Sebastian Zearing

how to be progressive without being a stupid liberal

Tag Archives: genetic determinism

Sexuality, androphilia, gynephilia, and gay genes

Edit 28 July 2015: This post argues that strong social pressures are the primary reason homosexuality occurs with such high frequency (vs. ~0%). Though I do not rescind the claim of social pressure affecting rates of homosexuality, I do now believe that the intrinsic noisiness involved in differentiating the androphilic brain from the gynephilic brain in the developing human is probably the greater causal factor in the high rates of homosexuality. A better treatment can be found here.

I hang out at Lion/halfsigma’s blog occasionally, and something he posted yesterday caught my eye. You can read it yourself, but the post was about Obama’s recent call to end conversion therapies for LBGT youth. I won’t comment on that topic itself, other than to note I don’t see anything wrong with governments banning unproven/disproven/known deleterious medical interventions, particularly in youth where consent is squishy. Instead, I want to comment on the responses to his post, in particular JayMan’s comment and hyperlinked post about the topic of the causes of homosexuality. I wrote a reply there, but I want to make a post for my own blog on the topic.

The first thing I want to very forcefully clarify on this topic is that sexuality is patently and obviously genetic. Whether or not you have a Y-chromosome predicts with around 93~98% accuracy whether you find women or men sexually attractive. Almost all the people that have the specifically genetic entity known as the Y-chromosome are sexually attracted to women, and almost all the people that do not have that genetic entity are sexually attracted to men.

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Power Orientation

This post was originally published at therationalqueer.wordpress.com.

Power orientation is an aspect of one’s sexuality that is reminiscent of, yet decisively separate from, what is classically known as one’s sexual orientation. Sexual orientation demarcates the gender(s)/sex(es) one finds sexually arousing. Romantic orientation is also often bundled with sexual orientation, even though it relates to higher-level emotional arousal and attraction. Power orientation is, broadly, the degree to which one seeks to direct a sexual encounter. And just like sexual orientation, it can be paired with a higher-level orientation that relates to romance and pair-bonding, rather than just sex: one can enjoy (or be unaware that one might enjoy) directing or being directed in a relationship. Power orientation undoubtedly has many correlates, but the one most clearly bespoken by the gay community is penetration. Power orientation varies from dominant to submissive, where in the gay community dominant partners are very likely to be “tops” who are the insertive partners in anal sex and submissive partners are very likely to be “bottoms” who are the receptive partners in anal sex. Furthermore, an even larger portion of the gay population may very well be “versatile” and enjoy both aspects of penetration. (And of course some gay men refuse to engage in anal sex altogether.) Still, though the correlation between power orientation and penetration exists, they remain distinct things: one is a personality trait, the other a behavior.

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