Updated: Aug 27, 2020
Over half a century ago Kinsey and his research team conducted very extensive anonymous interviews on sexual desires and behaviors with adults of all ages. His interviews in some ways were aided by the fact that all sexual behavior was beyond the scope of social and political conversation so that the interviewees did not know what the “right” answers were. Their years of research concluded that nearly all people had some level of sexual attraction toward both males and females and that most people had a significant amount of such attraction.
This finding should not have been surprising. We know that in societies where there is no social or legal proscription on homosexual behavior that such behavior becomes ubiquitous. The falsehood of the “born gay” position is not in the assumption that humans have natural desires for sexual contact with people who share the same genitalia, but in the corollary that most people do not have such natural desires. The political gay-lesbian community don’t like to say it but their efforts to stigmatize bisexual people as “gay in transition” or “gay in denial” is predicated on the idea that the vast majority of people are born 100% heterosexual. If the religious right said such a thing they would be derided, but somehow the political gay-lesbian community get away with it.
The fact is human social and sexual desire is incredibly complicated. Anyone who says differently is either ignorant or a liar (or both). Not only is it complicated, it is always in flux to one degree or another.
When one speaks of being gay, one is talking of not just of the attraction to male genitalia but to a whole host of preferences for male companionship and self-identification. This is what confounds those who want neat boxes and this is the root of Kinsey’s findings. Desire for sexual contact with people with the same kinds of genitals does not have to be accompanied by a desire to have intimate social contact with people of the same sex. And the corollary is true, people who have desire for intimate social contact with people of the same sex, do not automatically lose their desire to have sexual contact with the opposite sex.
The only group actively denying this fact (and fact it is) is the political gay-lesbian community. They are the ones saying that if you have intimate social preferences for people of the same sex (i.e. you are in love with someone of your sex), that you are a sex traitor if you have sex with someone with genitals different than yours. Further they assert that once you “come out” as preferring same sex relationships, you are morally deficient for expressing at a later date you now have a preference for the opposite sex. They act, in effect, just like a fundamentalist religious right in this.
Interestingly the Christian religious right have always contended that while same sex contact is a moral abomination, they also believe that such behavior is part of human nature. Sure, they say that nature is sinful, but it is natural none the less. I’ll cover this issue as it relates to Christianity in a later post when I put on my hat of Rev. Polyamory (yes, I worked for several Christian churches over the years).
The great experiment that has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that nearly all humans are sexually drawn to both males and females is the modern access to porn. Prior to the free and easy access to sexually explicit imagery, it was hard to know what men and women wanted, but the market has acted as a way to find the preference of the vast majority of people. In the early days of modern porn, the makers assumed that men would want to see guys that looked like them, hence Ron Jeremy was an early star. But as the industry developed in the 80’s and 90’s it became clear that the male viewers wanted to see buff, good looking, well hung guys. Men wanted to see the same kind of virile males as women wanted to see. Why? If the100% hetero theory was correct, they would not want to see buff, sexually threatening, males. The only answer is that men like to see other hot guys naked, with erections having sex.
More damning of the 100% hetero majority theory is the now universal use of the external cum shot. Men want to see other men’s erect penis, they want to see those hot men stroke that penis to ejaculation. Interestingly, the porn done by and for women, rarely have external cum shots. There can be no doubt that men, the vast majority of men, get very aroused to the homoerotic image of other men masturbating (near a woman) to climax. The fact that the man is masturbating over a woman is only incidental to the primary focus of the man’s masturbation. She is just a prop, to make the homoeroticism palatable.
For women, the rise of easily accessible porn has stripped away the taboos and among the younger generation, girls view erotic images on the net at approximately the same rate as boys (though not as often). Girls tend to view different kinds of images than boys, but studies on women and men viewing images of nude women and of women having sex find nearly identical rates of physiological arousal to the images.
Consider one last fact. If having sexual attraction for people of the same sex was a binary, with some people having a “gay” gene, what would happen in a society where people were free to act upon their inborn homosexuality without restraint? According to evolutionary theory, a trait that even reduces likelihood of reproduction even a tiny amount would over time, eliminate that trait from the gene pool. Thus a society where people with the “gay gene” were free from the obligation to be with the opposite sex, they would simply stop reproducing and the gene would die out in a matter of a generation or two. However, in societies like the classical world, homosexual behavior was fully embraced, and surprise, the behavior stayed ubiquitous for a thousand years. It didn’t die out at all and according to many writers, homosexual behavior was nearly universal. How can that be if people are born either fully homosexual or fully heterosexual? The population of the region did not drop to zero. The answer of course is blindingly obvious. When people are free to act on their sexual desires, nearly all will have both male and female partners. A fact conveniently ignored by both the right and left.
Why do you suppose homosexual conduct had been forbidden in the military for generations? Well consider the quote from Winston Churchill, “The history of the Royal Navy is one of rum, sodomy and the lash.” The recent publicity surrounding the fact that female soldiers are victims of rape at a rate approaching 50% is coming at a great surprise to the general public. Additionally, is the lesser known fact that male soldiers are finally coming forward as victims of rape at rates no one would have previously believed. This illustrates the vulnerability of military personnel to sexual assault. The simple fact that sex with a man was a court martial offence both deterred men from overtly raping other men as well as deterring more powerful soldier’s pressuring less powerful soldier into a sexual relationship. In the Royal Navy, as in prisons today, small men were the sexual prey of larger men. I was a soldier once, and understand the culture. The fact is the military has always known that soldiers who become close and under stress, will often have desires to engage in some sort of sexual behavior. Under those circumstances; the willingness of both partners is difficult to ascertain. Further, since it is also inevitable that a few soldiers will coerce or physically force other soldiers into sex, the solution was a single sex military and to treat all homosexual conduct as a serious crime. By this method there was no need to prove force or coercion was used; only the sex took place. Similarly by having nearly all military units as all male, commanders kept heterosexual rape out of the barracks as well. Further, by engendering a homophobic culture, the military pushed sexual bullies and predators to pursue victims who did not wear the uniform. Now the old solutions are gone, rape of military personnel by other military personnel is a very serious problem. I’m not excusing rape or advocating of the return to either policy, I’m just making the point that both heterosexual and homosexual conduct has been assumed to be a normal part of close personal interactions forever, even if not directly admitted by authorities.
The simple and undeniable fact is that most people can and, if allowed to, will have enjoyable sexual contact with both men and women over the course of their life. Though I self-identify with the label bi-sexual, I actually don’t like it, because that indicates such people are some minority or oddity. The word that should indicate a minority or oddity should be mono-sexual. Even the 1.7 % of the US population that identify as lesbian-gay, would be significantly reduced if those people were asked if they, on occasion, are sexually attracted to someone of the opposite sex without fear of ostracism from the gay-lesbian community (which is why the effort to suppress those feelings is so intense).
For young women, the taboo of occasional same sex enjoyment is nearly gone and for older women it is significantly eroded. For men however the taboo is still there, even in the poly and swinger communities. Such contact has always been a part, but it is now becoming more common as men are not quite as fearful of negative consequences of being “outed” in these communities. It took a bit of nail biting to change our couples profile on the swinger site we use to reflect that both Paula and I identify as bisexual. We were pleased that the change has had little impact on the responses we get.
We in the sex-positive community must promote the idea that the desire for sexual contact with both men and women is a positive and normal part of the human experience. It’s not that we need to convince anyone to be attracted to people of the same sex, because they already are; but rather we need to help people have the courage to admit to themselves that these feelings exist. Once people can own those feelings as positive, our job is done. They may never act on them (beyond masturbating to the homoerotic images in mainstream porn), but they should be free from guilt and feeling there is something wrong with them for doing so.
(note: Yes I know I’ve covered much of this before, but I have a good many new readers, and I’m hoping this will be reposted for wider dissemination)