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Re: [evol-psych] 2 questions from a class

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  • Graeme Deeth
    Leif Edward If I may add a couple of thoughts re homosexuality. I recall a paper examining sexual fantasy, (Sexual Fantasy: Harold Leitenberg & Kris Henning,
    Message 1 of 21 , Feb 28, 2002
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      Leif Edward
      If I may add a couple of thoughts re homosexuality. I recall a paper
      examining sexual fantasy, (Sexual Fantasy: Harold Leitenberg & Kris Henning,
      1995; Psych Bulletin 17 (1) 469-496 {interesting pages numbers!}) in which
      so-called homosexuals and heterosexuals (if such a distinction exists in
      reality) described in detail their sexual fantasies. When analysed, the top
      several fantasies were shared by those who would identify as homo or hetero.
      The usual suspects headed the list; sex with someone other than the primary
      partner, sex with multiple partners, and surprise-surpirse - sex with the
      opposite sex for those claiming homo status, and sex with the same sex for
      those claiming hetero status. Males and females differed little as I
      recall, except on the usual emotional attachment and female fairytale
      dimensions.
      Sounds a lot like Freud's polymorphous perversity - unconstrained by social
      taboos, we will try it on with whomever we can obtain. My experience
      clinically supports this cynical view. If one takes the trouble to explore
      reasons for sexual choices in depth, there is often an element of "I'd have
      sex with the opposite sex if I was game, but because the risk of rejection
      is high, I'll settle for the easier option - my own sex" Such a response
      need not be related to realistic assessment of mate value, only the
      perception of inferiority would be required.
      Finally, it is worth noting just how common homosexual behaviour is in the
      non-human world. This is merely part of the sexual behaviour repertoire,
      not the entire agmut of an individual's lifetime sexual experience. For a
      viewpoint from another discipline, Marjorie Garber's Vice Versa illuminates
      the blinkers through which bisexuality is viewed in Western cultures.
      Animals of course don't have well developed social, and religious taboos
      prohibiting that which feels so good - just do it!
      Regards
      Graeme Deeth
      ps: when will we begin to value in-depth qualitative research on a par with
      quantitative versions. The former allows people to be (more) truthful about
      taboo topics (read sexuality in any puritanical culture).
    • Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair
      Dear Graeme, I do not know the study you are referring to - but I would suggest that one included work by Don Symons on this and related topics. I do believe
      Message 2 of 21 , Mar 1, 2002
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        Dear Graeme,

        I do not know the study you are referring to - but I would suggest that one
        included work by Don Symons on this and related topics.

        I do believe there are heterosexuals and homosexuals out there - and
        bisexuals. And also I believe there are those who partake in behaviour that is
        not necessarily consistent with an either-or perspective. As you point out,
        and I have attempted to say - what feels good may motivate behaviour, too.

        As an EP I would suggest that one compared hetero-men, hetero-women, gays,
        lesbians and bisexuals (maybe several sub-groups of bisexuals). Sexual fantasy
        is interesting - but also actual behaviour, attraction, etc. There may be
        several modular mental mechanisms involved - as this is very complex
        behaviour. I think simplistic solutions like kin-selection adaptationism at
        least will fail to provide answers until this is addressed.

        Cheers,

        Leif Edward

        PS. I think I would keep Freud as a mere metaphoric association.
      • Elizabeth A. Socolow
        In response to this posting by Graeme Deeth, I wonder if we cannot watch our way of speaking to each other. The phrase below FEMALE FAIRY TALE is hideously
        Message 3 of 21 , Mar 1, 2002
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          In response to this posting by Graeme Deeth, I wonder if we cannot watch our
          way of speaking to each other.

          The phrase below FEMALE FAIRY TALE is hideously sarcastic, mocking, and
          scornful. Many studies have been done on women who are very matter of fact
          about sex, such as Iris Murdoch, and, contrarywise, on what the sense of
          loyalty and love does to preserve social forms, ongoingness, family
          cohesion, trust and pleasure. On both sides--women who have no other
          coordinates to sexual passion and experiment, and women who do, the comment
          was unnecessary and cast into doubt ALL of the other analysis.

          EASocolow
          ----------
          >From: "Graeme Deeth" <marshalldeeth@...>
          >To: <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>, "Joseph A. Buckhalt"
          <buckhja@...>, "Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair" <leiedoke@...>
          >Subject: Re: [evol-psych] 2 questions from a class
          >Date: Fri, Mar 1, 2002, 2:06 AM
          >

          >Leif Edward
          >If I may add a couple of thoughts re homosexuality. I recall a paper
          >examining sexual fantasy, (Sexual Fantasy: Harold Leitenberg & Kris Henning,
          >1995; Psych Bulletin 17 (1) 469-496 {interesting pages numbers!}) in which
          >so-called homosexuals and heterosexuals (if such a distinction exists in
          >reality) described in detail their sexual fantasies. When analysed, the top
          >several fantasies were shared by those who would identify as homo or hetero.
          >The usual suspects headed the list; sex with someone other than the primary
          >partner, sex with multiple partners, and surprise-surpirse - sex with the
          >opposite sex for those claiming homo status, and sex with the same sex for
          >those claiming hetero status. Males and females differed little as I
          >recall, except on the usual emotional attachment and female fairytale
          >dimensions.
          >Sounds a lot like Freud's polymorphous perversity - unconstrained by social
          >taboos, we will try it on with whomever we can obtain. My experience
          >clinically supports this cynical view. If one takes the trouble to explore
          >reasons for sexual choices in depth, there is often an element of "I'd have
          >sex with the opposite sex if I was game, but because the risk of rejection
          >is high, I'll settle for the easier option - my own sex" Such a response
          >need not be related to realistic assessment of mate value, only the
          >perception of inferiority would be required.
          >Finally, it is worth noting just how common homosexual behaviour is in the
          >non-human world. This is merely part of the sexual behaviour repertoire,
          >not the entire agmut of an individual's lifetime sexual experience. For a
          >viewpoint from another discipline, Marjorie Garber's Vice Versa illuminates
          >the blinkers through which bisexuality is viewed in Western cultures.
          >Animals of course don't have well developed social, and religious taboos
          >prohibiting that which feels so good - just do it!
          >Regards
          >Graeme Deeth
          >ps: when will we begin to value in-depth qualitative research on a par with
          >quantitative versions. The former allows people to be (more) truthful about
          >taboo topics (read sexuality in any puritanical culture).
        • J. Kohl
          ... I ve maintained my skepticism of adaptation long enough to fully examine a modular (i.e., molecular/cellular) approach, which strongly suggests that
          Message 4 of 21 , Mar 2, 2002
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            Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair wrote:

            > This modular approach does not demand that there is any adaptive function to homosexuality.

            > One important lesson every class on EP must learn is to be skeptic of adaptationism - and every class on EP and individual differences ought to be taught that it is possible that many of these are not adaptations.

            I've maintained my skepticism of adaptation long enough to fully examine a modular
            (i.e., molecular/cellular) approach, which strongly suggests that homosexuality is merely
            a variation on a theme of sexuality (e.g., heterosexuality, asexuality, bisexuality).
            A broad based mammalian model of sexual differentiation explains these variations. All
            that is required for these variations is to alter the development of the gonadotropin
            releasing
            hormone (GnRH) neuronal system, since GnRH pulse frequency modulates all of sexual
            differentiation. Thus, GnRH pulse frequency is responsible for sexual differentiation
            of the olfactory system(s), the only sensory system(s) that are sexually dimorphic at
            birth.

            If GnRH pulse frequency is insufficient due to a gene (Kalig-1) that halts the embryonic
            development of the GnRH neuronal system and development of the olfactory systems,
            the result is asexuality (in humans). If sexual differentiation of the olfactory system(s)
            is incomplete in male rats -- where sexual differentiation occurs postnatally, the result
            is
            bisexual male rats. If sexual differentiation is complete in any mammalian species the
            result is heterosexuality--unless, in humans, there is sufficient psychological trauma, or
            other imprinting on
            odor stimuli that manifests itself in as aversion to heterosexual contact, or in
            fetishistic
            behaviors (which may run the gamut of sexually oriented human behavior).

            With continuing focus on sexual differentiation of the olfactory system(s), late last year
            Savic et al., showed that human pheromones are processed in different parts of the brain
            depending on whether the subject was male or female. One particular area of focus was the
            medial preoptic area (MPOA) of the hypothalamus, which appears to be somewhat sexually
            differentiated and is very much involved in regulating GnRH pulse frequency. Without going
            into neuroanatomical detail, suffice it to say that portions of the hypothalamus (e.g.,
            specific nuclei) also have been presented as being applicable to human male sexual
            orientation (LeVay 1991?)and Byne et al (2001?). It has also been proposed that a gay
            gene might alter the neuroendocrine development of the hypothalamus by altering GnRH
            (Hamer and Copeland ??).

            Without going into neuroendocrine detail, suffice it to say that potential variations
            in GnRH pulse frequency also correlate well with studies suggesting that the homosexual
            male brain is incompletely differentiated and this is manifest in variability of the
            response to estrogen priming that alters the degree of cyclic changes in luteinizing
            hormone (LH) that are clearly linked to determination of whether one is male or female and
            the degree to which males and females are sexually differentiated (Doerner ??).

            Thus, it is extremely pertinent to note that mammalian, including human, pheromones
            have been shown to alter LH levels in other humans, which means that they alter GnRH
            pulsatility (as shown by studies of other mammals in which GnRH can be measured directly).
            What this means is that human pheromones are social environmental sensory stimuli that
            have the unique ability to alter postnatal sexual differentiation of the brain (e.g.,
            the hypothalamus), which is, of course, the most important organ of any organ system
            involved in behavior--whether that behavior is typically male; typically female;
            typically animalistic; or typically human.

            What we now have is an overview of how the GnRH neuronal system is responsible for
            all of what is typically considered to be the most important aspects of sexual
            differentiation (prenatally and postnatally), with an additional overview of how
            mammalian, including human pheromones, contribute to postnatal sexual differentiation.
            This overview is based upon a logical pathway linking genetic determination (nature) to
            social environmental sensory input (nurture) via the only pathway capable of linking
            the nature and nurture of behavior at the genetic level: gene-cell-tissue-organ-
            organ system. Mammalian pheromones activate genes in cells of tissue in the brain, the
            most important organ or any organ system involved in behavior.

            Nearly all, if not all, of mammalian sexual behavior can be attributed to strict
            adherence to this nature-nurture link, via olfaction/pheromones. There also is
            a very good mammalian model for homosexual male human sexuality: homosexual rams
            that respond to the odors of other males, as if they were estrus ewes. (These males
            also have estradiol receptor content in the amygdala--an odor processing center--
            that appears to correlate well with sexual orientation, and this receptor content
            would be dependent upon sexual differentiation/GnRH pulse frequency.) During the
            past few years, research has progressed from sexual differentiation in rodents, to
            sexual differentiation in humans--and still the most important sexual differentiation
            appears to be that of the olfactory system(s).

            From a biological perspective, sexual differentiation - whether complete or partial
            appears to have nothing to do with adaptation, but everything to do with sexual
            orientation/sexual behavior in mammals, including humans. I remain skeptical of
            any approach that includes adaptation in an attempt to explain human homosexuality.
            Not only is there no hard evidence for this adaptation, from an evolutionary
            perspective, it is impossible to provide a non-olfactory explanation for any degree
            of variation in sexual orientation/sexual behavior in any other species of mammal.
            I hope that your EP class(es) will consider this fact.

            -
            James V. Kohl
            http://www.pheromones.com

            "...a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its
            opponents and making them see the light, but rather because
            its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up
            that is familiar with it." - Max Planck

            P.S. Whether or not the human vomeronasal organ is functional is of little concern,
            since the unconscious affect of human pheromones is manifest in LH levels.

















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