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Re: [evol-psych] gays and straights

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  • John W. Bush
    Is it possible that the promiscuity of gay men is simply what one would expect of men when sex cannot lead to pregnancy and adultery does not risk the
    Message 1 of 9 , May 30, 2004
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      Is it possible that the promiscuity of gay men is simply what one would expect of men when sex cannot lead to pregnancy and adultery does not risk the penalties of divorce?
       
      For a rough test of the former hypothesis, we would need a jurisdiction where sexually active gay men are required (a) to take part in a negative lottery for the support of orphaned or financially abandoned children and (b) to perform unpaid work in day care centers.
       
      ^------
      >>Furthermore, he suggests: "Gay men will
      always have more sex partners than straight people
      do. Those who are attached will be less sexually
      monogamous."<<

      --That may be true (hard to compare, since gays don't
      have the option of marriage, and unmarried couples in
      general have less staying power), but so is the
      statement "straight men will be less monogamous than
      straight women". Men in general are more promiscuous,
      and that fact is often ignored in statements about
      gays.

      Michael
    • commons@tiac.net
      Strangely enough, it is well predicted by the promiscuity of individual men whether homo or hetro. Therefore two men will be more promiscuous than a man and
      Message 2 of 9 , May 30, 2004
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        Strangely enough, it is well predicted by the promiscuity of individual men whether homo or hetro.  Therefore two men will be more promiscuous than a man and woman, which in turn will be more promiscuous than a women and women.   If what you suggest were true, you would have to explain not only this away but why it is so low in women-women pairs.
         
        My best,
         
        Michael Lamport Commons, Ph.D.
        Assistant Clinical Professor
         
        Program in Psychiatry and the Law
        Department of Psychiatry
        Harvard Medical School  
        Massachusetts Mental Health Center
        234 Huron Avenue
        Cambridge, MA 02138-1328
         
        Telephone (617) 497-5270
        Facsimile (617) 491-5270
         
        Commons@...
        http://dareassociation.org/
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Sunday, May 30, 2004 5:23 PM
        Subject: Re: [evol-psych] gays and straights

         
        Is it possible that the promiscuity of gay men is simply what one would expect of men when sex cannot lead to pregnancy and adultery does not risk the penalties of divorce?
         
        For a rough test of the former hypothesis, we would need a jurisdiction where sexually active gay men are required (a) to take part in a negative lottery for the support of orphaned or financially abandoned children and (b) to perform unpaid work in day care centers.
         
        ^------
        >>Furthermore, he suggests: "Gay men will
        always have more sex partners than straight people
        do. Those who are attached will be less sexually
        monogamous."<<

        --That may be true (hard to compare, since gays don't
        have the option of marriage, and unmarried couples in
        general have less staying power), but so is the
        statement "straight men will be less monogamous than
        straight women". Men in general are more promiscuous,
        and that fact is often ignored in statements about
        gays.

        Michael
      • Jonathan
        HI-- This is not my field, but I enjoy reading the postings. That said, I wonder if these arguments aren t, uh, a bit reductive. First, the use of the category
        Message 3 of 9 , May 30, 2004
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          HI--
          This is not my field, but I enjoy reading the postings.
          That said, I wonder if these arguments aren't, uh, a bit reductive. 
          First, the use of the category "gay men" seems far too general.  Too many lives, lifestyles, and life choices are represented under the signifier "gay men."  So "expecting" promiscuity of such a "group" over another such "group" seems sloppy.
          Second, when speaking of "penalties" for "promiscuity," where do you factor sexually-transmitted infections into your thinking? 
          Third, don't underestimate the "risk of penalty" in firing the sexual imagination and exciting desire. 
          Fourth, you MUST factor into the equation socio-cultural norms and their impact on (even shaping of) sexual expression.  For instance, if "gay men" (whoever they are) can be said to have been promiscuous during the 1970s, then might that not be related at least in part to shifting norms about sexuality, shifting responses to homophobia, and shifting senses of the possibilities of identifying sexually?
          Fifth, what is "promiscuity"?  I'm seeing no operational definition here.  (Did I miss one earlier?)  Sleeping with 1, 2, 3, ? people beyond your primary sexual partner?  What about sleeping with your primary sexual partner and imagining someone else? 
          Without considering ALL of these interconnected issues, our discussion of "gay men" and "promiscuity" is simply reductive and useless in its pandering to stereotypes.
          j.
           
          _______________________________
          Jonathan Alexander, PhD
          Associate Professor of English
          and Comparative Literature
          Director, English Composition Program
          University of Cincinnati
          http://oz.uc.edu/~alexanj/
          513-556-6173
          -----Original Message-----
          From: John W. Bush [mailto:jwb@...]
          Sent: Sunday, May 30, 2004 5:23 PM
          To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com; Michael Christopher
          Subject: Re: [evol-psych] gays and straights

           
          Is it possible that the promiscuity of gay men is simply what one would expect of men when sex cannot lead to pregnancy and adultery does not risk the penalties of divorce?
           
          For a rough test of the former hypothesis, we would need a jurisdiction where sexually active gay men are required (a) to take part in a negative lottery for the support of orphaned or financially abandoned children and (b) to perform unpaid work in day care centers.
           
          ^------
          >>Furthermore, he suggests: "Gay men will
          always have more sex partners than straight people
          do. Those who are attached will be less sexually
          monogamous."<<

          --That may be true (hard to compare, since gays don't
          have the option of marriage, and unmarried couples in
          general have less staying power), but so is the
          statement "straight men will be less monogamous than
          straight women". Men in general are more promiscuous,
          and that fact is often ignored in statements about
          gays.

          Michael
        • Paul Okami
          ... From: Jonathan To: John W. Bush ; evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com ; Michael Christopher Sent: Sunday, May 30, 2004 5:40 PM Subject: RE:
          Message 4 of 9 , May 30, 2004
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            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Jonathan
            Sent: Sunday, May 30, 2004 5:40 PM
            Subject: RE: [evol-psych] gays and straights

            HI--
            This is not my field, but I enjoy reading the postings.
            That said, I wonder if these arguments aren't, uh, a bit reductive. 
            First, the use of the category "gay men" seems far too general.  Too many lives, lifestyles, and life choices are represented under the signifier "gay men."  So "expecting" promiscuity of such a "group" over another such "group" seems sloppy.
             
                The category "men" also includes a great many lives, lifestyles, and life choices, and yet we have no trouble expecting men as a rule to be taller than women as a rule, more interested in casual sex as a rule, and more likely to have penises.  "Day" is a category that includes many environmental conditions, and there is no descrete marker to separate it from night, but this poses no problem.  All categories are fuzzy, and this doesn't stop us from making useful generalizations.  Also, great science is usually  "reductive", so what's the problem with that?
             
             
            Paul Okami, Ph.D.
             
          • memills@aol.com
            In a message dated 5/30/2004 2:50:33 PM Pacific Standard Time, jamma@fuse.net writes: This is not my field, but I enjoy reading the postings. Good books to get
            Message 5 of 9 , May 30, 2004
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              In a message dated 5/30/2004 2:50:33 PM Pacific Standard Time, jamma@... writes:
              This is not my field, but I enjoy reading the postings.
              Good books to get up to speed:
               
                 The Evolution of Human Sexuality, by Donald Symons
                 The Evolution of Desire (2nd Ed.), by David Buss
                 Sex Differences, by Linda Mealey
               
              Cheers,
               -- Mike
               
               
               
              Michael E. Mills, Ph.D.
              Associate Professor
              Psychology Department
              Loyola Marymount University
              One LMU Drive
              Los Angeles, CA 90045

              310-338-3017  
              memills@...   / mmills@...
              http://bellarmine.lmu.edu/faculty/mmills_fp/



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            • John W. Bush
              I think these facts are consistent with by my hypothesis, which is that the promiscuity of gay men is simply what one would expect of *men* when sex cannot
              Message 6 of 9 , May 30, 2004
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                I think these facts are consistent with by my hypothesis, which is that the promiscuity of gay men is simply what one would expect of *men* when sex cannot lead to pregnancy and adultery does not risk the penalties of divorce" (emphasis added).
                 
                ^------
                Strangely enough, it is well predicted by the promiscuity of individual men whether homo or hetro.  Therefore two men will be more promiscuous than a man and woman, which in turn will be more promiscuous than a women and women.   If what you suggest were true, you would have to explain not only this away but why it is so low in women-women pairs.
                 
                My best,
                 
                Michael Lamport Commons, Ph.D.
                Assistant Clinical Professor
                 
                Program in Psychiatry and the Law
                Department of Psychiatry
                Harvard Medical School  
                Massachusetts Mental Health Center
                234 Huron Avenue
                Cambridge, MA 02138-1328
                 
                Telephone (617) 497-5270
                Facsimile (617) 491-5270
                 
                Commons@...
                http://dareassociation.org/
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: Sunday, May 30, 2004 5:23 PM
                Subject: Re: [evol-psych] gays and straights

                 
                Is it possible that the promiscuity of gay men is simply what one would expect of men when sex cannot lead to pregnancy and adultery does not risk the penalties of divorce?
                 
                For a rough test of the former hypothesis, we would need a jurisdiction where sexually active gay men are required (a) to take part in a negative lottery for the support of orphaned or financially abandoned children and (b) to perform unpaid work in day care centers.
                 
                ^------
                >>Furthermore, he suggests: "Gay men will
                always have more sex partners than straight people
                do. Those who are attached will be less sexually
                monogamous."<<

                --That may be true (hard to compare, since gays don't
                have the option of marriage, and unmarried couples in
                general have less staying power), but so is the
                statement "straight men will be less monogamous than
                straight women". Men in general are more promiscuous,
                and that fact is often ignored in statements about
                gays.

                Michael
              • Cathy Reason
                Jonathan Alexander wrote:
                Message 7 of 9 , May 31, 2004
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                  Jonathan Alexander wrote:


                  <<This is not my field, but I enjoy reading the postings.
                  That said, I wonder if these arguments aren't, uh, a bit
                  reductive.
                  First, the use of the category "gay men" seems far too general.
                  Too many lives, lifestyles, and life choices are represented
                  under the signifier "gay men." So "expecting" promiscuity of
                  such a "group" over another such "group" seems sloppy.>>


                  Paul Okami replied:

                  <<The category "men" also includes a great many lives,
                  lifestyles, and life choices, and yet we have no trouble
                  expecting men as a rule to be taller than women as a rule, more
                  interested in casual sex as a rule, and more likely to have
                  penises. "Day" is a category that includes many environmental
                  conditions, and there is no descrete marker to separate it from
                  night, but this poses no problem. All categories are fuzzy, and
                  this doesn't stop us from making useful generalizations. Also,
                  great science is usually "reductive", so what's the problem with
                  that?>>


                  This does seem to be begging the question somewhat. It doesn't
                  automatically follow that beause a set of points will segregate
                  into two or more clusters on one dimension (fuzzily or not), that
                  they will segregate into the same clusters on any other given
                  dimension.

                  I agree that this doesn't seem to have much to do with
                  reductionism. It has more to do with assumptions about
                  additivity, or the assumed absence of interactions between
                  dimensions -- or perhaps with what another member of this list
                  once called "boxology". It does seem to be a problem of many
                  academic disciplines, rather like bureaucracies, that they create
                  modular gridlike structures or taxonomies and then expect nature
                  (including human nature) to conform to them, a mindset I
                  sometimes refer to as "modulitis". In this respect, Jonathan
                  Alexander's point is extremely well-taken.

                  Cathy

                  [Cathy Reason]
                • Joao Sousa
                  Are you sure gays are more promiscuous cross-culturally? My reading of the literature gives the impression that extraordinary gay promiscuity is an invention
                  Message 8 of 9 , May 31, 2004
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                    Are you sure gays are more promiscuous cross-culturally? My reading of the literature gives the impression that extraordinary gay promiscuity is an invention of the specific "gay-pride" culture of the West from the 1960s onward (with their clubs, saunas, etc). Third world countries have often as many gays as the West (in North Africa, Middle East, and India, I've read they are even more, in Subsaharian Africa less, but I don't remember where I read it), but they act in the shadow, with fear of the prevailing "macho" culture strongly condemning homosexuality. So they are less promiscuous than Western gays of the 60s and 70s, and perhaps, just perhaps, even less promiscuous than hetero men in their cultures.

                    One interesting thing that was noted when a flood of AIDS victims started to invade hospitals in the early 1980s was that US patients were mostly gay, without almost no hetero. In European countries such as Belgium and France soon they noted that the patients belonged to 2 well separated categories: gays who have had contacts with US and Caribean gays; and heterosexuals with connections to the African colonies of Belgium and France. Among the latter, the sex-ratio was nearly 1:1. It took time to establish that the disease was the same, the virus was the same. Perhaps this pattern is compatible with an aproximately equal percentage of gays everywhere, if we remember that Western countries, specially the US, have conservative mindsets over sexuality, against whitch the "gay pride" movement was a "rebellion", thus making US (and Western European) gays more promiscuous than heteros (and therefore falling prey to HIV explosively); and meanwhile, in Africa, every hetero man wants to be as promiscuous as he can, it's in that culture, whereas gays, to avoid terrible oprobium, must do everything in secrecy, thus being less promiscuous (and therefore explaining why all AIDS patients connected to Africa, either African, or European colonialists, were hetero, and with an even sex ratio).

                    Donald Symons' is a great book. But did he erred in this case, that is in supposing that gays are universally more promiscuous?




                    At 17:23 30-05-2004 -0400, you wrote:
                     
                    Is it possible that the promiscuity of gay men is simply what one would expect of men when sex cannot lead to pregnancy and adultery does not risk the penalties of divorce?
                     
                    For a rough test of the former hypothesis, we would need a jurisdiction where sexually active gay men are required (a) to take part in a negative lottery for the support of orphaned or financially abandoned children and (b) to perform unpaid work in day care centers.
                     
                    ^------
                    >>Furthermore, he suggests: "Gay men will
                    always have more sex partners than straight people
                    do. Those who are attached will be less sexually
                    monogamous."<<


                    ___________________________________________________________________________

                    João Dinis de Sousa
                    Independent Scholar
                    Emails: j.d.sousa@..., j.d.sousa@...
                    Phone: 00351-21-8132030
                    Rua Actor Vale 49 4ºEsq
                    1900-024 Lisboa
                    Portugal
                  • Schmitt, David
                    Joao, I concur that the blanket statement gays are universally more promiscuous is probably inaccurate. For one, it first would be necessary to distinguish
                    Message 9 of 9 , May 31, 2004
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                      Joao,

                      I concur that the blanket statement "gays are universally more promiscuous" is probably inaccurate. For one, it first would be necessary to distinguish between promiscuous behavior and promiscuous desire. I would suspect that gay men have about the same desire for casual sex as heterosexual men, but as Symons reasoned because their pool of partners is made up of other men, they may have more access to willing casual sex partners and so, on average, their promiscuous behavior may seem more prevalent.

                      I happen to have some data related to the this issue. In 2000, I coordinated an anonymous sexuality survey of over 17,000 people with the help of colleagues from 56 nations. Included were some of the regions you mentioned, including several nations from Africa and the Middle East. Most of the participants were college students, though we had several community samples as well.

                      We asked our participants about "promiscuity" using the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory, which measures promiscuous behaviors, attitudes, and emotions (again, it is often important to distinguish among these concepts). We also asked about sexual orientation.

                      Though our sample sizes of non-heterosexuals are disturbingly low to make strong conclusions (only 135 homosexual men, 144 homosexual women, 106 bisexual men, and 208 bisexual women worldwide), we did find, contrary to what I expected, that homosexual men universally possessed more promiscuous attitudes and behaviors than heterosexual men. Bisexual men were almost always in between.

                      Interestingly, homosexual women were by and large similar to heterosexual women, but bisexual women were much more promiscuous in attitude and behavior than other women. In Eastern Europe, for example, bisexual women were more promiscuous than heterosexual men (though not homosexual men).

                      Hope that is of interest,

                      Dave Schmitt

                      David P. Schmitt, Ph.D.
                      Founding Director, International Sexuality Description Project
                      Associate Professor of Psychology
                      105 Comstock Hall
                      Department of Psychology
                      Bradley University
                      Peoria, IL 61625 USA
                      dps@...
                      http://www.bradley.edu/academics/las/psy/drschmitt.html <http://www.bradley.edu/academics/las/psy/drschmitt.html>
                      http://schmitt.socialpsychology.org/index.htm <http://schmitt.socialpsychology.org/index.htm>



                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Joao Sousa [mailto:j.d.sousa@...]
                      Sent: Mon 5/31/2004 1:53 PM
                      To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
                      Cc:
                      Subject: Re: [evol-psych] gays and straights



                      Are you sure gays are more promiscuous cross-culturally? My reading of the literature gives the impression that extraordinary gay promiscuity is an invention of the specific "gay-pride" culture of the West from the 1960s onward (with their clubs, saunas, etc). Third world countries have often as many gays as the West (in North Africa, Middle East, and India, I've read they are even more, in Subsaharian Africa less, but I don't remember where I read it), but they act in the shadow, with fear of the prevailing "macho" culture strongly condemning homosexuality. So they are less promiscuous than Western gays of the 60s and 70s, and perhaps, just perhaps, even less promiscuous than hetero men in their cultures.

                      One interesting thing that was noted when a flood of AIDS victims started to invade hospitals in the early 1980s was that US patients were mostly gay, without almost no hetero. In European countries such as Belgium and France soon they noted that the patients belonged to 2 well separated categories: gays who have had contacts with US and Caribean gays; and heterosexuals with connections to the African colonies of Belgium and France. Among the latter, the sex-ratio was nearly 1:1. It took time to establish that the disease was the same, the virus was the same. Perhaps this pattern is compatible with an aproximately equal percentage of gays everywhere, if we remember that Western countries, specially the US, have conservative mindsets over sexuality, against whitch the "gay pride" movement was a "rebellion", thus making US (and Western European) gays more promiscuous than heteros (and therefore falling prey to HIV explosively); and meanwhile, in Africa, every hetero man wants to be as promiscuous as he can, it's in that culture, whereas gays, to avoid terrible oprobium, must do everything in secrecy, thus being less promiscuous (and therefore explaining why all AIDS patients connected to Africa, either African, or European colonialists, were hetero, and with an even sex ratio).

                      Donald Symons' is a great book. But did he erred in this case, that is in supposing that gays are universally more promiscuous?




                      At 17:23 30-05-2004 -0400, you wrote:



                      Is it possible that the promiscuity of gay men is simply what one would expect of men when sex cannot lead to pregnancy and adultery does not risk the penalties of divorce?

                      For a rough test of the former hypothesis, we would need a jurisdiction where sexually active gay men are required (a) to take part in a negative lottery for the support of orphaned or financially abandoned children and (b) to perform unpaid work in day care centers.

                      ^------


                      >>Furthermore, he suggests: "Gay men will

                      always have more sex partners than straight people

                      do. Those who are attached will be less sexually

                      monogamous."<<





                      ___________________________________________________________________________

                      João Dinis de Sousa
                      Independent Scholar
                      Emails: j.d.sousa@..., j.d.sousa@...
                      Phone: 00351-21-8132030
                      Rua Actor Vale 49 4ºEsq
                      1900-024 Lisboa
                      Portugal



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