Saturday, June 03, 2006

Homo-Naturalists a k a Essentialists

There are two schools of thought about "sexual orientation". The common view (in the late 20th century European middle class) is essentialist: both those who have sex predominantly with people of their own sex and those who have it most of the time with people of a different gender think that there ARE homosexuals irrespective of the attitudes of society on sex, gender, love, relationship, progeny and so on.
Homo-Naturalist believe that humans are born gay or straight, that society can inhibit or redirect the natural inclination of gay people but that they ARE homosexual, and that there ARE homosexuals in every society. Many think it likely that there is a gay/lesbian gene. They think that a preference for boys (over men), for blacks (for Asians), for anonymous sex (vs. long term relationships) might be aquired, but that the basic "sexual orientation" is given.
This goes often along with two related views: the claim that since "God made me that way", since "nature demands me to act that way", everybody must accept it. And: All Homosexuals of all times and regions form a common group, just like all people with an African ancestor belong to a group.
The opposite view, the culturalist or social constructivist view, holds that humans are (genetically) cable to all kinds of sexual acts. They think that it is socially constructed that most Americans categorize humans by the sex of their sexual object choice. The main divide could equally well be between parents and non-partents (irrelevant whether due to lack of sermens, disinterest in genital sex, chastity or exclusive interest in nonreproductive forms of sex), or between monosexist, polysexists, autosexists and nonsexists. For a social constructivist the dichotomy of gay and straight is just a possible view of the sexual world. To a culturalist it is mind-boggling that sexual orientation does not refer to a preference for leather/rubber/satin clad sex partners, for submission or domination, for anonymous sex or romantic love-sex, but only to the sex of the prefered object. Careful observers notice that even in a society where people are conditioned to become gay or straight many people have a different social, a different emontional and a different romantic "sex of choice". In other societies it is quite normal that you share your views and experiences with one person, that you fall in love with another (of the same or an other gender) and that you have children with a third. Love may be seen an afflication, an irritating passion, friendship as a life-long companionship and sex and a casual pastime.


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