Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Straight, Gay or Lying

My original post about homosexuality on May 9 brought up some issues which were in turn raised by a series of New York Times articles, the most recent one today. The first was a May 10 article, "For Gay Men, Different Scent Of Attraction", which reported that gay men responded just as straight women do to a pheromones taken from men's sweat. A May 17 op-Ed essay by Steven Pinker, "Sniffing Out the Gay Gene," discussed both homosexuality and homophobia as possible evolutionary adaptations. On May 31, "Watching New Love As It Sears the Brain" brought up the whole issue, which I emphasized heavily, of how our choice of sexual love seems to be something beyond our control, in the sense that it belongs to the deep stem of the brain and not the higher brain. On June 3 there was a report that a fruit fly sexual orientation had been genetically altered, to a homosexual one (see "For Fruit Flies, Gene Shift Tilts Sex Orientation").

Finally, today there was an article, "Straight, Gay or Lying", which challenges my view that bisexuality is a genetic sexual orientation. It reports that men who identify themselves as bisexual do not actually have signs of physical arousal when viewing sexual images of women, but are aroused only at provocative images of men. It ends with a brief glance at the fact that more evidence has been found for bisexual arousal in women. This does fit my personal experience: I have not known any bisexual men (to my knowledge), and all the bisexuals I've known have been women.

I have a tendency to believe that bisexuality is real, and I also have a fondness for it. I see it as a shade of complexity, or gray, in a time when people see things as black-and-white. I think we need to see more studies.


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