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The development of sexual orientation

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by Bastion, May 7, 2021.

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  1. out2019

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    I looked it up... Looks like he is saying there is sexual fluidity among men.. interesting, but wouldn't that argue against born that way?

    I am still working on acceptance, but thanks!
     
  2. Shadowsettler

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    I Know that you were following @Bastion. It was someone else that did not follow and they protested, as if I didn't know what I was talking about.

    It just really upsets me when people do that. As if I don't know my own story... that I'm repressing something that I don't remember.

    I mean, I can agree to disagree. A year ago I would have completely lost my mind haha... so I guess I'm improving.

    But I need to drop the subject before it turns sour again. I don't like arguing even though I do it constantly... I hate doing it.
     
    #142 Shadowsettler, May 21, 2021
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  3. Shadowsettler

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    I doubt science will say that... again, referencing my own personal story, it did not happen that way for me, so I highly doubt that science will disprove the "born this way" theory.

    I can't stress it enough that my discovery was as pure as it can be. I wasn't raised differently. I am not special. I didn't have any trauma or "different" circumstances (not until later in my childhood).

    i get what you're saying though. The scientific method should always take president over "how we feel"...

    but with that being said, if we are indeed products of "environmental factors" I don't think that I will be able to handle it.

    i too have battled, cut my teeth with some of the worst homophobes. But the fact that my experience was untainted and was so god damn beautiful and perfect when it hit me that it really does upset me when people try to deny it.

    I cherished that boy. He was my best friend. He treated me like a king and he was torn from me... yeah, I give people hell when they try to tell me something other than what I know.

    It's a lot like having a fishing story that was 100% true but everyone argues your story, says you're lying/ exaggerating or that you "could not possibly have caught a fish that big".

    It's incredibly painful. It's very frustrating and it makes me angry.

    (the fishing analogy isn't the best. It doesn't really do it justice.)
     
    #143 Shadowsettler, May 21, 2021
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  4. out2019

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    Understand, I am not at all implying that it was for you.

    I think we should not let our feelings influence the scientific method. It seemed like some people were implying that science 'can't ' say x because y belief is important to them.

    This is the point I am trying to make - we should be ideally be so comfortable with our sexuality that it shouldn't matter.
    Put this way- If i met the guy of my dreams and we were living together and then either a. a 'straight pill' came along b. a study proving 'x'' environmental factor 'causes' homosexuality. It would change anything - I wouldn't take the pill, and for 'b' I would say "look honey this is why we met" then give him a big kiss and say I don't care how it happened, I want to be with you forever.
     
    #144 out2019, May 21, 2021
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  5. Chip

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    So... you don't even know what it is, but you absolutely, positively, without a doubt know that you don't have it. If you don't see a problem with that, I'm really not sure what to tell you

    (...random non-justification-justifications snipped...)

    Look, I honestly don't give a rat's ass whether you take the information offered or not. Basically, you are absolutely dead certain that shit you don't have the slightest understanding of did not happen to you. I can say, just from what you have already said, that your assessment is almost certainly incorrect, but I am not interested in debating with you, because I have far more valuable things to do with my time than try to explain something, for the third time, to arrogant people uninterested in actually listening to the info people are trying to share with them.

    So... as I said in my earlier post, none of it matters. Stay blissfully ignorant, believe what you want to believe, and go on your merry way. None of it matters. End of discussion.
     
    #145 Chip, May 21, 2021
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  6. Chip

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    Correct. And since being gay appears, from everything we know, to be a byproduct of a whole bunch of things, there are factors that can influence the expression of the epigenetic traits. And among those factors are what happens that influences the development of neural pathways in the brain in the early years of life.

    The biggest single influence on that is attachment, environmental factors, caregiving parent's emotional state and his or her own wounds, and other factors. But Shadowsettler is the first person on the planet to have the absolute perfect childhood with not a single difficult moment, he knows and remembers every single incident of his childhood, and knows absolutely without question that there are no traumas of any kind whatsoever, and therefore, this experience -- which is nearly universal to human beings in one way or another -- cannot possibly relate to him. So... he and Jesus can go and have a party together for their unique experiences in the world.

    Yes, exactly. We're stuck with correlational studies because it would not be ethical to do an experimental study.
     
    #146 Chip, May 21, 2021
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  7. PatrickUK

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    We are never going to fully understand the answers to these questions. It should be clear to members that our sexuality is, for the most part, hard wired before consciousness fully develops - in other words, very early in our lives. Even if our childhood was perfect, it's only perfect as far as we remember and memories don't always make facts. There will be significant periods in those formative years that we are totally clueless about.

    As life goes on we encounter people who feed us bullshit about the sinfulness and impropriety of same sex relationships and it builds up layers and layers of shame, all of which lead to suppression, denial and inauthentic relationships. That's where the real problem lies, in my view. It's not so much about who we are or how we came to be who we are, but about how we live with pride and satisfaction and get the most out of life.
     
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  8. Unsure77

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    Yeah, I had a brother who was killed in an accident a little over a year before I was born (leaving my parents and other brother behind). Literally my nursery was what had been his room. I think it’s safe to say there was likely a massive amount of stress during my mother’s pregnancy and likely my early childhood (much less later).
     
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  9. Bastion

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    @out2019

    I don’t think you read the same thing I was mentioning.

    The work I was referring to comes from the book: “And Then I Became Gay” which is about the lives of young men who express the complications, adversities, and satisfactions of being a sexual outsider in North America during the 1980s and 1990s
     
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  10. Bastion

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    Yes I believe in science, if it weren’t for science, research and technology. We would not be where we are today.
    Maybe without that we would still be stuck in that age where people who are different are called ‘deviants’ or worse like having a condition or mental health issue that has to be cured.
     
  11. BiBoyToy

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    If you don't mind me asking, why would you commit suicide if that was the case? If you weren't, "born gay" hypothetically speaking, would it make being gay wrong or something? I really don't mean hard feelings or anything. I genuinely want to hear your thoughts about my question.
     
    #151 BiBoyToy, May 25, 2021
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  12. ramsey1288

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    I love this conversation!

    For myself, it started young. It didn't really click though until a few years ago when I met a woman and I felt as though we had a "special moment".. but nothing came of it. It really awakened my sexuality and since then it has grown stronger exponentially for women. Of course during all this time I am currently married to a man. Its been quite the journey so far (and it has only just begun)
     
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  13. Bastion

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    I can relate to what @PatrickUK said in his last post and now after some reflection on the subject am thinking maybe it doesn’t matter so much at which point in life we had a better understanding of our sexuality. Maybe what matters more is how we choose to live our life afterwards.
     
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  14. out2019

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    I was just thinking that people who wish for 'genes only' might be careful for what they wish for. China is already putting ethics aside and producing designer babies, if there were an 'identifiable' gene I could see parents opting to alter it.


    I believe the book "The Body Keeps Score" mentions these things can start to effect babies literally in a cradle. A depressed mother or a mother that just didn't have the knack for sensing a baby's needs might not know when to give the baby attention and when to let it alone.

    Also simple neglect which might not feel like anything particularly bad, you just kind of get used to playing with your toys alone - can be just as bad as PTSD according to that book.
     
  15. BiBoyToy

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    Whew.. I finally read through this entire thread! @Bastion, I have also been super curious about the time of development of sexual orientation in human beings and if it's fixed at birth due to genetic makeup and biological factors or if external factors like the environment in which a person is raised plays an important role too, like you said. I think it's a very thought provoking and interesting question, which are the types of questions I enjoy. So, I appreciate you posing the question, as I have spent a fair amount of time thinking about it myself. I have enjoyed reading what everyone has had to say.

    I haven't personally made up my mind on what I think the answer to this question is, but I would enjoy expressing my thoughts and experiences and hearing what you and others have to say.

    I agree with @PatrickUK that Genetics play a part (an important part) in the development of our sexual orientation, but I can't help but wonder if external factors like the environment and personal experiences during childhood or even adolescence play a role too. Or, at least can have a small influence on someone's sexual orientation. Not saying that I do believe so, just that I have wondered... I honestly feel like I don't know what to believe.

    Simply put, I've often wondered if I was born bisexual or not. However, I don't really think I was, "born bisexual" per se... If this is all confusing, I guess it just goes back to the fact I don't really know what I think or believe about this topic but always wonder about it. Nor do I know what to believe other than what has been proven as fact.

    So a little about me and my experiences...

    When I was in first grade, I was sexual abused multiple times by another boy. He was a few years older than I was, and was by no means considered my friend. This caused me a lot of trauma and over the years I think I have sort of blocked it out of my memory. I remember whenever I heard a story about a boy being sexually abused on the news it would make me feel awful and I would start crying (which lasted a few years after I was sexually abused.

    Fast forward to about 5th grade, I wasn't attracted to guys (or at least didn't realize I was) but I was definitely attracted to girls. I liked what they looked liked, how they acted, their voice, their laugh, pretty much everything about them was attractive to me... I also wasn't different than the other boys, like so many people on EC have expressed while looking back on their childhood (they say the were different than the other boys growing up). I pretty much had all the typical boy characteristics and behaviors.

    Although I didn't know I was attracted to boys yet and had pretty much all typical boy characteristics and behaviors, I did eventually start to experiment with my male bestfriend (who I had known and been bestfriends with since 3rd grade) in middle school, which turned into a friends with benefits type of situation. I considered my experiences with him consensual because it was something I wanted to try with him and eventually do with him as well. Unlike my experience in first grade.

    We began sleeping in the same bed and cuddling during sleepovers (which I thought was normal for kids our age), then holding hands (secretly) while we walked home from school, and then we eventually made out when we were home alone and then it escalated to me giving oral him oral during a sleepover at his house. This all lasted until the end of freshman year in high school. At this point, I definitely knew I had the capacity to like guys. I really enjoyed everything we did and grew strong romantic feelings for him. My attraction to women remained the same. I went onto date and have sex with a couple girls during high school and college who I had strong feelings for as well and enjoyed our sexual experiences.

    Anyways, I've often wondered if my sexual experiences with other boys during my childhood (especially me being sexually abused in first grade) caused my bisexuality, or at least had an influence on it. I still wonder to this day... If that is the case, I really don't mind. I've grown to love my bisexuality and actually think it's super cool. My experiences with my bestfriend growing up are also some of my best memories. I'm not the type of person to get mad at someone if they think people aren't "born gay," "born bisexual," etc. whether or not their wrong or right.
     
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  16. Charlie B

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    I'll jump in and say that I've known or had a sense that I wasn't straight from a very young age. I don't remember exactly how old I was, but I wasn't even 10 years old when I told my grandmother that I thought I may be gay.

    What's odd is that a lot of it didn't have to do with my sexual orientation per se, but with recurrent fantasies involving crossdressing. I knew that these thoughts weren't "normal" and I felt different from other boys. I was also having pseudo-sexual fantasies before I even knew what sex was. I developed a domination kink early on, most of my fantasies involving girls actually. I started having fantasies about being dominated by men when I went through puberty.

    It's clear to me that both nature and nurture can play a role in sexual development. This doesn't seem like a hard thing to acknowledge, but bigotry and homophobia have made it so people are afraid to admit nurture plays a role at all, for fear that some will believe they can somehow manipulate or control their child's sexual orientation.

    There's a ton of things that could have played a role in my development. My mother passed away when I was super young. I could have possibly been molested, although I'm not certain of that at all. Did any of this matter? If it did, what does it matter now? I can't say whether any of these experiences "harmed" me, but I can say that my shame and repression of my desires over the years certainly did.
     
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  17. Bastion

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    Thanks for your input @BiBoyToy and your honesty. You shared a long a long personal account of your experiences. Am sure what you must have gone through as a child was traumatic and people don’t forget those things easily but somehow I think you managed to pull through that and not let it control you and bring you down.
    Your positive experiences after that I think may have had something to do with it also. It made you stronger and more resilient. That’s evident when you say “you love your sexuality and think it’s super cool”


    I also liked @Charlie B post mentioning that both nature and nurture can play a role in sexual development so do a ton of other things. Because I think it makes a lot of sense. At least in my opinion I think it does.

    I said this before but why does it matter either way. If you are born or came to a realization later in life? Like you would be the same person dealing with the same issues?
     
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  18. Bastion

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    Also while I have been reading on this topic and others relating to sexuality.
    I came across a quote or an opinion by the famous and renowned Dr. Sigmund Freud himself. Saying this:

    “It is well known that at all times there have been, as there still are, human beings who can take as their sexual objects persons of either sex without the one trend interfering with the other. We call these people bisexual and accept the fact of their existence without wondering much at it …

    But we have come to know that all human beings are bisexual in this sense and their libido is distributed between objects of both sexes, either in a manifest or a latent form” (quoted in Young-Bruehl, 2001, p. 179)

    That last part in the last paragraph??
    Like what??
    What does it mean exactly? That all human beings are born bisexual in a way. Then they might go either way straight or gay or become bi??

    What do you guys think?
     
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  19. BiBoyToy

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    I think you're probably absolutely right. My brother told me the exact same thing when I came out to him and told him my story. He knows the bestfriend I spoke of and my brother was friends with my bestfriends older sister and actually dated her for a few years, so it was quite an interesting conversation. Haha!

    Yes, absolutely. Not only do I think it made me stronger and more resilient, it think it also helped me eventually accept my bisexuality and embrace it. If I had only had one same-sex experience and it was negative, I'm not exactly sure how I would feel about my bisexuality. I think having a positive same-sex experience really helped. Very similar to what you said.

    If that makes sense...
     
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  20. PatrickUK

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    Over the years people have pounced on these words and tried to put their own slant on what Freud was talking about. In the overwhelming majority of cases they do so without any appreciation for exposition or context and simply use Freud's words to undergird their own ideas or arguments. We need to be very careful not to get too caught up in the same casual and unsystematic approach.
    The key words are "in this sense" and "in manifest or latent form". It's very important to pay attention to those words and not skim past them because they offer perspective.

    Some years later, Kinsey developed his scale that helped to demonstrate what all of this meant in practice; most people are predominantly heterosexual or homosexual (0-1 or 5-6) with a significant minority experiencing (manifest) feelings closer to the middle of the scale.

    In the years that have followed further studies have been carried out to build upon Kinsey's work and we now have a more developed understanding. Doesn't mean we have all answers and maybe we never will, but we know that human sexuality is quite nuanced and none of us fit into neat little pigeon holes. Accepting that as fact is important to finding peace and freedom to live our best life.
     
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