Is Sexual Orientation Innate?

Is Sexual Orientation Innate?

  • Yes

    Votes: 8 72.7%
  • No

    Votes: 3 27.3%

  • Total voters
Dec 2016
Is sexual preference innate? I was always under the impression that this was true. Sure there are the people who "stray" out of curiosity or those whos childhood most likely pushed them one way or another but for the most part people are just how they are.
Now, this thread provides another good example of why some gender balance would improve the quality of discussions around here!
Put it simply, I didn't answer the poll question because the question depends whether you're talking about male sexual orientation or female sexual orientation! From Psychology Today...about 7 years ago:

Does sexuality differ for men and women?
What can research show us about gender differences in sexuality?

It is an age-old question: Do men and women experience sexuality differently? For centuries, it was assumed that sexuality differed drastically between the genders but from the 1970's, as feminism rose up along with other civil rights movements, the pendulum swung in the other direction. Any sexual differences between men and women were attributed to the impact of society. Newer research challenges these assumptions, suggesting that men and women may indeed have different experiences of sexuality.​
What does psychological research show about the sexuality of men and women?
In William Masters and Virginia Johnson's pioneering work on human sexuality in the 1960's and 1970's, it was assumed that the sexual response worked the same for both men and women. All people followed the four stages of sexual arousal: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. More recent work has shown that men and women differ dramatically in the nature of their sexuality. Compared to women, men masturbate more, use more pornography, are more reactive to visual cues, and experience sexual desire more spontaneously. Women on the other hand, are less likely to become spontaneously sexually aroused and their sexual desire is much more reactive to their surrounding circumstances. For example, the quality of a woman's relationship with a potential sexual partner greatly affects her feelings of sexual attraction. In this way, science supports the cliché that women like to be wined and dined and men like sexy outfits.​
What does Baumeister propose with regard to gender differences in sexuality?
In a 2000 article, Roy Baumeister proposed that women's sexuality fundamentally varies from that of men. Men, he suggested, have a fixed, biologically-determined sex drive that is relatively insensitive to context. Women, on the other hand, have a much more variable sex drive, far more responsive to the surrounding circumstances. He based these conclusions on a broad range of empirical findings. According to this research, women have greater variation both in the level of sexual activity and choice of gender over time. Moreover, women's sexuality is far more influenced by cultural factors, such as education, religion, and peer and parental attitudes.​
Do men and women differ with regards to sexual orientation?
An explosion of research into female sexuality supports the notion that sexual orientation in women is different from that in men. Men seem to be more categorical in their sexual orientation; they are more likely to be either heterosexual or homosexual. Women, on the other hand, tend to be more flexible in their sexual orientation, less categorically heterosexual or homosexual. This is supported by studies using the Kinsey scale of sexual orientation, in which women are more likely than men to fall in the middle of the scale, while men are more likely to fall on either end.​
Fascinating new studies of men and women's physiological response to various sexual images adds support to this theory. Meredith Chivers, Michael Seto and Ray Blanchard measured men and women's genital response to different sexual images. While men's physiological response was for the most part oriented to either adult women or men, women responded sexually to a much broader range of images................................​
Dec 2016
People don't remember choosing orientation. They also don't remember when their parents first bought them a doll or toy truck, or praised loudly that little girl how cute and pretty she is in front of their little boy. They don't remember how their mother, who wanted a girl instead of a boy used to treat them as toddlers. People don't remember a lot of things.

I suspect most of the gays and lesbians in very early childhood were influenced by bad parenting. Like the mother wanted a daughter instead of a son and the poor kid wanted to please her and vice versa for the girls and that got them set for life.

I'm not convinced of a genetically set orientation.
One more problem you can blame on mother! That either makes you a Freudian, or a typical Victorian!
Dec 2016
Probably not what you're looking for, but I don't think there's a simple yes or no answer. Is it true that throughout most of nature males are attracted to females? Yes. Is it true that humans, like monkeys, marine mammals, and a handful of other species have same sex partners? Yes. Two things can be true at the same time.

I'm glad you pointed out that that some people do go "stray" out of curiosity. While I do believe the vast majority of same sex couples are in their relationship because of love and attraction, some do indeed find pleasure is just doing something different.

Stephanie Allynne is an American actress married to female comedian Tig Notarro. Before the two of them met, Stephanie had only been with men. But after become friends with Tig, their chemistry and love for one another just grew. Essentially she didn't look at Notarro as another woman but simply someone she loved.

That would explain why sex researchers claim there are a lot more bisexual women out there than bisexual men! And, ever since the days of good ole Sigmund, they've been complaining that female sexuality is too hard to figure out!
Likes: Lyzza
Dec 2018
I fully recognize this is a side-track to the conversation, but this question brings to mind my favorite quote from comedian Mike Birbiglia

"My female friends always tell me, 'Girls want sex just as much as guys do'
And I say 'It's different'
And she says, 'How?'
And I say 'Have you ever masturbated while driving a car?'"

I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself
Likes: bill sands
Dec 2014
Memphis, Tn.
It seems to me that at times many women view sex as a tool, a means to an end. Whereas for many men sex IS the desired "end", the primary objective.
Dec 2016
woemn have to use sex as a tool to survive, i dont blame them for that
Yes, the victorian prime directive I was told in grade 9 health class back in 1971 was: women give sex for love, while men give love for sex. Well, that just tells us what kind of society and culture we live in! If it's patriarchal, winner-take-all male oriented culture, then women are inclined to be like Melania Trump to achieve success, since if they come from an impoverished nation ravaged by austerity programs of the new order of globalization, the odds of success on other terms are negligible!

Awhile back, I came across a couple of interviews with Kristen Ghodsee who authored a new book at the time: Red Hangover..mostly describing her experiences and findings on how life changed behind the Iron Curtain after the fall of communism. Most of her research was based on her time living in Bulgaria during the transition from communism to full throttle capitalism, but also includes similar results from East Germany and elsewhere.

What's pertinent here is that there is a huge gender gap in most of the East between men and women who lived through the transition period and had their illusions dispelled. Today, men have more freedom and choices than women do. Women describe their sex lives as much better under communism because there was no economic necessity connected with whom they had sex with or married. Afterwards, life in the East has gone back decades to the time when most women have to make sure they marry well.