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Author Topic: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)  (Read 177151 times)

sactopete

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Re: Nurture vs. Nature ... how'd we get like this?
« Reply #45 on: February 27, 2006, 11:56:18 PM »
Not a huge fan of 'helpers' myself

Its not a very satisfying explanation.  But I’m not aware that Evolutionary Psych has come up with anything better, or have they?  It seems a mistake to evaluate what I believe is an individual and biologically based behavior by macro social criteria.  But evaluating every biological outcome by our own “biologically productive” criteria is probably too restrictive. 

Sure homosexual behavior isn’t reproductive.  And yet it persists throughout our own and many other species.  Are there other ends besides reproduction?

Offline lightatlast

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Re: Nurture vs. Nature ... how'd we get like this?
« Reply #46 on: February 28, 2006, 11:23:11 AM »
Its not a very satisfying explanation.  But I’m not aware that Evolutionary Psych has come up with anything better, or have they?  It seems a mistake to evaluate what I believe is an individual and biologically based behavior by macro social criteria.  But evaluating every biological outcome by our own “biologically productive” criteria is probably too restrictive. 

Sure homosexual behavior isn’t reproductive.  And yet it persists throughout our own and many other species.  Are there other ends besides reproduction?


So far, evolutionary psych answers aren't that impressive, but I think that's a problem caused my narrowing focus onto looking for specific gay genes rather than looking at sexuality full stop. Orientation and gender seem to exist on a spectrum - whereas gay genes seem to suggest 'boxes'.

I certainly believe that sexuality is genetic, but not simply from a 'gay gene'. I outlined my own Evo Psych explanation a few posts back, that alleles exist which can push the brain in a masculine/feminine direction and influence neural growth of regions determining attraction in that way. It fits with natural selection, shows that homosexuality is a naturally occurring variant, and can explain not only homosexuality but bisexuality and transgenderism too. Some similar theories have been getting a lot of interest in the evolutionary psychology community, so we'll have to see what the research data shows. :)

Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: Nurture vs. Nature ... how'd we get like this?
« Reply #47 on: February 28, 2006, 01:53:15 PM »
I guess the main issue here is not so much the origin of homo-/bi- sexuality, but rather sexuality itself. If we follow evolution, it initially makes the most sense to assume that everyone would be heterosexual - after all, every human being on the planet is the product of generations upon generations of heterosexual mating, and in theory will have inherited biological mechanisms that promote identification of and attraction/desire towards members of the opposite sex. Of course, this isn't the case; but I find the 'gay gene' explanation rather unsatisfying, as well as a little contradictory to what natural selection would suggest - if a gene or genes exist whose sole purpose is to produce homosexuality, they'd have been pretty much wiped out within a few generations due to the at worst, biological impossibilities and at best . . .

That's only true if the gay gene (or combination of genes--but for simplicity, let's refer to it as "the gene") is the same for producing gay men and lesbians, and transmitted through both parents.

There is considerable evidence to date that gay men and lesbians are two different phenomena, with different causes.

So consider the scenario where a lesbian gene is passed only by men, but manifested only in women; and the gay gene the reverse: passed only by mothers to sons.

I think that if you run through the scenarios, natural selection would be powerless to stop or even slow it.

Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: Nurture vs. Nature ... how'd we get like this?
« Reply #48 on: February 28, 2006, 02:04:47 PM »
Well, I had my three cylinders of blood drawn yesterday, and FedEx'd to Northwestern University.

Hopefully we'll have more info to chew on soon. (Soon in research time.) Northwestern--in conjunction with some other unis, I believe--is conducting by far the largest study of gay brothers ever. I believe it is 5,000 sets.

They are taking blood samples to run DNA tests, as well as a questionairre from each participant about current and early sexual feelings and behavior.

They did an earlier study like this about 10 years ago--which I also participated in (actually, I know exactly when it was: I know I FedExed my blood on Dec. 23, 1996, because that was the night I came out to my parents, at the dinner table, using the shipment as the kickoff.)

The major differences this time:

- A far bigger sample size
- They are including straight brothers of the gay brothers (both DNA and questionairres), if available, and parents of the gay brothers (DNA only).

The study has actually been underway for quite some time. I had a long negotiation process in my family, and then put off my blood sample because of my surgery. They started calling to remind me last week, so perhaps they are at the stage of pulling in the stragglers now.

I think they are still looking for participants, though, so if any gayboys here have a gay brother, I encourage you to join in.

Offline estefue

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Re: Nurture vs. Nature ... how'd we get like this?
« Reply #49 on: February 28, 2006, 04:14:10 PM »
I never heard of this study.  So they are doing genetic testing of gay men with gay brothers only or are they including gay men with straight brothers?

Offline BigEd

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Re: Nurture vs. Nature ... how'd we get like this?
« Reply #50 on: February 28, 2006, 08:52:48 PM »
The study of how genes function in an intact organism is fraught with uncertainty. This is because genes only encode the information to make proteins, but the proteins interact with a large variety of molecules in the body to produce effects that are outside the direct control of the gene. Sickle cell anemia is a good example. Hemoglobin is the protein inside red blood cells that carries oxygen. People with sickle cell anemia have a different gene for hemoglobin and make a form of the protein that clumps. This gives the red blood cells an abnormal shape and leaves them fragile. Those afflicted with the disease are highly susceptible to infections and untreated individuals can die quite young. But the disease is recessive, so those individuals with only a single copy of the gene don’t get sickle cell anemia. Why has this gene survived for so long in the population? Because a single copy of the sickle cell gene confers resistance to malaria. This is of obvious benefit and the gene is common in people where malaria is endemic; for example about 1 in 12 Americans of African decent carry the sickle cell gene. Resistance to malaria is impossible to predict knowing only the sickle cell gene sequence and the protein it encodes. Such an effect is known as an ‘emergent property’; a non-linear effect where the sum of the parts is greater than their simple addition. Equally impossible to predict would be the existence and sequence of the sickle cell gene knowing that some people are resistant to malaria. So how do genes control or produce sexuality? No one has a clue. But if a homosexual gene or genes are found I sincerely hope that they are left alone. We don’t know nearly enough to begin tampering with them, but I suspect that there will be pressure to do so. And yes this maybe possible as there are already significant efforts underway to correct the single gene defects that are responsible for cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2006, 11:26:03 PM by BigEd »
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Offline Mike Vice

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #51 on: March 01, 2006, 08:41:23 AM »
Why am I gay?  Well, it certainly wasn't a choice I made, but I'm also pondering the fact that if people are born gay, then why are ALL of my relatives happily straight in long-term marriages with children?  Shouldn't at least ONE of them at least have...ah...gay tendencies?  Anyway, if you can use who you had a crush on as a guide, then the indications are all pointing that it seemed--key word: SEEMED--to be that I started out straight!  Let me explain.  At age 6, in first grade, I developed my first crush--on my first grade elementary school teacher Miss Seltzer.  I'd blush whenever she was near, got sweaty-palmed whenever she called upon me to answer a question.  Throughout grade school I had an average of one crush a year on who I thought was the prettiest girl in my class, developed romantic feelings.  NO erections though.  That all changed midway through my eleventh year when I experienced my firts erections--whenever I saw a young adult well built handsome man in public.  I didn't experience these erections in conjunction with little boys my age; only adult handsome men caused them to occur.  At first I thought this was just something that happened naturally at puberty.  Now.  At the same time this was happening I still experienced non-sexual romantic crushes on the prettiest girl in my class--all the way through ninth grade.  But during sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth grades, all these crushes were WITHOUT erections.  I'd be staring at the girl all dreamy-eyed but...no erection.  This had me worried because at the same time I was experiencing actual erections whenever I saw a handsome man.  At the end of tenth grade I stopped having my asexual crushes on girls and began having erections on the handsome almost-grown boys in my class.  That was in 1984, when I was 16.  The next year a cop show named Miami Vice debuted and I developed a full-blown crush on the main character, a handsome 35 year old man named Don Johnson.  This was accompanied by erections and long, drawn-out romantic fantasies of us holding hands and deep kissing, just before I fell asleep.  I even started dressing like Don Johnson's Sonny Crockett character, and still do to this day, as I mentioned in an earlier post.  Don was my first serious sexual crush, but I still thought it was just a phase, something I'd grow out of.  I didn't.  By 19 I was still getting hard-ons whenever I saw a hot-looking guy, still had erections and romantic feelings for Don Johnson--and had lost all interest in girls period.  And that's how my sexuality developed, and how it stayed.  I admitted to myself at 19 that I was gay, a "gay guy," and the self-imposed label didn't bother me or distress me at all.  What DID distress me was the fact that none of these guys was asking me out on a date, something I desperately wanted.  I just thought I'd be sitting there on a bench under a tree and some hearttrob would come up to me and sweep me up and away.  Never happened.  Not even a flirtation.  At 21, I stopped having erections altogether (maybe because all my pubertal hormones had dropped to normal "adult" levels?) but STILL continued having strong romantic crushes on other men.

I'll be 38 on March 26, and I still have yet to experience my first kiss from anyone; since I don't have erections anymore, I don't know if I'm even  capable of sex, though I am curious what an orgasm feels like--wondering what's all the fuss about.

Now, if anyone out there is still with me reading this and can make ANY sense out of why I'm gay after I just blurted out my sexual (or nonsexual because I'm a virgin?) history, I'd be glad to hear from you!  Because I sure don't get it. 

And where am I now?  No erections, strong romantic crushes on handsome well built men, and wishing somehow the anti-gay marriage amendments would be abolished so I can SOMEHOW figure out a way to get married to guy who I'm in love with.   That's my fantasy, after all.

But again--anyone--after reading this, any ideas on why I'm gay?  Similarities or differences with my story?  C'mon, fess up and tell!  I'm curious!

Mike Vice

Offline estefue

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #52 on: March 01, 2006, 09:50:23 AM »

Why am I gay?    {snip} 

...  By 19 I was still getting hard-ons whenever I saw a hot-looking guy, still had erections and romantic feelings for Don Johnson--and had lost all interest in girls period.  And that's how my sexuality developed, and how it stayed.  I admitted to myself at 19 that I was gay, a "gay guy," and the self-imposed label didn't bother me or distress me at all.  What DID distress me was the fact that none of these guys was asking me out on a date, something I desperately wanted.  I just thought I'd be sitting there on a bench under a tree and some hearttrob would come up to me and sweep me up and away.  Never happened.  Not even a flirtation.  At 21, I stopped having erections altogether (maybe because all my pubertal hormones had dropped to normal "adult" levels?) but STILL continued having strong romantic crushes on other men.

I'll be 38 on March 26, and I still have yet to experience my first kiss from anyone; since I don't have erections anymore, I don't know if I'm even  capable of sex, though I am curious what an orgasm feels like--wondering what's all the fuss about.

Now, if anyone out there is still with me reading this and can make ANY sense out of why I'm gay after I just blurted out my sexual (or nonsexual because I'm a virgin?) history, I'd be glad to hear from you!  Because I sure don't get it. 

And where am I now?  No erections, strong romantic crushes on handsome well built men, and wishing somehow the anti-gay marriage amendments would be abolished so I can SOMEHOW figure out a way to get married to guy who I'm in love with.   That's my fantasy, after all.

But again--anyone--after reading this, any ideas on why I'm gay?  Similarities or differences with my story?  C'mon, fess up and tell!  I'm curious!

Mike Vice
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Mike, I would be concerned if I stopped having erections at 21.  "Nomal" adult hormone levels do not leave you without any erections at all.  You mention you've never had the experience of an orgasm.  Have you ever masturbated?  Do you fantasize? k BTW, both of these are completely normal behaviors both for men and women, straight or gay in relationships or not.  There may be other underlying issues that are preventing you from fully experiencing your sexuality.  And unfortunately, nobody comes to sweep you off your feet.  One has to work at it (as I found out through my own experience).  Use this board as an opportunity to explore these topics and to take in the support of everyone here.    ESteban

Offline estefue

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #53 on: March 01, 2006, 11:03:36 AM »
I seem to have reversed the quote with my answer...oops ::)

Brokaholic

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #54 on: March 02, 2006, 01:04:11 AM »
I don't think there is a gay, Bi or str8 gene. And I don't think it is genetics. I think you are just gay. No reason at all. I do not like Ketchup at all, my brother does not like olives. No reason. Last time I checked I didn't have an anti ketchup gene. Gay man simply are not attracted to women. They prefer men. It is not a concious chioce it just happens.

My point of view is scary to the world cos firsrt you have to accept the premise that a gay is just a normal guy with all genetic material and chromosomes in place who just happens to like guys. You don't fall in love cos you choose to you just do. I do not surport the Idea that gayness is a simple aberration of genetic mutation...it might be comforting cos then homophobes can say "oh poor guy he just got his genes messed up that is why he is not normal like the rest of the world". Well I say he is perfectly normal and just the way God wanted.

Being Gay is facet of personality and can be partly predetermined and partly shaped by society but mostly it just is.  It is, it was and will always be. The fact that we feel the need to ask, "why am I gay?"  is itself a result of conditioning, deep down we believe there is something different about us and so there must be something wrong.

Why don't str8 guys walk around wondering why they feel a need to stick thier c@K$ into some female. They don't question it because they are thaught it is perfectly normal that is the way you should feel. Well you know what gay guys are perfectly normal too and but unfortunately they have been listening to the same rethoric all thier lives as thier str8 counterparts. so when you feel different from the status quo then you begin to wonder; why I am this way? Well you just are.

Str8 guys are not normal not special they are just str8, gay guys are not abnormal, not special they are just gay.

sactopete

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #55 on: March 02, 2006, 01:46:33 PM »
I'll be 38 on March 26, and I still have yet to experience my first kiss from anyone; since I don't have erections anymore, I don't know if I'm even  capable of sex, though I am curious what an orgasm feels like--wondering what's all the fuss about.

Mike, what a great open and honest message.  Now, in providing this next link, please don't think that I'm trying to cubbyhole you into something you're not.  But from the way you've described yourself, you might find AVEN very interesting.  Its another forum, just like this, where everyone sounds a lot like you. 

Personally, I really really like the description you've just given us.  You're proof that homosexuality exists apart from any sexual behavior.  I still find that anti-gay critics all too often simply say that homosexuality isn't inherent.  That people only ingage in same sex activity 'cause it "feels good".  Or homosexuality doesn't really exist, its only aberant sexual acts that exist, etc.  I'm quite fascinated by asexual people who aren't interested in sex at all, but who still have definitely defined orientations (either gay, straight, or bi, etc.)  Its interesting.

Offline Dixon

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #56 on: March 03, 2006, 02:33:43 PM »
 Erm, Brokaholic, while I agree with a lot of your sentiments you seem to think genetic mutations are, by definition, bad (you use words like aberration). This is not the case. And human (infact all lifes') genes are *always* mutating (for good and bad). This actually happens at a fairly regular rate. 'Bad' mutations (bad as in they reduce a species chance of survival) tend to be removed from the gene pool. 'Good' mutations tend to last in the gene pool as they increase a species chances of surviving. So if homosexuality is genetic (as I and others here seem to think) then it must provide some advantage to the human species as a whole. ie. it's a good thing!

 And anyway, I *like* being a mutant :)
« Last Edit: March 03, 2006, 02:37:13 PM by Dixon »

Offline Lynn Allan

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #57 on: March 03, 2006, 05:58:40 PM »
This is a little off topic, but don't know where else it'd fit.

The March 6 issue of Time magazine states the following (without saying where the numbers come from):

11% Portion of Americans who believe sexual orientation is a "conscious choice"

60% Portion of U.S. women who believe sexual orientation is innate, vs. 39% of men

So if my reasoning is right, 61% of men think they could have chosen to be gay?

I wanna know where these 61% are... maybe its not too late for them--

Brokaholic

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #58 on: March 03, 2006, 06:18:22 PM »
Dixon,
Point noted. However I used the term abberation not to denote my idea but to state a prevailing concept that I do not agree with.
Quote
I do not support the Idea that gayness is a simple aberration of genetic mutation..
I do not think genetic mutations are necessarily bad. Mutations are the key to adaptability especially if you are microorganism that reproduces exponentially. Human genetics is alot more complex to be summed up enough to post. Anyway, In humans, adaptive genetic mutations usually develop over long periods of time. One generation str8 and next Gay..not a likely genetic mutation; unless gayness is a transmissible gene which statistics and epidemiological data show is not likely.
The use of the genetic argument to justify exclusion or seclusion does not hold water with me. Don't get me wrong I totally support the Idea that scientist pursue the research but implying with negative connotations that it what makes people Gay is in my opinion wrong.

You would like being a mutant...yeah well sign me up for the X-men school for mutants. So I infer you like being Gay and of course since I am sexually attracted to men too I can understand ;)   
« Last Edit: March 03, 2006, 06:20:03 PM by Brokaholic »

Offline isoron

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Re: Why am I gay? -- Nature? Nurture? (Straights welcome, too)
« Reply #59 on: March 04, 2006, 06:24:14 PM »
There can be no specific "Gay" genes. Show me the genes for right handedness or musical talent. The human genome as we are unwrapping is giving us the words in the language but not for the Grammar. That we will probably never find out. We are a LONGGGGGG way from figuring out the timing of the individual gener being turned on and off! I come from this from both a Philosophical and Biochemical approach!
I used to be disgusted ---- now I'm just amused!!