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What Causes Homosexual Desire and Can It Be Changed?|
Most of us fail to understand why anyone would want to engage in homosexual activity. To the average person, the very idea is either puzzling or repugnant. Indeed, a recent survey indicated that only 14% of men and 10% of women imagined that such behavior could hold any "possibility of enjoyment."
The peculiar nature of homosexual desire has led some people to conclude that this urge must be innate: that a certain number of people are "born that way," that sexual preferences cannot be changed or even ended. What does the best research really indicate? Are homosexual proclivities natural or irresistible?
At least three answers seem possible. The first, the answer of tradition, is as follows: homosexual behavior is a bad habit that people fall into because they are sexually permissive and experimental. This view holds rat homosexuals choose their lifestyle as the result of self-indulgence and an unwillingness to play by society rules. The second position is held by a number of psychoanalysts (e.g., Bieber, Socarides). According to them, homosexual behavior is a mental illness, symptomatic of arrested development. They believe that homosexuals have unnatural or perverse desires as a consequence of poor familial relations in childhood or some other trauma. The third view is "biological" and holds that such desires are genetic or hormonal in origin, and that there is no choice involved and no "childhood trauma" necessary.
Which of these views is most consistent with the facts? Which tells us the most about homosexual behavior and its origins? The answer seems to be that homosexual behavior is learned. The following seven lines of evidence support such a conclusion.
1) No researcher has found provable biological or genitic differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals that weren't caused by their behavior
Occasionally you may read about a scientific study that suggests that homosexuality is an inherited tendency, but such studies have usually been discounted after careful scrutiny or attempts at replication. No one has found a single heredible genetic, hormonal or physical difference between heterosexuals and homosexuals - at least none that is replicable. While the absence of such a discovery doesn't prove at inherited sexual tendencies aren't possible, it suggests that none has been found because none exists.
2) People tend to believe that their sexual desires and behaviors are learned
Two large studies asked homosexual respondents to explain the origins of their desires and behaviors - how they "got that way." The first of these studies was conducted by Kinsey in the 1940s and involved 1700 homosexuals. The second, in 1970, involved 979 homosexuals. Both were conducted prior to the period when the "gay rights" movement started to politicize the issue of homosexual origins. Both reported essentially the same findings: Homosexuals overwhelmingly believed their feelings and behavior were the result of social or environmental influences.
In a 1983 study conducted by the Family Research Institute (FRI) involving a random sample of 147 homosexuals, 35% said their sexual desires were hereditary. Interestingly, almost 80% of the 3,400 heterosexuals in the same study said that their preferences and behavior were learned (see Table 1 below).
Reasons For Preferring:
homosexuality (1940s and 1970)
early homosexual experience(s) with adults and/or peers - 22%
homosexual friends/ around homosexuals a lot - 16%
poor relationship with mother - 15%
unusual development (was a sissy, artistic, couldn't get along with own sex, tom-boy, et cetera) - 15%
poor relationship with father - 14%
heterosexual partners unavailable - 12%
social ineptitude - 9%
born that way - 9%
I was around heterosexuals a lot - 39%
society teaches heterosexuality and I responded - 34%
born that way - 22%
my parents, marriage was so good I wanted to have what they had - 21%
I tried it and liked it - 12%
childhood heterosexual experiences with peers it was the ''in thing" in my crowd - 9%
I was seduced by a heterosexual adult - 5%
While these results aren't conclusive, they tell something about the very recent tendency to believe that homosexual behavior is inherited or biologic. From the 1930s (when Kinsey started collecting data) to the early 1970s, before a "politically correct" answer emerged, only about 10% of homosexuals claimed they were "born that way." Heterosexuals apparently continue to believe that their behavior is primarily a result of social conditioning.
3) Older homosexuals often approach the young
There is evidence that homosexuality, like drug use is "handed down" from older individuals. The first homosexual encounter is usually initiated by an older person. In separate studies 60%, 64%, and 61% of the respondents claimed that their first partner was someone older who initiated the sexual experience.
How this happens is suggested by a nationwide random study from Britain: 35% of boys and 9% of girl said they were approached for sex by adult homosexuals. Whether for attention, curiosity, or by force, 2% of the boys and 1% of the girls succumbed. In the US, 37% of males and 9% of females reported having been approached for homosexual sex (65% of those doing the inviting were older). Likewise, a study of over 400 London teenagers reported that "for the boys, their first homosexual experience was very likely with someone older: half the boys' first partner were 20 or older; for girls it was 43 percent." A quarter of homosexuals have admitted to sex with children and underaged teens, suggesting the homosexuality is introduced to youngsters the same way other behaviors are learned - by experience.
4) Early homosexual experiences influence adult patterns of behavior
In the 1980s, scholars examined the early Kinsey data to determine whether or not childhood sexual experiences predicted adult behavior. The results were significant: Homosexual experience in the early year, particularly if it was one's first sexual experience - was a strong predictor of adult homosexual behavior, both for males and females. A similar pattern appeared in the 1970 Kinsey Institute study: there was a strong relationship between those whose first experience was homosexual and those who practiced homosexuality in later life. In the FRI study two-thirds of the boys whose first experience was homosexual engaged in homosexual behavior as adults; 95% of those whose first experience was heterosexual were likewise heterosexual in their adult behavior. A similarly progressive pattern of sexual behavior was reported for females.
It is remarkable that the three largest empirical studies of the question showed essentially the same pattern. A child's first sexual experiences were strongly associated with his or her adult behavior.
[ Last edited by warmsmile at 2006-3-1 08:10 PM ]