Tuesday, 10 May 2005
|0854 - More evidence that sexual orientation is wired-in|
A study at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm shows that the brains of gay men respond to male pheromones the same way that the brains of straight women do, according to an article in today's Newsday reprinted in today's Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
This adds more evidence to the theory that sexual orientation is not merely a choice, or learned, but rather has a definite hardwired biological component. Of course, those who see gay people as somehow evil will shrug it off, just as they have other evidence.
current mood: calm
Eh, all that proves is what we knew all along -- that by the time people can confidently express their sexual preference, that preference is supported by biological mechanisms.
What it fails to prove or disprove is the theory that our behavior can re-wire our sexual orientation.
Anecdotal, mind, but I tried unsucessfully to 'turn myself' gay. If I had a choice in the matter, I'd be a flaming queer. But fact of the matter is, I don't. Biology hath spoken. =P
Meanwhile, thanks for the link, Jay. I'm still trying to find a hyperlink to an earlier experiment done in the 70s, which I remember seeing in a sex-ed video. What they did was inject gay men and straight men with progesterone - the gay men reacted in the way women do while the straight men had no reaction.
(Of course, the corrolary to this should be that Lesbians are sterile, but they ain't)
This is an interesting comment...One of my arguments against the "it's a choice" faction is simple: Why would anyone choose to be gay, with all of the negative societal consequences that entails?
There is an element of "Notice Me!" in "choosing" to be gay... People do weird shit all the time. Who's to say that some aren't "choosing" the lifestyle for a plethera of odd reasons.
The evidence to suggest that sexual choice is biological has always been there... more and more people are just starting to see it.
Good article. Thanks for linking...
Simple: I believe men make better lovers than women.
It would be interesting to see if those held out by fundamentalists as "ex-gays" show the same results on the various brain scan tests that openly gay men do. I'm not at all sure the test will ever happen, though: there's too much the fundamentalists have at stake for them to allow any chance of their current pet theory to be shot down.
Many of the former homosexuals referred to are part of their OWN movement, and might just welcome a chance to prove their side of the case. They're not being "allowed" or "disallowed" to do anything. It sounds like you're making them out to be puppets of some sort.
But yes, the results would be interesting. Me, I suspect the results would be all over the map, and the former homosexuals neither respond (statistically) exactly like life-long heterosexuals, nor like avowed homosexuals.
It's probably similar to the results you get for substance abusers, non-substance-abusers, and former substance abusers. Our pleasure centers, inextricably connected to our sexuality, are demonstrably quite flexible. Any "hard wiring" is done with the metaphorical equivalent of cold welds, and if you yank hard enough, you can alter things.
It also would have been interesting had the recent study also been performed on bisexuals.
While I have no reason to think that sexual orientation is a choice, it's not clear to me how that follows.
How what follows? I'm not sure what you mean.
I'm more and more certain that sexual orientation is not a choice with each new revelation. There are folks out there who claim that people can be "cured" of homosexuality, but I'm not aware of any of them that have stood up to rigorous scrutiny.
Sorry...I was writing carelessly.
It's not clear to me why this supports sexual orientation not being a choice. I respond differently to the smell of steak than a vegetarian would, and way differently to the smell of cigarette smoke than a smoker would. I don't know whether an MRI would indicate very different brain activity for me versus the vegetarian or smoker, but it would be interesting to find out.
The MSNBC version of this did make the interesting point that in humans, the nuts and bolts of how pheromones work is not yet clearly understood. An intresting data point, to be sure, but certainly not conclusive, at least until they look under the table and in the box and figure out where some of the other puzzle pieces are.
As much as sexual orientation is wired in (men having more feminine biological characteristics in many areas, not just in sexual preferences; vice versa)... there are still others who make choices to explore a lifestyle for the sake of living the lifestyle.
There should be a comparison study that goes into the psychiatry of people who seek sex change operations. I personally know of TWO people who got past their psychological evaluations by telling the therapist what they wanted to hear in order to get approval for the operation... and the bottom line was both of these people had major issues with sexual abuse and "only son" syndrome in which they hated the body they were born with for other reasons than feeling they were born the wrong gender.
People make choices everyday that are nurture versus nature. Why can't it be both? Why is it just one or the other?
I don't think that mental attraction can be defined by biology, because the very experience of another human being is intellectual/mental. I am sure that pheromones create a sort of linger physical pleasure, and that that can then condition someone to be attracted to one person or another, but I still think it is conditioned. I always get crap for saying it, but I do think that the majority of a person's sexuality is conditioned and this without exception... now, before you freak out - when I say that it is conditioned I am not saying that it is choosen, nor am I saying that it is something that can be deprogrammed. I mean, I don't think that you can turn someone heterosexual any more than it is possible to turn them homosexual.