Abstract The quest to achieve ultimate unity has become quite the hot topic in present years. In Ryan D. Johnson’s online research article, Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture, an explanation of homosexuality is broken down so the world has a better understanding of homosexuals. As referred to in the title, the origin of homosexuality has been debated to be because of nature or nurture. Basically, are people gay because it’s their personal choice or is it just who they are?
The idea behind nurture is that the way one was raised can eventually affect a child’s sexual preference. In the first paragraph of this study, Johnson travels back to ancient Greece claiming that homosexuality has been around for ages, yet the root of the question still seems to be up in the air. According to the APA “sexual orientation is not a choice…[but] social theorists argue that on individual’s upbringing can directly influence this” (Johnson 1). Biological theorists believe that there is an actual genetic way of justifying homosexuality.
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Scientists and Psychoanalysts have evaluated the chromosomes of straight and gay males nonetheless the hypothalamus, and other certain wavelengths of their brains to find any comparisons to give reason to such different sexual preferences. This study focuses on the internal and external factors that could possibly contribute to and elucidate how one is a homosexual. The first experiment that Johnson assessed was that of Alfred Kinsey from the University of Indiana.
His target objective was ‘1) to find out how many adult males engaged in homosexual behavior, and 2) to suggest theories about [how] it came to be. ‘ Many men said they had not participated in any homosexual relationships, yet more answered yes when asked about same-sex relationships. This shows that most men feel more comfortable with having an encounter with two other women, but not another male. Then again this is the typical heterosexual man, or the closeted homosexual that skew such statistics.
This study was also conducted in the 1930’s, so homosexuality wasn’t as accepted as it is today. Karen Hooker took it in her hands to perform what is known as the first psychological tests to discover whether homosexuality was a mental illness or that of personal preference. She found that between the straight and gay men who were involved in the test, there was no difference in her findings. Homosexuality was from there on out no longer to be considered a mental disorder or illness, but an expression of one’s true nature. D. F.
Swaab wanted to look into the cranial aspects of homosexuality. “Swaab found in his post-mortem examination of homosexual males’ brains that a portion of the hypothalamus of the brain was structurally different than a heterosexual brain”(Johnson 2). This just shows that gay males have a super-hyper sex drive compared to heterosexual men. A heightened libido can explain the promiscuity of most gay males but it’s not enough to narrow that to only homosexuals. In 1991 a man named Simon LeVay followed execution of the Swaab’s hypothalamus theory.
Since this experiment, along with Swaab’s, was exercised on the non-living the moral aspects are questionable, although these brains were those of AIDS patients. Finding that “the third interstitial notch of the anterior hypothalamus was two to three times smaller in homosexual men then in heterosexual men”(Johnson 3). According to LeVay this fact proves that homosexuality is derived from the make up of one’s brain. J. Michael Bailey and Richard Pillard did one of the most interesting experiments. They studied the variation of homosexuality in identical and fraternal twins, along with non-related adopted brothers.
Identical brothers are more likely to be gay compared to fraternal and non-related brothers. The closer two are genetically the more likely one twin is to be gay. This was also found in a study with female counterparts. To focus more on the nurture part of this article, many sociobiologists and sociobehavoirists take a look at the parents and how one was brought up. If there was a weak father figure and a strong motherly figure then homosexuality is said to be more common because the child was unable to overcome their ‘Oedipus syndrome. Also the certain roles that are given to children at young ages have a common effect on sexuality, whether they follow a male and female stereotype that is. How a child is raised, what they witness and experience as they grow up all come together under the idea that nurture over nature has a bigger influence on a person’s sexuality. Therefore this article was quite informative about all the research that has been done over the years to determine the nature verse nurture question dealing with homosexuality.
The article was not as descriptive with calculations and didn’t go too in-detail about what each experiment entailed but the outcomes gave enough data to let the reader establish their own opinion. Kinsey’s findings claimed that many men were not comfortable with the idea of two men together, but another same-sex relation, being women, didn’t bother them. These ‘facts’ were pretty irrelevant since the experiment was very outdated and didn’t mention whether nature or nurturing were involved but just the appeal of being gay.
Also it never mentioned how homosexuality came to be, as Kinsey claimed was one of the reasons for the experiment. Hooker did a great analysis to prove that homosexuality was completely not a mental disorder yet a decision of the heart. Swaab’s focus was on how the brains of a homosexual and a heterosexual differed. Concluding that since a part of a gay male’s hypothalamus is enlarged their sex drive is also larger. This theory needed more information and tests to back it up. Levay’s study dealt also with how one’s brain anatomy plays a role in one’s sexuality.
Lastly Pillard and Bailey decided that when it comes to twins and sexuality the closer they are in genetic make up the more likely one will be homosexual. The satisfactoriness of this study was adequate in representing the male’s point of view of homosexuality but there was little no to reference to women. The theoretical framework was lacking for this reason. In order to determine whether homosexuality is a matter of nature or nurture this study should’ve involved both sexes to develop a fully rounded conclusion. No ethics other then that of experimenting on the non-living brain were overturn.
The meaningfulness of the survey on the other hand, held great weight. The importance of teaching the masses that homosexuality is not a choice but who a person is inside cannot be stressed enough. Nature cannot be scientifically explained sometimes, and nurturing only plays a role for so long. The whole point of this study was to show how everyone is equal and should be treated equal no matter their sexual orientation, our anatomies might be different along with our chemical make up, but that doesn’t just involve sexual orientation. Everyone is different, and no study should have to make sense of that.