February 18, 2013

Nature Vs Nurture? By Drew

It's the time old argument, Nature Vs. Nurture…. are we born this way, as Lady Gaga loudly sings, or are we born straight and experiences turn us gay? Having lied to myself for many years about who and what I was attracted to, I have often asked myself if I had a choice, if it is a phase, if therapy could help me overcome this attraction…… Recently I have thought of a hypothesis that could possibly incorporate sexuality as nature, nurture, and both a combination of the two.

So, as everyone learned from Mrs. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus, our DNA or genes (mine American Eagle 32x32) dictate pretty much every biological thing about us, from eye and hair color to nearsightedness, even if you can curl your tongue. It makes sense then to believe that they also dictate our sexuality. If they didn't then how could we have survived as a species?

The biological need to reproduce is a primary characteristic of all life; even single celled organisms reproduce, though it is not as much fun as hopping on the good foot and doing the bad deed.
This is also where some people argue that it is unnatural to be homosexual, it doesn't result in this propagation of the species, and is a trait that, if we apply the survival of the fittest attitude of Darwin, would have been phased out within the infancy of a species. What is the purpose of life, for a basic organism, if not to reproduce? But there have been moes throughout the recorded history of man (evidence to the fact: cave-paintings featuring Nutbuster Neanderthal fisting his favorite twink, Grunter) so how can we explain this phenomenon? Is it a genetic mutation that randomly occurs in 10% of the population? Or is it something else that makes us who we are? This is where the nurture arguments arise.

A counter-opinion to the organic definition of our sexuality is that everyone is born straight but become gay through various experiences in their lives. To many moes, I know this seems ridiculous, the idea that our sexuality is a product of our up-bringing; it is as if we are to blame for the development of our mind set. And that it is therefore something for which we can go to counseling, complain about our mothers, maybe take pills or something, and be "cured" of our mental disease that is the desire to slob on another guys knob, as if we are bi-polar or depressed.
(Little fun fact, in Hitler's Reich, lesbianism was considered a curable disease, but gays were persecuted just as the Jews. Thankfully for the gays at the time, they were a bit harder to identify as whipping it out and checking for a foreskin.) But, if we are able to take a step back, for some of us that step is more like a leap back, and calm down a bit, there is something to be said about the argument. If we look at homosexuality as just a fetish, as if it were BDSM, role-play, leather, etc etc then it doesn't seem too inconceivable that our preference for sweet, hung beefcake is any different than dressing up in a nurse's outfit and playing doctor. Freud would say that our kinky boudoir preferences stem from our love for our mother and the subsequent fear our father would castrate us if he ever found out, or something relating to that nature. But really, how many of us actually ask ourselves why we like the things we do?

I personally am a bit of a masochist. Does that have anything to do with my father disciplining me with a belt? Maybe, I don't know. Why is orange my favorite color? Is it because I am balanced and tempered? (If you knew me personally you would be lawling right now) But the problem with this whole nurture argument is the inability to account for all the possible scenarios or even the common scenarios that every moe has had and that every straight hasn't had. Take for example two male twins, where one is gay… if they haven't had as close to the same life then I don't know what has. So is it possible for a third option, maybe a mix of the two?

For me personally, the two possible "causes", if you will, of homosexuality to do not satisfy rationality, they both have flaws in their arguments and some logical possibilities. Maybe they are both possible and maybe there is an opportunity that they are not mutually exclusive. Could it be that a person is born without a defined sexuality and their genetic material allows for environmental stimuli to mold the individual's sexuality? (This differs slightly from the above argument that we are straight when born and become gay, or choose to be gay). The basis of this idea is a theory I learned while studying linguistics called Universal Grammar and postulates first language acquisition.

Noam Chomsky developed this theory that basically says we, as human beings, are genetically designed and capable to learn any language as our first language. He depicts it as a giant switchboard of un-switched switches. (Say that 10 times fast). While we are growing up and exposed to language, these switches are switched depending on the various aspects of the language, and we become native speakers of such language. So, if we apply a similar theory for sexuality (and not just homo V. hetero but everything under the sun from BDSM, asexual, schadenfreude, bisexual, drag queens….the list goes on and on and on…) where we are born into this world as cute, innocent, nonsexual-deviants and as we slowly, progressively grow older and experience the world, and it's horrible people, our sexual identity grows and develops along with it. For example: maybe events in my adolescences can explain why I prefer fair eyed, fair haired, in-shape, masculine guys who are willing to properly nibble on my collar. But I guess I would need a session with Dr. Freud to properly identify which experience caused which preference in my sexuality. That would probably take a life time….

But in the end, none of it really matters. Yes, it is definitely something cool to think about, theorize, and argue (in good fun) about, but really it does not matter. Regardless of the stance or theory you prescribe to, the end result is the same; whatever a person's sexuality is out of the control for that person and irreversible. If we are born gay then, we are just as natural as a four-leaf clover. If every human is born straight and through various circumstances we very cool, select few become gay, then that's a fact of life, and such with life, you must work with what you are given. And say we are born a clean slate and our sexuality develops alongside our ability to understand and function in the world around us then our sexual desires are as mundane as our favorite color.

Written By ~Drew

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