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Basic information on sexual orientation

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What causes sexual orientation:
Nature, nurture, both, or neither?

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Causes of sexual orientation:

There are two main belief systems about the nature of human sexuality:

  • That there is only one normal, natural, and moral sexual behavior. It involves sexual activity between a man and woman -- perhaps only by a couple who are married to each other.

  • That there are three normal, natural, and morally neutral sexual orientations. These are defined by feelings of attraction to:
    • Only persons of the opposite sex for about 90% of adults who have a heterosexual orientation;
    • Only persons of the same sex for about 5% of adults who have a homosexual orientation;
    • Persons of both genders for about 5% of adults who have a bisexual orientation.

Some regard asexuality -- lack of sexual attraction to other people -- as a fourth sexual orientation.

Finally, although a particular sexual orientation may be considered morally neutral, people overwhelmingly regard it as immoral if it is not mutually agreeable, not consensual, not safe, etc.

There is little or no agreement about the cause(s) of sexual orientation, whether it is chosen, determined by genes, caused by poor parenting, caused by sexual victimization as a child, etc. There is also no agreement on the morality of various forms of sexual behavior.

Beliefs about sexual orientation and behavior profoundly affect a person's beliefs about:

Many religious and social conservatives believe that sexual orientation or at least sexual behavior is a choice, and can be changed with some effort. In contrast, many religious and social progressives, and those in the LGBT community, feel that a person is born with a sexual orientation that can be detected by child psychologists in pre-school children. Net Flaherty posted a comment on the PolicyMic.com web site stating that:

"Sexual orientation has been proven to have at least 21 biological links, which can be observed in: twins, birth order, finger length ratio, fingerprint ridge density, Caucasian limb/hand-to-height ratio, hair pattern, handedness, hearing, vocal pitch, eye blinks, verbal fluency, spatial memory, amygdala activity, hypothalamus nucleus size, penis size, auditory/inner-ear function, suprachiasmatic nucleus size, stress, sweat, brain size symmetry, and X chromosome Xq28. Some of these links differ by race, thus further proving a biological basis." 1

(We hope some day to track down all 21 factors and include descriptions of them in this section of our web site.)

Same-sex marriage and equal rights for the LGBT community generally are among the most active religious conflicts in the U.S. today. Perhaps it is worth while to investigate cause(s) of sexual orientation. To do so might help resolve the conflicts.

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Related essay:

bullet Divergent beliefs: Is homosexuality permanent? is it a choice that can be changed, or a fixed orientation?

References:

  1. Ned Flaherty, comment posted after the article "Gay Marriage: If Being Gay is a Choice, So What?" by Alasdair Denvil, PolicyMic, 2013-MAY-14, at: http://www.policymic.com
  2. "Why is my child Gay?" Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) at: http://www.dynapolis.com/PFLAG/whygay.html
  3. "How PFOX can help," Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays, at: http://www.pfox.org/help.html 
  4. Athenadorus, "Homosexuality: Its Genetic Basis & Evolutionary Benefit," at: http://www.danaanpress.com/
  5. Matt Ridley, "Nature via nurture: Genes, experience, and what makes us human," HarperCollins, (2003). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store  This book discusses the effects of genes and the environment on human behavior and traits. It touches on homosexuality in a few locations.
  6. "Sylvia," "The biological basis of homosexuality," 1997-DEC, at: http://www.geocities.com/

Site navigation: Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Basic data > here

Copyright © 1997 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2013-JAN-22
Author: B.A. Robinson

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