Critically Discuss the Different Perspectives on the Causes of Homosexuality. Which of These Perspectives Clearly Articulates the Aetiology of Homosexuality

Topics: Homosexuality, Sexual orientation, Bisexuality Pages: 6 (1868 words) Published: March 29, 2011
Homosexuality has been a topic of much concern for debaters all over the world. Although the concept of homosexuality and the actions involved with it are not new and it has been practiced all over the world throughout various stages of our history. People still find it very hard to accept. Many people scorn upon the ideas and consider homosexuals to be freaks of nature. This cannot be further from the truth since it has been observed that many species of other animals, such as certain species of reindeer and dolphins, also exhibit homosexual behavior.

The writer will first define homosexuality, sexual orientation and further highlight the different perspectives on the causes of homosexuality. There have been many other studies that have pointed to other causes of homosexuality. Weiten (2002) states that one study believes that it is caused by intrauterine influences. Other studies suggest postnatal environment, choices made during development, or it is a learned behavior. These and more will be discussed deep. Weiten (2002) defined homosexuality as sexual interaction and / or romantic attraction between individuals of the same sex while Kasiyara and Chipandamira (2002) define homosexuality as sexual behaviour of one’s own sex. Homosexuals engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex over an extended period. Sometimes, homosexuals are referred to as gays (for men) and lesbians (for women), Kasayira and Chipandamira (2002). In modern use, the adjective homosexual is used for intimate relationships and/or sexual relations between people of the same sex, who may or may not identify themselves as gay or lesbian. Homosexuality, as an identifier, is usually contrasted with heterosexuality and bisexuality. People often ask where homosexuality starts and whether or not there is a choice. Some psychologists agree that while we can choose to act on our feelings, sexual orientation is not considered to be a conscious choice, which can be voluntarily changed. Yet other psychologists argue that there is a choice because of the existence of bisexuality. If there were no choice, then ones sexual orientation would be either homosexual or heterosexual. Sexual orientation emerges in childhood. Evidence supporting this assertion comes from studies by Green (1987) in Sarason and Sarason (1993) cited in Kasayira and Chipandamira (2000). “The homosexual men who took part in the study said that they had a greater sexual interest in other boys and intense homosexual fantasies in childhood. The average of same sex attraction was 13 years and self designated to homosexuality occurred at 20 years. It also emerged that sexual orientation develops as one continued to have sexual experiences with same sex partners and or as homosexual feeling and attractions persisted. It occurs over a period of time where one feels extreme emotional turmoil, at times even suicide” Kasayira and Chipandamira (2002).

Sexual orientation has been related to biological factors. Anatomic differences between brains of homosexuals and those of heterosexual. Levay (1991) in Kasayira and Chipandamira carried a study on homosexual men who had died of AIDS related disease and found that part of the hypothalamus had the anatomical form found in women rather than that found in heterosexual men. The hypothalamus is thought to influence sexual behaviour. Researchers believe that the relationship between sex and brain structures is related to activity of male sex hormones. The other suggestion is that the level of hormones to which fetus is exposed during the pre-natal period may lead to development of alternative sexual orientation (i.e. excess or deficiency of hormones can affect sexual behaviour). For instance, Money and Schwartz (1977) in Sarason and Sarason (1993) in Kasayira and Chipandamira (2002) suggested that females with excess pre-natal androgen (hormones) that develop secondary characteristics in males were more likely to have homosexual...

References: Douglas A, Bernstan T, Edward J, Roy Thomas K, Snull C (1988), Psychology, Boston, Beacon publishers
Kasayira and Chipandamira (2002), Psychology of special populations, Harare, Zimbabwe Open University
Pransky, M (2000, August) www.usq.sexual orientation/ retrieved March 14, 2011
Weiten W (2001) Psychology, Northern Illinois Universities press, Boston
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