Multiple factors involved in sexual orientation, part 2

I posted 2 weeks ago about this twin study but it is now making the media.

Here is the abstract of the article from Archives of Sexual Behavior:

There is still uncertainty about the relative importance of genes and environments on human sexual orientation. One reason is that previous studies employed selfselected, opportunistic, or small population-based samples. We used data from a truly population-based 2005–2006 survey of all adult twins (20–47 years) in Sweden to conduct the largest twin study of same-sex sexual behavior attempted so far. We performed biometric modeling with data on any and total number of lifetime same-sex sexual partners, respectively. The analyses were conducted separately by sex. Twin resemblance was moderate for the 3,826 studied monozygotic and dizygotic same-sex twin pairs. Biometric modeling revealed that, in men, genetic effects explained .34–.39 of the variance, the shared environment .00, and the individual specific environment .61–.66 of the variance. Corresponding estimates among women were .18–.19 for genetic factors, .16–.17 for shared environmental, and 64–.66 for unique environmental factors. Although wide confidence intervals suggest cautious interpretation, the results are consistent with moderate, primarily genetic, familial effects, and moderate to large effects of the nonshared environment (social and biological)

on same-sex sexual behavior.

Reactions are mixed but not really along any ideological grounds that I can see. For instance, from ScienceNOW:

J. Michael Bailey, a psychologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who led earlier twin studies of sexual orientation, calls the new study “good, important, and one unlikely to be bettered in the near future.” But Jonathan Beckwith, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, says that the new work fails to overcome a number of problems faced by previous twin studies. He notes that the final sample included only 12% of the males in the Swedish registry, leaving open the possibility of recruitment bias. And Beckwith says that the failure to control for family environment could inflate estimates of genetic influence.

Co-author Qazi Rahman, was quoted by the Washington Post:

“This study puts cold water on any concerns that we are looking for a single ‘gay gene’ or a single environmental variable which could be used to ‘select out’ homosexuality — the factors which influence sexual orientation are complex. And we are not simply talking about homosexuality here — heterosexual behavior is also influenced by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors,” study co-author Dr. Qazi Rahman, a leading scientist on human sexual orientation, said in a prepared statement.

I intend to devote at least one more post to this study as I agree with Michael Bailey that it is an important study. I think along with the other 2 population based studies (Bailey’s in 2000 and Kendler’s also in 2000), it provides a picture of modest genetic effects along with a major role for non-shared enviromental factors. Many roads lead to a similar result. Nothing in this study provides a clear picture of what those environmental factors are but a simple environmental explanation (e.g., poor parenting) or genetic source (single gene, or uniform action of several genes) is not supported here.

Rahman added in the Post article:

“Overall, genetics accounted for around 35 percent of the differences between men in homosexual behavior and other individual-specific environmental factors (that is, not societal attitudes, family or parenting which are shared be twins) accounted for around 64 percent. In other words, men become gay or straight because of different developmental pathways, not just one pathway,” Rahman said.

  • Drowssap

    Warren

    First of all, RIGHT ON! about this study.

    But second off I don’t understand one thing. Why does this study suggest multiple, environmental triggers? I’m not saying I don’t believe that to be the case because most things have a few, main triggers. I’m just asking what in this study excludes a “magic bullet”?

    Example:

    Pretend for a second that male SSA is triggered by prenatal exposure to something lame like a common, cold virus. Don’t sizable portions of the population run into this microbe, every generation? Aren’t there a lot of things like that? For most of human history measles was ubiquitous in human populations. Maybe certain strains still are.

  • Drowssap

    J. Michael Bailey, a psychologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who led earlier twin studies of sexual orientation, calls the new study “good, important, and one unlikely to be bettered in the near future.”

    I LOVE that quote. More good stuff comin’ our way!

    Beckwith says that the failure to control for family environment could inflate estimates of genetic influence.

    An indication of low genetic influence possibly headed even lower?

  • Evan

    It looks like the genetic factors are going to be clarified first in the next period. But just when they are about to be clarified, their influence loses some weight in the balance of factors. Interesting turn of events. Scientists are probably going to work on the correlations between genes and other brain correlates until the other environmental factors, especially prenatal factors, are liable to be studied in detail.

    The 12% response rate is very small indeed. It’s likely that the most motivated participants were also the ones who were most open about their sexuality. That could be linked with a particular trait that could have a contribution to the concordance rate. Also, if the trait is polygenic, environment is likely to play a big role. Actually, at low penetrance rates, environmental factors can be decisive.

  • Evan

    One thing I forgot to mention.

    roughly 5% of men and 8% of women reported sexual activity with a member of the same sex at least once during their lifetimes

    So, if I get this right, this study shows what is the genetic contribution in individuals where the trait is most strongly expressed.

  • Drowssap

    But just when they are about to be clarified, their influence loses some weight in the balance of factors. Interesting turn of events.

    That’s an act of God. 8-)

    There are probably many genes that correlate with SSA. Imagine if one of these was accidentally discovered 10 or 20 years ago. We would have never heard the end of it. Even a 1% correlation would have been spun and blasted through loudspeakers as absolute proof that SSA was 100% genetic. Just thinking about that alternate universe makes me cringe. 8-)

  • Dave G.

    Given the free will of each individual, where are the social interactive factors such as expectations of significant adults (or peers), experimental options opened to curious youth, pop cultural influences, etc. Do these get lost among the “environmental”

    factors?

  • Michael Bussee

    Is Dave G. suggesting that impressionable kids are somehow pressured into being gay by adults/peers, society pushing experimental options, etc.? What is he suggesting? That kids wouldn’t turn out gay if someone wasn’t pushing them? Is peer, adult and social pressure what makes people straight? Or is that just gayness?

    Does this go along with his idea that we are “all gay if we want to be” and practice it enough? Couldn’t it be that some folks are just gay and some are not? That it is a temperamental and normal variation in human personality?

    I sure wasn’t pressured into it. I wanted it. It was built in. Intrinsic. Instinctive. Just like heterosexuality. This obsession with what “causes” it irks the daylights out of me! It’s so icky, odd and vilethat something must have “caused” it, right?

    It’s not a sickness. Not a disorder. Not a sin. Not broken. Not abnormal. Not wrong. It’s like heterosexuality — and that ain’t nothing wrong with being straight.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    @Michael Bussee: This study relates to the direction of sexual orientation whether same-sex or opposite sex behavior.

  • Evan

    1. I haven’t seen the study yet so I don’t know what their methodology was, but I noticed from the abstract that they included both identical and fraternal twins in the final estimate. Identical twins have a greater degree of concordance for a trait and they also share the same placenta. I wonder how significant are the differences between identicals and fraternals in this study.

    That could throw some light on the probable magnitude of nonshared environmental effects, especially prenatal ones.

    2. This study points to weak genetic influences and equal shared environmental effects on the female homosexual orientation. But the numbers for nonshared environmental effects are largely the same as for male homosexuality. Keeping in mind the brain similarities from the Savic study, it seems they cannot be accounted for by a different degree of genetic factors operating on male and female homosexuals. Apparently, the same magnitude of nonshared environmental factors and the similar brain patterns point to hormonal effects.

    Also, the greater genetic pull for men seems to point to a gender-specific genetic mechanism. Possibly something on the chromosome X.

    3. To my knowledge, twins undergo epigenetic modifications across a lifetime. The greater the age, the greater the differences, as genes can be turned on or off. 20-year old monozygotic twins are more likely to have a greater phenotypic similarity for a given trait than 47-year old twins. Exposure to different environmental factors can do that in the post-natal period and beyond.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    To my knowledge, twins undergo epigenetic modifications across a lifetime….

    Exposure to different environmental factors can do that in the post-natal period and beyond.

    Absolutely correct, genes express according to how useful they are in a given environment.

    Environmental factors weigh heavily in modulating gene expression in humans

  • Patrick

    The thing about DaveG’s assertion is – there really wasn’t any peer pressure to be gay when I grew up (I am 38). There were no gay characters on TV shows, gays and lesbians where rarely if ever talked about in any media outlet, I wasn’t exposed to any homoerotic literature – in short there was nothing like what DaveG asserts as an environmental factor.

    Even today I don’t think there is that much exposure to gay and lesbian life. Yes there are a few shows that have gay things and it is talked about more – but in comparison to hetrosexuality – well there there is no comparison – that is the vastly more dominant societal push.

    As an aside to Drowssap here – why would it irk you so much if many people did think that being gay was primarily genetic – it seems so odd for someone who doesn’t have an emotional attachment to this issue (either gay themselves or anti-gay) to react like that. I just cannot imagine myself – If I were straight – really caring that much about this issue. Even now, I don’t keep up to date on the latest literature about this. I have to say this – but you have a strange hobby Drowssap.

  • Drowssap

    Patrick

    Even now, I don’t keep up to date on the latest literature about this. I have to say this – but you have a strange hobby Drowssap.

    Well… to be honest you got me, it is a weird hobby for a straight guy. I could write a lengthy story to explain how this got started but I’ll try to do a Readers Digest condensed version.

    In a nutshell, somebody in my extended family is gay. When this fact came out did it change our relationship? Nope. I have nothing but love for this person. But for some reason this sent me on a 24/7 mission to understand why. I suppose that’s just my personality. Anyway, this was about 5 or 6 years ago. Initially I believed Narth and philosophies based around their ideas. What they said already fit in with my worldview that somehow gay men were molested or perhaps they missed some sort of critical imprint period. For years (ok I’m nuts) I googled every story on SSA that I could find. The more I learned, the more I realized that SSA was biological. But at the same time the more I learned about biology the more I realized that the gay gene theory was an impossibility. Nothing in all of human biology works anything like it. Well, that’s pretty much my story.

  • Drowssap

    Patrick

    There were no gay characters on TV shows, gays and lesbians where rarely if ever talked about in any media outlet, I wasn’t exposed to any homoerotic literature

    Imagine if you were born in 1900. How much gay media was around back then? And yet you can bet there were small, but significant populations of gay men everywhere.

  • Evan

    Patrick,

    TBH, the issue of what causes homosexuality has become a bit boring. But what causes gender differences inside a gender group, that’s another story. Since the lady from Harvard managed to flip gender by a simple gene in mice this subject is really hot stuff. No one could have ever imagined that would be possible. Many scientific minds are probably working around the clock right now thinking about a potential commercial success of a brain viagra, that would boost typical gender feelings and desire either in heterosexual or homosexual people. How many sexual dysfunctions are caused by weak attractions? I bet there are plenty, especially in aging people. Great scientific discoveries sometimes come where you don’t expect to see them.

  • Michael Bussee

    Drowssap: Did the discovery that one of your family members was gay just ignite a dedazzled sense of wonderment and curiousity, like one might feel on seeing a rare color of tiger or unusually beautiful bird? Or did you start with the conviction that something must have gone awry?

    It sounds like the latter because you say “for some reason this sent me on a 24/7 mission to understand why.” Try to t hink. What could that reason be? Was it pure intelletual curiousity (like trying to understand the life cycle of stars) or was it a determined hunt for cause and cure?

    Is sounds like the latter. Because you also say that intially you “believed Narth and philosophies based around their ideas. What they said already fit in with my worldview that somehow gay men were molested or perhaps they missed some sort of critical imprint period.” They “already fit”…. Hmm….

    Why, of all things, NARTH? NARTH’s elaborate psychodynamic theories are not facts. They are stories. Guesses — but, hey, they “fit your world view”. In science, we normally don’t look for theories to fit our worldviews. Instead, we formulate theories to try to explain and predict. We don’t start with a conclusion.

    In other words, it seems to me that you were obsessed because you already believed that something must be damaged — that there was something wrong with being gay, that something was busted, disordered, unhealthy or wrong. It’s just my opinion, but that’s the way it seems.

  • Eddy

    Patrick’s initial statement did more than just suggest that gays are coached or role-modeled into being gay. There may have been a lack of gay role models in real life and on TV but that does not mean that very serious messages weren’t being passed on by the ‘straight’ role models .

    If TV suggested that all straight men ogle women, that ‘real men’ respond first with lust and then, maybe, find basic personal attraction… that real men are drawn to busty women,…that real men always want to be the leader, to be in charge…..then a kid who doesn’t think or respond this way gets a message. It doesn’t say ‘you’re gay’ but it shouts ‘you’re different’. It’s often at the time of puberty or later that the kid equates ‘being different’ with ‘being gay’. This, to me, is why so many deeply believe that they were born gay; they feel they were ‘different’ from day one and decide later that the explanation for that sense of difference is their homosexuality. It’s plausible–but it’s just as plausible that they were simply different and that the negative messages they got about being different led them to conclude they were gay.

    (By way of illustration, David Hasselhoff is back again as a judge for America’s Got Talent. I hope and pray that most people can see beyond his fame and star status and see that he’s not a proper model of either maleness or straightness. He’s much too condoning of lascivious looking after women and his reaction to the sight of any male flesh (even the chest) is overblown homophobic response.

    Now, let’s take a kid who doesn’t know better…who thinks ‘the Hoff’ is the norm. He’ll begin to wonder why his eyes don’t get as big as saucers when a scantily clad woman takes the stage and why he doesn’t react with horror at the sight of a well-built male. Could be he respects women or isn’t as sexually charged as ‘the Hoff’…its not necessarily a gay message. And it could be that he simply has no homophobia, so a male chest is a male chest, a well-defined male chest is a well-defined male chest…to notice that is not necessarily a gay response. But how many kids are taking these unspoken messages and getting them scrambled? We don’t really know because we haven’t fully examined the impact of peer pressure and the media.)

  • Evan

    Eddy,

    Great intuition. I never thought that actually dichotomising sexual messages like that in the media could also force feelings of being different in someone. I think you’re right.

    Something similar crossed my mind after hearing a psychologist from the US saying that American kids are raised in a more aggressive manner than kids from other parts of the developed world. I thought that this kind of rearing might also divide children into separate categories: children who are able to play rough and those who prefer more tranquil games. If this is true, then maybe finding ways to reduce rejection and make more children feel integrated with the other gender peers will give them a different perspective when they reach adolescence.

    (Note: I wrote a message on a topic here pointing to this possible flaw in Daryl Bem’s EBE theory: the exclusive rough-and-tumble play for typical boys might be also typical for a certain cultural environment. In other parts of the world, play activities can be more inclusive, which is also reflected in social outcomes. Environment can force outcomes sometimes, both in early age socialisation and later identification. I don’t remember any rejected kids from my childhood, nor any of them identifying as gay today. But it may be a coincidence.)

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    Why, of all things, NARTH? NARTH’s elaborate psychodynamic theories are not facts. They are stories. Guesses — but, hey, they “fit your world view”.

    Well, back in the 80s when I grew up gay people weren’t viewed as bad people any more. SSA was viewed as some sort of emotional or psychological disorder that wasn’t biologically based and could be overcome. I believed that hook, line and sinker and if you look back in your own history so did you in the 1980s. But I have an excuse, I was young. You actually worked to promote the idea and probably had at least a small impact on my belief system.

    So when I went looking for answers I ran across Narth and related groups. What they said made sense because they fed me what I had heard all my life. But something about their concepts didn’t add up, and science was finding more and more biological corelations to homosexuality. So ultimately I began to disagree with them and that’s where I am today.

    Gene, germ or whatever I don’t care. I’ll follow the science. Right now environment appears to be in a strong lead and I don’t expect that to change.

    /sorry, back on topic

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Eddy

    If this is true, then maybe finding ways to reduce rejection and make more children feel integrated with the other gender peers will give them a different perspective when they reach adolescence.

    If I remember correctly Timoth Kincaid was one of the “cool” kids growing up and he is gay. I found out about a year ago that one of the semi-cool kids in my highschool recently came out. So I dunno if feeling like an outsider is necessarily responsible.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    Different factors work differently in different people. GID kids were happy mostly in opposite-sex roles, but lack of rejection would have probably played no role in their sexual identity development. Where the biological factors are strongest, probably environment doesn’t have much to say in the later outcome.

  • concerned

    Eddy,

    You have definitely touched on something very important in the development of a gay identity. If you do not fit the model that the media portrays as a real man you may feel different. Over the past few years I have come to see that real men look nothing like the image that Hollywood has portrayed to us for the past 10-20 years, in fact this image of men is now being shown to be a pretty poor example of what a man should be and yet I think these models have had a major impact on many of us and on our perceptions of ourselves.

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy commented that “it’s just as plausible that they were simply different and that the negative messages they got about being different led them to conclude they were gay”

    So they were just confused? Mistaken? They were really straight? Maybe for some — I would call them “pseudohomosexual”. But, for me, it wasn’t being “simply different” or “negative messages” that convinced me.

    What was “different” was that I was homosexual and they were not. What was different about me is that I had crushes on boys and was attracted to them sexually — not girls.

    That basic, undeniable fact led me to conclude I was homosexual. In other words, if you don’t get crushes on girls and only want to see other boys naked, you just might be gay.

  • Evan

    Michael,

    You keep mentioning that you were interested in the anatomy of other boys early on in your life. If you are willing to say a few things about that without being too personal or explicit, do you remember what was your age when you first felt drawn to other boys? And what was your age when you clearly associated sexual feelings with same-sex interest? Did you at any point in your life have similar feelings for a particular opposite-sex person? How strong would you say was your early interest in boys? Were you a boy very curious about sex in general?

    Do you find that any of the known theories or explanations (like Daryl Bem’s ‘Exotic Becomes Erotic’ or some correlations, like the fraternal birth order effect) can account for your personal story?

    Feel free to reply to any of these questions.

    Thanks.

  • Michael Bussee

    (1) Do you remember what was your age when you first felt drawn to other boys? About age 5 or six. Definitely during first grade. It was emotional and sexual — a definite first crush like a teenaged boy would feel towards his first female crush.

    (2) And what was your age when you clearly associated sexual feelings with same-sex interest? I don’t quite understand this queation. Same thing. First grade. I knew the words “homo” and “queer” by about third grade and understood that this must be something very bad — why else would people mistreat you for being different?

    (3) Did you at any point in your life have similar feelings for a particular opposite-sex person? Nope. Never. Liking a girl as a person was about it.

    (4) How strong would you say was your early interest in boys? Very strong.

    (5) Were you a boy very curious about sex in general? I guess so. I guess I always have been, but females just didn’t (and still don’t) evoke the same feelings as males.

    And for the record, I didn’t “choose” it or “want” it. I was never molested. My parents did a fine job of loving and providing for us. My Dad was not abusive or passive. My Mom was not an emasculating witch. I wasn’t “pressured” into by anyone.

    I didn’t eat too much soy. I was not possessed by demons. Whatever “caused” it, It happened early for me — but I have talked to quite a few straight men who were also aware of their orientation early on.

    It is curious to me that people imagine that the emergence of sexual/romantic attractions for gays must somehow be different than it is for straights. As far as I can tell it feels about the same. Think back on your own sexual development and awareness. it doesn’t happen to you — you just become aware of it..

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    Definitely during first grade. It was emotional and sexual — a definite first crush like a teenaged boy would feel towards his first female crush.

    You mention having strong SSA and no OSA from a very early age. Yet surprisingly you became one of the founders and leaders of Exodus. What made you think that homosexuality was a mental disorder when it came so naturally to you early in life?

  • Michael Bussee

    Drowssap, you asked: “You mention having strong SSA and no OSA from a very early age. Yet surprisingly you became one of the founders and leaders of Exodus. What made you think that homosexuality was a mental disorder when it came so naturally to you early in life?”

    I knew i had only homosexual attractions and no heterosexual ones, but I believed that God could and would change me. That’s what the church I was attending told me.

    They said that the Bible promised it — if only I tried hard enough, read the Bible enough, fellowshipped enough, prayed enough, etc. They said He created me heterosexual.

    About age 12, I read a lot of books that all agreed it was a mental disorder. Who was I to question that? I was just a kid. That’s what the APA called it until 1974. Then, I started to meet gay guys who were not psychiatrically disordered. They were just gay.

    The APA dropped it from the DSM IV. I sttarted to question what I had come to believe. My Christian faith deepened, but my beliefs about homosexuality took a 180.

    Even though it “came naturally” for me at an early age, this does not mean that I was unaware of the strong anti-gay religious and cultural attitudes about it. I wanted to be “normal” and accepted — doesn’t everyone?

  • eddy

    Michael:

    First, let’s make the kid who’s getting the messages from TV an 8 or 9 year old boy. In most cases he doesn’t yet really understand what sex is. The only message he gets is “That’s a man…that’s a popular man but I’m nothing like that.” So, the child doesn’t make a conclusion such as “I’m straight” or “I’m gay” but rather “I’m different”. That feeling of being different begins to set up a ‘deficit’…the assumption is that ‘being different’ is also somehow wrong. So, the kid begins to ask “what’s wrong with me?” and doesn’t realize that the answer might be “nothing at all”. He may ask “why am I different”…and–the question itself infers that ‘being different’ is some type of problem. As a result, the individual has a heaping dose of self-doubt and identity conflict.

    Now, logically, how would one attempt to resolve feelings of self-doubt and identity conflicts? The resolving process is focussed on their own gender…their perceived differences with others of their gender is at the heart of their conflict so naturally they will focus on their own gender for the resolution. Some of these conflicts work out quite normally; the child eventually develops some peer relationships that address their self-doubts and conflicts or perhaps they learn on their own that they bought into a truckload of negative messages that weren’t true.

    But, if the conflicts aren’t resolved by the time the youth reaches adolescence, it would be easy for the youth to misinterpret their preoccupation with their own gender. “I’m always looking at other guys; I must be gay”…or perhaps they’re trying to still resolve those doubts and conflicts by constant comparison. “I’ve had an intense curiosity about the nakedness of other men so I must be gay”…or, could it be that since they didn’t measure up to the TV/media images, they’re now wondering how their developing body measures up. “Yeah, but the male nakedness excites me”…well, forgive me, but I remember getting turned on by the simple word ‘naked’ even if it was just a ‘naked light bulb’ being discussed.

    “Well, why then didn’t naked women turn me on”. I’d be willing to bet that most of us were exposed to nudity of our own gender before that of the opposite sex…by the time the opposite sex exposure hit, we were a bit older and knew lots more about sex than we did at the onset of puberty. Our titillation by our own gender may have been a combination of self-doubt, envy and admiration; our ‘yukk’ feelings towards the opposite sex…because now we realize that sex means sharing body parts, germs, performance expectations, the risk of pregnancy. A whole lot of baggage…and an especially heavy load if you’re filled with self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy.

    One of the ironies is that a good kid: one with a strong sense of morals, with true respect for others, who desires good and peace for all….well, this kid is branded as ‘different’ and often as ‘gay’…not because anyone caught them fixating on their own gender but simply because they are different. If someone doesn’t step in to reassure them that it’s okay to be different…and that ‘being different’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘being gay’, they are likely to conclude that they are gay. Once they come to that conclusion, the drive for intimacy will keep them stumbling on–even through unpleasant sexual experiences–as they struggle to find out who they are.

    Well, there goes my library time for today…still shopping for that new home computer.

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy: “That’s a man…that’s a popular man but I’m nothing like that.” So, the child doesn’t make a conclusion such as “I’m straight” or “I’m gay” but rather “I’m different”. That feeling of being different begins to set up a ‘deficit’”.

    So in your world view, homosexuality is really a misguided inferiority complex? I have heard this “masculinity-deficit-compensated-for-by-sexualizing-unmet- emotional-needs” theory many, many times before — and I still think it’s a load of horse manure. It’s not a deficit or an attempt to fill a deficit any more than straightness is.

  • Michael Bussee

    Here’s the problem with the “masculinity deficit” theory: once you start with the assumption that a person must be gay because they are attempting to fill in “deficits” in their sense of masculinity, then all you have to do is ask a gay man if he has ever felt such inferiority — and he will say “yes”!

    Then, you feel gratified because you have proved your assumption! Aha! There it is! He felt inferior to other boys or men! But, come on, ho hasn’t? Begin with a prejudice and you will find your proof every single time.. It’s “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” — one of the most common errors of logic. The fact that something occurs before something else or in conjunction with something else does not prove causality.

    .

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    He felt inferior to other boys or men! But, come on, ho hasn’t?

    Let me just agree with Michael on this one.

    A) I’m only 5’8″

    B) I’m nerdy

    C) In highschool I had bad skin

    D) Girls wouldn’t even TALK to me in highschool, let alone date me

    At that age I was definitely an outsider. My friends were also outsiders. In all the conversations we had as highschoolers nobody ever said, “Girls hate us, jocks hate us, the cool kids won’t talk to us, let’s go gay!” Our brains couldn’t comprehend something like that. There were five of us and during our highschool careers only 2 of us ever had a girlfriend. I only went on one date during all 4 years! Anyway, we kept oggling girls and when we hit about college age the girls began to like us in return. For some reason, after that it was a flood the other direction. 4 of us are happily married, I don’t know what happened to #5, we lost touch. The last I heard years ago was that he was in a longterm relationship with a girl.

  • Michael Bussee

    I think Eddy concluded he was was inferior because he was gay — and not the other way around. Gay kids are made to feel less valuable, that there is something wrong with being gay, that it is an illness, a deficit, a sin, a disorder, etc. — they feel less valuable because they are gay. They don’t incorrectly “conclude” they must be gay because they feel inferior. Eddy has it backwards.

  • jayhuck

    Michael,

    Not to mention that there are many gay men who haven’t had a problem with their masculinity.

    I would also add that even today’s culture is one that incessantly perpetuates the non-masculine gay stereotype, it is no wonder then that some gay men, even the truly masculine ones – whatever that word means – might be made to feel as if there is a problem with their masculinity.

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    Well… I don’t want to totally discount that SSA could develop differently in different people. But in my opinion just about every secondary trait that is commonly associated with SSA is a side effect and not a cause.

    Gay kids are made to feel less valuable, that there is something wrong with being gay, that it is an illness, a deficit, a sin, a disorder, etc

    I know it makes you and probably other people irritated when I suggest that SSA might in some crazy way be the result of a common, early life infection. When I write that I don’t mean that gay people are inferior to straight people. Pretend blindness could be the result of an infection, actually it is. A suggestion that a germ might be responsible is in no way a condemnation of blind people. I might actually love a blind person. It’s just a way to scientifically understand whats going on.

  • jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    Let’s not forget the problems associated with your infection theory either :) Happy Fourth, btw

  • Drowssap

    Let’s not forget the problems associated with your infection theory either

    Agreed. 8-)

    Happy Fourth to you too!

  • Michael Bussee

    Jayhuck, you observed that “some gay men might be made to feel as if there is a problem with their masculinity.” Might? But that’s precisely it. It’s what EXODUS and NARTH actually teach — that there is something very wrong with your masculinity. They believe that, they tell you that and then they look for that.

    And, lo and behold, they find it. Nicolosi even goes so far as to say that if you did have a good relationship with Dad (and a solid sense of your own maleness) that you could not turn out gay. If you are gay, you must have missed out on this. If you say you didn’t, you must be in denial. Perfect catch 22.

    You didn’t bond with your Dad. He was critical of you. Your mother emasculated you. You didn’t fit it with other boys. You never really felt like a legitimate male so you turned that into a psycho-sexual desire for one.

    You felt inferior to other boys and so you turned this sense of “deficit” into a sort of masculine idol worship — wanting to possess that which you felt you lacked. It’s really just a tired re-working of old psychoanalytic concepts — gayness as a case of mistaken identity. You’re not really gay — you just think you are.

  • Michael Bussee

    Drowssap: Problem is, blindness is a disability. Homosexuality is not. I would only buy into your idea if you suggested that the wonderful variations in the color of butterflies might be the result of an infection. Or that heterosexuality was also caused by an infection. Why would you assume that only homosexuality is?

    Also, there are many causes of blindness. To assert that it is also the result of an infection is overstating the case. How about injury to the eye? Retinal detachment, etc.?

  • Evan

    Jayhuck,

    The facts coming from research point to something feminine in the brains of gay men. Childhood gender non-conformism is the greatest predictor of future homosexual orientation. On average and in most cases, of course, because not all people might become gay for the same reasons, and the presumed genetic or biological factors are probably not equally distributed among gays. In some cases personal experiences might have played a sizeable role, while in others a lot less so.

    Evidence is growing that male homosexuality is correlated with a number of female-like brain patterns (amygdala connectivity, brain symmetry, maybe INAH3 size). It is logical that what creates attraction to men brainwise must be the same in both sexes, male and female. Which is not to say that gay men have female brains, but the regions that create attractions in the gay male brains will probably be female-like.

  • Evan

    If the neurohormonal hypothesis is eventually proven in humans too, then prenatal hormonal hardwiring might actually mean that many (future) gay men had biological reasons to feel different from the majority of men. Someone could be male from a genetic and gonadal point of view, but he might have female-typical feelings towards the physically same-sex peers.

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    Also, there are many causes of blindness. To assert that it is also the result of an infection is overstating the case. How about injury to the eye? Retinal detachment, etc.?

    You are exactly on the right track. Somewhere in the world there are almost certainly genes or gene combinations that can result in blindness. BUT… because of natural selection those genes are super rare, probably less than 1 in 10,000 people and possibly as infrequent as 1 out of millions. Every common cause of blindness comes back to environment. Infections, wear and tear, pollution, etc. Specific genes create susceptability to all of these things which is why genes seem to corelate with everything. The next time you see a young, blind person you can safely bet that something happened to him. If you bet your chips on that hand you’ll win almost every time.

    It isn’t that blind people are bad, immoral or inferior to you and me. It’s that blindness results in fewer offspring in all human environments. Babies are the currency of life, nothing else matters to Mother Nature. If there was an environment where blindess worked, we’d find it there. Certain breeds of cave fish are naturally blind and they have plenty of offspring. So in certain environments blindess is the result of natural genetics. In humans no such environment exists and so blindness is rarely part of the original blueprint.

    Ok, so how does this apply to SSA?

    If there was an environment on earth where male SSA stomped OSA for making and/or raising children you can bet it would thrive in that spot. Outside of that area it would taper off until eventually you wouldn’t find it at all. First of all I don’t know of any environment where male SSA whips OSA, second we don’t see any geographic pattern for homosexuality. Ok, so what about the “gay gene makes women extra fertile” hypothesis. Well, so far it’s just an algebra equation. Unfortunately that theory has a much bigger problem. No common gene in all of human biology is that common and that antagonistic between men and women. And if it really was that antagonistic why is it even expressed in men? Finally, all of the hard evidence points towards environment.

    Ok, so if SSA is environment it doesn’t automatically mean damage but it does suggest the possibility. If it ultimately turns out that homosexuality is the result of early life damage it doesn’t mean gay people are bad, immoral or inferior to straights. Anybody who would talk down to a deaf person or blind person or tease a kid with acne is a jerk not to mention short sighted. Every person on Earth suffers from large amounts of environmental damage, both mental and physical. The reason we survive and thrive is because humans are tough. Sometimes I also get the feeling that somebody is looking out for us.

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    I should have added one more small point. Even if male SSA ultimately turns out to be the result of biological damage it’s not a mental disorder.

    Why?

    For arguments sake let’s pretend that SSA works like Narcolepsy.

    A virus sneaks into your brain during infancy and chews up a few thousand neurons. Those cells were responsble for producing a chemical that makes you straight. Anyone missing those cells would be gay. If we took those cells out of the NARTH Board Of Directors they’d be gay too. The point being that you SHOULD be gay and you don’t have a choice.

    The disorder in this scenario isn’t homosexuality. The disorder is that you might lack a few thousand specialized cells. Homosexuality would merely be the symptom that these cells weren’t there. Everything in the brain depends on everything else and we probably need them for more than just “straightness.” So yeah, in this case scientists should find a way to replace those cells if they could.

  • Patrick

    I would think the risk of replacing some cells in the brain would be such a risk prone procedure that there would have to be some very good reason for it other than ‘well maybe these cells are needed for something besides straightness’.

    Now if someone suffered a debilitating stroke – and there was a way to repair the damage – then the risk here might be worth it (I say might because frankly none of us really have any idea what dangers would be involved in such a procedure).

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    The picture that comes to light doesn’t seem to be either one thing or another, ie either disorder or not, it looks more gradient-like. The amygdala patterns common to straight women and gay men do point to vulnerability to mood disorders and anxious type of personality. But we don’t know yet whether they are associated with same-gender attractions or participate in causing them.

    If there is any respect in which homosexuality might be considered to produce an impairment, then it must be reproduction. The same thing may not be a disorder from one point of view, like psychiatry or psychology, but it may produce a form of disability from another point of view: lack of attractions that can lead to reproductive behaviour. It’s the lack of evolutionary fitness argument. The greater maternal fertility effect hypothesis is the kind of explanation that creates false negatives, because we cannot know whether gay men did not reproduce more in the past. Present cultural conditions prevent us from making that assumption. Gay men today might be biased to form new kinds of bonds based on a newly accepted type of sexuality, which was not the case in the past when social conditions might have pressured them to focus less on sexuality. This is the weak spot of evolutionary explanations applied to humans: they fail to take into account cultural factors that may not follow a pattern liable to be studied by natural science. Culture can work in anti-naturalistic ways.

  • Michael Bussee

    Once again, Drowssap, whether “mental illness or not, you are still conceptualizing homosexuality in negative terms of deficit or damage: “Even if male SSA ultimately turns out to be the result of biological damage…

    Why would you assume — and that is the correct word — why would you begin with assumption that something is “damaged” in the brains of gay men and not that something is simply different in the brains of gay men?

    Not every human difference is damaged. All of out fingerprints and eyes are different from individual to individual. Homosexuality is just one of those natural differences. Nothing got “chewed up”.

  • Eddy

    Michael:

    Re your post 11084. LOL. On the way to the library today (before reading your post) I thought about pointing out the big distinction between us…and your post makes it clear that you see the same distinction…we just disagree about the order of things. You think I have it backwards and I think you do.

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy: It’s a question of which came first — (A) the feeling of being different/inferior or (B) the awareness of same sex attraction. For me, the awareness came first.

    You experienced it differently. Sounds like you (1) compared yourself to other males, (2) found yourself lacking and (3) then began a quest to find what you didn’t think you had — real maleness.

    What made me feel “different” was that I was a gay boy and they were not. For me, the “gayness” itself made me realize I was “different”. For you, the “difference” made you feel (and incorrectly conclude) that you must be “gay”

    Some people used to call this “pseudohomosexuality” — people who feel and act “gay” but really aren’t. Like you, they are acting out some other unmet need or inner conflict.. You then seem to argue that all gays became gay through the same process you experienced — as a reaction to feeling “less than”. You really shouldn’t generalize your experience in this way. You present it as though it were established fact — and not just another unprovable theory.

    For you, it was a damaged sense of maleness that became a case of “mistaken identity’. Gay wasn’t truly who who were. It’s who you assumed you must be because of feeling inferior. For me, it was (and is) my true identity -=- and trying to change it or deny it caused much misery both for me and those I loved…

  • Eddy

    Michael:

    I still disagree. In looking back you feel that you had sexual attractions akin to crushes on men at the age of 5 or 6. I maintain that a 5 or 6 year old’s attractions are not sexual. There are strong desires going on but they are not sexual.

    The desire to be noticed, accepted, loved. To be appreciated as special and unique. The desire for human touch, for male affirmation. I believe that’s what’s likely going on for a 5 or 6 year old. Pretty strong feelings of desire directed towards one’s own gender…but not sexual desire.

    Your response came in while I was still at the library. I may not get a chance to check in again until Tuesday.

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy – “I maintain that a 5 or 6 year old’s attractions are not sexual. There are strong desires going on but they are not sexual.”

    You can “maintain” it all you want, but it doesn’t change the facts. Your beliefs, preconceptions and favorite theories don’t make something true or not true. Furthermore, you really shouldn’t generalize your own experience as t hough it held true for the rest of us. That’s kinda arrogant, dontcha think?

    My interests were definitely sexual — along with affection, touch, admiration, etc. — just like a boy might feel about his first “girlfriend”. Just because you experienced it differently doesn’t mean it’s gospel.

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    Once again, Drowssap, whether “mental illness or not, you are still conceptualizing homosexuality in negative terms of deficit or damage:

    You are absolutely correct. Homosexuality appears to be largely the result of “environment” but that doesn’t automatically mean damage. Maybe it’s due to a common, healthy combination of genes and hormones or something related.

    But maybe it’s not.

    And that’s the thing. Everybody needs an open mind.

    When you were young you said “homosexuality is bad!”

    Now your older and you say “homosexuality is good!”

    Maybe you just happen to be blessed with a personality that doesn’t automatically look for the middle ground. 8-)

  • Michael Bussee

    Infection. Germ. Deficit. Damage. Busted. Disordered. Mistaken. Sinful. Chewed up. Not in God’s will.

    Awareness. Different. Orientation. Variation. Instinct. Intrinsic. Part of the normal specturm of human sexual attraction.

    Review the posts. The answers you come up with depend entirely on which vocabulary you select. When you have already made up your mind, you tend to find what you are looking for.

  • Michael Bussee

    Drowssap commented: “When you were young you said “homosexuality is bad!” Now you’re older and you say “homosexuality is good!”

    No. Not exactly. Now I say that homosexuality is neutral — just like heterosexuality. What makes anything “bad” or “good” is the intent — how it is used and why. It’s like fire — neither good nor bad in and of itself. It can warm and give light or it can injure and destroy. It all depends on how you use it

    Question: On what basis do you assume that homosexuality must be damaged or chewed up — brain damage as the result of an “infection” — as opposed to being just another human trait — like eye color or fingeprints? Why assume that something went wrong? How can you keep an open mind if you start with a conclusion?.

  • Drowssap

    Patrick

    I would think the risk of replacing some cells in the brain would be such a risk prone procedure

    You’re right, that’s not possible today.

    You have approximately 30,000 Neurons in your brain that produce Orexin. If those get chomped your sleep patterns go haywire and you get Narcolepsy. Scientists are working on a way to give Narcoleptics an Orexin like medicine to make up for the fact that it’s not being produced in the brain. That’s the sort of thing they can attempt today.

    However there is plenty of AMAZING stuff on the horizon. Researchers are working on ways to get the brain to regrow damaged areas on it’s own. If the brain built these cells in the first place, why not get it to build them again? But that’s a couple of decades away. Then again, the rate of scientific advancement keeps accelerating so who knows.

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    Why assume that something went wrong? How can you keep an open mind if you start with a conclusion?

    There is only one main reason that my brain guesses that something out of the ordinary must have happened. Gay men have fewer babies. Good evidence is starting to crop up that SSA is indeed set in motion by something in the environment but forget all that. Even if I lived 100 years ago and had no scientific evidence the fewer babies thing is what stands out. If gay men produce 99 offspring for every 100 that straight men produce the genes and natural processes involved are ultimately doomed to extinction.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    The greater maternal fertility effect hypothesis is the kind of explanation that creates false negatives, because we cannot know whether gay men did not reproduce more in the past. Present cultural conditions prevent us from making that assumption.

    I was thinking while I worked today and it’s even worse than that. Not only can we not guess how many kids gay men had in primitive cultures we also don’t know why “super attracted to men” women would be at any advantage.

    A) Being super attracted to men would make women less picky, that’s BAD not good.

    B) Being super attracted to men increases the odds of catching an STD, that’s UBER-BAD for fertility not good.

    C) Healthy women in primitive cultures are going to have a baby every year or two anyway. What’s the difference?

    But it gets worse from there. Look at the extra fertility theory from the reverse.

    A) Preferentially gay men live in every environment

    B) They exist because women with the “super attraction to men” gene have more kids than regular women in every environment

    So the ONLY counterforce slowing down the spread of this gene in women are gay men. Without gay men there is no antagonism and the trait becomes fixed in females in every environment.

    So if the trait is that awesome, why aren’t there 40 other genes that do the same thing? Mutation never stops and if something works that well EVERYTIME, EVERYWHERE you can bet there wouldn’t be just 1 gene that coded for that trait. Of course if there were 40 genes many of these would have different side effects besides male homosexuality. A few wouldn’t have any side effects at all and these would spread world wide.

    The extra fertility concept is ridiculous. I’m not saying there couldn’t be a corelation between extra female fertility and male homosexuality but to say they cause each other is silly. It’s something else.

  • Drowssap

    Readers Digest Version:

    Camperio Ciani is claiming that if gay men didn’t slow down the spread of the “super hot for men” gene every women on earth would have it and they’d be fawning over men like crazy.

    Once again it’s the gay man’s fault. 8-)

    Dean Hamer quote on the subject:

    Dean Hamer, a behavioral geneticist at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, who pioneered the search for gay genes, calls the study “an elegant mathematical analysis.” He adds that the team has come up with a “simple solution” to the Darwinian paradox posed by homosexuality: “What is a ‘gay gene’ in a man is a ‘superstraight gene’ in a woman,” he says.

    The fact that Hamer is so smart makes that quote really sad.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    That article looks like a conversation between a gay anthropologist (Camperio Ciano) who knows no gay gene(s) but advances a mathematic formula to prove a genetic trade-off that would solve the Darwinian paradox of homosexuality, a gay geneticist (Dean Hamer) whose contribution in the field has not been replicated and a gay journalist (Michael Balter) who has been writing this kind of scientific news for some years.

    These genes increased the fertility of women but decreased it in men

    He argues that two genes would make both men and women more attracted to men, so as to create a greater possibility for women to have more children. But women cannot have children by themselves; he assumes that if a woman is more attracted to men than other women are, she will actually have more children. What about the families where children of both sexes are gay? How did he assess the degree of ‘gayness’ in each participant to the first study? Did he use Kinsey scores, plethysmographic measures, brainscans?

    Some might identify as gay because they prefer having sex with men over having sex with women. It’s not scientific to assume that all studied families that included gays had similar genetic contribution to that trait or the trait was expressed equally strong. Some might have had greater environmental contribution and less genetic load. How can he project this theory on an evolutionary scale, if his fertility rates are calculated based on present-day rates, which may be influenced by the fact that gays can now identify as such and have no societal pressure to marry women and have kids? Cultural pressure in the past must have forced many of them to start traditional families. This means that not only their female siblings spread the ‘gay genes’, but they did it too to some extent. Camperio Ciano’s model does not take into account any past cultural pressures that bypassed ‘natural’ evolutionary trends. Any such scenario would have spread the ‘gay genes’ too much, which would have made homosexuality prevalent in the gene pool, a possibility he mentions in the study that he excluded from the start.

    This is a theoretical construct, a hypothesis, that is being injected in the media to draw attention and keep the theme going. There are hundreds of studies published everyday a lot more exciting than a mathematic hypothesis based on 0 genes, but they do not make the news even if they are based on facts.

    Here is another hypothesis I can think of, which is more plausible, I think, than that of CC. How about a familial genetic mechanism that predisposes siblings to a certain type of mating strategies: females who are attracted to less typical males and males who find an easier match with the type of women their siblings are? That would be a clean-cut mechanism that would produce less typical males (modern-day ‘gays’) who would have an easier task in finding a female coming from a similar background, due to a genetic effect on their compatibility which makes the carriers target each other. This can also explain how the trait was maintained during historical periods when homosexual behaviour was punished. Otherwise, how could two genes make some women more attracted to men in biopsychological terms? How could two proteins in the brain make some women more attracted to men?

    The shared amygdala patterns are a lot more plausible than that, but they would be common to all heterosexual women and homosexual men if the Savic and Lindstrom study is duplicated. So not only the heterosexual female sibs of homosexual men would have those patterns, but all of them in each category. If those patterns are confirmed, they are correlated with attractions to men, irrespective of gender. In order for Camperio Ciani to have his hypothesis seriously considered he needs two genes expressed in the brains of homosexual men and their heterosexual female siblings which would cause greater attraction to men and would not be common to all heterosexual women, but only to the forementioned siblings. How probable is that? Present brain studies show no such exclusive evidence. On the contrary, they show some brain similarities between all straight women and gay men. There is no particular female category, in these brain studies, that has the trait (?) “attraction to men” more strongly expressed than the rest of females and which is comprised of females with gay male relatives. This is the kind of evidence needed to support such mathematic speculations.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    Camperio Ciani is claiming that if gay men didn’t slow down the spread of the “super hot for men” gene every women on earth would have it and they’d be fawning over men like crazy.

    This debate is imbued with contemporary trends and mentalities. If I remember well, the blue eyes genetic trait is the accidental result of a mutation, there was no special evolutionary selection that brought this trait into the gene pool. We, modern people, have this ‘disease’ of ascribing meaningful causes to any particular occurence we find in nature or society. But the truth is many times things come by accident. Is having blue eyes part of human nature? It is now, but it was not 15.000 years ago. Some geneticists projected that some thousands of years in the future all humans will be mulatto. I don’t know how probable this is, but it is possible. Caucasians have declining demographic rates projections for the next 50 years. In 500 years they could become less widespread and more sough-after for a particular phenotype.

    BTW, here’s a piece of news on what environmental factors could mess with a species’ gender make-up. The same thing could apply to humans in some ways, bearing in mind that humans have been using pesticides since history began to be recorded in Sumer. They have been a mainstay of agricultural civilisations ever since. That’s an environmental candidate factor for a number of changes that humans might have gone through.

    I also read about a certain village in the Dominican Republic where many boys looked like girls in terms of primary sexual characteristics until they reached puberty (it was due to a deficit in a particular enzyme). Just look for the story of guevedoces or machihembras. It could be similar to what caused the frog sexual abnormalities. This goes into the possible environmental hazards category.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    I don’t have time to respond right now but this link is somewhat related to your point that perhaps sexual orientation is related to some part of the brain that codes human agressiveness.

    GNXP: Intercourse and Intelligence

    Cliff Notes:

    Masculinity and Intelligence are antagonistic traits. Smart guys have less masculine bodies. Smart guys also have fewer sex partners and less early life sex.

    This one is a gold mine filled with research study links and interesting points.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    Thanks for the link. I remember reading something similar on sexual maturation and preference for extreme sexually dimorphic traits, like women who got sexually mature early on preferring very masculine types of men and vice versa for men.

    I’m not sure if aggressiveness per se can directly cause differences in sexual orientation. Let me give you an example:

    If you ride a bike you can pick up some speed, but if you get muscular fever you might have to stop. You can still get the bike to go forward by holding it by the handlebars and pushing it in the direction you want it to go, but it’s not the same if you could ride it.

    Similarly, aggressiveness, by the way brain networks are interconnected, can probably provide some traction to one’s sexual orientation, but before that happens there has to be other factors that work with perception. When a person sees another person, all the visual stimuli are processed in a certain way and they signal the gender status of that person. I think that attraction is decided in this area, between the gender status of the person who perceives and the type of person and gender status perceived. So it must be dependent on one’s internal gender state, which must also depend to some degree on levels of aggressiveness, but also on how visual stimuli are emotionally processed. I bet, as I said before, that different levels of aggressiveness have a bearing on how “open” the gates of perception are and also they must be related to one’s gender status, but there are other factors that work in perception to produce a particular recognition of genders.

    There could be something like proprioception, the internal sense of body parts position which works with the visual system when you see an object/person and how you may interact with that object/person. If you have an impaired proprioceptive sense, when you see a ball coming at you, you may look at it and get hit, because you cannot realise that it’s directed at you and can affect you physically. On the other hand, if this sense is over-reactive, you might exaggerate the presence and directedness of many objects or people. I think autistic people have this kind of problems, of sensory integration: some of their senses are dysfunctional, either underreactive or overreactive. So there could be many things working in the brain to influence perception before it gets emotionally interpreted. I’m sure aggression has a big say, but it’s not all of it.

    I mentioned before, on another topic, that we probably have some brain maps of gender, which we use to quickly classify the people we see and prepare emotional reactions or ignore their presence. I’m sure these brain maps have some interesting ways of working together to create all sorts of expectations in human brains, like reward, fear or maternal behaviour. Someone watching a movie might get drawn in the action and forget a bit about the surroundings, they might even get excited by action scenes even if they still are aware that it’s just a movie. They use brain maps to predict possible physical consequences. Similarly, people participating in a scientific study in Bailey’s lab could be watching videos of people having sex, and their brains or sex organs could react to what they see according to how brain maps of genders work in the brain with associated expectations of reward or lack of it. But it’s still not as reliable as real life experience, which can be either stronger or weaker, because real sensations can be a lot fuller than videos, but videos can also work more with fantasies. This kind of differences between experiences and environments could work with the factors I mentioned before in slightly different ways.

    These mechanics are really interesting, but we better leave researchers do their job. -_-

  • Michael Bussee

    Drowssap: Gay men have fewer babies.

    That’s it? That’s what proves to you that gay men’s brains are busted? Come on. Even if it’s true that their lower birth rate will eventually cause the gays to become extinct, it’s going to take a long, long time. And if it does happen, there will be a lot of conservative Christians dancing in the streets.

    We’ve known about homosexuality for thousands of years. None of us will be around to to see it. Neither will my grandson, his granson, his grandson, etc…

    And if it’s going to die out anyway, why be so concerned about it? I understand that the gene for red hair may also die out due to intermarriage. Why aren’t you worried about that? Maybe red hair is caused by a virus, too?

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    Even if it’s true that their lower birth rate will eventually cause the gays to become extinct, it’s going to take a long, long time.

    If male homosexuality was caused by genes and it resulted on average in 50% fewer offspring we would see noticably fewer gay people every generation. In just a couple of hundred years it would be gone. If the “increased female fertility” hypothesis were true we’d see the same pattern due to the increasingly small family sizes found in the modern world. SSA probably wouldn’t last more than a couple of hundred years. But since it’s not a genetically based trait this is all academic.

    Maybe red hair is caused by a virus, too?

    Red hair shows a pattern of inheritance, SSA does not. More importantly red hair might offer survival advantages in certain environments and this equals more babies. At worst it was a neutral trait spread by a process called “genetic drift”.

  • Michael Bussee

    OK you convinced me. My brain is chewed up by a virus. No wait, I am sexualizing unment emotional needs. No wait, I had a bad relationship with my Dad. No wait. I just thought I was gay when what I really was was inferior. No wait. I am just rebelling against God. No wait. I am possessed by demons. No wait. I ate too much soy. No wait.

    How would you feel if folks endlessly opined about what was wrong with you?

  • Michael Bussee

    Oh, I almost forgot! I was molested as a kid. No wait. My mother coddled and emasculated me. No wait. An older man “recruited me”. No wait. My Mom was stressed during preganancy and this resulted in abnormal homone levels. No wait. I was pressured into it by the liberal media. No wait. We are all gay, but I “wanted” it and “practiced” it. No wait. Maybe I was abducted by aliens and they probed me or something and I liked it and…, There must be SOMETHING wrong with me, right?

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    How would you feel if folks endlessly opined about what was wrong with you?

    Well, if people were talking about me I’d be COMPLETELY, 100% IN FAVOR OF IT!

    Maybe I’ve got low self esteem but I don’t think I’m perfect. I look in the mirror and I know I’m not. If a scientist figured out that I’m only 5’8″ because I ran into a virus early in life and he knows how to flip on a gene and make me 6′ I’d say GO FOR IT! Maybe it’s too late for me and they can only prevent the spread of the “short” virus in future generations. I don’t care, I’d send these guys money. If society started to look at shortness as a disorder I’d be in complete agreement because being short sucks. If a short person’s advocacy organization tried to stop this research because they found it offensive 25% of America would want to burn down their office. I’d probably help!

    In the meantime I’m happy with what I’ve got, which in most ways is bountiful. You oughta be happy with what you’ve got too. What is anyone supposed to do until they have a choice?

  • Nick R

    If male homosexuality was caused by genes and it resulted on average in 50% fewer offspring we would see noticably fewer gay people every generation.

    Unless of course the parents with the genes are having a lot more babies.

    Your argument also assumes it is 100% genetic, which I don’t think anyone is claiming. If it’s partly genetic and partly prenatal environment, then this statement completely falls apart. And, it seems to me, most of the recent articles are claiming it is partly genetic and partly environmental. As such, using arguments based on 100% genetics is a red herring. Please, stop with the all or nothing scenario and stick to reality.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Your frog link is excellent. I heard about that like a year ago and guess what scientists believes fuels the deformities? Our old pal, germs.

    Nutrient Pollution Drives Frog Deformities by Ramping Up Infections

  • Drowssap

    Nick R

    As such, using arguments based on 100% genetics is a red herring. Please, stop with the all or nothing scenario and stick to reality.

    I was speaking hypthothetically. I believe the concept of a gay gene is ridiculous.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    That article looks like a conversation between a gay anthropologist (Camperio Ciano) who knows no gay gene(s) but advances a mathematic formula to prove a genetic trade-off that would solve the Darwinian paradox of homosexuality, a gay geneticist (Dean Hamer) whose contribution in the field has not been replicated and a gay journalist (Michael Balter) who has been writing this kind of scientific news for some years.

    Bingo. The model is built in unbelievably simplistic terms and it’s completely designed from a male perspective. Who says a higher than average female sex drive is better in all environments? If a higher than average sex drive was a better reproductive strategy for women that WOULD be the average. Their theory could be called the “Lusty Female” gene theory as easy as the “Gay Male” gene theory because it applies to both groups equally.

    In their model:

    Without the lusty women having loads of babies gay men go extinct. Without gay men having fewer children the lusty women completely replace existing women who then go extinct.

    I can’t believe it took me this long to figure out how silly this whole concept is. Shame on me. 8-)

  • Evan

    Michael,

    You wrote:

    As I have said many, many times before, I have NO PROBLEM with people who are unhappy being gay and want to deal with it. THAT IS THEIR RIGHT. How many times do I have to say that?

    You answered your own question. This is one possible application of any result coming from future research. But there are many others. A great deal of psychological disorders and physical illnesses originate from problems inside the emotional brain. Understanding how strong emotions, including attractions, work in the emotional brain can help understanding more about how any disregulation in that area can produce disorders and illnesses downstream. It doesn’t mean that homosexuality is a disorder. No one knows right now how it is caused, therefore no one knows what the nature of homosexuality is. The professional bodies you mentioned, like the APAs, have decided that from psychological and psychiatric points of view there are no reasons to classify homosexuality as a disorder.

    What irks you about this humble corner of the internet?

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    The model is built in unbelievably simplistic terms and it’s completely designed from a male perspective.

    Would you see Ciano, who is gay, studying lesbianism or female heterosexuality? Maybe he can explain how could female homosexuality genes still be in the pool, even if their effect might be smaller (did he include the female homosexuality effect in his calculations?). They must have served some evolutionary purpose or else nature would have eliminated them. No one seems interested in coming up with a mathematic formula to explain whatever incidence they have. What is Dean Hamer waiting for? He should do a genetic linkage study for lesbian genes. :)

  • ken

    Drowssap said in post 111420 :

    If male homosexuality was caused by genes and it resulted on average in 50% fewer offspring we would see noticably fewer gay people every generation. In just a couple of hundred years it would be gone.

    You claim is wrong. And it has been pointed out to you more than once why it is wrong and yet you keep repeating the same false claim. You keep incorrectly repeating the same freshmen level biology concepts to rationalize your own anti-gay bias.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    Ken – Perhaps you could explain why Drowssaps claim is wrong or provide a reference; ditto, Drowssap.

  • ken

    I have explained what is wrong with Drowssap’s comments previously, unfortunately, the search engine isn’t finding them (or they have been purged). However, as a brief recap:

    Drowssap has once again ignored the concept of recessive genes. Additionally, even if gays had a lower percentage of offspring, those offspring could have a higher survival rate. Evolutionary theory deals with more than birth rate or genetics. Traits (genetic or otherwise) that can contribute to the overall survival of the family or tribal group (regardless of whether the individuals with those traits produce children) will continue to exist.

  • Drowssap

    ken

    Additionally, even if gays had a lower percentage of offspring, those offspring could have a higher survival rate.

    You are making two logical mistakes.

    First you assume there is evidence that SSA is genetic in the first place. Everything points towards environment with some sort of week genetic susceptability. According to Dean Hamer there is no pattern of inheritance for SSA and no gay gene.

    The second mistake is simple math.

    Pretend that scientists did take the concept of a gay gene seriously. You are correct that a “kinship” effect could spread this gene. But have you ever run the math on that?

    When you have a child, approximately 50% of your genes get passed on.

    When your brother or sister have a child approximately 25% of your genes get passed on.

    Put simply for every child a straight man raises safely to adulthood, a gay man needs to ensure the survival of two neices or nephews to adulthood. And that’s to keep it even. It takes even more for the gene to spread. Put simply, this flat out isn’t going to happen. Does SSA have anything to do with an intense desire to raise other people’s children? The two are completely unrelated traits.

    But more important than that, back to your initial error. There is no evidence that genes play a substantial role in SSA. It appears to be an environmentally caused trait.

  • ken

    Drowssap said in post 111555 :

    First you assume there is evidence that SSA is genetic in the first place.

    No, I didn’t make that assumption, YOU made that assumption in post 111420, then you proceeded to repeat incorrect claims about evolutionary theory based on that assumption.

    Put simply for every child a straight man raises safely to adulthood, a gay man needs to ensure the survival of two neices or nephews to adulthood.

    Or has a child himself and that child survives to reproduce. Or if women who carry the recessive gene have a higher fertility rate than women who don’t carry the gene, then only a single niece would need to survive.

    But more important than that, back to your initial error. There is no evidence that genes play a substantial role in SSA. It appears to be an environmentally caused trait.

    Again, not my error YOUR assumption. As for the rest I suggest you re-read the title of this topic. And if you are so sure it is an environmentally caused trait, why did you use a genetic justification in answering Michael’s question about why you believe something is wrong with gays (post 111082)?

  • Michael Bussee

    To Drowssap who said: “In the meantime I’m happy with what I’ve got, which in most ways is bountiful. You oughta be happy with what you’ve got too.”

    But, I am happy with what I’ve got. I just don’t appreciate other people insisting that what I’ve got is an illness, defect, deficit, sin, disorder, etc. It’s insulting. I don’t call what “you’ve got” demeaning names.

    To answer Evan’s question, that’s what “irks me about this humble corner of the internet.” You all seem to start with a conclusion that something is wrong, (chewed up, broken, inferior) with being gay. You might get a little irked, too, if the tables were turned. Why don’t you guys get that?

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    You might get a little irked, too, if the tables were turned. Why don’t you guys get that?

    I guess we come at things differently. I would not be irked if somebody called my 5″8″ shortness a disordered trait. I know that generally speaking increased height is a sign of good health and nutrition. The fact that I’m the shortest person in my family other than my mother suggests that something probably did happen to me in the womb or during my childhood. If some reasonable person pointed that out to me I would agree with them because they’re right.

  • Drowssap

    ken

    No, I didn’t make that assumption, YOU made that assumption in post 111420, then you proceeded to repeat incorrect claims about evolutionary theory based on that assumption.

    Ken, I’m sorry if you misunderstood me. I am already aware that all of the strong, scientific evidence (both theoretical and collected data) points directly away from any sort of gay gene theory. I agree, clearly there is no common “gay” gene. When I write about the gay gene theory I’m doing so hypothetically.

  • Michael Bussee

    Drowssap: ” I would not be irked if somebody called my 5?8? shortness a disordered trait.”

    Really? You might if they fired you for being short — or threw you out of your church — or if your family rejected you — or if a gang of “shortophobes” murdered your friend and tried to kill you because you were short.

    You might be irked if an “expert” with the North American Asscociation for the Reparative Therapy of Shortness advised parents and teachers to not stop the bullying and teasing of short kids.

    You might if you were told you could and should be “ex-short” if you were a real Christian. Of if you were told you “wanted” to be short because you “practiced” shortness and could become tall if you really wanted to.

    You might get irritated and offended if a legislator claimed that short guys were a bigger threat than terrorism. Or that being short was “vile and disgusting” and that you deserved an illness like AIDS because you were small.

    You might be irked if you were told that you were immoral for being short,, that shortness wa “evil” and that you would burn for all eternity if you didn’t try to be taller.

  • Evan

    Michael,

    I see what you mean. But, let me make my point clearer. I do not consider homosexuality, as a type of attractions, fantasies etc, to be a disorder. However, some of the findings coming from scientific studies point to atypical characteristics in both male and female homosexuals. One such characteristic is the atypical connectivity and function of a brain area that is responsible with fear and anxiety. Based on this fact, apparently gay men have a female-typical sensitivity to stress, which indicates a greater vulnerability including to female-specific stress-related problems. Having a vulnerability is not a disorder, of course. But still, we need to see more studies to get the bigger picture of possible implications arising from that. Usually men and women differ in how they deal with stress brainwise, so we have to see whether female-typical brain patterns in males are not detrimental to their health.

    The other reason why some of our messages start from assuming that ‘something may have gone wrong’ is the fact that in evolutionary terms, it is a bit odd that some men and women do not have the capacity to be attracted to the opposite sex too. We have been taught that evolution hardwired men’s brains to like a certain kind of women (young and beautiful) and women’s brains to be attracted to a certain type of men (older and having secured resources). This is part of the controversy around homosexuality. But it’s not just that, otherwise it would be boring to study a category of 5-7% of population. It’s the gender component that is the most interesting here and that is a human dimension that needs serious scientific investigation. We don’t know what having more or less typical gender traits can mean to one’s health or fitness. That’s why we need more research on that. And more debate, like we do here.

  • Michael Bussee

    “We don’t know what having more or less typical gender traits can mean to one’s health or fitness. That’s why we need more research on that. And more debate, like we do here.”

    Evan, that may be why you do it — a concern about the possible health implications of gay men being wired more like women — but that would be a simple scientific inquiry — no pre-supposed value judgement — just the question: “Does this difference result in any health problems for gay men?” How benevolent to be concerned for my health!

    But what about the “sin”, “against God’s will and design”, “busted”, “broken”, “chewed up”, “immoral”, “inferior”, “evil”, “sinful”, “sick” — etc? That’s what I strongly object to — concluding that something is bad, starting with that prejudice and then pretending to be “scientific”..

  • Patrick

    I have no problem with the assertion that homosexuality is a disorder *from the perspective of evolutionary biology*. But really I have to think – so? – it isn’t as though evolution is a strong (infact I would argue it is vanishingly insignificant) force in people’s lives. We have something that works better than evolution – faster and less error prone – called technology. And it isn’t as though evolutionary theory paints a very noble picture of hetrosexuality either – after all hetrosexuals are merely breeders according to the theory. So I care little that from this perspective someone can claim that being gay is a disorder.

    I also have a problem with people forming opinions about what should or should not be valued based on evolutionary biology. And certainly to form an opinion about what needs to be ‘corrected’ based on how it relates to evolution is leading right to the whole ugly spectrum of eugenics. Social policy should NOT be determined by agreement or disagreement with evolutionary theory.

    As to Evan’s claim that having female brain structure leads to mental health issues – well we have studies. Yes gays (and lesbians) overall suffer from more mental health problems than straights – but for the most part the vast majority of gays and lesbians live free from undo burden from these problems. The solution here is to look into ways to alleviate some of these problems for those that require it. I don’t really believe the answer here lies in find out the etiology of homosexuality.

  • Evan

    Michael,

    “Attraction to men” is not restricted in the population to 5% of men who are primarily SSA-ed, with 95% being primarily OSA-ed. If even some research can show that, it means that actually the greatest numbers of people who have some degree of SSA, whether primarily or secondarily, do not identify as gay or engage in homosexual sexuality. That must have some effects on their health, not only on gay men’s well-being. Obviously they prefer to do that at the cost of their well-being, which must say something about their determination. People are not just cultural puppets and they do not really take the media or dogmas literally unless they match somehow their own convictions and basic feelings. Human nature hasn’t changed much in the last thousands of years, but lots of dogmas and beliefs were reconsidered to allow for new spiritual openings. So when dogmas failed to superimpose a coherent outlook on a contradictory reality, they usually adapted themselves or fell into obsolescence. So it is true that right now we are in the middle of a crisis and lots of dogmas are going to be put to a harsh test of coherence. It’s either human nature fails them or they fail to support human nature in some very basic struggles.

    I have no idea whether homosexuality is a sin or whether gays go to hell or what could hell be. I’m not a dogmatic believer, so it’s not up to me to pass any judgement, but to God. But I can still have moral opinions on some behaviours which I personally disagree with. I just don’t have any claim to enforce them on others. I want to see the same attitude on the other side of the fence.

    That was offtopic, but it was necessary to clarify my perspective on the role empirical study of gender-related problems can play on this issue.

  • Evan

    Patrick,

    I have argued myself that humans’ lives haven’t been lead by evolution and I gave one strong example of anti-naturalistic factor: culture. You mentioned technology, which has actually become a part of culture today, more than an extension of our abilities. So it can be imagined that technology will play an increasing role in the future and that it will be an elective factor.

    It’s tricky to debate rationally on opinions formed based on feelings, especially sexual ones in an age dominated by sexuality. Feelings have no actual meaning, but they can motivate diametrically opposed takes on a similar issue. You can hardly speak to a feeling rationally, maybe a lot more with dominantly cognitive people. So I don’t imagine that someone would seriously consider his feelings are wrong from an evolutionary point of view, unless he has mixed feelings.

    I don’t really believe the answer here lies in find out the etiology of homosexuality.

    Neither do I right now, but we don’t know. The amygdala patterns do point to at least one component of same-sex attractions in men that creates greater psychological vulnerability. We’ll see if it’s a component of attractions or it’s incidentally associated with SSAs.

  • Michael Bussee

    Well, once you guys figure out what causes it, what do you propose to do next? Look for a cure? Teach society to be more tolerant? What?

  • Michael Bussee

    Patrick said: “Yes gays (and lesbians) overall suffer from more mental health problems than straights … The solution here is to look into ways to alleviate some of these problems for those that require it.”

    How about we start with doing away with the cultural and religious prejudice that may actually cause most of the distress in the first place?

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    Well, once you guys figure out what causes it, what do you propose to do next? Look for a cure? Teach society to be more tolerant? What?

    It should be up the individual as always.

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    You might if they fired you for being short — or threw you out of your church — or if your family rejected you — or if a gang of “shortophobes” murdered your friend and tried to kill you because you were short.

    Yeah, being short I don’t think I’d like that.

    Do you get the feeling that scientists like Michael Bailey would like to discriminate against you or even murder you?

  • Evan

    Michael Bussee wrote:

    Well, once you guys figure out what causes it, what do you propose to do next? Look for a cure? Teach society to be more tolerant? What?

    I can’t predict the future, but it will largely depend on what will be found. Probably reactions are going to be mixed:

    -some people will grab the opportunity to make some cash by creating some procedures to reduce the genetic expression of predisposing factors; they won’t care about the issue but they will care about the potential commercial success of any product they can sell some clients to deal with any predisposing factors;

    -some people will become more convinced that there are serious genetic and biological factors that strongly influence choice of sexual partners; in people where these factors are most expressed they leave little or no choice to other influences (cultural or social): so they will become more tolerant or indifferent about why some people choose a certain type of sexual partners;

    -some people will push for different policies, based on their ideological background; given that some choices will be open for those who want them, the general public will not pay attention very much to the issue, because they won’t care very much. When something becomes optional, people stop caring or worrying. It becomes a low-stake issue.

    Etc.

    But that won’t be very soon. Maybe in fifty or senventy years or so. Right now this is science-fiction. Plenty of time for society to boil around this theme, because it can’t do nothing.

    PS. In general terms, I think that the issue of homosexuality will lose center stage and will be replaced by other themes like how wide apart genders really are. We will probably change many things about what we believe gender to be. Things are going to be a lot more fluid, I think.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    But that won’t be very soon. Maybe in fifty or senventy years or so.

    I bet it will happen much quicker than that. The rate of scientific advancement keeps accelerating and the world no longer depends on Europe and America to come up with all the answers. Asia is becoming a powerhouse. I would bet that in a lab environment scientists will switch somebody from gay to straight and back again in less than two decades, maybe WAY less. They might be doing it with sheep or other higher animals right now.

    That’s my guess anyway.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    The Northwestern University team have been working on the 1000 gay twins genetic linkage study for five years and it’s still going. Then it’s going to be another one, from the UCLA. I don’t remember any brainscanning study before the one published last year. So, I’d say scientists are starting to narrow the search of factors to genes and some brain areas, after decades of hit-and-miss hormonal studies and all sorts of indirect measures of that. At best, in the next few years we will have a clearer picture of genetic factors and maybe some more brain studies. But there are few researchers who venture into this area and funding is small. Also, it’s a type of research that typically advances very slow because it’s a lot more difficult to work with humans than with animal models. Most people don’t want to talk about it and those who would do it sometimes boycott such efforts (it happened to the NU team). The majority of twins from the Långström et al study refused to participate in all the stages. The initial sample was something over 8,000 twins, but only 3,826 went all the way.

  • Eddy

    What I found absolutely mystifying was your response to my latest post where you accused me of trying to imprint my reality on the world. Isn’t it your reality being imprinted? Can you point me to any studies that indicate that it’s normal for a 5 or 6 year old child to have a defined sexuality? (You see, in my rigid little world, if you were having sexual feelings of the magnitude of a teenage boy when you were 5 or 6, then we need to look even deeper to see what set you up for that.) It’s amazing. Not only do you have vivid memories that you absolutely know haven’t been tarnished by time or exposure to psychological theories but you even knew that your 5 or 6 year old sexual feelings were just like that of an adolescent boy for a girl. This latter part intrigues me the most since: the development of your homosexual identity made you an outcast and victim of sorts yet somehow you managed to work around that and gain a full and complete understanding of the sexual mind of a straight teenage boy. Even more unbelievable is that you seem to have had this understanding since age 5 or 6. I think we should all just put away our keyboards and let you tell us once again what to think, what to discuss, what questions not to ask, how to ask the questions we do ask…and then let you assail us for being opinionated and controlling.

    My apologies if that was a bit harsh…oh wait, no, I take back those apologies. I’m weighing my harshness against the sarcasm and judgement of your posts 111076, 111447, 111445, and 111682.

  • Eddy

    I made this a two parter because they are really separate points and I was afraid that my comments would get axed. Here’s hoping on part 2….

    Michael:

    BTW: Remember that conference–was it only a year ago? The conference where Beyond Ex-Gay invited Exodus conference participants to ‘come and hear their stories of pain’. It’s the one that I suspected came not from the ‘heart of pain’ but rather from a planned strategy to minimize the impact of Exodus. I took a lot of heat on this blog for suggesting that the motivations were anything other than that pure and sincere desire for an apology that would bring healing. I think I was branded as unbelievably cynical and petty. Anyway, does that ring a bell?

    I’m asking because I found a video interview with you on YouTube standing right outside the conference site. The interview went on for 5 or 10 minutes giving you lots of time to talk. Most enlightening! As to how the alternative conference came about, you said words to the effect: “Well, when I found out the Exodus annual conference was being held about an hour away from where I live–right in my own backyard–well, I knew I had to do something.”

    LOL. If that ‘deep well of pain’ was the real reason for the alternative conference, you think it would have surfaced somewhere in that interview. After watching the interview, I concluded that I wasn’t far off the mark in my original statements of caution. My original suspicions were that YOU were the catalyst behind the alternative conference and, from that interview at least, this appears to be true. (I also thought that the notion of ‘the apology’ originated with you…a marvelous tactic. If no one shows up to apologize, “they are all hard-hearted and intolerant.” If only a few show up, it can be spun–as it was–that ‘thankfully, there were some who cared’. If a whole bunch show up, then it’s “Exodus admits they’ve victimized these people.”)

    (I had the interview saved in my pc but am not comfortable enough on these library computers to find it and link it here. Otherwise, just go YouTube and then search “Michael Bussee”, it ought to pop up.)

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    So, I’d say scientists are starting to narrow the search of factors to genes and some brain areas, after decades of hit-and-miss hormonal studies and all sorts of indirect measures of that.

    Speaking of hormones:

    I read that scientists have been working for years to create a gay sheep by altering prenatal hormone levels and so far they have come up with nothing.

    And speaking of gay genes in sheep:

    There doesn’t appear to be one of those either.

    “Breeding experiments, using artificial insemination, showed insignificant heritability.”

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    At best, in the next few years we will have a clearer picture of genetic factors and maybe some more brain studies. But there are few researchers who venture into this area and funding is small.

    The reason I believe the answers are (relatively speaking) right around the corner are twofold.

    A) My hunch is that the difference between gay and straight is paper thin. I bet the general increase in female wiring and other traits found in gay men have nothing to do with homosexuality. These traits are developmental side effects due to the brain missing a specialized “male” neurotransmitter during childhood.

    B) I bet somebody working in a related field will determine how mate selection works in humans, not an SSA researcher. Then again maybe Breedlove is on the right track and he’ll figure this out.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    Results from animal research are interesting but they can miss some important details. In the classical, textbook experiment, scientists reduce the degree of brain androgenisation in mice by removing their testicles after birth and then when they reach adult stage giving them some hormone injections to activate female behaviours. It’s not clear what does this have to do with human sexual orientation. It’s too extreme a procedure to explain the subtle degrees of variation in human gender feelings. Actually, in other animal experiments where the gonads were not removed but prenatal hormonal exposure was altered, adult behaviours were only slightly atypical for their sex. It was confirmed in primates too. It doesn’t seem so simple. Dulac’s more recent findings are astonishing but I don’t know exactly how or if they translate to other species. (BTW, she worked with and her results were confirmed by Nobel laureate Richard Axel. See this study.) They should give scientists something to chew on for the next years.

    I read that scientists have been working for years to create a gay sheep by altering prenatal hormone levels and so far they have come up with nothing.

    Well, what can I say? I’ll use the words of a Greek philosopher, Heraclitus:

    Nature loves to hide.

    Sounds feminine. ;)

  • Drowssap

    Patrick

    I have no problem with the assertion that homosexuality is a disorder *from the perspective of evolutionary biology*.

    That’s all I ever write about. I’ll leave the morals and values side of the debate to more qualified people on either side of this issue. I’m really just interested in what causes SSA. That would be good enough for me.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Your study link was awesome, I didn’t realize the mouse gender research had been independently confirmed by other researchers.

    From the study:

    The repertoire of sexually dimorphic mating behaviors in mice is also innate; it is observed in naive animals without prior learning or experience.

    I found a lot of language like this in relationship to the mice. It seems that a huge part of their world is completely instinctual. I wonder how much human behavior is rooted in instincts. I would bet money that sexual attraction is one such instinct. I certainly don’t feel like I learned it.

    Ya know from an objective standpoint women aren’t attractive. Straight men are programmed to THINK they are attractive for obvious reasons.

  • Drowssap

    Ya know from an objective standpoint women aren’t attractive. Straight men are programmed to THINK they are attractive for obvious reasons.

    …And that programming sounds a lot like an instinct.

    (sorry missed my last sentence in previous post)

  • Evan

    Drowssap said:

    …mice. It seems that a huge part of their world is completely instinctual. I wonder how much human behavior is rooted in instincts. I would bet money that sexual attraction is one such instinct. I certainly don’t feel like I learned it.

    Michael Bailey said:

    I would—and have—bet my career on homosexuality’s being biologically determined.

    You’re on the same wavelength with this guy. Unless he’s raising the ante. ;)

    Ya know from an objective standpoint women aren’t attractive. Straight men are programmed to THINK they are attractive for obvious reasons.

    I can’t be objective on that one, TBH. I guess it’s inborn. 8)

  • Ann

    My interests were definitely sexual

    Hi Michael,

    ok, please let me know if I am overstepping any personal boundries with these questions -

    when you say your interests were definitely sexual at 5 or 6 – can you describe what that felt like? Did you know what sex was? Did you get an erection thinking about Tommy (was that his name?)? Did you visualize what you wanted to do with those feelings and/or Tommy? I know you had a keen interest in boy anatomies – did you relate them to your own and did you have the same interest in your’s?

    I remember being desireous of female affection at that age but did not have the thought or understanding of sexual feelings yet.

  • Ann

    Ya know from an objective standpoint women aren’t attractive. Straight men are programmed to THINK they are attractive for obvious reasons.

    What????? Now I am traumatized =-0

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    Ann, let me be the first to say, lest there be any question, that Drowssap doesn’t speak for me, or represent the official position of this blog :)

  • Ann

    thank you Dr. Throckmorton – my spirit has been restored :-)

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  • Eddy

    Ann–

    I’m with the doc on this one. I’m wondering if the comment about women being objectively unattractive is rooted in the whole makeup mystique. A number of my gay friends often wondered why it was that a man could just wake up, shower, get dressed and head out the door…with maybe 5 minutes to groom the hair…while a woman doesn’t want to be seen ‘without her face on’. Their conclusion was that men were naturally attractive while women had to work at it.

    I do wonder somewhat about the programming aspect though. I’m old enough to remember that our basic definitions of what’s attractive have changed somewhat over the years. LOL. There was a time when the ‘boyishly slim’ Twiggy–and women who resembled her-were all the rage. And just a few years later, we were into the Farrah Fawcett, Cheryl Tiegs mode. Very, very different look and body type.

    And, for years, I’ve puzzled over the Raphael? Rubenesque? type paintings. They were somewhat sensuous for their time period but the women, by today’s standards, would be shipped off to the fat farm. It seems to indicate that there’s some degree of conditioning or shaping going on that changes with the times.

    I’m hunching there’s a male parallel to this but haven’t studied it.

  • Drowssap

    Ann

    What????? Now I am traumatized =-0

    Don’t get me wrong, I have found women very attractive since early childhood but that doesn’t mean that they “ARE” attractive.

    Here is what I’m getting at

    Gay men go mushy for men but feel nothing for women. Straight men go mushy for women but are generally grossed out by men. I had never thought about this before but this difference tells us something about attraction in general. It isn’t that either men or women are attractive, it’s that NEITHER are objectively attractive. When we lack the instinct to find a particular gender attractive (or either gender attractive) we feel nothing. We might as well be looking at furniture. A woman can’t be both beautiful to a straight man and plain to a gay man. In reality she’s neither beautiful nor plain. Her form is objectively neutral. She’s either a match for someone’s internal template or she’s not. If she’s a match bells go off and sexual attraction kicks into gear.

    Why would we guess that this template comes from an instinct?

    There are a lot of reasons but two stand out.

    A) Most people know which gender they are attracted to even before they know what sex is.

    B) How could virtually every man on the planet come to the same conclusion on whats hot if it wasn’t based on a preprogrammed template that we all share? I don’t care if you are gay, straight or inbetween. Virtually everyone likes young, healthy, virile partners.

    C) Every other animal depends on instincts to generate sexual attraction. What about human attraction appears to work differently? Short answer, nothing.

  • Mary

    Oh brother!!! Has anyone heard about the facial proportions of babies and how we are wired to find them attractive – so we would care for them??? Or how when a woman is ovulating she finds men’s sweat more attractive? True – beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And when a person is popular or influential because of money or power – then we find their looks attractive. Is what it is.

  • Drowssap

    Warren

    Ann

    Ann, let me be the first to say, lest there be any question, that Drowssap doesn’t speak for me, or represent the official position of this blog

    Let me concur with that. My crazy opinions are my own. However I am looking forward to the day when they are all proven true. 8-)

    Also…

    Let it officially be known that in regards to homosexuality I was an “environmentalist” long before SSA environmental theory was cool. 8-)

  • Drowssap

    Mary

    Has anyone heard about the facial proportions of babies and how we are wired to find them attractive – so we would care for them???

    That is sad but true. But ya know in a weird way, because people are so superficial this benefits our overall attractiveness. People lived in hunter gatherer societies for about 250,000 years. Human superficiality made people better looking, little by little each generation. So at least there is some upside. Of course by “better looking” I mean we slowly morphed towards what our human instincts found most attractive.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    Maybe that’s just the product of our tendency to look for explanations even when there hardly might be any. Remember the greater fertility effect theory? What if we eventually discover that some environmental factors are more decisive than genetic predispositions? If these factors have nothing to do with any inheritable mechanism then explaining why some weak influence genes are still in the pool is really splitting hairs. Environmental factors could mean anything, from earth magnetic field changes, agricultural pesticides, maternity conditions and labour inducing medication (oxytocin), mother’s food intake around prenatal period to any early disease that the child might have contracted or possible traumas that impacted the development of brain stress systems. How many children have been mightily scared by the boogey man? I’m half joking… We still don’t know what an atypical stress system response means to differences in attractions.

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy: I don’t understand why you keep accusing me of lying. If you want the full story, quit taking potshots at my honesty and call or email me michaelbussee@netzero.net — if you really want the truth, as you claim to. Since leaving EXODUS, I have only been honest about my life, my experience, my beliefs and my motives. You seem bent on making me out to be a liar. I am not.

    (1) I did not organize the Exgay Survivor Conference. I was not the catalyst. I was not even invloved in its planning. The organizers (Beyond Exgay and Soulforce) contacted me to ask if I would be willinig to issue a public apology (a week or so beofre the Irvine conference), along with two other former Exgay leaders. This was nothing new since I have been apologizing ever since I left EXODUS — so I said “yes”. Did I intend to be critical of EXODUS? You bet.

    (2) Yes, Gary and I had an affair. You have accused me time and time again of being less than honest about this and yet, I have been very public about the fact that we cheated on our wives and that I have felt continuing sorrow and regret for the cheating — and for getting married in the first place since I was not straight. What more do you want? It’s all in print here: http://www.ocweekly.com/features/features/the-closet-and-the-cross/27499/

    (3) My recollections about the awareness of my earliest SSA are as honest as I can be, I never claimed that they may not have been colored by the passing of time or that I had a perfect understanding of what other teen and pre-teen boys experience.

    These were my experiences, my memories as truthfully as I could relate them. I never claimed to have “a full and complete understanding of the sexual mind of a straight teenage boy.” Does anyone have such an understanding? I sure don’t.

    Finally, I am only stating my opinions which I post here. I have very strong opinions — and so do you. I am not suggesting that you “should all just put away our keyboards and let you tell us once again what to think, what to discuss, what questions not to ask, how to ask the questions we do ask.” I am telling the turth about what I have experienced and what I believe — just like everyone else.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ann: Yup. Getting a little too personal here: “when you say your interests were definitely sexual at 5 or 6 – can you describe what that felt like? Did you know what sex was? Did you get an erection thinking about Tommy (was that his name?)? Did you visualize what you wanted to do with those feelings and/or Tommy? I know you had a keen interest in boy anatomies – did you relate them to your own and did you have the same interest in your’s?”

    All I can say, is what I have said before. The feelings were (1) emotional, (2) romantic and (3) sexual — I have felt the first two towards women, but never really experienced the third. I have felt all three towards males.since early childhood, though I certainly did not understand them as fully as I do now — and (Eddy) I make no claim that my understanding is complete or that my experience holds true for all gay boys.

  • Michael Bussee

    I am with Drowsssap on this one: “My crazy opinions are my own. However I am looking forward to the day when they are all proven true. :)

    Eddy, I was challenging your assertion that gayness arises from a sense of masculinity deficit which gets wrongly interpreted by the boy as “that must mean I’m gay”. You stated this belief as though it were established fact – and not just you own “crazy opinion”. I have no problem accepting that your homosexuality may have arisen in that way, but I object to you claiming that this is so for all gay boys — even tall ones.

  • Ann

    Eddy,

    I’m not sure but I think some aspect of the attraction for men and women is the ability to tweak some part of the appearance every so often. Sometimes this is done intentionally by women – hair, clothes, etc. – other times it can be something not realized like a man’s untucked shirt that looks a little messy or the way he adjusts a baseball cap on his head. I think the subtleness of these changes is the turn on – you know something is a little different and are attracted to it.

  • Ann

    My crazy opinions are my own. However I am looking forward to the day when they are all proven true.

    Drowssap,

    I am the least scientific person in the world, however, everything you have ever said has made sense to me! Well, with the exception of whether a woman is really objectively attactive – on a stickly logical way of thinking, you are 100% correct but why do I have to think logically? :-) Logical or not, I think the instinct factor is a very important, if not the most important, component to attraction.

  • Ann

    Yup. Getting a little too personal here

    I’m sorry Michael – I thought the questions might cross a boundry – thank you for letting me know.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ann; Just looked over your seven questions. Without going into detail, the answers would be yes, no, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

  • Eddy

    Michael:

    Nowhere in my posts did I suggest that masculinity deficit was a factor for every gay man. I don’t believe that’s there’s only one cause for homosexuality so it’s really not something I’d say. I was merely elaborating on the fact that we aren’t just shaped by identification but also by dis-identification. Most people I’ve heard discussing societal influences that could shape a gay identity only seem to discuss the presence of gay models or influences. From my personal experience and also from the experience of many I talked to, it wasn’t so much that they saw someone that was gay and said “Oh, I want to be that when I grow up”; rather, it was more often a negative response to their image of straightness.

    So you might have a guy from a not so bad home who happened to watch a lot of TV/Movies/Sports and they’d have this almost buffoon image of a straighty…a breeder. In many ways, their decision that they must be gay was a very moral one: straight men are selfish, lecherous, crass creatures. (Pre-game and half-time televised sports banter…)

    Anyway, if you’ll reread my first post, I was simply responding to someone who couldn’t grasp the societal impact angle…I believe they countered with “well, I didn’t see all that many gay images on TV” or somesuch. I was trying to say that it isn’t just the presence of gay images but it’s the abundance of negative straight male images/messages. Not one word suggesting it was fact…not one word suggesting that it was anything other than an opinion I’d like us to discuss.

    In my second post I was responding to someone who didn’t seem to grasp what I’d said in the first…so all I did was present an example of how it could impact an individual…how those media messages could mess with a child’s sense of self and, later, with their sexuality. It was all ‘could’ statements…I was presenting one possibility. Your response was a total rejection of the possibility and your defense was that you had feelings from the age of 5 or 6 akin to that of an adolescent straight male towards a woman.

    Michael, if I learned that a 5 or 6 year old boy experienced feelings towards a woman akin to the feelings of an adolescent male towards a woman, I’d consider that abnormal. I’d think it was likely that something–either psychological or hormonal–got him sexually charged about 6-8 years too early. So, I’m thinking that for ‘the purposes of debate’ you overstated your early feelings. And, if you didn’t overstate, then your experience isn’t really an accurate barometer of your average gay male who often isn’t aware that he’s gay until his teens or later. (Adolescent sexual feelings are among the most intense of a person’s life; if you’re having feelings of that intensity in kindergarten and first grade, and towards your own gender–you’d conclude you were gay before leaving elementary school.)

    Re the Beyond Ex Gay conference. If you haven’t watched your interview, please do. I swear it really makes it sound like something that you coaxed into being. (As you can probably tell by the length and the time of this post, I brought my new computer home tonight…..I think I’ll start building my favorites and bookmarks…and will start with YouTube. I’ll see if I can find the interview.)

    Michael, I must insist that you stop offering your email address to me. I know that you made the offer. You made it several times before. I declined. It is my choice and it is my right. Please respect that and don’t put me in the position of declining again.

    LOL. I know this puppy would have been helped by some bold and italics but I’m typing on my first ever notebook and I swear the cursor leaps around on its own accord. I’m gonna go with this for a few days but, if I haven’t tamed the leaping cursor, I’m gonna hook up my old keyboard and see if that helps my game any.

    Ann:

    I can see that but I’m thinking that while some may be drawn or attracted to that aspect of change, there’s likely another grouping that feels attracted to the comfort of sameness. In my late adolescence, early 20′s, my clothing was usually of the ‘wild hippy’ or ‘early gay disco’ motif…and those ‘looks’ did attract certain individuals to me. Later, I toned down and shied away from ‘attention grabbing’ colors, I thought of it as a ‘non-look’…your average everyman. That ‘non-look’ appealed to a different breed of men and women. (Yes, I am re-evolving. I’ve got some color back in my got some brights…and I’ve been finding the funkiest shoes at garage sales.)

    And beyond change and sameness, there’s a plethora of other attractors

    /attractions…that’s what marketing and the media are all about. Oh look, I found my soapbox!

    Back to learning my way around this machine…..

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy: OK. OK. I wil not ask again for you to email me or contact me. Geez! I thought maybe we could clear some things up — acutally write to each other or talk to each other — instead of just hurling sarcastic blog comments back and forth. You might have even come to believe that I have not been lying after all. But you seem bent on implying or insisting that I have. So, believe whatever you want. I tried. You know how to reach me if you change your mind.

    FYI: I never claimed that my experience was normal or typical for gay males. Although I have talked with many other gay men who had very early sexual feelings, everyone’s experience is different — and I am sure there are many factors involved — biological, societal, learning, parentinig, peer influence, etc.

    This all started with Dave G. insisting that prepubescent kids did not have specific same-sex attractions. I shared that I did. I remember the feelings and the behavior very clearly. It was not a “defense” to one of your comments. It was a response to Dave G.. Then Ann asked for more details. And I shared them.

    I never suggested that my experience was “normal” or typical for all gay males. I said that I imagined that what I felt what similar to what a straight teen might feel. But since I have never been a straight teen, what do I know? I only know my own experience and I have been as truthful about that as I could. As far back as I can remember, I have only been attracted to males, not females.

    Regarding the Exgay Survivor conference, I had absolutely nothing to do with its inception, planning or execution. It was created entirely by Souldforce and Beyond Exgay. The organizers called me after everything had been planned for the conference. I wish I could take credit for it (because it was long ovedue), but it was not my idea, I issued the Apology the week before and then attended the conference as a paying attendee, not an organizer — at my age, that’s too much work!.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    I can totally understand why Eddy would not want to contact you personally by email. I have trusted people in the past with information about my own experience of a man dealing with SSA but not wishing to live as an “out” gay man. In some instances this information has be used against me. I have seen sarcasm used as a way to shut down a person who is not in full agreement with the gay philosophy and I have seen religion being knock down because it supposedly stands against a societal embrace of full gay rights. Why would anyone want to share themselves with someone who thinks this way? To me that is all about bullying and control and it has nothing to do with an attempt to get to know the other person.

    When I can see that gay activists are as open to understanding where others are coming from as they insist on others being towards them then there may be room for honest discussion on our own personal experiences. They are not the same and I would suggest they are different for everyone. You may have experienced many gay men who think as you do because they are drawn towards what you have told them about yourself. This does not mean that everyones experience is the same. Others may be drawn toward Exodus or NARTH because they can relate to what they are saying. This should not cause anyone to pass judgement on them. Because the causes of SSA are still very much up in the air and multifacetted I believe it is unfair and dishonest for anyone to claim that there answer is true for everyone. I suspect in the end there are many levels of attraction because there are many factors involved in the development of SSA. Some may see it as normal or natural for them but other may not. Some may feel they have always had these feelings while other may recognize that they developed over time. Personally I recognized that young boys are often much more interested in spending their time with others of there own gender until they reach adolesence but then become interested in the opposite gender as they mature. Some, like myself, maintains a facination for the same gender because I did not feel I could relate of fit in like other men. Now I realize that did not make me gay it only meant I needed to relate to different kinds of man who was more sensitive and caring than your average red necked American male as portrayed in movies and TV.

  • Michael Bussee

    Concerned: Yes, I know I can come across sometimes as a bully and a general pain in the rump at times. I am sorry. I don’t like that part of me. But, believe it or not, I am actually a pretty nice guy. (At least Ann, who has actually emalied me, talked to me by phone and has met me in person, thinks so.) I am sure Eddy is a nice man too. We are brothers in Christ.

    That’s why I wanted us to talk — to hopefully calm the animosity and get to know each other as people., not to “use it against him”. I understand that he doesn’t trust me and that he thinks I am a liar. I understand his reluctance and respect his decision not to talk to me directly. I will not ask again.

    Yes, I do become very angry and sarcastic — particularly when gays are labeled as “defective”, “broken”, “sinfful”, “disordered”, “sick”, “parasitic,” etc.. I believe that that anger is justified. I believe that people are harmed by such language. I do not mean to be mean — is just that I feel passionately about this issue. I have no desire to “control” someone else. That’s too much work and it’s impossible anyhow.

    Let me be clear on this: I am not in “full agreement with the gay philosophy”, whatever that means I do believe gays should be treated fairly and equally under the law — but I have no particular gay “agenda” or “philosophy” in mind. I am not a member of any gay organization. I have never organized a gay conference. I do not give money to any gay cause. I do not even consider myself a “gay activist”. (Ususually that is meant as a criticism or put down.) I’m just a gay Christian man with strong opinions — just like Eddy, only he uses the term “ex-gay” to describe his experience..

    I would certainly not put down religion. I am fascinated by different relgious perspectives. Personally, I love the Lord, trust Him as my Savior and look to the spiritual as the foundation of my life. I am still practicing my faith and have would not claim to have perfected it. I can be a real jerk at times and am certainly no saint. I respect the fact that others may hold different religious views or no religion at all. That’s a matter of individual coscience and personal choice.

    I completely agree with you that not all gay people are the same and that the personal journey is “different for everyone”. I do not claim that my experience is the norm. And regarding those who turn to EXODUS or NARTH, I do not judge the person — I critique the organizations, their affiliations, their beliefs and their approaches. Some people are helped by these organizations. I have no problem with that. Even Exgay Survivors acknowledge that their exgay experience was positive in some ways.

    What I do have a problem with is their (NARTH’s and EXODUS’s) dishonesty about what “change” means and EXODUS’s continuing involvement in rightwing, Republican politics (since EXODUS was intended to be a ministry ONLY). Even some within EXODUS (namely Wendy Gritter) agree with me on this. So do some of the other founders of EXODUS, by the way. There have been some improvements in these two areas — but still a long way to go.

    My problem with NARTH has mainly to do with their unscientific approach and their affiliation with men like Berger, Schoenewolf and Cameron. Even Throckmorton agrees that Cameron’s views are reprehensible. I have no problem with the individuals who turn to these orgrganizations for help. Every person has a right to seek his/her own path and follow their own conscience.

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    Yes, I do become very angry and sarcastic — particularly when gays are labeled as “defective”, “broken”, “sinfful”, “disordered”, “sick”, “parasitic,” etc.. I believe that that anger is justified. I believe that people are harmed by such language.

    Like I said before, if scientists suggested that “shortness” was the result of some sort of environmental damage (which in many cases it is) and they found a way to reverse or prevent it I’d give them a high five. However I understand that not everyone looks at the world the way I do so I try to be sensitive. But you gotta understand there is a difference between a Neo-Nazi looking for excuses to hurt people and a scientist or regular guy just looking for answers.

    So why would I or anyone else even suggest that SSA could be the result of some sort of crazy damage? Well, the evidence suggests the possibility and it certainly doesn’t eliminate it. Zucker, Bailey, Cochran and probably many other scientists think it could be so that’s what interests me. Pure genes or pure socialization have been eliminated and you’ll never see me write about those except in the hypothetical. If scientists prove that SSA is the result of a normal gene/hormone combination like many in the gay community believe I’ll high five those guys too.

  • Michael Bussee

    Drowssap: I think that “regular guys looking for answers” don’t need to use hurtful or inflammatory language to describe the subject of their inquiry. They just ask questions like: “Why are some people gay and some people straight?” Are genetics involved? It is a choice? Is it learned?” They don’t begin with the conclusion that gay is inferior or immoral. That is prejudice, not science.

    If I were studying shortness (and I gotta tell you, I don’t see what the big deal is) I would not have to refer to such folks as “broken” or “sick”. I would not assert that their parents must have been substandard, that they must have been abused, that they must be demon possessed, that they must have felt inferior to tall people or that they are confused and only think they are short..

    I would not assert that they “chose” or “practiced” shortness. I would not refer to them as “sinful” or question their eternal salvation — as many people have done with me, here for example: http://wordpress.com/tag/michael-bussee/ Note that one blogger says my father is satan — and no one disagrees.

    I am very sensitive to this issue due to years of verbal and physical abuse, name-calling, the attack on my life, the murder of my friend, etc. It often seems that you cannot bring up this topic (the “cause” and “treatment” of homosexuality) without encountering that sort of prejudice. I am just asking that “regular guys” keep it scientific and leave their biggotry at the door.

  • Evan

    Michael,

    Based on research from the last two years, it appears a certain region activates the same in gay men’s and straight women’s brains. This region is involved in a number of psychological problems, related to anxiety and mood disorders. There is also a body of scientific evidence that shows both gay men and straight women have similar susceptibility to these problems created by stress and other factors. But this may also play specific roles by gender, that is, in men it might create atypical attractions and atypical vulnerability to stress while in women it might manage typical attractions and typical sensitivity to stress. Do you think that debating in these terms implies regarding gay men as being inferior or immoral?

  • Patrick

    I think one thing that has to be kept in mind is that you cannot determine what is or is not a desireable trait based on its cause. From my perspective even if someone shows that a microbe is the cause of my homosexuality – I wouldn’t view homosexuality as a defect or an undesireable trait. In fact rather the opposite – I would be happy that such a microbe could bring such variety of sexuality into the world.

    I just sometimes wonder if people really would be happy in a world where there were no short people, there were no gay people, there were no people with less than perfect skin, teeth, hair etc. I just think it would make for an awfully dull existence. But maybe to some people that is nirvana.

  • Evan

    Patrick,

    All scientific issues are discussed in neutral terms. Saying that feminine amygdala patterns are atypical to men is not saying that those men should be typical. But that may come at a fitness cost, whether it’s reproductive or psychological. It’s up to the individual to decide his own balance of priorities. (Greater sex may come at a greater anxiety cost.)

  • Drowssap

    Patrick

    From my perspective even if someone shows that a microbe is the cause of my homosexuality – I wouldn’t view homosexuality as a defect or an undesireable trait. In fact rather the opposite – I would be happy that such a microbe could bring such variety of sexuality into the world.

    You nailed the exact point. WHATEVER the cause of homosexuality “straight” or religious groups shouldn’t be allowed to organize and force gay men to switch on OSA. On the flip side gay groups shouldn’t be able to stop other gay people from switching to OSA if they choose. Science should be allowed to advance (it will anyway) and choice should be up to the individual.

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    I am just asking that “regular guys” keep it scientific and leave their biggotry at the door.

    I always read Eddy’s posts but I don’t generally agree with his premise that SSA is the result of socialization. But that’s his right to believe so. In fact science may ultimately prove him correct. I don’t think a wide variety of opinions is a bad thing and it’s certainly hot hateful.

  • AM

    I’m fascinated by the scientific research that is continually coming down the pike which is one reason I keep up with Dr. T’s site here when I can. It serves as a clearinghouse for which I am thankful.

    But, why do the writers above keep talking about “choice” — that the main concern is that no one should *stop* one from being gay or straight? Were it that simple (and accurate), I tend to think that the scientific research would cease tomorrow, *because* people would be able to choose. But, seemingly, many gay people can’t — regardless of psychological and/or religious prescription. And, again, who has a greater stake in changing than Christians per their Scripture?

    I don’t see this dialgoue about rights but about reality.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    I do not doubt for one minute that you are a great guy and I agree with most everything you say in your earliers post. My experience, however, has been very different. I have been bullied through much of my growing up years for being sensitive and in many ways that hardened me. The worst of this bullying came from two female twins who were more like men than most men I know, but I have come to realize that that experience really turned me against dominating women and in many ways against women in general for many years. For anyone to claim that socialization has no effect on how we come to perceive ourselves I think this is very dangerous because it opens the door to justifying that kind of behaviour. I have also felt this kind of bullying by liberal thinking individuals who seem to feel they have the upper hand on the way the world is and therefore are justified in treating others as less than themselves. Some of these people are very intelligent people, but they show little compassion towards those who do not see the world as they do. I am in know way accusing you of this Michael, but I just want to point out that uncaring behaviour is prominent in both right -wing and left-wing politics these days.

  • Eddy

    The notion of homosexuality as a ‘condition’ is a rather recent invention; that notion encourages folks to look for ‘the cause’. But I see homosexuality as a sin problem abd any number of factors (and sometimes several factors at the same time) can lead into it…multiple causes. Socialization is one of the more prominent causes and it is one that fascinates me…not just as it may apply to homosexuality or the development of a homosexual identity but in a myriad of other areas. I notice patterns of behavior or identity and wonder ‘where the heck did that come from; it certainly didn’t come from the typical sources: parents, church, school, peers, siblings’–that’s what made me start considering the influences that actually speak to most of us more than all of those other groups combined–the media. Radio, TV, movies, magazines, the Internet. Reaching out and touching us all day long. A lounging woman on a billboard holding a tumbler of scotch with the debonair man standing alongside. Not a word spoken but one message is ‘this is what a real man wants’. Or the portrayal of either Christians or gays on television; in most instances the portrayals are somewhat over the top and usually have some negative insinuation. You see it once, no big deal. You get that message repeatedly–with no counter message to balance it–and you start learning that message.

    Anyway, because it’s a fascination of mine (not even as intense as Drowssap’s biological fascination) you will hear me speak it when I feel it relates to the topic. In this case, someone did speak to socialization and I wanted to broaden the scope of what we saw as socialization.

    Michael, I wish you would have kept your opening statement in response to me to a simple “Ok, I respect that.” Please note that although my statement was terse, I placed no value judgement whatsoever on you. Now, consider your response complete with insinuations about my motives for not wanting to. I provided several reasons recently on another thread and I don’t recall that ‘thinking of you as a liar’ was one of them.

    BTW: I’ve also met you, exchanged letters with you, and heard you speak. Granted that was some 30 years ago. I did get to see you again on YouTube. And I’ve told you several times that it’s been my plan when I finally make it out to visit my West Coast friends to visit with you as well….and I brought that up to my friends before you ever suggested connecting offline. (BTW: Kudos on exchanging emails with Ann. I recall desparately wanting to dialog with Ann and JAG off the blog…I made one offer but neither responded and we moved on.)

    Believe it or not, I’m a very private person by nature. From approx. 1982 until the year 2000, I didn’t even have a telephone. I got the phone shortly before I bought my first computer. Outside of my family, there are less than a dozen people in my online address book. I’m an ‘in-person’ type of a guy. This has been the only place outside my comfort zone that I’ve embraced and that’s only because I thought it might be the one place where actual open discussion (like the type described by concerned midway in his post) between people who disagree and yet have a common hunger for enhanced understanding. –Which is also why I leave so often. Many people get angry that we’re actually discussing at all. We can’t say we think homosexual behavior is a sin without getting roundly attacked yet Michael got away with saying it definitely WASN’T a sin in post 110239.

    It seems silly and frustrating at the same time. I mean, don’t we already KNOW that some of us think it’s sin while others think exactly opposite. (LOL. I suspect that there’s a lot of in-between positions also but I envision them reading more than jumping into the fray.) Why can’t we treat each other with respect and still discuss whatever it is that Throck brings to the table without always focussing on ‘the great divide’? After all, he does find these topics out there in the real world.

    In my own real world, by the way: work, neighbors, karaoke, family–over 90% of the people I count as friends or colleagues are ‘sinners’–to some, I’m the only Christian they know; to others, I’m the only COOL Christian they know; still others don’t even know I’m a Christian…and, yes, there are some who think that whatever I am, I’m a bit of a squirrel! But we find value in one another; we learn from one another; we are for one another and we respect one another. And, personally, I tend to avoid people who think just like me–where’s the adventure in that? Where’s the growth or learning?

    LOL! Look, Ann, I found another of my soapboxes! (I think the joy of typing at home instead of in a room full of people at the library has got me overdoing it…my apologies all.

  • Eddy

    LOL. I took so long to compose my last post that concerned snuck in with a new one. My reference to concerned’s post was to post 112217.

  • Drowssap

    Eddy

    In my own real world, by the way: work, neighbors, karaoke, family–over 90% of the people I count as friends or colleagues are ’sinners’–

    I find “sinner” an interesting parallel with the modern, understanding of human biology.

    From a purely objective standpoint every person on earth is damaged. If you look at a human body up close you’ll find scars from the myriad battles our bodies fight each and every day. Nobody on Earth is biologically perfect or even close to perfect.

  • Ann

    Drowssap,

    Genes from Middle East families yield autism clues

    By LAURAN NEERGAARD,AP

    Posted: 2008-07-10 14:01:57

    Did you read this article from the Associated Press? It talks about the things you and Evan and others have referred to with neurons, etc. I don’t know if you think it might be interesting but wanted you to know about it just in case. I’m sorry I don’t know how to use the hyperlink in this blog.

  • Ann

    (BTW: Kudos on exchanging emails with Ann. I recall desparately wanting to dialog with Ann and JAG off the blog…I made one offer but neither responded and we moved on.)

    Eddy,

    I don’t remember this at all – so sorry – I would love to talk with you anytime you want to!

  • Ann

    In an earlier post to Eddy I talked about the lure of attraction between men and women. Awhile later I realized something that might or might not be something to think about. In describing how men are attracted to women, I said that I felt it was our appearance that attracted them. In describing what attracts women to men, I said it was the subtle things they DO (unknowingly) that attracts us to them, not their appearance. In thinking about people who are attracted to the same gender, some of the men concentrate on their appearance for others to be attracted to them (as a woman would) and women focus on being assertive in their careers and other interests, not so much appearance (as a man would).

  • Mary

    Yeah Ann – I wanted to email with you as well – but you never responded?? Did you miss the invitation or politely let it go?

  • Ann

    Yeah Ann – I wanted to email with you as well – but you never responded?? Did you miss the invitation or politely let it go?

    Mary,

    I am so sorry – I do not remember either invitation – perhaps I was not checking in at that time or was away. Please email me anytime!

  • Eddy

    Ann:

    Thanks, I appreciate that. LOL. It was actually regarding a specific idea…back when we had that notion of ‘the round table’. I wanted to discuss the ethics and the practicality of setting up a blogsite that was ‘under the radar’ of those (from both opposing views) whose only purpose was to bash and clobber rather than discuss. Actually get some things done in discussion and establishing a strong sense of mutual respect (even with our differing opinions) before going more public. If another specific comes up, I’ll be sure to take you up on your offer.

    LOL. Just had a brilliant flash. When I do make that California visit; we’ll include you in the rendezvous with Michael, Robbi and I. (She’s a mutual friend of Michael and I; she blogged here only a few times something like two years ago I think.)

    LOL

  • Eddy

    LOL…I was going to say….”The sky is green and a plant just blew off the windowsill. I’d better close.” And the computer submitted my comment for me after the LOL.

    So, I think I better shut down and seek cover.

  • Mary

    Ann – ask Warren for my e-mail address.

  • Michael Bussee

    Evan asked: “Do you think that debating in these terms implies regarding gay men as being inferior or immoral?” No. Not the way you put it.

    Eddy. I do respect your right to your opinion. I just don’t agree with it. Disagreeing with you (or anyone else on this blog) does not mean that I think you don’t have the “right”. I wish people would stop accusing me of say or impying otherwise. In BIG letters now: I AM ONLY EXPRESSING BY OPINION, I RESPECT THE RIGHT OF OTHERS TO DISAGREE. I MAY BE WRONG.

    Please refer to this post and those BIG letters if I ever seem to be saying something else. I will try to repeat it often. With all due respect, Eddy, you have indeed questioned my honesty on a number of occasions — for example, looking for inconsistencies in the story of my life — “the time line” as you call it..

    For the record (it is already on record) yes, Gary and I had sex with each other while we were both still married. I have NEVER said otherwise or tried to hide that fact — and yet you act as though I am trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes about my infidelity. I committed adultery and am not proud of that fact. It hurt my wife, child and family. It hurt me.

    I should never have married in the first place because I was still gay. I married because I believed God would change me. I was counseled that God would change me. Perhaps I should have known better, but I was only 20 years old at the time, full of hope and did not know then what I know now.

    The most recent example of you implying that I am not telling the truth was the bit about the Survivor Conference. I am telling the truth, so help me God. I had NOTHING to do with planning, organizing or executing the conference. I wasn’t even asked to be a workshop speaker. I decided to attend because the EXODUS conference was “practically in my back yard” as I said in the interview. Did I intend to be critical of EXODUS? Yes.

  • Drowssap

    Ann

    Genes from Middle East families yield autism clues

    Did you read this article from the Associated Press?

    Thanks Ann, and yes I did read that story. It’s super interesting. Why these mutations raise the risk of Autism and why they exist AT ALL will probably be debated for years. Exposure to radiation or even pollution can cause germline (genes passed from parent to child) mutations. I’m 98% certain that a specific type of virus can cause germline mutations too, but sadly I lost that link. The normal rate of genetic mutation is extremely low so when these crop up you know something is going on.

    Anyway, the best part is that scientists think they can learn to manipulate these mutations and potentially cure Autism. I think the future is going to be bright. I look forward to the day when all of this is in the history books like polio.

  • Michael Bussee

    “Wow! these gay guys can sure get defensive! Why are they so touchy and quick to take offense?”

    This seems to be the tone of some of the responses I have received over the years when I raise objections to the whole notion of the “cause and cure” of homosexuality On a purely academic level, I actually enjoy the discussion and think it is worthy of debate. I am also very curious as to what causes people to be gay or straight.

    But, please try to put yourself in my shoes — and the shoes of many other gay people. For years, we have been told we are broken, diseased, disordered, damaged, immoral, sinful, damned. Our parents have been labeled abusive, neglectful, absent, controlling.

    We have endured teasing, bullying and violence. We have been fired from jobs for no good reason. We have been excommunicated and shunned when we did not “change”. So I ( and some others) tend to react vey strongly when we hear these themes. Wouldn’t you?

  • Mary

    MIchael,

    I think people are trying to change. I, too, still have a global bitterness toward the christian community because of these kinds of statements. But I have learned recently that not all christians are like that. Some are truly compassionate – even when they disagree with you. And, if you get a chance read Nancy Heche’s book. At first I had a difficult time reading it because of her honest and real anger towards gay people. But as the book and her story progresses, you can see she does transform form anger to a much softer tone and realizes the damage the christian community has done by being condemning.

  • Eddy

    Oh no, not the victim card again! Michael, I’m sorry but that card has worn so thin.

    1 Saying “put yourselves in our shoes” implies that we haven’t done that already.

    2) You’ve presented similar lists of the abuses suffered by gay people umpteen times–and everyone involved in this current discussion has heard you at least a few times. It IS a valid point but it does not need to be answered to more than once by the same people…and it doesn’t need to take precedence over every topic presented.I’ve answered to it at length at least a half dozen times.

    You say I’ve accused you of lying on a number of occasions and I do realizethat I’ve come pretty close sometimes…but it’s really ‘spinning’ and exaggerating that I’m questioning. I’ve commented on your ability as a wordsmith before. You are amazing but I think sometimes you write for effect and impact and take liberties with your word choices. (Your comments re having an adolescent level of attraction at age 5 or 6 would stand as an impression or observation leading to further discussion. Presenting it as a rebuttal to my statements re different types (sexual and non) and different levels of attraction simply ignored the distinctions that were an essential part of my post. I elaborated one common way that a person might interpret ‘adolescent level’ in an attempt to get you to actually speak to my prior statement. (If the differences and levels that I alluded to exist, can you more accurately describe what you meant by the adolescent feelings reference? If those differences don’t exist, can you help me see why they don’t?)

    LOL. I think I led my one post with the acknowledgement that I was a bit ticked. Well, I just realized that this is precisely why. Instead of discussing my point, you came back at me with the adolescent feelings bit and it simply ignored the essence of my point altogether.

    I’m not just here to express my opinions; I’m also here to discuss them…to flesh them out…to reconsider them. We’re masters at dismissal and rebuttal and pitifully deficient at discussion.

    You feel that I attack you, that I hold bad feelings to you. Go on up to 110598. You had actually posted several times prior to that and I did not engage in the conversation. I did step in to the conversation in a very positive way. I saw a person’s point and elaborated on it. I believe that even encouraged another person to elaborate and explore the point even further. Wow! Discussion–it happens in small doses. And then 110598! Please consult your yellow pages for the nearest beam removal service. LOL. I’m defending myself and my statements against your attacks and dismissals and you accuse me of being the offender. Good one!

    And, finally, please

  • Ann

    When I do make that California visit; we’ll include you in the rendezvous with Michael, Robbi and I.

    Eddy,

    GREAT – THANKS!

  • Michael Bussee

    EddyL I dont’ see what problem you have with my post # 110598. Please re-read it. In that post, I described my own experience — that being gay made me feel different, and not the other way around. That was my own, real, honest experience. How was that a “beam” in my eye? I wasn’t putting you down. I was just saying that my experience was different than yours. Nothing in that post makes you the “offender”.

    And I didn’t “come back at you with the adolescent feelings bit”. It wasn’t directed at you. I was responding to Dave G’s absolute assertion that kids don’t have specific gay feelings. I definitely did. I was also responding to Ann who ask for more details of what I had experienced. Again, not an attack on you, but a description of what I experienced growing up. When I tallked about my feelings being like what straight teen boys experienced, I meant only to say that I imagined that it must be similar. That’s all.

    And as for “spinning” and “using words for impact”, I don’t think you really want to go there. You have some talent in that area as well.

  • Ann

    Michael,

    Again, I might be overstepping a boundry with this comment so please forgive me if I am.

    I am not sure who Gary was but I do know he was a significant person in your life at one time. I really don’t think you need to continue to justify or explain the things that happened in your marriage or with Gary, especially on a blog. Your personal life with your family is private and now that it is expanding :-) I think to protect their privacy, this should be discussed only with those you love and trust and not on a blog. I know the people on this blog care for you but who knows who else is reading it and how they can use it? Again, if you feel it is useful to yourself and others, then please forgive me for thinking otherwise.

  • Eddy

    Interesting. You began your post 110598 with “Eddy commented…” and were really talking to Dave G. No wonder I got confused.

  • Eddy

    Ann:

    Michael is pretty accurate in describing how I have inquired about the relationship with Gary. I met Gary once when he chauffered me to the conference at my first Exodus gathering…before it was even called Exodus. I pointedly questioned Michael’s timeline but not for the reasons he assumed. I wanted to point out 1) that Exodus wasn’t responsible for his marriage; it hadn’t even been properly formed yet 2) that one possibility for why Michael ‘didn’t make it’ is that he moved too fast….marriage, family and ministry leader all in a few short years.

    3) I wanted to know what steps he took to examine his feelings for Gary before embracing the relationship.

    Michael did that embrace while in leadership professing a different point of view; I wanted to understand better the place where his views changed so quickly and dramatically.

  • AM

    I’m not a regular poster, but I’m a bit curious as to why Michael Bussee is receiving so many questions about the past. Is it because he “notoriously” came out and accepted himself as a gay man?

    I would like to hear from others in (or formerly in) ex-gay ministries what *their* track records are: how many relationships (encounters?) have they engaged in.

    It seems to me that to call oneself “ex-gay” or same sex attracted and have sex is understandable. They are labeled “slips”, “falls”, “struggling”. OTOH to be out about being gay and to be having sex is somehow not acceptable. If you accept it, you are unacceptable; if you don’t accept it, you are acceptable. (At least in Christian terms?) And yet sex is sex is sex…. at least that is how my simple mind interprets it.

    This is what I found time and time again when asking what change is: with the exception of very few, celibacy and/or faithful heterosexual marriage is virtually nonexistent among homosexually oriented people.

    So…why the spotlight on Michael? Just wondering; I feel like I’ve stepped into a long running dialogue between several folks. As I’ve said I’m not a regular participant, so could someone please clue me in.

  • Ann

    Eddy,

    Ok, I understand – thanks. I guess I am just concerned about posting such personal information on blogs, especially when families are involved. I could be very wrong and apologize if I interferred or stepped over any boundry I shouldn’t have.

    I am so glad to see you back – you are missed when you are away.

  • Eddy

    Ann, you make a good point about the privacy though. I will try to be more sensitive in my quest for understanding what led to the switch in beliefs. I think I’ve mentioned before that there’s this hidden lawyer in me…always analyzing. Thanks for the reality check.

  • AM

    Is anyone willing to answer my question(s) about semantics/history?

  • Eddy

    AIM:

    Some (probably most) of the focus on Michael was my attempt to understand what he meant by the adolescent feelings he had at an early age. Sometimes it takes multiple postings to follow a point through. Some of the apparent focus on Michael comes from his allusions to discussions that took place here weeks, months, even a year ago. I’ve tried not to address them since there’s plenty enough already on the table to discuss or work through.

    Michael and I were both involved in the early days of Exodus. Michael preceded me by a year or two; I stayed for a number of years after Michael left when he began his committed relationship with Gary. Both Michael and I arrived here at the blog at approximately the same time ==what was it? two years ago maybe. The topic at the time seemed to focus on the Exodus of today as opposed to the early Exodus and also to a bit of the history of the founding of Exodus.

    Many comments and exchanges have occurred since then. Look at the left side bar for frequent commenters. LOL. I bet we spent weeks discussing the questions you’re asking. Try plugging some of your keywords into the sites search engine and see if that leads you to any of those discussions. If not, I’ll check back in by tomorrow and see if I can link you. (We do make feeble attempts at not straying too far from the designated topic.) Oh, and if you find one of those topics, go ahead and post. Even though that discussion might be old, the list on the right side of the screen would tell people that the conversation had resumed. Gotta go sing. Later.

  • Eddy

    LOL. My wandering cursor put an I in your name. I meant AM.

  • AM

    Thanks, Eddy. That makes more sense when you put things in context of the ongoing discussions.

    I began my journey in earnest in 1997 when I found someone that I believed God wanted me to marry. I believed this with every fiber of my being and even had some very extraordinary confirmations that I still cannot humanly explain.

    However, there was the orientation issue ( I use the term orientation because I find it unloaded, personally). When I talked with those “who had gone before”, I found that not only did they not have answers for me, there were very few answers for themselves. I came to this conclusion by the admitted lack of behavior changes on their parts. That is when I could get them to talk at all.

    It made no sense to me to marry someone and then be in a revolving door. I had lived much of my life through suppression and repression which grievously has cost me in other areas, most notably career. IOW I spent much of my life denying “it” and having very little energy for anything else.

    So, I am in quite an unfortuitous place: no mate and no long term establishment of myself in life.

    I didn’t intend to share personally but did. I suspect that the vast majority of contributors here are here because they are in fact personally impacted one way or another.

    If you have the time, I would appreciate the links. If not, that is O.K. I am very interested in hearing the scientific research that is going on with orientation. It seems to be quite timely that things are coming to the forefront with greater knowledge of this.

  • Mary

    AM,

    For the record, I am an ex gay for lack of a better word. I was so before becoming a christian. As a christian, I too believe that sex outside of marriage or a very committed relationship (if you are gay) is wrong. And I have done both of those things. At this time, I don’t have any feelings towards women and am attracted to a man (not all men). Personally, I don’t attend nor agree with the ex gay ministries on certain issues. I have never been through an ex gay program but have found counseling from a licensed, well trained, counselor who is also a christian to be valuable. And this is a very personal journey for anyone who takes it. No matter the outcome or the conclusion of the individual – it is very personal and one that is truly between that person and God and no one else. IMHO.

  • Eddy

    AM:

    Follow this link to one of the most recent topic threads that addressed your questions: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton//2008/03/14/which-is-the-real-me.

    You’ll find a number of the voices from this discussion plus a few more. Also, explore the various features on the right side of the blog page…there’s a listing of recent comments, recent topics, most commented topics and then some other links. I think a reading of Warren’s SIT framework and guidelines could be helpful. SIT stands for Sexual Identity Therapy.

    LOL. Copy and paste the above address into your browser. I’m getting used to a switch from desktop to notebook and couldn’t get it to pop as an actual link.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    Anyway, the best part is that scientists think they can learn to manipulate these mutations and potentially cure Autism. I think the future is going to be bright. I look forward to the day when all of this is in the history books like polio.

    Autism symptoms have been genetically reversed in mice. Right now it’s great news for mice, but this is how research develops medical solutions for humans too.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    I’ve been watching that one. AMAZING! You know if they learn how to reverse retardation people will still “look” retarded but the’ll be smart. It’s going to be interesting. I have a nephew who is severely retarded. He has a particularly bad case of Fragile-X that he inherited from his mother’s side. He has tremors, seizures, he’s mostly blind, can’t communicate in any way and is barely mobile. It is a parent’s worst nightmare.

  • Mary

    I hope they find out how to reverse aging.

  • Drowssap

    Mary

    I hope they find out how to reverse aging.

    You hit on something near and dear to my heart. I read about this one a lot and new breakthroughs come out all the time. If you can last another 30 or 40 years scientists might be able to stop and ultimately reverse the aging process. Sometimes I read it might be sooner than that but it sounds so fantastic that I find it hard to believe.

    Anyway, while there is no way to stop the aging process scientists know a few things that you can do to reliably slow it down.

    A) Cut your calories. You don’t have to go crazy and cut down to 1200 calories per day to extend your life. Sure that works, but cutting calories in general appears to extend life. A healthy, active man can easily survive on 2000 calories per day. Women can probably survive on a couple of hundred calories less. If you can stick to lower calorie eating habits you’ll do your body a huge favor.

    B) Eat fish or take fish oil! Wild health food claims come and go but fish and fish oil have stood the test of time. Fish is good for your heart, brain, skin, joints and many other things. Pregnant women who take fish oil have slightly, smarter babies. Clearly humans must have eaten a lot of fish while we were evolving because it’s so good for us in so many ways. When you eat fish try to eat the smaller ones because they have less Mercury. Large fish tend to be older fish which gives them more time to absorb Mercury.

    C) Exercise and be active. Weight training and cardio is ideal but even walking is good. If you have a job where you walk around all day you’re fortunate. That’s what your body wants.

    There are many other things but those are the big 3. Do these and you’ll live a healthier, longer life. If you can survive another 30 or 40 years maybe you’ll get to be 25 again. 8-)

  • Evan

    A few more quotes from the Middle East study on the genetic causes of autism:

    “The emerging picture of the genetics of autism is quite surprising. There appear to be many separate mutations involved, with each family having a different genetic cause,” explained NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. “The one unifying observation from this new report is that all of the relevant mutations could disrupt the formation of vital neural connections during a critical period when experience is shaping the developing brain.”

    The ratio of females to males with autism – normally one female to four males – was less lopsided in such families in which parents share a common recent ancestor. This ratio equalized even more in a subset of these families with more than one affected member, suggesting a doubling of the rate of autism, due to recessive causes on non-sex-linked chromosomes. Also, autism-linked spontaneous deletions and duplications of genetic material were relatively uncommon in these families, suggesting recessive inherited causes.

    The researchers found multiple different genetic causes of autism in different individuals with little overlap between the families in which parents shared ancestry. Yet a few large inherited autism-linked deletions, likely mutations, in a minority of families stood out. The largest turned out to be in or near genes regulated, directly or indirectly, by neuronal activity.

    “Autism symptoms emerge at an age when the developing brain is refining the connections between neurons in response to a child’s experience,” explained Walsh. “Whether or not certain important genes turn on is thus dependent on experience-triggered neural activity. Disruption of this refinement process may be a common mechanism of autism-associated mutations.

    The mechanism is interesting: different genetic mutations can lead to similar symptoms. What is more, genes are turned on or off according to experience, especially during early years.

  • Evan

    I forgot to post something on this study after I read it. I’ll quote the significant parts from the original paper first:

    Method

    Non-responders were approached with up to three reminders. They could also choose a telephone interview supplemented with a self-administered written questionnaire for sensitive topics such as traumatic events and sexuality.

    Sixty-four percent were married/cohabiting, 5% had a stable partner they were not living with, 27% were single, and 4% were separated/divorced, widowed or did not answer.

    The STAGE survey included no direct question about self-defined sexual orientation. Actual partnered sexual behavior was assessed with two items: lifetime number of opposite-sex and same-sex individuals, respectively, that the respondent had ever ‘‘been sexually together with.’’

    We deliberately attempted to use a more gender- and sexual orientation neutral definition rather than ‘‘sexual intercourse.’

    The final sample comprised 7,652 individuals with known zygosity where both twins had responded to sexuality items; 2,320 monozygotic (MZ) pairs (807 male and 1,513 female) and 1,506 DZ same-sex pairs (517 male and 989 female).

    Twin resemblance was assessed using probandwise concordance (i.e., the proportion of twins reporting same-sex sexual behavior given the same behavior in the co-twin) and tetra- or polychoric correlations for the liability to express same-sex sexual behavior. Liability is assumed to be a continuous and normally distributed latent tendency for a certain phenotype resulting fromnumerous etiological components. Individuals who exceed a theoretical threshold on this latent distribution would exhibit same-sex sexual behavior.

    Results

    Fewer men (407/7,231; 5.6%) than women (835/10,676; 7.8%) reported any lifetime same-sex sexual partner.

    The average number of same-sex sexual partners among those reporting any such partner was 12.86 in men and 3.53 in women.

    Prevalences were 4.8% for monozygotic male twins, 5.4% for dizygotic male twins, 7.9% for monozygotic female twins, and 7.7% for dizygotic female twins.

    Discussion

    This study [...] had greater statistical power and high response rates relative to prior research. However, it was inevitably limited by the fact that same-sex behavior was relatively rare. With the unexpectedly low familial effects, the twin method has restricted power to detect statistically significant influences. For example, with 4%prevalence and a sample size of 2,000 twin pairs, there was 25% power to detect a heritability of 20% at the 5% level (assuming that shared environmental effects explain 15% and unique environmental effects 65%). To achieve 80% power to detect significant genetic effects with these assumptions, one would need to increase the sample size 5-fold (i.e., include approximately 10,000 monozygotic and dizygotic same-sex twin pairs with complete data). Consequently, though familial effects certainly are important for same-sex behavior, the exact magnitude of genetic and environmental contributions to these effects should be interpreted cautiously.

    Source: Niklas Langstrom, Qazi Rahman, Eva Carlstro, Paul Lichtenstein, Genetic and Environmental Effects on Same-sex Sexual Behavior: A Population Study of Twins in Sweden, Arch Sex Behav, DOI 10.1007/s10508-008-9386-1, Copyright: Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008.

    When I read the original paper, one week ago, I also reread Bailey’s 2000 to see how the genetic factors are represented in different samples and confidence intervals.

    Here is a brief comparison which makes it easy to see how results from both studies differ:

    Genetic factors:

    Men

    Bailey (2000): .45 (95% CI: .00-.71)

    Långström (2008): .34-.39 (95% CI: .00-.59)

    Women

    Bailey (2000): .08 (95% CI: .00-.67)

    Långström (2008): .18-.19 (95% CI: .00-.49)

    Unique environment factors:

    Men

    Bailey (2000): .55 (95% CI: .18-.85)

    Långström (2008): .61-.66 (95% CI: .41-.87)

    Women

    Bailey (2000): .50 (95% CI: .30-.69)

    Långström (2008): .64-.66 (95% CI: .51-.87)

    The decrease of genetic contribution and increase in unique environmental influences seems to be the trend as new studies appear. The significant part comes now. We know that this study had no other measurements of sexual orientation besides behaviour. That gives us a picture of how strongly genetic is the trait when expressed in behaviour. Individual factors seem to be gaining ground.

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy: The “change” in beliefs may have been “dramatic” but it certainly was not “quick”. It happened over a number of years and came to a head in 1979. I had been struggling with gay feelings and religious issues since early childhood (which I have explained at length.)

    Even while I was “ex-gay” I was still waiting for the “change”, for heterosexual feelings to develop as promised. Even before EXODUS, this is what my spritual leaders were telling me to expect and pray for.

    So, I do not “blame EXODUS” for my marriage. I blame being very young, very hopeful and very confused. EXODUS just perpetuated that hopeful confusion. I believed it and taught others that it would happen. It took years of trying before I realized I was hoping for the wrong thing.

  • Michael Bussee

    And Eddy, if all those challenges to my “time line” were really nothing more that a “quest for understanding what led to the switch in beliefs”, you should have said so clearly. I have certainly explained the sequence of events many times — detailing the events that led up to leaving EXODUS — all of the factors, not just my relationship with Gary.

    The way it came across, you seemed to be challending my truthfulness — as though I had something to hide — implying that I was lying about that, and more recently, implying that I was coloring the truth about my involvement with the creation of the Ex-gay Suvivor Conference. I may be annoying and dramatic, but I am truthful — sometimes too truthful for my own good.

    Ann expressed concern for my privacy — and I apprec iate that. That is why I have been offering to talk about these matters off-line. But you have steadfastly refused — so we have had to hash it out it public You told Ann that she made “a good point about the privacy” and that you “will try to be more sensitive in my quest.” An off-line discussion might be a good way to do that.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    “The one unifying observation from this new report is that all of the relevant mutations could disrupt the formation of vital neural connections during a critical period when experience is shaping the developing brain.”

    Several genes (mutations) appear to greatly increase the odds of Autism but each one of these alelles is very rare. However what this linkage proves is that if ANYTHING interferes with neural development during a critical period a kid can end up with Autism. It could be a pathogen, huge amounts of stress, or a konk on the head. Anything that disrupts what these harmful genes disrupt would potentially cause Autism.

  • Ann

    However what this linkage proves is that if ANYTHING interferes with neural development during a critical period a kid can end up with Autism

    Drowssap,

    Do you feel this is the same with sexual identity and sexual orientation?

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    The problem with any kind of condition like that is that it develops starting from many mutated genes. All the kids may be exposed to all sorts of environmental factors, including pathogens and stress, but not all exposed to similar environments that have the potential to trigger a disorder will develop that disorder, only the ones carrying the mutated genes. So, I’d say causality starts with genes and how those predispositions are like a trap for environmental influences of any sort.

    It would be interesting to see how many carry those genes without expressing them because they were lucky enough to grow up in the right environment. This is especially the case with many X-linked recessive conditions: many women carry the genes without expressing them (they have backups or they get silenced) and a lot more men are exposed to greater health risks from the inherited female chromosome (for which they have no backups).

    Emphasising the importance of postnatal environmental factors runs one major risk: phenocopies of the same condition created by random environmental factors without having any underlying genetic contribution. If we don’t have any factor that produces predictability, whether it’s genetic or environmental, we don’t have any explanation either.

  • Evan

    One small correction: “not all exposed to similar environments that have the potential to trigger a disorder will develop that disorder, mostly the ones carrying the mutated genes.”

    It is possible that some will not express the condition, because some of the predisposing genes could be turned off.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    So, I’d say causality starts with genes and how those predispositions are like a trap for environmental influences of any sort.

    I can’t remember the name but there is a common, degenerative eye disorder (might be a type of glaucoma) that tends to hit old people. Virtually every person that gets this disorder carries a specific gene. The interesting part is that this gene is present in about a third of the entire population and most people won’t get the eye disorder. A lot of things work like that. A shared, common gene is required but most people won’t get the disorder. For some reason the gene creates a specific susceptability.

    Regarding Autism no other mental disorder is more genetic. Twin concordence is about 50% and it tends to run in families. However most kids with Autism don’t appear to have messed up genes. For years almost 90% of all research dollars have gone towards genes but this hasn’t produced anything actionable. That’s all changing. Today the focus is swinging strongly towards environment.

    Boston Globe: Researchers now believe that autism can be caused by genes in combination with environmental triggers. The question is, what are those triggers?

    Side Note:

    For decades scientists thought that ulcers were caused by stress, diet and heredity. Ulcers were very common, ran in families and lots of things seemed to trigger them. In the 80s they determined that ulcers were triggered by a common bacteria, H. Pylori. The lesson is that even if something appears genetic, if it’s common and has been around for thousands of years it probably isn’t.

  • Drowssap

    Ann

    Do you feel this is the same with sexual identity and sexual orientation?

    Well… the evidence suggests that SSA is probably due to some sort of outside, environmental input either very early in life or in the womb. Because twin concordence is so low my guess is early life. Genes appear to play some role but I’d guess that’s susceptability. A study was released this year that suggested that SSA was more common in men with a certain blood type. If that turns out to be true the “gay gene” has something to do with our immune system.

    As for the environmental factor

    About 1 in 30 men (maybe more) are preferentially gay for a lifetime. That’s SUPER common. You can safely predict that for every man that runs into “Factor X” and becomes gay 5 or 10 run into it and still become straight. In fact 1 in 30 is common enough that virtually EVERY man might run into “Factor X.” Whatever the ratios turn out to be, this factor is very common in human populations.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    I get the point about how underestimated environmental factors might be. But returning to our subject here, sexual orientations or gender variance do not seem to have phenotypic characteristics restricted to the brain. It doesn’t look like something that was locally chewed up by some very specific pathogen. A great deal of these phenotypic variations are reflected on the soma too. So whatever is producing gender atypicality seems to have a constitutional effect on an individual and a normal distribution in the population. It’s reflected in body types, facial features, secondary sex characteristics and so on. Brain effects are a big part of the story, but the story is a bit larger than that, IMO. If a pathogen is producing that, then it must be active during the prenatal stage to produce so different results, like identical twins with different sexual orientations. But then, why wouldn’t both twins be affected by the same pathogen if they have 99.99% of the same DNA material?

    General less or more gender typicality is more plausibly related to what actually creates sex differences in the first place: hormones. They act with different strengths at different stages, but they are the main stuff gender is made of. The rest is the work of genetics.

    Here’s one telling example from research: The medial amygdala is sexually dimorphic – it’s bigger in males than in females – but it’s not fixed by prenatal hormones. Some experiments on animal models have shown that castrating males will shrink this region to female size, so it keeps its plasticity even at adult age and can be masculinised back by androgens. But how much male hormones this region can absorb to restore its male functionality depends on genes for androgen receptors. So even if the gonads are there and the hormonal exposure is working OK, some very important brain region may fail to become fully masculinised because some genes are turned off in that area. This must have some inherited contributions, because pedigree studies do show some patterns of inheritance of sexual orientations. What is more, the Swedish study we discussed here also indicated a twofold genetic contribution to sexual orientation in men compared to women, which fits the data we have on the prevalence of both orientations in the population. This ratio points, at least partly, to some sex-specific genetic mechanism that regulates hormones.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    If a pathogen is producing that, then it must be active during the prenatal stage to produce so different results, like identical twins with different sexual orientations. But then, why wouldn’t both twins be affected by the same pathogen if they have 99.99% of the same DNA material?

    I would say that because identical twin concordence is so low for SSA (about 20%) this indicates that whatever the factor is it’s happening sometime after birth most of the time. The womb environment is nearly identical for both twins and whether the environmental factor is a pathogen, hormone, or meteorite fragment both unborn twins would be similarly exposed to it in almost all cases.

    General less or more gender typicality is more plausibly related to what actually creates sex differences in the first place: hormones.

    I believe this could be an explanation for either more or less masculine behavior in boys. Bot for SSA I’m not sold on prenatal hormones being a common explanation. I was reading about gay sheep the other day and they COMPLETELY cut off masculinizing hormones and still found nothing. That doesn’t mean it’s not hormones but it makes hormones much less likely an explanation.

    As for a pathogenic explanation:

    It wouldn’t be that a germ has to go in and directly chew up some cells. It could just as easily be the bodies response to the microbe. It might just be a secondary side effect. When they figure out the switch for mate selection in animals we’ll be light years ahead in understanding what might be happening in humans.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    A great deal of these phenotypic variations are reflected on the soma too. So whatever is producing gender atypicality seems to have a constitutional effect on an individual and a normal distribution in the population. It’s reflected in body types, facial features, secondary sex characteristics and so on.

    I think the small, wiring and physical differences found in gay men are a byproduct of whatever causes SSA. They are secondary side effects. Theoretically speaking if “straightness” was created by a specialized neurotransmitter and this hormone goes out of production at age 1 you would predict these sorts of slight, developmental differences.

  • Michael Bussee

    Mary: Let me clear something up. I do not have ” a global bitterness toward the Christian community.” It’s more specific than that. I would say that the vast majority of Christians are loving, charitable, compassionate and sincere. It’s not “gays against Christians”. It’s not Christians or the Christian community that bother me.

    It’s a particular approach and school of thought that bothers me. An anti-gay prejudice, fear — even hatred — that many professed Christians and some churches stil have towards gays and lesbians. I myself am a member of the “Christian community” and so are the members of my Church and many churches I have visited.

    I actually like most Christians. It’s the teachings (not the people) that make me hot under the collar. The anti-gay fear and philosophy, not the imdividual believers or their communities..

  • Michael Bussee

    Also, to all that have posted on this thread: It’s not the honest debate and scientific inquiry into the causes of human sexuality that bother me. I actually share this curiousity.

    I object to objectifying gays and putting them under the microscope to determine what went wrong, as though they were some sort of mtutated amoeba — when nothing may have gone wrong at all. Something just may have gone differently.. Did something go wrong if one bird is blue and another is red?

    You guys are very curious (as I am) about why some people are gay. I would also like to know what makes some people straight — although few on this blog or elsewhere seem to care about that.. Parenting? Abuse? Bad relationsship with men?

    Do straight boys have feelings of inferiority towards women, a “feminity deficit” that is then “sexualized” causing them to want (in women) what they feel they lack in themselves? Could a virus be responsible for heterosexuality? Is it learned? Chosen? Acquired through practice? No one knows this any more than we know what “causes” gayness.

    All I am asking for is some sensitivity as to how the discussion of the “cause” of gayness might effect a confused, homosexual young person who already has taken numerous hits to his self-esteem and who may already hate himself for being gay. I am not trying to “play the sympathy care” for me — but for them.

    Imagine the effect on this young person when he hears his feelings portrayed as broken, sick or sinful. I was asking for some consideration and sensitivity for this young kid — and there are hundreds of thousands of them out there listening to what is said about them.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Theoretically speaking if “straightness” was created by a specialized neurotransmitter and this hormone goes out of production at age 1 you would predict these sorts of slight, developmental differences.

    I guess what I’m saying is heck yeah I agree with you that SSA/OSA and all the secondary traits commonly associated with both have something to do with hormones. I just think it’s the hormones floating around in our heads after we are born, not necessarily before we are born.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    The age of first attractions, be they OSA or SSA, is different for many people. There are people who reported opposite-sex feelings from kindergarten age and others who reported same-sex feelings from the beginning of puberty. Some adults even reported same-sex feelings after the brain was activated by hormones during puberty. That should indeed point to some environmental factors that do not work stictly by the known hormonal mechanisms (prenatal organisation, puberty activation). Recently, the influence of the immune system on the brain has been getting more and more attention in scientific circles. It seems that immune reactions can affect neurons too, a fact that was previously believed impossible because of the blood-brain barrier. So it is possible.

    But if you’re right, then scientists right now have zero knowledge on what influences sexual orientation. They are practically wasting their time and other people’s money. :)

    How could a pathogen be equally widespread in the urban and rural areas, from China to South America long before people have been making cross-continental expeditions?

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    I was asking for some consideration and sensitivity for this young kid — and there are hundreds of thousands of them out there listening to what is said about them.

    I agree with that. Adults can take care of themselves, but kids it’s a different story.

    And of course you are exactly right. It could be that being gay just means that something went differently, not necessarily wrong.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    How could a pathogen be equally widespread in the urban and rural areas, from China to South America long before people have been making cross-continental expeditions?

    I would guess that preferential male homosexuality is a few times more common among men born in dense urban areas as opposed to rural.

    Why it might be all over the world I have no idea. But it’s kind of tough to say that an Aztec warrior is gay for the same reason as a Viking. But I admit this is one reason why a pathogenic explanation doesn’t make obvious sense.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    But if you’re right, then scientists right now have zero knowledge on what influences sexual orientation. They are practically wasting their time and other people’s money.

    Historically speaking I’m not going to argue with that. 8-)

    Today I get the feeling that they are starting to get on the right track.

    A) It’s set in motion by something in the environment

    B) Genes play a role

    C) Gender specific instinctual switches!!!! 8-)

    I bet that C ends up a large part of the equation.

  • Michael Bussee

    Drowssap: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! — for saying that “it could be that being gay just means that something went differently, not necessarily wrong.” It took a lot of haranging, but that’s really all I wanted to hear,

    Also thanks for the awareness that discussing gay kids as broken, diseased, parasitic, chewed up, inferior, damaged, etc. could push an already fragile. self-loathing gay kid over the edge — or could push a confused, violence-prone homophobic kid to try to “fix” the damaged gay kid with some well deserved bullying or violence.

  • Evan

    Michael Bussee said

    I object to objectifying gays and putting them under the microscope to determine what went wrong, as though they were some sort of mtutated amoeba — when nothing may have gone wrong at all. Something just may have gone differently.. Did something go wrong if one bird is blue and another is red?

    Well, it depends, if the red bird cannot be attracted to another bird from the same species to produce offspring then biologists would probably be very curious what causes that. It is unusual in the natural realm, where reproduction is part of the evolutionary race. The bird which, for different reasons, cannot breed eventually disappears.

    I guess scientists want to know what causes many sexual orientations to make sure they get all the possible knowledge on what can improve reproductive health and what can affect it. You only know that if you understand how attractions work. Studying SSAs and generally studying how the brain systems work to produce sexual emotions can have many direct and indirect benefits. But as I said in a previous message we still don’t know whether something went wrong or not to produce a type of attractions that does not have reproductive potential. The amygdala patterns sure are intriguing. I will write more on that as the subject comes up. There is a growing interest in the study of this small but very important brain region genderwise.

  • Michael Bussee

    Evan said : “Studying SSAs and generally studying how the brain systems work to produce sexual emotions can have many direct and indirect benefits.”

    Wouldn’t it also be potentially beneficial to study OSAa and how their brain systems work? Why start with the assumption that something is wrong with gays and study only that? Besides which, gays seem to have no trouble reproducing. I have one daughter. She is producing children. The survival of the species seems safe.

  • Evan

    Come to think of it, actually the most studied people in the field of sexual orientation have been twins of both orientations! :)

  • Drowssap

    Michael Bussee

    Thank you.

    No thanks needed because in fact you are correct. We don’t know what causes SSA or OSA for that matter.

    Maybe I need a disclaimer at the end of each of my posts. 8-)

    A) My personal BIAS is towards some sort of pathogenic explanation

    B) Nobody truly knows why people have SSA

    C) Regardless of the cause gay people should be treated with love and understanding just like everyone else

  • Evan

    Michael,

    Yes, you are right, understanding OSAs would be great too. But I think that by understanding SSAs scientists will understand how attractions in general work. Actually there is one general theory proposed by Helen Fisher for mammals which aims at explaining how attractions work to produce pair bonding and reproduction, including for humans. Another, more specific theory, is Daryl Bem’s Exotic Becomes Erotic which claims to explain one path by which both orientations can develop for both sexes. So interest for SSAs has been mixed with interest for OSAs too sometimes. Daryl Bem is gay and I think no one suspects him of anything for studying the origins of sexual orientation.

  • Eddy

    1) I’ve been a participant in these debates and or discussions and involved as a counselor for a number of years a while back; I’ve learned that it’s not always best to reveal what you’re hoping to discover with a question. The leading will tarnish the results. (i.e. an individual may start reading ‘what you want to hear’ and deliver it rather than their actual experience; conversely an individual may see ‘where you’re going with this’ and provide a purposed detour or a pre-formed answer.). LOL. I can’t count the number of times that I asked either a new question or an old question with a twist and all I got was the canned answer to a question I didn’t really ask. Anyway, that’s part of why I do it. I am sorry that I offended you by it.

    2) To the extent that we use our lives and experiences as an example or a point or to make a point, I believe they can and should be questioned. (I don’t recall much outrage at the disrespect for Mary’s privacy. Perhaps we ALL need to take a second look at personal boundary issues.)

    3) Since you’ve stated them previously in each of your appeals, I already know why YOU think it’s a great idea to converse off the blog; I knew that when I said ‘no’ each time. Stating your reason in this new way did not change my answer.

    4) I don’t get the validity of the impact of our words–in this discussion in Warren’s ‘little corner of the world’– on the anguished homosexual youth. I really don’t see them stumbling upon Warren’s site AND this particular topic in droves. (BTW: I was a self-destructive suicidal homosexual youth myself. I’d bus into the city and go to the huge State Library to research homosexuality. Anyway, I’m thinking that if a similar struggling youth did stumble on this site today, that they’d browse around…try to get a sense of the place. They’d see something they don’t see anywhere else…Christians with dramatically different beliefs trying to communicate…and this “Psych dude” playing some really cool music…the Golden Rule Pledge…SIT Therapy.) LOL. I’ve even directed new people to the sidebar options more than a few times. Let them catch the essence before getting caught up in the topic of the moment.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    I have been called Counseldude before but I think this is the first Psychdude. Seems like I should have been but I dont recall it.

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy: Now who’s spinning? I was not “outraged” that my privacy was violated. What I have shared, here and elsewhere, I have shared willingly. I did get irriated when you kept pushing (on another thread) for details as to exactly when gary and I first had sex with each other. Maybe a private discussion would have been better? Maybe you would have gotten your answers more quickly?

    This was during that time that you kept saying “There are problems with the timeline!” There are problems with the timeline! — implying that I was lying. I suggested we talk off line because I have a daughter, a family, and an ex-wife I still love and care about. I was willing to tell you privately (if you really felt you needed to know) but I did not want to go into it here.

    No “outrage”, just a concern for their feelings. Mary has told me when she thinks I am getting too personal, and I have apologized when she let me know I had crossed the line. She has let me know that any questions about her ongoing sexual feelings or what she means when she uses certain words to describe herself are off limits. Once I got that clear message, I stopped asking for clarification.

    And you are right, self-loathing gay kids probably would not sign on to this blog. If they did, they would read a variety of opinons, and that is good. When I was growing up, there was only ONE opinion, and that was that homosexuality was a psychiatric illness. Nowadays, kids have access to a number of different viewpoints and options — and that is a wonderful thing.

    I was not suggesting that Throck’s blog (or any particular commenter) would push a kid over the edge. I am speaking more generally — of the still present and still strong anti-gay sentiment that is “out there” — in the real world where these kids live. Putting out words like sick, perverted, sinful, diseased, broken, etc. DOES have an impact on these confused, frightened and struggling kids — even if they never read it here. And no, I don’t have any studies to back that up.

  • Evan

    Talk about environmental effects on sex determination:

    Environmental pollutant has sex-skewing effect.

    Could different exposure thresholds account for within-gender variability in typicality? It would be a surprising finding to know that gender variability was less pronounced in past centuries and that the effect would be due to different environments shaping similar biological systems differently.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Talk about environmental effects on sex determination:

    I heard about that one before and it’s even worse than that. Apparently PCB’s affect personality as well. Male children whose mothers were exposed to PCBs during pregnancy are markedly more feminine. Sorry, no link handy for that one but if you google it’s out there.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Here is one of many of the links out there

    Pollutants alter play: another way PCBs affect children

  • Eddy

    Michael: Here’s where that reading into things plays out. I never inquired into when you and Gary first had sex. Believe it or not it’s true. My interest in the timeline went to trying to establish your frame of mind–your stress level–when Gary showed up in your life. Relatively new Christian…already in leadership…relatively new at dealing with homosexuality yet a wife…and a child. I had had an experience with what I call “tailor made temptation” in my final months at bible school; the man I fell in love with was my ministry partner.

    Anyway, each step in the the infamous timeline was actually another threshhold of stress or challenge and I wanted to know at what point Gary arrived in the picture and also when you two realized that this was the right path to follow. When or if you had sex prior to leaving your wives or the ministry, believe it or not, was not one of my concerns there. I was looking for that point when you changed your mind. From there, I would have likely pursued if you had had doubts or misgivings prior to that.

    I realize that even those questions were intensely personal but you were holding your life (and others) up as proof against any ex-gay notions; at the time, it seemed fair to question the timeframe in your life when you switched sides.

    (and if I’d told you I was asking because I wondered about the possibility of ‘tailor made temptation’, life stress or moving too fast too soon, that foreknowledge would more than likely have tainted your replies.)

    Re the anti gay sentiment word list. I’m in complete agreement except

    I do want to retain the use of ‘sinful’ , ‘broken’ and ‘ensnared’ in the rarest of circumstances.

  • ken

    Eddy said in post 113125 :

    My interest in the timeline went to trying to establish your frame of mind–your stress level–when Gary showed up in your life.

    That is NOT the impression I got from the exchange you are referring to above. To me it appeared your persistence in defining the time-line of Michael and Gary’s relationship was to attack and discredit Michael. And that it failed because Michael had already been forgiven, by the short list of people (a list you are not on) he needed to forgive him, for cheating on his wife.

  • Eddy

    Ken:

    Impressions are impressions. Opinions not completely based on facts. I have lots of those and either try not to state them or to secure more facts to either support or negate them. You bring up a good point about the apology though. As I recall the conversation was around the time of that the Beyond Ex-Gay conference was a hot topic here. A major part of that conference was a meeting where Exodus could come, hear of all the hurts they caused (either personally or by association) and apologize. I did think it was ironic that Michael saw the deep need for this apology yet never seemed to consider that, due to his founder and leader position, many felt that he owed an apology to Exodus. I DID want to know how long he remained in active ministry after he had already decided to continue in his new relationship. Was he already of a double-mind when I met him and trusted him as a leader? Did he and Gary carry their big secret throughout that conference? Gary was my ride from my host home to the conference site. The apology isn’t a big deal but the other apology brought it back to the surface.

    For the record, I’m still waiting for an apology from Bill Clinton. He seems to forget that among his other sins was coming on TV and outright lying to the American people…”I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinski”. It sounds like he cleaned up the rest of what he did; he just didn’t see that lying to his constituents was also an offense. It’s an apology I’ll never hear but I would have liked to.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Since immune system and brain function came up earlier…

    Huntington’s Disease Linked To Overactive Immune Response In The Brain

    Working separately, the two teams found evidence in both brain cells and the bloodstream suggesting an important link between the immune system’s response and Huntington’s disease.

    Huntington’s is a fatal inherited neurodegenerative disorder for which there is currently no effective treatment.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    Immune events may become the next candidate for environmental influences. The hormonal hypothesis is not faring well right now.

    Last December a team of Dutch and British researchers failed to find a significant correlation between levels of androgens in the womb and masculine vs feminine toy preference inside the same gender group.

    Cornelieke van de Beek, Stephanie H. M. van Goozen, Jan K. Buitelaar and Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis, Prenatal Sex Hormones (Maternal and Amniotic Fluid) and Gender-related Play Behavior in 13-month-old Infants,

    DOI 10.1007/s10508-007-9291-z.

    Abstract

    Testosterone, estradiol, and progesterone levels were measured in the second trimester of pregnancy in maternal serum and amniotic fluid, and related to direct observations of gender-related play behavior in 63 male and 63 female offspring at age 13 months. During a structured play session, sex differences in toy preference were found: boys played more with masculine toys than girls (d = .53) and girls played more with feminine toys than boys (d = .35). Normal within-sex variation in prenatal testosterone and estradiol levels was not significantly related to preference for masculine or feminine toys. For progesterone, an unexpected significant positive relationship was found in boys between the level in amniotic fluid and masculine toy preference. The mechanism explaining this relationship is presently not clear, and the finding may be a spurious one. The results of this study may indicate that a hormonal basis for the development of sex-typed toy preferences may manifest itself only after toddlerhood. It may also be that the effect size of this relationship is so small that it should be investigated with more sensitive measures or in larger populations.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Interesting results on that study.

    Maybe an early life or in some cases prenatal immune response alters hormone flow in a specific part of the brain. So it’s still hormones, just not the normal range of prenatal hormones.

    It seems to me that if SSA was the result of a high or low level of prenatal hormones

    A) Pregnant women wouldn’t deliver that amount of hormones very often

    B) It would be super easy to test and understand. A significant drop or increase in prenatal hormones would correlate with SSA. We would have probably figured out SSA in the 1950s.

  • jayhuck

    Evan,

    But as I said in a previous message we still don’t know whether something went wrong or not to produce a type of attractions that does not have reproductive potential.

    First you would have to define what “went wrong” means, and that in and of itself will be tricky. If we should discover one day that a type of genius/high IQ developed through means we might consider “wrong” would we work to extinguish it? This is , IMO, what is at the heart of the discussion. I don’t care that scientists are studying sexuality – in terms of knowledge, I think it is a wonderful thing – it is what we DO with that knowledge that counts. Gay people are here to stay, and the more pressing concerns are in how we live with them and how we make sure they and their loved ones and families are treated with love and respect. We also have to make sure that they are treated equally under the law

  • Evan

    Jayhuck,

    I don’t expect, actually, that research will find that something “went wrong” in the case of primarily SSA-ed people. I think it’s equally likely that same-sex attractions be one possibility of the human brain, just like so many others. However, lack of any opposite-sex attractions would be something unusual for a living being that needs this type of attractions to pass life on to new generations.

    I don’t think there is any person or group that can seriously be in the business of extinguishing gayness. Supposing there is, this is out of anyone’s control. Gay people could freely have kids to pass their genes on. I think this is more a question of options than control. If it becomes an option, it becomes less controversial, a low-stake issue. Maybe that’s what gay people need, to lose center stage in order to be left alone.

    If we should discover one day that a type of genius/high IQ developed through means we might consider “wrong” would we work to extinguish it?

    That’s a paradoxical question, which reminds me the kind of dilemmas which Russian novelist Dostoevsky used to pose. He would say something like this: if you were given the choice, would you plunge into suffering head down and heels up and understand life in all its terrible depths (the genius), or would you live a happy and contented life without needing to know more than you need for practical purposes (the ordinary man)?

    Since we live in a society built on the “pursuit of happiness” principle, I think most people would chose contentment over knowledge. But in every given social context you can find dissenters, people who are willing to give up comfort for uncertain benefits, like genius.

    But I’m not sure that genius is the product of accident, otherwise great human achievements would be accidental outcomes of a flawed biology. That would be the real tragedy: to find out that our subjective agitation stems from a biological accident and is not connected to a higher principle. If so, then finding the roots of this accident is tantamount to solving the problem that made humans question it in the first place. Which would then make us wonder why, of all species, only we were able to question and solve the problem, although other species underwent similar biological accidents which never lead them to genius?

    We’d go back to a higher principle…

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    If you asked scientists about the causes of delinquency, they would say just about the same thing: hormones and genes. This sums up the state of knowledge on the subject of causation of a great deal of psychological outcomes. :|

  • Michael Bussee

    Responding to Eddy:

    “Many felt that he owed an apology to Exodus.” Why to EXODUS specifically? The Apology, if you read whole thing, was directed to anyone I may have hurt: http://www.beyondexgay.com/article/busseeapology My intention in leaving EXODUS was not to hurt EXODUS, but to live honestly.

    “Was he already of a double-mind when I met him and trusted him as a leader?”. No. That came later. In 1974 (through about 1978), I was full of hope and faith — and believed God would change me. Gary had the same hope and faith. I can’t recall exactly when I started having doubts about teaching that people should and could become “ex-gay”, but it wasn’t all about my deepening feelings for Gary. (And by the way, I did not have a child at the time. My child was born in 1978. Only Gary had kids when you first met us.)

    As for when I became “double-minded” — It wasn’t “when Gary showed up” as you suppose. And, I did not become “double minded” . I changed my mind. My faith in the whole message and process began to slip little by little. I began to change my mind when I noticed that no one in our ministry was becoming straight and that many were becoming despondent, depressed and self-destructive, It was a process of disillusionment, not a moment.

    “Did he and Gary carry their big secret throughout that conference?” No. There was no “big secret” at the time of the conference!!! I had met Gary in 1975 and although I immediately liked him and was attracted to him, we did not become sexual with each other until 1979 — the same year we left EXODUS. Our divorces were not final until a couple of years later.

    So in a way, yes, you were indeed asking when we first had sex — because you assumed we must have been “carrying some big secret” like an affair — , misleading you and other conference attendees back in September of 1976. We were not.

    “Gary was my ride from my host home to the conference site. The apology isn’t a big deal but the other apology brought it back to the surface.” That car ride from Gary was in 1976, We got sexual and left in 1979, so you can relax. Your chauffeur was sexually pure at the time. You were not being deceived. We were both faithful to our wives when you met us. If you think I owe you some sort of apology for cheating on my wife three years after you first met me, I just don’t get it. I wasn’t married to YOU.

    I have apologized to everyone I might have hurt during my time with EXIT and EXODUS — whether by my misguided teaching (that gays can and should become “ex-gay”) or by my behavior. EXODUS gets no apology for my leaving. It was the honest and right thing to do.

    So all that being said, I agree with Ken when he said: “To me it appeared your persistence in defining the time-line of Michael and Gary’s relationship was to attack and discredit Michael. And that it failed because Michael had already been forgiven, by the short list of people (a list you are not on) he needed to forgive him, for cheating on his wife

    If anything, I think that you, Eddy, owe me an apology for (1) assuming we were already cheating (for implying that we were lying and “carrying a big secret” when you first met us) and for (2) questioning my truthfulness about just who planned and presented the Survivor Conference.

    As I have said, I wish I could take credit for it. Soulforce and Beyond Exgay did it all with no help from me. It simply needed to happen. Those harmed by EXODUS needed and found their “voice” and there was much healing in meeting other Survivors who had some postive, but mostly harmful EXODUS experiences.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    If you asked scientists about the causes of delinquency, they would say just about the same thing: hormones and genes.

    Yeah, you are right. Everything I see is genes and hormones. I think they look at these two things because they are so obvious and easy to measure.

    It’s kind of like scientists discover the two most obvious factors that impact tree growth, sunlight and water. But they don’t know the 100s of other less obvious, specialized factors that are just as important.

    Eventually a scientist takes this general knowledge about plant growth and tries to turn a tree into a fern by altering sunlight and water levels when it’s in a seed state. 8-)

    I think that’s where we were in SSA until recently. Scientists were trying to figure out how genes and hormones create SSA and they came up blank. Both are probably important but I doubt they are the specialized factor that is creating SSA.

  • Eddy

    We’ve really got to let this serious detour die. I do want to clarify though that you and I (and Gary and I) didn’t meet until 1977. Once before in our very early posts I believe you had confused me with Ron Dennis; Ron did precede me by about a year but we were both short, fiery street evangelists. (Ron was close to the inner circle…you, Jim, Frank, Robbi; I was an unknown until after I joined Outpost in 1978. In total, you and I probably spoke for less than 15 minutes during our entire Exodus overlap. LOL! I probably spoke more with Gary as the chauffeur, now that I think about it.) I’m thinking it’s possible we spoke by phone while I worked at Outpost but, generally speaking, Robbi was the Exodus point of contact.

    I did find the video by the way. I still don’t know how to link with the new laptop…going to hook up old keyboard this weekend. Anyway, go to YouTube and search “Beyond Ex-Gay”. (If you search “Michael Bussee”…about a dozen come up that all look similar.) Within the “Beyond Ex-Gay” search, there are two vids with similar names. “Two of Exodus Founders Come Out As Ex-Ex Gay” is the one with the statement that misled me. (the vid you want is by exgaysurvivordan…5:48 I believe.) And the statement is actually the closing statement of the video.

    I coupled the statement with some conclusions I made from observations. There were really only two video statements from or about the conference. (unless that pack of a dozen with you in the same pose is all different). But, you’re featured in both. In the one, it’s just you. In the other, it’s 3 of you making your statements of apology. You’re the principal in both video offerings and nothing gives any hint of how this conference came to be. So, I took you to be a principal…actually THE principal. And the only statement in either video that gave any clue as to how this historic conference came to pass seemed to come in that closing statement. “I’ve been silent all of these years. But when I heard that Exodus and NARTH had hooked up and were having their thing just up the road…maybe an hour away…in my own backyard.y..I couldn’t stay silent any longer.” (The quote may not be exact but is pretty close.) LOL! I’m thinking of one of the promos for this year’s Twin Cities Pride. Michael, I think in the video there’s a period where there should have been a comma. After the last statement should have been “and that’s when I heard about the Beyond Ex-Gay Conference” or “and then I got this call from Beyond Ex-Gay”. But the way the video ended, it was easy to conclude that you were the inspiration for the conference. Evidently, it was a false conclusion. For that I apologize.

    I won’t answer to the allegations about my motives for wanting to know certain things for two reasons: 1) I’ve already spoken to them all before. You obviously don’t believe me. 2) I believe that any further conversation on this needs to happen on that thread not this one. (I do note the ‘recent comments’ section so I’d likely pick up if conversation resumed there.) But, please, I’ve been the sites biggest nag about detours. I feel so guilty…there’s Evan and Drowssap just communicating away ON THE TOPIC…and I’m answering to questions and charges from a long ago unrelated thread. Not a good example at all.

    So, I’ll give you the last word if you want it. Or meet you on the ‘timeline’ thread. (LOL. I don’t know how to find it. It’s not like “timelines” would have been the actual topic or anything.) :-)

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Speaking of an immune reponse that causes damage… Cytokine damage keeps popping up in all sorts of physical and mental health research.

    One scientist just announced that he believes that managing the bodies immune response could lead to treatments for a myriad of disorders.

    Could Arthritis Wonder Drugs Provide Clues For Other Diseases?

    “I will also discuss whether it is possible — even likely — that cytokines play a critical role in all diseases involving multiple biological processes, thus providing therapeutic targets for all unmet medical needs.”

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy” “You’re the principal in both video offerings and nothing gives any hint of how this conference came to be. So, I took you to be a principal…actually THE principal.”

    So, in your haste to discredit me, you jumped to conclusuions TWICE — (1) once about who planned the Survivor’s Conference and (2) again when you assumed that Gary and I were already “hiding a big secret” and cheating on our wives when you first met us — which we were not.

    You really blew it, Eddy Jumped to conclusions. Assumed I wasn’t telling the whole truth — that I must be “spinning” something. You were WRONG! Instead of making assumptions, you could have simply asked.

    The vid you are referring to http://www.main-board.com/yt.php?author=exgaysurvivordan was shot after a rally in Palm Springs in 2006, protesting the Love Won Out conference in nearby Indian Wells, not at the time of the Exgay Survivor Conference which was held in Irivine in 2007.

    You are mixing up two different events. The Love Won Out protest was In September of 2006: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb5554/is_200608/ai_n21880102. I found out that EXODUS and NARTH had “teamed up” for that one, and were indeed holding the LWO conference “practically in my back yard” — I live about 45 minutes from Palm Springs. I went on my own and spoke as an individual.

    You wrongly assumed that that Palm Springs protest vid (2006) was about the Irvine Survivor’s Conference (2007) http://www.beyondexgay.com/conference — and that was almost a year away. You messed up. You jumped to conclusions and assumed I must be lying about (or “spinning”) something. At least you apologized for that erroenous accusation

    About the “time line” thing. Again, you jumped to conclusions and assumed Gary and I were messing around (“hiding a big secret”) and lying to everyone even as EXODUS was being formed. We were not. How about an apology for that, sport?

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    Yeah, evidence is growing for some immune contribution to brain disorders. Just today another piece of research made the news. I’m not usually interested in psychiatric stuff, but one thing caught my eye: scientists narrowed the search for bipolars and schizophrenia susceptiblity genes to a set of genes which are involved in “nervous system development, immune system development and response, and cell death.” I have heard this argument before about the role of cell death (apoptosis) in the development of various disorders, but the immune genetic contribution is something new.

    Genes have complicated ways of working together in many parts of the body. For instance one of those susceptibility genes is expressed in the amygdala, the hippocampus, corpus callosum and other parts of the brain, plus the eye retina and kidneys. Could someone make an evolutionary argument for why 1-2% of a population are hit by these disorders? What purpose would having these serious disorders serve such a sizeable portion of the population or the entire population itself? This is not a rare disorder, so it doesn’t look like a genetic accident, because the number of genes involved is big. Maybe it’s the environment that is changing and susceptibilities are differently put to strain by modern stressors.

    On the other hand, SSAs are probably not the product of a disorder in most cases, although there might be some cases in which this type of attractions could be created by some dysregulations. SSAs are one possibility of the brain to perceive conspecifics, but under some conditions specific to individuals, like greater vulnerability to anxiety, their effect might be amplified and might stifle whatever degree of OSAs is present in one individual. Lack of any degree of opposite-sex attractions – that is probably a sign of a dysregulation of some sort. But attractions probably don’t work that way: it’s more of a question of relative thresholds, and less of degrees. One needs a critical level of gender ‘otherness’ perception in order for attractions to kick in.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Could someone make an evolutionary argument for why 1-2% of a population are hit by these disorders?

    You can bet that any gene implicated in trouble for 1% to 2% of the population is a susceptability gene, not a disease gene. Disease genes are always rare (roughly 1 in 10,000 people) or group specific. Susceptability genes exist for a lot of reasons. One of the main reasons for these genes is immune function. A gene might offer protection from one thing but this protection makes us vulnerable to another.

    Example:

    Blood type is part of the human immune system. Each blood type is good at protecting us from certain pathogens while not so good at protecting us from others. It’s a trade off.

    Example 2:

    Hemochromatosis is a genetic “disorder” that’s not really a disorder at all. People with Hemochromatosis genes store extra iron for use during long winters or in places where Vitamin C is scarce. This is a huge advantage in cold climate, hunter gatherer societies. The problem is that in the modern environment neither iron nor Vitamin C are scarce. These people often store too much iron which can lead to increased health problems as they age. Fortunately the cure is simple. All these people have to do is donate blood and they’ll never have a problem.

  • Michael Bussee

    Evan, you said: “One needs a critical level of gender ‘otherness’ perception in order for attractions to kick in.”

    Not if you’re gay, you don’t. A perception of “gender otherness” has the opposite effect on me.

  • Michael Bussee

    I am still waiting for some sort of apology from Eddy for his presumptions that (1) Gary and I had “a big secret” when he first met us, (2) that we were lying the entire time we were with EXODUS and (3) that I left EXODUS when “Gary came along” — as though Gary was the only or main reason I left. He was not. I left because I was still gay.

    None of Eddy’s “jumps to conclusions” was correct. We had already known each other about four years before that happenened. During the previous four years, we got EXIT off the ground, hosted the first EXODUS conference and lived “ex-gay” lives, faithful to our wives and kids. Our daughters were born during this time, one week apart.

    We quit EXODUS the same year we began our affair. I remember it well because it was the same night that “Alient” came out at the cinema near where we were giving our “ex-gay” testimony at a church conference in Indianapolis..: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078748/releaseinfo.

    This was the same conference where we announced that we would no longer be giving “ex-gay” speeches — to the shock of those who had asked us to talk about how we had “changed”. The conference organizers had accidentally put us up in a room with one bed. We went to the movies that night. We told our wives soon after, but our divorces were not final until 1981.

  • Eddy

    Michael,

    In my earlier post, I said I was giving you the last word. I’m not sure why it is that you’re waiting for me to re-engage in that conversation. Does ‘last word’ mean something different to you?

    I’ve apologized on this site before; I’ve apologized to you before. If I felt I owed you an apology now, I would. Wondering and considering the possibility are NOT the same thing as presumptions. (LOL! If I presumed those answers, why would I need to ask any questions?) For the false conclusion that I did come to (re your role in the BXG conference), I did apologize.

    Ann, Michael

    This discussion has made me realize that the ‘in person California vacation rendezvous’ is an offer I must withdraw..

    …and once again I’ll try to abandon this detour…

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy: OK. That will have to do I guess. At least I am on record that Gary and I were not messing around before, during or after the EXODUS conference and that we left EXODUS and came out to our wives the same year we did — 1979.

    We could have saved all this time and aggravation by talking or writing to each other when you first started implying that we were lying (over a year ago I think) but I know that for some reason, you preferred to hash out the personal details on the blog. Oh well.

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy, in all fairness, you went beyond just “wondering and considering”. You referred to it as the “big lie”. If you had just been wondering, why not just ask, “When was that?” I would have answered you honestly and openly

    Your tone and wording strongly suggested that you believed I was trying to pull a fast one on you, EXODUS and the general public. I was not .You assumed that I was lying to you and to EXODUS about the “time line”, but I was not lying about any of that.

    You jumped to the same sort of conclusion about who spearheaded the Survivor conference, suggesting that I was “spinning” the truth about that. I would have apologized to you for such an assumption, but if you don’t feel the need to, so be it.

  • Ann

    This discussion has made me realize that the ‘in person California vacation rendezvous’ is an offer I must withdraw..

    Eddy,

    I’m not sure if I understand – have I done or said something that was inappropriate? Please let me know as I don’t want anything the matter between us. I would love to meet you. You and Michael can come over and I will make lunch or dinner if you want. If you just want to come, that is ok too.

  • Michael Bussee

    I would love to see a summit sometime of those on the ex-gay side of things and those of us who are critical — to see if we could find some common ground. It would be a great conference, wouldn’t it?

  • Nance

    This is my question to the study and those that say “nurture” plays a role in sexual orientation.I’m gay and have blue eyes. Did nurture dictate my eye color?

    I know without a doubt that no part of my nurture promoted my attraction to men.

    By no means do I suggest that I am better qualified according to my education, only by being myself . Thanks

  • carole

    The July 1, 2008 thread entitled “Multiple Factors involved in Sexual Orientation, Pt. 2 had lots of interesting, thought-provoking observations from many of you.

    I wonder if there will ever be a way to know what a toddler or a baby is thinking, what they are taking in? (Just read an article or two about that). People can talk about their earliest memories, but none can really remember being one or two, what they saw at that age, how they processed what they saw).

    I understand that now may not be the time to discuss this, but maybe on another thread we can.

    I have to admit, Michael, that your comment that at a very early age (I forget how young, but it WAS young) you put another boy’s penis in your mouth was on my mind as I thought about this. That still astounds me. You didn’t go for his big or little toe (or maybe you did, LOL) but his penis. I was left wondering what gave you , so young at that time, the interest, the urge to do that. (This is not at all a request for you to attempt to explain it since you already said you don’t know why you did it other than you put all kinds of things in your mouth and other than your earliest memories are those of loving the male body. For that matter, I recall eating mud!)

    My mention of your comment is only by way of illustrating that the exploration of attraction and our childhood is something worth discussing. Seems that whenever people like the NARTHIANS try to link childhood and sexuality, they try to link it to something bad, something traumatic.

    If there is a link (and I am not saying there is but it’s worth discussing) maybe the discussion should center on links to something perceived by the very young child as very attractive and pleasing.


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