Introduction to Science of Sexual Orientation
Why are some people gay? This is often the first question one asks when discovering or being told that a family member is gay. Parents may even think, “What did I do wrong?”
For a long time, society has believed that people choose to be gay and they can change. However, people that are gay have consistently stated that they did not choose their sexual orientation.
I did not choose to be gay. When I have been confronted by people who tell me that I did, I often respond by asking them a question. When did you sit down, look at the pros and cons of each gender, and make a decision to be attracted to members of the opposite sex? The response I usually get shows the absurdity of such a scenario. I then relate that they just assumed the same scenario for me. At this point, the cognitive dissonance begins to bounce around in their brain and I further elaborate with an example.
Imagine that I, a male, am walking on the beach and pass two very attractive people, one female and one male. As the female passes I notice her beauty and form, what she is wearing, and think, “She is very pretty.” As the male passes, I notice his body, face, beauty, and my senses are terribly alert and I think, “Wow!” I automatically breathe deeply, filling my lungs with air. If he is within the range of my personal attractions, my face will likely flush and I may experience a physical response. Afterward, I will not likely be able to relate details about what he was wearing. My response to the beautiful woman is visual while my response to the beautiful man is a reaction. Such automatic responses are not decided, they just happen, just as one’s sexual orientation is automatically predetermined or ingrained. I did not choose and neither did you. We are who we are.
– Dr. Larry D. Ponder-
If people do not choose their sexual orientation, then what are the determining factors? In this course you will learn about the scientific thought and research that supports the medical and psychological community in stating that people do not choose their sexual orientation.
Dr. Cynthia Chappell discusses the history and present state of the Nature vs. Nurture argument.
Dr. Cynthia Chappell discusses the results of family and twins studies that point to the link between genes and sexual orientation.
Dr. Cynthia Chappell discusses prenatal hormones, hypothalamic activation, and dimorphic characteristics positing that sexual orientation is determined during the 8th through the 16th week of pregnancy.