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Homosexuality vs. Heterosexuality

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I'm only familiar with the Branden affair, and I don't know much about that either, so I need a bit more context to judge these things properly.

When considering the issue of living in New York as opposed to California it's very important to know how and why that decision was made. If it was made in such a way that Frank was overuled and his wishes disregarded, then he was not being the man. On the other hand, maybe New York was more important to Ayn Rand than California was to Frank. Maybe she told Frank how important it is, having rational reasons for it, and maybe Frank understood the importance. Perhaps after hearing her reasons Frank thought that; "Screw California! If New York is so important for my lady that's where I, too, want to go".

Regarding their sexlife... well... i'm not sure how we could establish a clear context and keep it on a respectful level. However let me state that women can take initiative in the sense that they seduce, but the man can still remain in control. This is in a similar sense that the woman can be on top, but only if the man wants her to.

The fact that Ayn Rand was seeing another man does however indicate that something was not working in the relationship with Frank. Perhaps he let himself be overuled too many times and AR lost the attraction for him. Maybe he wasnt strong enough. I can only speculate of course, but my personal opinion on such situations is to tell the lady she better make up her mind quickly because she can't have both(and let her sleep on the couch until she decides). So the way I see it maybe there was something not working properly in their relationship and Frank must have made some mistake since his lady was seeing another man.

Frank loved California and he loved the house they had there, as it allowed him to pursue his favorite hobbies in a way that was nearly impossible in the big city. Ayn loved New York and, practically speaking, it may have been easier for her to be nearer to the center of publishing as a writer (though not strictly necessary). Frank never liked New York and was never comfortable there, but they went because that was what Ayn decided they were going to do. I am not saying it had to be a sacrifice on Frank's part, as his marriage was probably a much bigger value to him than his locality, but clearly it impacted his happiness and ability to produce value negatively. As for the last part, I would not say that Ayn stepped out on him because he was not enough of a man. I really can't speculate on what may have been lacking in their marriage. But I agree with you about the sleeping on the couch thing. I would never ask my fellow to sit around and wait while I figured out whether I wanted him or someone else. That is, as they say, trying to eat your cake and have it too.

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And I would counter that as a woman attracted to men this is not at all my experience of romance and sexuality.

The question then is why your experiences differ?

I would also like to note that as a man attracted to women I have observed this many times. You just have to observe someone who's good at picking up ladies; watch as her defenses start to melt away and soon she will be completely spellbound and ready to give in completely. I have seen it many times and it's a very powerful reaction. Even if you, for some reason, cannot relate to it, it's an easily observable fact that this is something unique for women. You will not find a man that works the same way(atleast not a heterosexual man). Perhaps the worlds most pussywhipped guy, with a Guiness record in wussyness, can come close, but it's not the same thing. In fact most men are completely unaware of it, would even laugh at the whole idea, because they have nothing to relate to.

I find the idea of being anything but a value pursuer in any area of my life abhorrent and an insult to my personal sovereignty.

Why?

There are many men who I am physically stronger than, possibly even you[...]

Well, i'm about 5'9" and 163lbs. I have to combine brasilian jiu-jutsu with Kama Sutra. :(

but I would never think less of those men, and there are many very strong men who I find repulsive and low as individuals.

Of course physical strength has nothing to do with morality.

I will always be puzzled how people who follow a philosophy which revolves around reason and the mind suddenly throw all that out and make it all about bodies when it comes to this one aspect. Some of the greatest heroic men, who have produced more value in the world than most of us could ever dream, are not physically strong, and some of the greatest heroic women are not beautiful. Many strong men and beautiful women are evil. If I had the choice to select a small, weak man who is a moral and intellectual giant or a strong, powerful man who is an evader and a stupid fool, who do you really think I ought to take? Who is really more of the man there, and if the latter, then of what use is manhood???

I have never made it all about bodies. Strength and beauty are not only physical traits. And while masculinity and femininity form the basis of sexuality it's not the only thing that coounts.

I think the best choice would be a man that matches your values and who makes your knees weak, your heart beat faster and when you look deep into his eyes it's the only thing that matters. Make sure that he makes you feel like a woman. If you can have that with the small and weak intellectual giant, then go for it. And dont fall for the stupid fool, that's always a mistake.

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The question then is why your experiences differ?
Differ from whom or what? You have not objectively established that your conception of the ideal male-female relationship is:

1) the most common relationship (this isn't really important anyway), or

2) the most morally or psychologically proper relationship.

You just have to observe someone who's good at picking up ladies; watch as her defenses start to melt away and soon she will be completely spellbound and ready to give in completely.
Who are these strong, intelligent, individualistic beacons of rationality targeted and seduced by the pick-up artist?

I thought Rand's idea of the male as dominant was strictly related to the mechanics of sex, not to psychology or relationships as a whole.

Edited by Jake
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I don't have the time to provide the kind of analysis JASKN requests. I will say that Rand's depictions of romance seem ideal, especially in contrast to the 'non-romantic' sexual encounters in her novels. However, the novels don't prove that this is the only way to have an ideal romantic relationship.

[bold mine]

You just have to observe someone who's good at picking up ladies; watch as her defenses start to melt away and soon she will be completely spellbound and ready to give in completely. I have seen it many times and it's a very powerful reaction. Even if you, for some reason, cannot relate to it, it's an easily observable fact that this is something unique for women. You will not find a man that works the same way(atleast not a heterosexual man).

The fact that you've made this statement leads me to believe you are young or inexperienced. I could be wrong, and perhaps I misunderstand your point, but I'm certain women seduce men in this way ALL THE TIME.

[bold mine]

The question then is why your experiences differ?Differ from whom or what? You have not objectively established that your conception of the ideal male-female relationship is:

1) the most common relationship (this isn't really important anyway), or

2) the most morally or psychologically proper relationship.

Did you enter "most" deliberately? If you did, I'd say that "only" may be more to the point. Or, a question that is more to the point is "Is there a best way to engage in a romantic relationship and, if so, what is it?" We can then look at a variety of relationships and see if they satisfy the criterion. We may find that more than one fits the bill. Edited by FeatherFall
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The question then is why your experiences differ?Differ from whom or what? You have not objectively established that your conception of the ideal male-female relationship is:

1) the most common relationship (this isn't really important anyway), or

2) the most morally or psychologically proper relationship.

I actually touched on the subject of morality in my argument, and I mentioned my observations of what is the most common.

Who are these strong, intelligent, individualistic beacons of rationality targeted and seduced by the pick-up artist?

You are framing the question in a bad way. Instead you should ask:

Who are these strong, intelligent, individualistic beacons of rationality seduced by strong, intelligent, assertive men who take the lead?

Probably all of them, even those who deny it...

I thought Rand's idea of the male as dominant was strictly related to the mechanics of sex, not to psychology or relationships as a whole.

Read the quote regarding a woman president and read the sections in Atlas when Dagny is with John Galt. It's about more than just strictly mechanics.

However, the novels don't prove that this is the only way to have an ideal romantic relationship.

That's true, they only show what she thought was the ideal. They do not prove anything. However, this must have been the only ideal because I can only see other "ideals" that would contradict this ideal.

The fact that you've made this statement leads me to believe you are young or inexperienced. I could be wrong, and perhaps I misunderstand your point, but I'm certain women seduce men in this way ALL THE TIME.

I'll soon be 26 and my experiences are more down to lucky chance than anything else. That's also why I have spent the last year thinking, observing and testing until I got a very clear understanding of women and relationships, and I did so from a very good position. I dare say this is a subject I know really well, despite the fact that i'm young and inexperienced.

I think you misunderstood me a little bit though. I know women can seduce men, it's just that it happens in a different way and men respond differently. It's that different response in women that i'm geting at. If this is hard to grasp think about how men and women experience sex. Do you think it's the same way? I don't. I think it's something entierly different and that it is so right from the beginning - the very first spark of attraction. For a man to relate to it would be like relating to childbirth. We can understand it intellectually and we can see the emotions it creates, but it's impossible to relate to because we are different in nature. The same thing applies for sex and relationships and that's what I was trying to illustrate by pointing to some of my observations(hoping you would have seen the same thing).

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I'll soon be 26 and my experiences are more down to lucky chance than anything else. That's also why I have spent the last year thinking, observing and testing until I got a very clear understanding of women and relationships, and I did so from a very good position. I dare say this is a subject I know really well, despite the fact that i'm young and inexperienced.
Alfa, again I will be bold and say that you simply lack context (in this case, personal experience), and thus your conclusions on this matter are suspect. Here is why I think that.

The way any understanding is formed in your mind is through a process of observing and concluding, observing and concluding. You see something in life, you see something else, and you form an abstraction. That's induction, and it's the backbone of all knowledge, and all of Objectivism. Later on, however, based on abstractions, you can form more abstractions. Deduction. (Here's where Rand wrote it.) Some things are very easy to deduce based on previous knowledge you already had. For example, you might deduce that humans could live on Mars. A little out there, but based on your knowledge of science so far, even though you haven't seen it happen, you know it would be possible.

Some things, though, are not so easy to deduce. It further complicates things when you have seemingly conflicting information from reality. Which do you believe? You could believe either, you could say, "I really have no idea at the moment. Maybe I can find out through more induction and deduction later on.", or, you could say, "I have a pretty good idea, but I'll keep checking it against my other knowledge."

Thing is, everything has to be traceable back to reality somehow. All Objectivist principles are "right" because a logical trace can be made backwards until an irreducible primary is reached. But they are not immediately apparent, and the only way they are learned at all is to understand that logical trace backwards. I mean really, really understand it, like you understand that if you get hit in the head by a two-by-four, you're going to be a little fucked up for a while.

That is the "proof" I was talking about. It's not easy to do with something as abstract as human romance. So many other aspects of reality are subsumed under romance. Furthermore, it's a highly misunderstood aspect of humanity. Furthermore, there isn't very wide agreement even among Objectivists, despite Rand's strong opinions on the matter.

If you are to understand romance (and romance applied to homosexuality, which isn't that much different in my observation. The primary is romance by itself), you are going to need really solid referents to reality, and a logical proof to back it up. You will need to have done that logical proof somehow, at some point, for yourself. If you want to convince other people of the proof, you will also need to be able to explain it, in ways they can understand.

As a disclaimer, I do not have the logical proof I requested. I know my own experience, some conclusions I've drawn about it, but I am still relatively inexperienced as far as romance goes and I am unsure of the generalities as they might apply to everyone, or at least large groups of everyone. At best I can say, "I know this isn't so, based on everything I know and have experienced." But, for someone else with enough context and real, referent-based knowledge, they might be able to provide such a proof. I don't think Rand did, which is unfortunate, because she was such an amazing resource on the broad-conclusions/proofs front.

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Romantic Love is the only proper, moral, form of sexuality. The issue is whether any consensual sexual relationship is either romantic or fake or promiscuous.

I guess the argument would then lead to if a relationship is hollow, or as you refer to it, fake.

I don't think anyone can define love for any other human being. There is no conventional love; each is unique. You may love someone in a manner that is wrong, or grotesque or morally deprived; but in that you still love them. Is love nothing more than the infestation of thoughts and emotions as interpreted by the mind? Can we choose who we love?

I believe those are all questions that can really, only be answered by a personal faith in love.

A truly idealistic man can love a woman through logic, but we're not all idealistic men.

My belief is from a survivalist point of view.

I believe that since a homosexual couple cannot produce offspring, the action is irrelevant and detrimental to a species' survival, which means a homosexual love is not natrual but rather, an intense infatuation.

That is my belief though, I'm not going to argue with a gay man whether he loves his partner because although I can question the geniunity of that love or its moral integrity, I can't redefine his definition of love because his is based on faith, not logic.

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You are framing the question in a bad way. Instead you should ask:

Who are these strong, intelligent, individualistic beacons of rationality seduced by strong, intelligent, assertive men who take the lead?

Probably all of them, even those who deny it...

My point was that women targeted by pick-up artists should not be used as examples of a rational woman's behavior, and pick-up artistry should not be held as the ideal male behavior. The bar scene and the pick-up process is so full of barely conscious animalistic behavior, it really shouldn't be used to talk about what's proper or ideal for rational people.

I will grant that, in my experience, women tend to value initiative-taking in men far more than men do in women. However, this could just be an artifact of culture or our evolutionary descent from non-rational animals. It's not necessarily an essential part of our nature. I've been approached by women before; I was not turned off by their initiation, and I'm sure they didn't feel any less feminine by initiating. I actually find swooning to be an immediate turn off. My wife is my partner, not my prey.

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My point was that women targeted by pick-up artists should not be used as examples of a rational woman's behavior, and pick-up artistry should not be held as the ideal male behavior. The bar scene and the pick-up process is so full of barely conscious animalistic behavior, it really shouldn't be used to talk about what's proper or ideal for rational people.

I will grant that, in my experience, women tend to value initiative-taking in men far more than men do in women. However, this could just be an artifact of culture or our evolutionary descent from non-rational animals. It's not necessarily an essential part of our nature. I've been approached by women before; I was not turned off by their initiation, and I'm sure they didn't feel any less feminine by initiating. I actually find swooning to be an immediate turn off. My wife is my partner, not my prey.

My point was that someone who's good at picking up ladies is not necesarily a pick-up artist or player. I was more refering to the kind of man who knows how to deal with ladies and communicate the right qualities. Besides, strong, assertive, intelligent (and fun) is how most guys sucessful with ladies are percieved - be they pick-up artists or not. The idea was to illustrate how women respond to strong sexual attraction.

Initiative-taking would set the difference between value pursuer and value pursued. It shows confidence and ability, characteristics that may be attractive for both sexes but are far more attractive to women. It's masculine.

Personally i'm OK with women making contact as long as they are not coming on too strong. I mean, I don't mind if she catches my attention and sort of "presents herself", but I want to take it from there. What I would mind is somone who tries to pick me up and buy me dinner. Never happened, luckily, but I think it would kind of insulting.

Swooning is only OK in the right context. That is, when I have passed all challenges and have won the lady through my virtues - in that case it's proper.

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The question then is why your experiences differ?Differ from whom or what? You have not objectively established that your conception of the ideal male-female relationship is:

1) the most common relationship (this isn't really important anyway), or

2) the most morally or psychologically proper relationship.

This is an issue I have spent a good deal of time arguing in an earlier thread, so I don't wish to get embroiled in it again right now, but your first criteria(the parenthetical, especially) made me realize that the "most common relationship" is critical to the proper evaluation of what's best for man.

By way of analogy, consider that human beauty can only be evaluated by consensus. All studies on beauty result in the same finding, that when shown photographs of different people and asked to score them, the most average face is the most beautiful. By average, here, I do not mean plain, but rather, a face in which all features are the most average for humans. Average nose, average lips, etc. The reason this occurs is very easily tied to concept formation. If I see a hundred chairs with 4 legs and then one with 3 legs, I am going to think that the 3 legged chair is extremely odd. It might be so abnormal as to deserve another name, like stool, for instance.

We see many faces in our lives and keep a running tab of sorts with regard to how big or small or spaced or colored people ought to be and our concept of beauty reflects that. There is nothing inherently, objectively unattractive about a gigantic nose, for example, but most would agree that it is unattractive. Exceptions could very well occur, where a particular individual might prefer a large nose for any set of reasons, but exceptions are just that, exceptions. I believe exceptions like this are what seem to lead to a great deal of the confusion regarding proper relationships.

Psychology and neuroscience have concluded beyond any reasonable doubt that vast differences exist between male and female brains. These differences causally affect the way we process information, the way we evaluate emotions, the way we move our bodies, inflect our voices, learn, feel, act, and think. The summation of all of these differences and the ways they are expressed, are at the base of our individual identifications of masculinity and femininity. My concepts of men and how they are differentiated from women, are formed in this averaging sort of way. What is masculine, is those things which men usually do. What is feminine, is those things which women usually do. Things which men and women do or do not do equally are not correlated with either gender. So men like blue things, women like pink things. Men eat steak. Women eat chocolate, men take risks, women prefer stability, etc, etc. And maybe etc again. I could probably identify hundreds of well known and widely accepted, gender based idiosyncrasies like this.

Psychology and neuroscience have also found that due to hormonal fluctuations in utero, women can have more masculinized brains and men more feminized brains then usual. This could very easily cause a women to be more aggressive and prone to taking risks and as a result, prefer the company of more laid back men who don't impair this deeply ingrained sense of self nor compete with them on those terms. Again though, exceptions do not make the rule. One man who likes pink does not cause pink to become connected to masculinity.

I want to add also that this idea of "averaging" is not to be confused with "looking for what most people think," in order to form a conclusion. It is rather, looking for the average of what people are and forming concepts from that data. Morality in Objectivism is not a contextless set of commandments and rules. It is a set of guidelines, that set the framework for how man must generally behave under normal circumstances. This is why life boat issues are mainly disregarded. They are at root an exception to the rule which must be evaluated under their specific contexts. In this same way, an individual must look at how males and females interact, understand as well as they are able, how they are different, and then apply these guidelines to their own lives. If an individual observes that they are different from the norm in some way, they take that context into consideration, and modify the rule as necessary.

Based on my observations, I concur that Rand's view of the proper relationship between men and women is accurate and valid, but that exceptions exist.

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the most average face is the most beautiful. By average, here, I do not mean plain, but rather, a face in which all features are the most average for humans. Average nose, average lips, etc.

Actually they have done studies on that and the studies pretty much concluded that it was the flawlessness of the skin on average faces that made them more attractive to people. When they blended faces together to get the average, blemishes and wrinkles dissappeared.

Edited by dadmonson
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Actually they have done studies on that and the studies pretty much concluded that it was the flawlessness of the skin on average faces that made them more attractive to people. When they blended faces together to get the average, blemishes and wrinkles dissappeared.

I'd be interested in reading that if you have a source, out of personal interest.

I do know that symmetry and health(clear skin, bodily conition, etc) are also part of what causes people to be considered attractive but have not heard of anything that implied that it was the only possible causation involved in the averaging studies.

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Based on my observations, I concur that Rand's view of the proper relationship between men and women is accurate and valid, but that exceptions exist.

More to the point of the thread, would you say that these exceptions could be moral ways of pursuing romantic relationships? If so, could homosexuality be a valid exception?

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More to the point of the thread, would you say that these exceptions could be moral ways of pursuing romantic relationships? If so, could homosexuality be a valid exception?

Oh, absolutely. Sorry for not connecting the dots more. My post started getting too long so I had to cut myself off.

They have recently found that homosexual brains(should I say "gay brains" instead? :) ), both male and female, have certain structural similarities with those more average brains of the opposite sex. The same is true of transsexuals. Obviously there is much left to learn, but I would guess they will eventually find differences between gay, bi, and transsexuals.

So I would argue that for the same reasons women and men should have different expectations and desires, so too should homosexuals,etc. The difficult part for them is that as an outlier, patterns are less clearly available, and more individual introspection is probably required to find a completely fulfilling romantic pairing. Which would be bad, in that it possibly leads to those common issues like gay male hyper-promiscuity and "lesbian bed-death." As a disclaimer, I should mention that I am straight, so this last bit is somewhat speculative on my part.

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In that everyone has only one orientation, this whole thread is speculative.

I don't see the difference between lesbian bed death and heterosexual bed death. I'm thankful I haven't yet experienced it and I remain vigilant, but my assumption is that 'bed death' doesn't happen to people who make it a point to improve their romances constantly. Then again, I haven't been in many long-term relationships. This bed death idea might be worthy of its own thread.

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I believe that since a homosexual couple cannot produce offspring, the action is irrelevant and detrimental to a species' survival, which means a homosexual love is not natrual but rather, an intense infatuation.

That's a pretty collectivist way of looking at it! For instance, infertile heterosexual couples and elderly heterosexual couples can't reproduce, which according to your logic renders their love irrelevant. Objectivism isn't concerned with the "survival of the species;" it's concerned with each life as a means and ends to it's own. (This is for the same reason that environmentalist arguments don't fly.)

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In that everyone has only one orientation, this whole thread is speculative.

I don't see the difference between lesbian bed death and heterosexual bed death. I'm thankful I haven't yet experienced it and I remain vigilant, but my assumption is that 'bed death' doesn't happen to people who make it a point to improve their romances constantly. Then again, I haven't been in many long-term relationships. This bed death idea might be worthy of its own thread.

A little speculation is always fun. :D

The difference is that it is more common with lesbian couples. Men have more brain devoted to sex(twice as musch, to be exact), so it tends to create a balance. That said, it can certainly be overcome with reason.

I only meant these issues to point to the fact that there is probably some merit to the idea that a balanced healthy relationship may be more difficult(though not impossible) for homosexual couples because this symbiosis is not existent naturally.

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  • 1 month later...
I can say something personally about this. I came out because of objectivism. Before I discovered it, I dated a girl. I didn't want to but I did because I thought that it was immoral to be gay (catholic upbringing). I figured if I stayed with her long enough it could make me straight. That ended in disaster. Only after discovering Rand did I realize that I was faking reality. I didn't want a woman, any woman. I don't know why. I can assure you it has nothing to do with the way I was raised. I have an excellent relationship with both of my parents. I take issue with calling homosexuality a cowards way out. Coming out takes an extraordinary amount of courage.

First, I want to say that I haven't quite made up my mind on the "homo vs. hetero debate" - or rather whether or not homosexuality is immoral.

I will say this, this poster (above in quotes - original post on the 5th page) did bring up a good point and something that a few posters had brought up initially I'd like to continue to discuss.

I have bold and underlined what I think is a key statement that is reoccurring with homosexuals. I have often found that in defense of homosexuality, the homosexual often says "I don't know why I'm this way" (that or it is reduced to some type of biological deterministic argument i.e. "I was born this way, I can't help it")...underlying the entire defense is a complete lack of understanding of why they are the way they are.

I would guess that most heterosexuals don't know why they are the way they are either...but it might be meaningful to "chew" on the "why" (something brought up in post #1219 of this thread). Because as far as emotions go, there is nothing one can do about them except inquire as to why one is feeling them.

Introspection would provide an answer and help to determine what, in reality, is causing those feelings. Then, I think, you could judge whether those homosexual actions were moral or immoral or a rational or irrational basis.

Yes? No?

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This thread is of particular interest to me, as it is a subject I commonly think about and discuss. In my personal life experience being homosexual in my case was completely by choice. I found porn at a very young age, and tried both kinds. They were both quite appealing, so I tried having relationships with both sexes (not at the same time) and both were equally appealing. Men have prostates, which when stimulated, feel quite good, whether you are hetero or homo. Both sexes are capable of stimulating the prostate, so sexually the satiation of my desires could be fulfilled by either sex. What I do require from a mate is open-mindedness with trying new fetishes and exploring sexuality, which can also come from either sex. I therefore came to the conclusion that I choose to be gay, for romantic reasons, for the reason that I appreciate men's usual personalities. I disagree that bisexuality is some sort of copout, and feel that calling it so is the copout.

From my personal experience I can only theorize that sexuality is a personal choice based on reason and values. In this case, neither choice can be immoral, but I agree that going against your nature -is- immoral, which is why I encourage straight men to give rational thought to the idea of homosexuality, and homosexual men to stop shouting that they have no choice, and figure out if they might actually like to date a woman. I think that saying sexuality is not a choice is a form of biological or genetic determinism.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I would say that people are born asexual : a newborn baby is not sexually interested in anyone. Sexual desires first arise at the age of puberty, triggered by the bodily processes that take place in that age. The object of such desires in each individual depends on the more or less conscious choices the individual makes. The ideal choice is to be interested in the most virtuous person of the other sex that you can find.

I've went back and started reading this thread from the beginning as I'm looking for links to any scientific data in support of homosexual biological determinism or links to "official" O'ist works on the subject. Quite a task! CF's quote above is my exact position, and everything I have read that he argued long ago in this thread I agree with and is also my position on this matter. I've been scanning more than "reading" and have a LOT more to do so I can't say that will be true in every case.

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I would say that people are born asexual : a newborn baby is not sexually interested in anyone. Sexual desires first arise at the age of puberty, triggered by the bodily processes that take place in that age. The object of such desires in each individual depends on the more or less conscious choices the individual makes. The ideal choice is to be interested in the most virtuous person of the other sex that you can find.

I would agree with this also, except that sexual awareness/imprinting happens LONG before puberty in most cases (it certainly did in mine!), which is why your sexuality can feel like a cognitive given instead of something that's a result of a.) choices and b.) reinforced mental habits. Most of the homosexuals I know were aware that they were "different" at a very young age, before they were consciously aware of the concept of sexuality.

Phobias develop in much the same way, and as with most of a person's psychology there is only a limited amount to be gained by fighting it and trying to change it--there is a huge trade-off involved in time, energy, and effort in retraining one's subconscious to that degree. Without knowing a particular person's specific context and life, I don't think that it's possible to make a moral/immoral judgment on the matter.

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  • 10 months later...

For what it is worth, here are Dr. Peikoff's comments concerning choice of one's sexuality. They may also be of interest in "The Purpose of Sex" thread.

From his podcast number 82 at minute 8:57:

"'Does a person have free will in regard to his or her sexual identity?'

I would say generally 'No' because your sexual identity results from basic premises accepted unknowingly when you're very young, maybe 4, 5. Accepted implicitly as generalizations about yourself, the opposite sex, the world. As such, these are not chosen by will, they are impressions that go into your subconscious without your awareness. And then at the appropriate point they issue in a certain type of sexuality, such as you're straight or you're gay.

Now, neither of those were, quote, 'chosen,' in the normal meaning of the term. Nobody can say, 'When I was 4, or when I was 7,' or whenever, 'one day I say, I'm going to be straight, or I'm going to be gay.' That is a consequence of complex premises, it's not, as such, subject to will.

Now, you could ask, 'But doesn't a mind choose all of its ideas?' The answer is, 'Yes,' but you may very well have innocent errors that are beyond your power to detect at the time. That is always a possibility. And your sexual orientation may be a result, in part, of those errors. And once your subconscious is set that way, you have no choice any more than you do, basically, over the type of appearance that matters to you. Although that you can change more easily.

Now, you may ask, 'But don't you have free will as an adult to unearth your errors, change your mistakes and change your sexuality?' I think that can be done in some cases. But for the most part, by everything I've seen, psychology is simply not advanced enough to enable a person to do it, not today. Now, I think that if science continues, in some point, maybe a hundred years or more, they will find out how to make introspection on that level and reintigration on that level possible. And then, of course you can say from that perspective, you can choose your sexuality. Or at least you can choose to correct one. But I don't believe that that can be done today. I've heard of one or two cases, but it's very questionable to me whether that's a real change or was a bisexual person who had repressed one side and then switched to the other."

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There is a theory out there that has some back up credibility that human (lets not forget that animals do it too so its completely "natural" for whatever that is worth) homosexuality had some evolutionary facets.

In Sex, Time & Power the author puts forth the theory that in the early stages of human development the death rate was so high for adults that it was desirable to have roughly 5% of the productive population not breeding. He goes into much further detail obviously and I read it years ago but some of what he had to say on the matter makes sense.

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For what it is worth, here are Dr. Peikoff's comments concerning choice of one's sexuality. They may also be of interest in "The Purpose of Sex" thread.

From his podcast number 82 at minute 8:57:

"'Does a person have free will in regard to his or her sexual identity?'

I would say generally 'No' because your sexual identity results from basic premises accepted unknowingly when you're very young, maybe 4, 5.

JASKN,

I haven't listened to that podcast, but I will soon. Does Peikoff take this statement to its logical ethical conclusion, i.e. that homosexuality must be a-moral since it is non-volitional? Maybe some day soon we'll get to the point where Objectivists everywhere promote same sex marriage on the basis of common law principle...

--Dan Edge

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