HomeBiological aspects of sexualityResponsivenessOrientation is defined by who we are attracted to

Orientation is defined by who we are attracted to

The genes that cause us to be homosexual arise in random individuals throughout the population. Homosexuality is a completely harmless and natural orientation for anyone to have. For those people who are gay, homosexuality is quite normal. There is a misconception (particularly among women) that being gay is a lifestyle choice and the result of a conscious decision. No one chooses to be gay. It is just the way they are.

Research indicates that some people engage in sexual activity with same sex partners just once in their lives, perhaps as a form of experimentation when they are young. Others are embarrassed that they are aroused by people of the same sex and consciously take steps to avoid homosexual contacts. Others are not exclusive about the gender of the person they have sex with. They can enjoy sex with people they are attracted, to regardless of gender.
Some men are aroused by both sexes and many men (37%) have had at least one gay encounter that ended in their own orgasm. Many of these are one-offs or sporadic. There is a social bias in favour of heterosexuality but some men may enjoy the proactiveness and explicitness of homosexual sex play. Bisexual women enjoy physical intimacy regardless of their lover’s gender.

Orientation is determined by the gender of the people we are emotionally attracted to or who we are aroused by. Men’s orientation depends on explicit turn-ons: specifically, male or female anatomy. Given women are not aroused by real-world triggers such as a lover’s genitals, their orientation is determined by those they form an emotional connection with. Even a responsive woman, who can orgasm alone, is not responsive with a lover. So a woman may choose to live with another woman without ever having sex.

A woman is called heterosexual because she is willing to be a receiver of vaginal intercourse. Some women are able to provide this or are forced to do this in exchange for money. But most women need an emotional connection before they are amenable to offering men sexual opportunities. A woman is called lesbian because she is never motivated to offer a man intercourse for any reason. Instead, she forms emotional attachments to women. But she has exactly the same sexual responses as a heterosexual woman. She is not aroused by body parts or by sexual activity with a lover.

Women are attracted to a female partner because of her lack of responsiveness. This means that a female lover understands the value of a non-sexual emotional connection. Many women conclude that men are like animals. Men are like male mammals just as women are like female mammals. Women see people as social beings. Women obtain emotional rewards from enjoying affection and companionship with a lover. Women enjoy the non-sexual intimacy, of spending companionable time, that goes with sex. Women’s love for a partner is based on their nurturing instincts.

Few people object to lesbians, who are viewed as slightly odd but harmless. It is men’s desire for penetrative sex that makes gay men a sexual threat. People often wonder what lesbians do in bed. This is a result of the heterosexual focus on intercourse, which is driven by the male responses of erection and ejaculation. Lesbians may engage in thrusting activity to mimic the activity that they see promoted in society or in the belief that they should.

Two people of the same sex cannot engage in vaginal intercourse so gay people are obliged to use more explicit genital stimulation. Heterosexual society hides behinds the respectability of intercourse, which is justified by our reproductive biology. Yet men want intercourse much more frequently than can be justified on reproductive grounds. Most of the time, couples have sex to enjoy sexual pleasure or to support emotional bonding.

Parents may not want their children to be gay because they hope their children will have families and be part of normal society. Gay men are often victimised and threatened by heterosexual men. Today some gay couples decide to adopt or have children that have one of the partner’s genes. Many heterosexuals believe every child (regardless of orientation) should have heterosexual parents. This is the biological and social precedent but other parenting issues may be much more critical to healthy child development.

Gay men see women purely as social (rather than sexual) beings and so they are not aroused by them. There must be some mechanism that causes heterosexual men to see women as sex objects. Similarly, a paedophile’s brain causes him to see children as sex objects. Homosexuality is becoming much more accepted in society. Gays may choose to come out by admitting their orientation to family and friends. Women typically get on well with gay men. Gay men often have the social skills that women appreciate. Some men have mannerisms that we call effeminate because they are more typically associated with women. Effeminate men are not necessarily homosexual.

It is a misconception that gays look or behave differently to straight people. But our orientation does not affect our character, our personality or abilities. Some people naturally have mannerisms that are associated with being gay. There is no guarantee that a butch woman is lesbian or that an effeminate man is gay. As people, gays are no different to anyone else but they may choose to differentiate themselves by dressing or behaving in certain ways.

… there are a great many males who remain as masculine, and a great many females who remain as feminine, in their attitudes and their approaches in homosexual relations, as the males or females who have nothing but heterosexual relations. (Alfred Kinsey)

Excerpt from Learn About Sexuality (ISBN 978-0956-894748)