The Science of Sexual Orientation
While lawmakers quibble and quake to legislate laws regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, science is still plugging away at explaining the roots of human sexual desires, behavior, and arousal.
Why are you the way you are?
To that very question, a new report published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, has drawn several broad conclusions.
Researchers stated that there is a “small but nontrivial” percentage of people who have non-heterosexual feelings across all cultures. The ways that people express their sexual orientation varies widely depending on cultural norms and traditions -- but the development of sexual feelings is likely to be similar in individuals around the world.
As for causation, the report identifies several biological factors that influence sexual orientation, including specific genetic profiles and prenatal hormones. These are not the only causes, though, since evidence suggests environmental factors come into play, too.
The research findings do not support the idea that sexual orientation can be purposefully altered -- taught or learned through social means -- or that non-heterosexual orientations become more common with increased social tolerance. However, cultural stigma most likely still deters many from reporting non-heterosexual attractions or behaviors.
In short, sexual orientation is based on desires, and we do not choose our desires.