Homosexuality: Nature Versus Nurture

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HOMOSEXUALITY: NATURE VERSUS NURTURE

Nature; all things belong to Mother Nature; the trees, the flowers, insects, the great waters, animals, and even the human race; all following the laws of nature that we are instinctively born with. However somewhere along the line something or someone defies those laws and go against what nature intended. Whether or not this rebellion is fostered by nurture, or if there is an exception to the laws that Mother Nature has set forth is a question that psychologist and many people have encountered and most have yet to find the answer. Homosexuality has been thought of as being something that some are born with and others believe it is a learned behavior. Whether or not nature or nurture is the cause for this “abnormality” we may never definitively know the answer to. But then again that all depends on what we define as being “normal”.

To begin to answer the questions that plague humanity about sexual orientation we must first ask ourselves what exactly is sexuality and what role does it play in our society and the continuation of life. Sexuality is broken down into three areas: heterosexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality. If you look at these on a scale one’s sexuality would be measured by the degree in which ones feelings are more drawn too from one end of the scale to the other (Feldman, 2009, pg 376). There are several components that are argued to have a significant role in what a person’s sexual identity is. These components are both biological and environmental in nature (Feldman, 2009, pg 377). Biologically hormones may play a role in determining sexual orientation (Feldman, 2009, pg 377). “Research has shown that women exposed to a drug called diethylstilbestrol (DES), taken by women to avoid miscarriage, before birth were more likely to be homosexual or bisexual” (Feldman, 2009, pg 377). “There is also research suggesting that brain structure could be a factor in the determination of ones sexuality” (Feldman, 2009, pg 377). “The structure of the anterior hypothalamus, an area of the brain that governs sexual behavior, differs in male homosexuals and heterosexuals; compared with heterosexual men or women, gay men have a larger anterior commissure, which is a bundle of neurons connecting the right and left hemispheres of the brain” (Feldman, 2009, pg 377). Although biological reasoning can not be a clear cut explanation for homosexuality; it leaves us room to understand the condition of homosexuals rather than boorishly passing judgment on people for something they did not ask to be.

Examining the notion that homosexuality is a learned behavior rather than an innate behavior has led to one very interesting yet sad life lesson for one family suffering from what one could call the effects of inadvertent child abuse.

David Reimer was born Bruce Reimer, however he was raised as Brenda Reimer. When David and his twin brother Brian were just six months old their mother took them in for a routine circumcision. The babies had been having difficulty passing urine and with the suggestion of the family Doctor Mrs. Reimer took her boys in for the procedure that would ultimately change David’s life before it even began (McKenna, Kessler, Tiefer, and Schober, 2002).

“The doctors had chosen an unconventional method of circumcision, one in which the skin would be burned. The procedure went horribly wrong and Bruce's penis was burned so badly that it could not be repaired surgically.” Thinking irrationally, Mrs. Reimer’s first concerns were how Bruce would cope as an adolescent lacking a penis. The decision was made; after listening to a Doctor by the name of John Money, and taking into consideration his views on sexuality, it was decided that Bruce would be raised as a female, and was renamed Brenda. Dr. John Money of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore argues that “boys – caught early enough – could be raised to be girls; nurture and not nature determines a...
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