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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » Where did same sex attraction come from? Plus a weird fact you will never forget!!!!

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Author Topic: Where did same sex attraction come from? Plus a weird fact you will never forget!!!!
moonlight bouncing off water
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I have to wonder, why does attraction to the opposite sex exist? I am not saying it is wrong, I recently came out as bisexual although now I am having doubts, I just don't see it as having benefit to our species as a whole from an evolutionary point of view. But I don't think it does not exist, though I would certainly be less confused if it didn't. Nor do I believe it came when we were homo sapiens, because look at animals, but will we ever know?

Oh want to hear something weird about a species? I was reading Discover forever ago and I came across an article about an entire species of Lesbians! I kid you not. If you want to read it copy and paste this into you address bar (or just click on it) http://discovermagazine.com/2009/jan/053 But I will explain th gist of the article, a microscopic aquatic species of only females, bdelloid rotifers can withstand being cut off from all water, when water is returned to the area they swim around absorbing DNA from deceased members of their species, or any other DNA lying around and then they essentially clone themselves, so this is like their form of sex. Since their partner is essentially dead and both are female this makes them lesbian necrophiliacs! Talk about a weird species.

So the point of this thread? I dunno, your thoughts on pretty much anything to do with sexual orientation, oh and especially odd facts like mine, trust me it will not be I waste, I promise I will check back and I have a strange ability to retain obscure facts.

if you notice that some of my sentences seem weird grammatically it's because tis program does not permit brackets, weird.

[ 10-14-2009, 04:40 PM: Message edited by: moonlight bouncing off water ]

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Heather
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I think you simply have to bear in mind that a) not everything that exists in the world has a solid scientific explanation, and b) when it comes to human sexuality and relationships, a LOT of it has zippo or little to do with reproduction.

I'm fine with these kinds of discussions, but to me honest, I'm not a big fan of them since they tend to ONLY happen around same-sex relationships. I'm more comfortable when these are framed something like why sexual or romantic relationships exist between people (of any gender or orientation) who either cannot procreate or choose not to, since there's ultimately nothing any different about, say, an infertile hetero couple than a same-sex one when we're talking about sex and evolution around reproduction.

Personally, I think a lot of this ultimately boils down to the fact that species tend to benefit when beings form bonds and families of any kind. As well, we know people do better, as individuals and a species when they have wanted physical affection in their lives, regardless of the source.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Oh, I see how you took it and I didn't mean it that way at all. I only posed the topic that way because of where it was (in the orientation area) I also realize that not everything has a scientific explanation and I did also mean couples of any sort. The thought never occurred to me when I was creating the topic. That would be something to include in it. I am sorry because I think I have offended you and that was not the desired effect of my post.
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Heather
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But heterosexuality is ALSO an orientation. [Smile]

I'm totally unoffended, regardless, and know you didn't mean or imply anything negative or derogatory in your post. No worries. [Smile]

I'd just prefer that if we're going to discuss things like that, we don't make it about same-sex partnership in a way that doesn't make sense. Again, for all intents and purposes, there's no difference, from the standpoint you were coming at it from, between a same-sex couple and an opposite-sex one where reproduction can't or doesn't happen.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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I guess that makes sense. This has made me feel really ignorant. So I get where yo are coming from, and really I am coming from there as well.
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Heather
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I think we can be sure the person who just let us all know about microscopic aquatic species whose potential sexual activity is both lesbian and necrophiliac is anything but ignorant. [Razz]

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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michan
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I think for the "Where did same sex attraction come from?" You really have to ask yourself, "Where did the whole opposite sex attraction come from?" at the same time. Because they are both two orientations that have always been around.
Same sex attraction has been around for just as long as opposite sex attraction, it's just we are more used to seeing straight relationships in every day life because that seems to be the norm.
I mean it could just have easily been turned the other way where gay was the norm and it was looked down on to be straight.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Oh do I ever know. I really don't know why I started this topic, but I did and I do mean it the other way.

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darksideofbluemoon
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It's a totally valid question. Heterosexually does seem to have a significant evolutionary advantage. Here are some counter-arguments I've heard/thought of:

* In cave-man times, many straight cave-men didn't get the chance to reproduce. A gay cave-man, who might even get left behind with the women when the other men were off hunting, could instead devote his time to helping to raise his younger relatives, thereby increasing their chances of survival, and propagating his own genes, offsetting the evolutionary disadvantage of not having offspring himself.

* Due to social pressure and rape, Lesbian cave-women would probably have to reproduce anyway. But once the offspring were born, in a culture where the men were often away, having the help of a female lover while raising the young would have increased the babies chances of survival.

* Sexual orientation might be determined by hormone levels in the womb, not genes, in which case natural selection wouldn't apply.

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bluejumprope
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I agree that asking the "why" of most anything is valid, but given the huge social and historical context of homophobia, asking "why is there same-sex attraction" without a lot of awareness of heterosexism makes me, personally, feel crappy.

This thread started with an interesting animal fact, and I think it's really important to remember that same-sex sexual behavior is common throughout the animal kingdom. So, if we're talking about evolutionary arguments for different sexual behaviors, keeping the conversation about life forms in general rather than humans, would be one thing that would make me more comfortable.

I want to repeat what Heather said too:

quote:
I'd just prefer that if we're going to discuss things like that, we don't make it about same-sex partnership in a way that doesn't make sense. Again, for all intents and purposes, there's no difference, from the standpoint you were coming at it from, between a same-sex couple and an opposite-sex one where reproduction can't or doesn't happen.
Wikipedia has a nice introductory page on homosexual behavior in animals , and Joan Roughgarden's Evolution's Rainbow is a great read that discusses the biological advantages of diversity. That book has tons of really cool examples of "queer" animals--fish that change their sex multiple times during a lifetime, lesbian lizards. [Smile] I'd recommend anyone who is interested in this question read that book.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Why would homosexual cavemen get left in the cave with the women? They would still be men and they would hunt and provide would they not? But who knows. I really think I hurt some feelings with this question and I am sorry.

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strawberrywine
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I think this is a really interesting topic. Moonlight, I don't think you offended anyone. I think we're all just trying to figure out where we all stand. I'm bisexual and I've often wondered why same-sex attraction exists when it serves no biological purpose. It's ok, it sounds sort of offensive but it really is ok to wonder. That's what humans do. And when you think about it, doesn't it actually serve a biological purpose?

As Heather pointed out, "Personally, I think a lot of this ultimately boils down to the fact that species tend to benefit when beings form bonds and families of any kind. As well, we know people do better, as individuals and a species when they have wanted physical affection in their lives, regardless of the source". Maybe reproduction just exists because we need it to make more of us, but all of our ideas about sexuality relating to reproduction are culture-oriented. Something that is culture oriented isn't necessarily an unadulterated truth because cultures are based on human ideas. We're all born into this world trying to piece things together as we go along. So our ideas are going to be flawed. I'm hoping this makes sense, I'm choosing a very late hour to try to explain a very complicated idea.

My point is, any sexual attraction fulfills a biological need. We are mammals and we are sexual beings. As Heather said, we crave closeness and we crave understanding and acceptance. So sexual attraction is essentially a means to that end.

Also, moonlight, about your comment about homosexual cavemen. That reminds me of the tradition among native american tribes of men who choose to live as women. It's much more complicated than that, and someone can probably correct me. But it makes me wonder if, in neolithic (or earlier) cultures, homosexual men were designated to staying with the women. That's a really interesting concept. I just mean that, every culture views things differently. There are cultures that automatically associate homosexuality in men with feminine lifestyles. Which we know may or may not be true, because personal identity is so complicated.

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Jill2000Plus
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Plus, take masturbation, we do that because it feels good and we're capable of doing it... the common theme being it makes us happier and generally more productive to feel good, and it's not as if everyone heterosexual wants to have offspring or even necessarily to have the kind of sex that has a possibility of resulting in offspring, in fact abortifacents have existed for a very long time, it may be that there were enough of us who wanted the kind of sex that can lead to offspring or wanted offspring for there to be population growth but that wouldn't mean that we would all heterosexual. Also, while I am in no way saying that men have a biological, innate desire to rape, rape exists and has been one factor in the increase of the population, it's not right, but all sorts of social pressures and force can be used to ensure reproduction even when it's not wanted (or prevent it when it is), just because something leads to a population increase or decrease doesn't say anything about how ethical it is.

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Karybu
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quote:
Also, moonlight, about your comment about homosexual cavemen. That reminds me of the tradition among native american tribes of men who choose to live as women. It's much more complicated than that, and someone can probably correct me. But it makes me wonder if, in neolithic (or earlier) cultures, homosexual men were designated to staying with the women. That's a really interesting concept. I just mean that, every culture views things differently. There are cultures that automatically associate homosexuality in men with feminine lifestyles. Which we know may or may not be true, because personal identity is so complicated.
In case anyone's interested, the people strawberrywine is referring to (they can be male-bodied or female-bodied) were known for a long time as berdache and are generally referred to now as two-spirited. (Berdache is a term that was coined by anthropologists and has not-so-nice origins, and as far as I know, most North American indigenous people prefer not to use it anymore.) This article gives a pretty good overview.

[ 11-07-2009, 07:21 PM: Message edited by: Karybu ]

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Jill2000Plus
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Is there a word I can use that has no religious implications but also doesn't have bad associations? (well, I still say soul music sometimes [Wink] )

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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Heather
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Most often, Jill, that term, is merely associated with being transgender. Some intersex people sometimes claim it, too. IOW, I think the association of that gender identity with orientation was largely due to bias and the assumptions of straight observers.

For someone who is trans and queer, they'd usually use the same kind of language anyone else does, or the same kind of language anyone who is cisgender and queer uses. Most people don't tend to talk about their gender identity and their sexual orientation in the same breath, and I do feel like there is an unfair expectation that trans or genderqueer people need to add in their orientation ID that isn't put on cisgender people.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Wow that article was really interesting about the Berdache.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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