“Sexuality and Gender” by Lawrence S. Mayer and Paul R. McHugh, The New Atlantis, Fall 2016.
by Dr. Ralph Blair
(PDF version available here.)
Plain Reasons for the Growth of Sodomy in England, a 1728 tome, blamed tea and the “pernicious influence” of Italian opera. Today, there’s still alarm over the growth of what folks still confuse with that ancient xenophobic gang’s attempted rapes at Sodom. During the intervening centuries, same-sex orientation and relationship for which we’ve not been adequately prepared has been blamed on astrological quirks, demons, masturbation, fluoride, trauma in utero, genes, smothering mothers, distant fathers, child sex abuse, “lifestyle choice” and almost anything else but the kitchen sink.
A conservative policy group focusing on “crucial moral and political questions” has published this survey of selected studies culled by Mayer, a psychologist, and McHugh, a psychiatrist, though the authors claim not to be dealing with “morality”.
“Born that way” is an oft-repeated catchphrase that does catch the fact that everyone – whether heterosexual or homosexual – feels “born that way”. But these authors’ assumed purpose is that, in the case of homosexuals, “born that way” must be debunked.
Also, the authors reject the view that, “homosexuality or heterosexuality is in any given person unchangeable and determined entirely apart from choices, behaviors, life experiences, and social contexts.” But, the data from many decades of failed “ex-gay” efforts and prior decades of psychoanalysis indicate the immutability of the orientation of one’s sex drive, at least in males, whatever fluidity some females may experience. Of course, one’s circumstances, e.g., religious scruples or the unavailability of a preferred sex partner, may prompt a male homosexual to marry a woman or a heterosexual prisoner to rape a cellmate. But neither case demonstrates any “fluidity” of sexual orientation.
Oddly, the report claims the term, “orientation”, is itself, “highly ambiguous” and that it “can refer to a set of behaviors, to feelings of attraction, or to a sense of identity”. But, the very common, everyday use of the term is for the direction of one’s involuntary sexual attraction. All who tried for so long and failed to get rid of their sex drive’s same-sex direction, still sense their orientation as anything but ambiguous. They chose to change their behavior and identity but that never changed their involuntary sexual orientation. Read more →