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#14 - ADDENDUM TO BLOG # 13

Biological factors such as genes and hormones have often been advanced as the primary cause resulting in the development of homosexuality. However, despite repeated claims to the contrary, nothing has substantiated a direct biological cause in the evolution of psychosexual inversion and obligatory homosexuality. Nevertheless, people have to adjust to the body they have received at birth. A significant number of gay men relate having been dissatisfied with aspects of their body. New York columnist, Merle Miller described his plight:

                  As a child I wanted to be the girl my mother had had in mind or else the all-American boy everybody else so admired. Since sex changes were unheard of in those days, I couldn't be a girl; so I tried the other. I ate carloads of Wheaties, hoping I'd turn into another Jack Armstrong, but I still could neither throw nor catch a baseball. I couldn't even see the thing; I'd worn glasses as thick as plate -glass windows since I was three. I sold enough Liberty magazines to buy all the bodybuilding equipment Charles Atlas had to offer, but it did no good. I remained an eighty-nine-pound weakling year after year.[1]

                  Gay persons have been particularly identified intellectually and temperamentally as bright and sensitive. Another physically based matter concerns intersexuality, genetic errors resulting in indistinct gender identification. These errors occur at miniscule percentages compared with the majority number of healthy births.

                  There are many ways individuals can develop negative, self-disparaging attitudes toward themselves. Being mistreated by fathers is one way, but there are many others as well. Many men like Merle Miller tell of having been late maturing, small in stature or physically limited in some manner that discouraged their involvement in robust sports. Some have felt cheated, thinking their genitalia to be small or in some way inferior. Many men who have been circumcised miss their foreskin and also feel violated and not the same as other men. They were not whole. Dissatisfaction with one’s body can be based on an endless variety of concerns such as hair color, height, weight, baldness or body hair.

                  One female-to-male transsexual began her autobiography by reporting having been a tag-along tomboy, always a member of a gang of boys. She wrote of a time of being the last in their group as they were wending their way through the woods, and she came upon evidence of one of them having recently urinated by the side of the trail. She described her great envy of boys’ ability to urinate standing up. She valued their way of life and felt overpowering desires to be like them, physically as well as socially.

                  In Blog 13, I presented reports that point to the importance of a second primary influence, that being social factors. These specifically involve emotional and relational bonds male children experience with their parents, particularly with their fathers, and subsequently with male peers. The quality of these engagements appears to significantly impact positively or negatively the outcome of male psychosexual development and gender identification. This negative influence is found in a high percentage of gay men’s reports of early family relationships.

                  In surveying research regarding homosexuality, psychiatrists, William Byne and Bruce Parsons, stressed the importance of a third element, the contribution of the individual. They said that while people do not consciously decide their sexual orientation, it is “shaped and reshaped by a cascade of choices made in the context of changing circumstances in one’s life and enormous social and cultural pressures.”[2]   (emphasis added) Individuals can respond differently to physical aspects of their body or to relationships they encounter with others. These workers observed that unique, individual choice would allow for the existence of variation and multiple routes into the homosexual complex.

                                                                                   ******

                   I have stressed before my belief that the bedrock of homosexual identification is an incomplete or devalued and distorted sense of self which contributes to an arrest or disorder of psychosocial and psychosexual development. This means that although these men may be in adult bodies and often excel in many areas of their lives, they are, in the deepest recesses of their beings, very young, underdeveloped, needful children. Their most elemental sense of being, or definition of self, their “I am,” lies at the heart of the matter. Their ability to connect and interact whole heartedly with others, particularly those of their own sex, is jeopardized.            

                  Boys do not choose to be homosexual. However, their avoidant response to hurtful experiences had over time with parents and peers lawfully leads them at puberty to be erotically drawn to those of their own sex. Similar features of less-than-ideal socialization are regularly noted in the backgrounds of those who became erotically drawn to others of their sex as they grew up.  

                  Young children tend to become like those whom they love and see themselves as most like. Generally,  it is mothers for the little girls and fathers for the boys. The response to dissatisfaction with self is varied. Self-soothing via masturbation is a common distraction from the pain of estrangement from self and others whom they esteem highly, viewing them as more masculine and yearning to be like them. On the other hand, boys who are well identified with their fathers and male friends do not have to masturbate to feel close to them. A brisk game of softball, basketball, hockey or whatever is far more engaging and rewarding. Homosexual psychologist and sex researcher, Charles Tripp explained:

                  A considerable body of data indicates that boys who begin masturbating early (usually before puberty) while simultaneously looking at their own genitalia can build a crucial associative connection between maleness, male genitalia, and all that is sexually valuable and exciting. These associations amount to an eroticism which is ‘ready’ to extend itself to other male attributes, particularly to those of a later same-sex partner.[3] 

                  Developmentally, what is happening in the above scenario is a case of “getting the cart before the horse,” a child being sexualized before being appropriately socialized.

                  At the far end of the male gay-trans continuum are those who so yearn for the body of a female that they hate their primary insignia of maleness and seek to hide or get rid of it. Some have gone so far as emasculate themselves. The great increase of men and women seeking sex-change surgeries is disturbing.

                   Consideration of this important effort of discovering commonality among those who become gay, we have pointed to three primary areas which contribute to a person’s becoming compulsively focused erotically to others of their own sex. They are: first, biological issues, matters concerning their physical being; second, sociality, the impact of experiences interacting with others; and third, the use of agency, the person’s particular attitude and response to either of the above categories.

                  Actually, there is fourth important dimension­­­­­ ––the passage of time. People are vastly different so far as their physical and relational resourcefulness over time. A child ten years of age can respond to unfavorable circumstances differently than could a four-year old. Individuals continue to change as they mature physically and move through the cycle of life.

                  Efforts to understand the developmental pathway leading to compulsive homosexual behavior must give attention to these four dimensions, biological, social, individual choice, and differing circumstances occurring over time.


[1] Miller, M., On Being Different: What It Means To Be A Homosexual, 1971, p. 18-19.

[2] Byne, W., and Parsons, B., “Human Sexual Orientation: The Biologic Theories Reappraised,” Archives of General Psychiatry, 50, pp.228-239.

[3] Tripp, C. A., The Homosexual Matrix, 1975, p. 83.

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