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Homosexuality : Nature or Nurture?

Question Posted Saturday August 4 2012, 3:02 pm

I've put this under mental health, because I wasn't sure what else to : please don't get offended by that.

Now, we all know that your sexuality isn't a choice. But what determines whether you are homosexual? Nature (you are born homosexual) or nurture (your surroundings) ?

I know people who say they remember being gay forever. I know of others who turn, when they go to same-sex boarding schools. I read a book about one of the most famous all-boy schools in the world. The guy was saying how they didn't know a world outside of the school, and growing up meant they had urges. Because of this, they experimented sexually, and this is where many people 'turned'.

But is it both? Is it different for different people?

I also heard that those who lack a father figure are more likely to be homosexual. This is obviously a generalization, but is there any merit to that statement?


[ Answer this question ]

Additional info, added Saturday August 4 2012, 5:58 pm:
P.S for anyone else that wishes to throw in their opinion:

If you think being Gay is something you learn, or is based on nurture, are people born fundamentally asexual? Do they learn to be straight too? Or can homosexuality exist innately, like sexuality?

Want to answer more questions in the Health & Fitness category?
Maybe give some free advice about: Mental health?

enigmalive answered Monday August 13 2012, 6:09 pm:
I think it's both lol, I'm homosexual myself and I know it's for me nature, but in some cases I think it might be something that happened to someone, like I knew this girl who was lesbian and me and her were pretty good friends, one day she ended up telling me that she was molested as a child and ever since then she hates men. but it's not a mental health issue, I don't care if you didn't intend to offend you did, and I'm pretty sure you sexuality doesn't have to do with your mental conditions.

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VoiceofReason answered Saturday August 11 2012, 10:58 am:
The brains of homosexuals tend to look more like those of the opposite sex (in other words, the brains of male gays tend to look more like those of females and female homosexuals look more like males) than those of heterosexuals. So it's definitely genetic.

One thing, though: whether people choose it or it's genetic is immaterial to me. Minding one's own business is a virtue and this would be a better world if more people did that. If you wanna love another guy and you're a guy, great! If you're a guy and want to love a girl, great! And etc. It don't hurt me any and love is a beautiful thing!

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Razhie answered Saturday August 4 2012, 7:21 pm:
Nature, but you have to understand that nature is a very multifaceted thing, and that it doesn't force anyone to DO anything.

Saying it's 'nature not nurture' doesn't mean environment has no effect. It doesn't mean personal choice has no effect either. Our identities, orientation and lives are WAY more complex than can be summed up by our innate 'nature'.

Sexual orientation is innate. Baring any major brain trauma - Heterosexual, Homosexual, Asexual are all things you are born with it, or at least, you are born falling someplace on a spectrum. And your actions and behaviors might reflect different aspects of your place on that spectrum over your life time. There are as many shades of gray as there are individuals human beings.

HOWEVER (and this is a big, hugely significant however) being born homosexual (or heterosexual) doesn't mean you will only have homosexual (or heterosexual) sexual encounters for the rest of your life.

Your environment and culture has a lot to do in determining which kinds of sexual encounters you are most likely to be exposed too.

There is a difference between the way you are born, and the way you choose to behave, and what behaviors are most available, or considered 'the norm' by those around you.

There are going to be environments that are more or less welcoming of 'experimenting' and also more or less welcoming of homosexuality itself, or same-sex relationships. There have been many cultures and environments over the years that were perfectly comfortable with homosexual sex acts, as long as it happened under specific circumstances (often, that it was fine to be gay on the side, as long as you also got married and made babies as well).

So yes, it's different for different people who live at different times, in different communities and cultures. They'll have different experiences available to them, and their sexual experiences are not necessarily a direct reflection of their innate sexual orientation.

Behaviors can be learned, absolutely. Even if they go against your innate interests. There are certainly lots of scientific studies now of 'ex-gays', and even many ex-gays themselves that will admit they continue to struggle with same-sex attraction, but that they have made a personal choice to BEHAVE as heterosexuals.

I hope that helps to explain the difference between an innate sexual orientation, and the wide variety of choices, opportunities and pressures that a person will face when it comes to their sexual behavoir in a lifetime. It's important to understand that it's not so simple as to say "You are gay so you only act gay" or "You are straight so you only act straight". Most people's lives get more complex than that, and that's okay.

And to answer your final, slightly tangential question:
No. There is absolutely no causal link between between 'lacking a father figure' and male or female homosexuality. That's just bullshit made up in the late 1800s and early 1900s to try and invalidate and shame homosexuals. It's been debunked repeatedly and thoroughly and only a very, very few fringe organizations on the extreme right continue to promote the idea that there is any truth to it at all.

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mercury answered Saturday August 4 2012, 6:10 pm:
OMG!!What is this guy before me thinking about?In my opinion all gay people were born homosexual,if homosexuality was due to sorrounding factors,then kids who were born in family of boxers would be straight because of the masculine influence.Or all boys raised in a family of homosexual parents would end up being gay as well;and one of my best friends is an example,and he is STRAIGHT!People who are homosexual definitely were born gay and there's nothing wrong about that.It's just a sexual orientation different from that of straight people.So the nature vs nurture question is definitely out of the question.

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Girlygirlhere answered Saturday August 4 2012, 5:51 pm:
Nurture 100% nobodys 'born' gay! Its like are you born with a language? No. You learn it, by surroundings and such. People are stupid these days in society and think they were born gay just because they dont remember having a girlfriend or boyfriend or some stupid thing. I promise 100% that people are NOT born gay. I dont care what people say they learn it. Just like how you learn how to right an how to speak. Your not born with personality either. You gain certain personalitys from where you grow up. Like if I was born in a bad foster home I would grow up with a tough heart and it would take my soulmate to open it up and get me to love people. And with me being born in a loving family I get grounding and learn my wrong doings and I will surly grow up to be a good girl! (btw Im 13/f) This is my opinion (and fact) so just push this away if you like but, this us the truth :) have an excellent day!

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