself.


--A
_________________
Don't believe everything you think.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Phoogle Map
A Gunslinger
Mr. Bad Example

MaleRanyhyn
Joined: 08 May 2004
Posts: 8890

Thanks: 0
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

Location: Southern WI (Madison area)
1752 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 I Love KW1 Lord's Staff


PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ZefaLefeLaH wrote:
A Gunslinger wrote:
I was at first put off, but gave you the benefit of the doubt cuz I like ya.


Bang


Very Happy



(All I have to say is Stephen King better bring Roland to the Dark Tower or I'm gonna do mean things to his grave).



I will reveal NOTHING!!! DT7 is, however a tour-de-force.
_________________
"I use my gun whenever kindness fails"



Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Yahoo Messenger
JemCheeta
All Fettered Up

Male
Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 2001

Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Times in 1 Posts

Location: Kent, Ohio
213 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Oath of Peace1 Covenant's Sword and Plate Armor1 Rubber Duck


PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, I'm just curious Zefa, what about homosexuality merits it as a disease? I mean, appart from the Word of God if that's your belief. If it is, it is enough, of course, because it carries the great weight of faith behind it...
but from where I'm sitting, I'm in a world of over population with limited resources, surrounded by people who are by and large incredibly insensitive to those around them, generally intolerant to the beliefs of others, and unwilling to cooperate with anything or anyone.

Now I've known my fair share of gay people, and I myself have been bi curious for some time.

I'll tell you what I've found. Now I know that you can't make broad generalizations about people based on sexuality, but what I will say is that by and large the CULTURE of homosexuality, at least in my area, is incredibly tolerant and caring. at least compared to the surrounding culture.

To say that gay people are more likely to have promiscuous sex makes me wonder if you have simply never been immersed in the casual sex culture of straight america. I mean really..... I went to highschool... and college..... let's be honest with ourselves here.

Although I have to say you expressed your opinion more reasonably than most I've seen.
_________________
It isn't that you couldn't see the forest from the trees, it's just that you've never been out in the woods alone.
-Ben Folds Five, Philosophy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address Phoogle Map
duchess of malfi
Mother of Dragons, Slayer of Lies

Female
Joined: 15 Oct 2002
Posts: 11104

Thanks: 37
Thanked 31 Times in 28 Posts

Location: Michigan, USA
9359 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Rubber Duck1 Foul Duck1 2007 Watchies


PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2004 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's some food for thought on the whole nature/nurture debate:

Quote:
Sexual Differentiation and its Effects on Sexual Orientation

Tiffany Litvine

What controls a human's sexual orientation? The long-standing debate of nature versus nurture can be extended to explaining human sexual orientation. Is it biological or environmental? The biological explanation has been gaining popularity amongst the scientific community although it is only based on speculations. It is argued that sexual orientation is linked to factors that occur during sexual differentiation. The prenatal exposure to androgens and their affect on the development of the human brain play a pivotal role in sexual orientation (2). Heredity is also part of the debate. Does biology merely provide the slate of neural circuitry upon which sexual orientation is inscribed? Do biological factors directly wire the brain so that it will support a particular orientation? Or do biological factors influence sexual orientation only indirectly?

Gender is determined by the sex chromosomes, XX produces a female, and XY produces a male. Males are produced by the action of the SRY gene on the Y chromosome, which contains the code necessary to cause the indifferent gonads to develop as testes (1). In turn the testes secrete two kinds of hormones, the anti-Mullerian hormone and testosterone, which instruct the body to develop in a masculine fashion (1). The presence of androgens during the development of the embryo results in a male while their absence results by default in a female. Hence the dictum "Nature's impulse is to create a female" (1). The genetic sex (whether the individual is XX or XY) determines the gonadal sex (whether there are ovaries or testis), which through hormonal secretions determines the phenotypic sex. Sexual differentiation is not driven by the sex chromosomes directly but by the hormones secreted by the gonads (3).

Hormones are responsible for sexual dimorphism in the structure of the body and its organs. They have organizational and activational effects on the internal sex organs, genitals, and secondary sex characteristics (1). Naturally these effects influence a person's behavior not only by producing masculine or feminine bodies, but also by causing subtle differences in brain structure. Evidence suggests that prenatal exposure to androgens can affect human social behavior, anatomy, and sexual orientation.

Androgens cause masculinization and defeminization of developing embryos. Masculinization is the organizational effect of androgens that enables animals and humans to engage in male sexual behavior in adulthood. This is accomplished by stimulating the development of neural circuits controlling male sexual behavior (1). Defeminization is the organizational effect of androgens that prevents animals and humans from displaying female sexual behavior in adulthood. This is accomplished by suppressing the development of neural circuits controlling female sexual behavior (1). For example if a female rodent is ovariectomized and given an injection of testosterone immediately after birth she will not respond to a male rat as an adult, when she is given estradiol and progesterone. This demonstrates that she has been defeminized. If the same female rodent is given testosterone in adulthood, rather than estradiol and progesterone, she will mount and attempt to copulate with receptive females (3). This on the other hand is an example of masculinization.

For example in the congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) disorder, the adrenal glands secrete abnormal amounts of androgens. The secretion begins prenatally and causes prenatal masculinization and defeminization (1). Boys born with CAH develop normally. However girls with CAH are born with an enlarged clitoris and fused labia. Sometimes surgical intervention is needed and the person will be given a synthetic hormone that suppresses the abnormal secretion of androgens (1). Money and his colleagues performed a study on 30 women with a history of CAH. They were asked to give their sexual orientation and 48% described themselves as homosexual or bisexual. They also exhibited more masculinized behavior (4). These results suggest that an abnormally high exposure to prenatal androgens affects sexual orientation.

Androgen insensitivity syndrome affects people who are insensitive to androgens. These genetic males develop as females with female external genitalia, but also with testes and no uterus or Fallopian tubes (1). If they are raised as girls, they seem to do fine and function sexually as women in adulthood. Women with this problem lead normal sex lives. There is no indication of sexual orientation toward women. Thus, the lack of androgen receptors appears to prevent both the masculinizing and defeminizing effects of androgens on a person's sexual interest (1).

There are two additional cases which show quite a strong correlation between sexual orientation and sexual differentiation. The first example is a genetically transmitted condition which is fairly common in one area of the Dominican Republic. It causes abnormal sexual differentiation in XY fetuses that produce an inadequate enzyme required to convert testosterone to DHT in the external genitalia (3). The child is born with ambiguous genitalia, labia (with testes inside) and an enlarged clitoris, causing partial masculinization. These individuals are usually raised as females, but at puberty the rise in testicular androgen secretion causes the phallus and the scrotum to grow and the body to develop in a male fashion. At this age the individuals start assuming male tasks and having girlfriends (3). These individuals prove that early testosterone masculinizes the human brain and influences sexual orientation and gender identity. The following example is with a set of identical twin boys. They were raised normally until seven months of age when the penis of one of the boys was accidentally burnt off during circumcision. The parents decided to perform a sex change on the child to remove the testes and raise it as a girl. It turned out that when the child reached adolescence she was unhappy and felt like she was really a boy. The family admitted to her what had happened and she got at sex change to become a boy again (1). This is another case that suggests that people's sexual identity and orientation is under the control of biological factors rather than environmental.

The brain is a sexually dimorphic organ. Neurologists discovered that the two hemispheres if a women's brain appear to share functions more than those of a man's brain. Men's brains are also larger on average than a woman's (1). Most researchers believe that the differences in the brain arise from different levels of exposure to prenatal androgens. Several studies have examined the brains of deceased heterosexual and homosexual men and heterosexual women. The studies have found differences in the size of three different subregions of the brain: the suprachiasmatic nucleus, the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area (SDN-POA), and the anterior commissure (2). The suprachiasmatic nucleus was found to larger in homosexual mean and smaller in heterosexual men and women. The SDN-POA was found to be larger in heterosexual men and smaller in homosexual men and heterosexual women. The anterior commissure was found to be larger in homosexual men and heterosexual women and smaller in heterosexual men (2). It cannot be concluded that any of these brain regions are directly involved in people's sexual orientation. The results do suggest that the brains of heterosexual women, heterosexual men, and homosexual men may have been exposed to different patterns of hormones prenatally and that differences do exist.

If sexual orientation is affected by differences in exposure of the developing brain to androgens, there must be factors that cause exposure to vary. A study performed on rats showed that maternal stress decreased the secretion of androgens, causing an increased incidence of homosexual behavior and female-like play behavior in male rats (1). Prenatal stress has also been shown to reduce the size of the SDN-POA, which is normally larger in males (1).

The last biological factor that may play a role in sexual orientation is heredity. A study performed using identical and fraternal twins was performed. When both twins were homosexual, they were said to be concordant for that trait. If only one was homosexual, they were said to be discordant (1). There was 52% concordance of homosexuality in identical male twins and 22% in fraternal twins and a 48% concordance of homosexuality in identical female twins and 16% in fraternal twins (1). This study suggests that two biological factors may affect a person's sexual orientation, prenatal hormonal exposure and heredity.

Sexual orientation may be influenced by prenatal exposure to androgens as the studies strongly imply. So far, researchers have obtained evidence that suggests that the sizes of three brain regions are related to a man's sexual orientation. The case in the Dominican Republic and the twin whose penis was accidentally damaged shows that the effects or early androgenization are not easily reversed by the way a child is reared. The twins' studies suggest that heredity may play a role in sexual orientation. Despite all this evidence scientists are still unable to fully assert that biologically factors are responsible for sexual orientation. There are so many variations within society that could affect at person's sexuality, that it is impossible to make any assertions at this point. Therefore the nature and nurture debate is still open.





Sources

1) Carlson, Niel R. Physiology of Behavior. 7Th ed. Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon,
2001.

2) Swaab, D.F., and Hofman, M. Sexual Differentiation of the Human Hypothalamus in
Relation to Gender and Sexual Orientation. Trends in Neuroscience. 18, 264-270.

3) Breedlove, M.S. Sexual Differnetiation of the Brain and Behavior. In Becker, J.B,
Breedlove, S.M, and Crews, D. (EDS). Behavioral Endocrinology. Pp 39-70.

4) Money, J. , Schwartz, M. and Lewis, V.G. Adult Erotusexual status and Fetal Hormonal Masculinization and Demasculinization:46, XX. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 1984, 9, 903-908.


_________________
Love as thou wilt.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JemCheeta
All Fettered Up

Male
Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 2001

Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Times in 1 Posts

Location: Kent, Ohio
213 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Oath of Peace1 Covenant's Sword and Plate Armor1 Rubber Duck


PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2004 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A truly interesting article, and thank you very much for posting it. It definately sheds a bit of light on the subject... however, I still have some concerns. While the evidence definately seems to indicate a biological element, how do we explain situations such as those that occurred in ancient greece, when a culture becomes increasingly tolerant and practices homosexuality more regularly?

It doesn't seem likely to be biological...
_________________
It isn't that you couldn't see the forest from the trees, it's just that you've never been out in the woods alone.
-Ben Folds Five, Philosophy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address Phoogle Map
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Kevin's Watch Forum Index -> The Close All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by Earthpower © Kevin's Watch