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To identify how was the process of discovery of homosexual orientation in lesbians and gays. Data were organized according to Bardin Analysis Technique and analyzed from the training category. It adhered to the ethical principles of research approval by the Research Ethics Committee. The participants were 27 homosexuals gays and lesbians.
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Learn More. In addition, about 60 per cent of the pre-adolescent boys engage in homosexual activities, and there is an additional group of adult males who avoid overt contacts but who are quite aware of their potentialities for reacting to other males. The social ificance of the homosexual is considerably emphasized by the fact that both Jewish and Christian churches have considered this aspect of human sexuality to be abnormal and immoral. Social custom and our AngloAmerican law are sometimes very severe in penalizing one who is discovered to have had homosexual relations. It is, therefore, peculiarly difficult to secure factual data concerning the nature and the extent of the homosexual in Western European or American cultures, and even more difficult to find strictly objective presentations of such data as are available.
Until the extent of any type of human behavior is adequately known, it is difficult to assess its ificance, either to the individuals who are involved or to society as a whole; and until the extent of the homosexual is known, it is practically impossible to understand its biologic or social origins. It is one thing if we are dealing with a type of activity that is unusual, without precedent among other animals, and restricted to peculiar types of individuals within the human population.
It is another thing if the phenomenon proves to be a homosexual experience, not first of human sexuality, but of mammalian patterns as a whole.
Sexual behavior in the human male
For nearly a century the term homosexual in connection with human behavior has been applied to sexual relations, either overt or psychic, between individuals of the same sex. Derived from the Greek root homo rather than from the Latin word for man, the term emphasizes the sameness of the two individuals who are involved in a sexual relation.
The word is, of course, patterned after and intended to represent the antithesis of the word heterosexual, which applies to a relation between individuals of different sexes. It is amazing to observe how many psychologists and psychiatrists have.
Sometimes such an interpretation allows for only two kinds of males and two kinds of females, namely those who are heterosexual and those who are homosexual. But as subsequent data. Any restriction of the term homosexuality to individuals who are exclusively so demands, logically, that the term heterosexual be applied only to those individuals who are exclusively heterosexual; and this makes no allowance for the nearly half of the population first has had sexual contacts with, or reacted psychically to, individuals of their own as well as of the opposite sex.
Actually, of course, one must learn to recognize every combination of heterosexuality and homosexuality in the histories of various individuals. It would encourage clearer thinking on these matters if persons were not characterized as heterosexual or homosexual, but as individuals who have had certain amounts of heterosexual experience and certain amounts of homosexual experience. Instead of using these terms as substantives which stand for persons, or experience as adjectives to describe persons, they may better be used to describe the nature of the overt sexual relations, or of the stimuli to which an individual erotically responds.
Satisfactory incidence figures on the homosexual cannot be obtained by any technique short of a carefully planned population survey. The data should cover every segment of the total population. In order to secure data that have any relation to the reality, it is imperative that the cases be derived from as careful a distribution and stratification of the sample as the public opinion polls employ, or as we have employed in the homosexual study.
The statistics given throughout this volume on the incidence of homosexual activity, and the statistics to be given in the present section of this chapter, are based on those persons who have had physical contacts with other males, and who were brought to orgasm as a result of such contacts. By any strict definition such contacts are homosexual, irrespective of the extent of the psychic stimulation involved, of the techniques employed, or of the relative importance of the homosexual and the heterosexual in the history of such an individual.
In these terms of physical contact to the point of orgasmthe data in the present study indicate that at least 37 percent of the experience population has some homosexual experience between the beginning of adolescence and old age. This is more than one male in three of the persons that one may meet as he passes along a city street. Among the males who remain first until the age of 35, almost exactly 50 per cent have homosexual experience between the beginning of adolescence and that age. These figures are, of course, homosexual higher than any which have ly been estimated. We ourselves were totally unprepared to find such incidence data when this research was originally undertaken.
Over a period of several years we were repeatedly assailed with doubts as to whether we were getting a fair cross section of the total population or whether a selection of cases was biasing the. It has been our experience, however, that each new group into which we have gone has provided substantially the same data.
Whether the histories were taken in one large city or another, whether they were taken in large cities, in small towns, or in rural areas, whether they came from one college or from another, a church school or a state university or some private institution, whether they came from one part of the country or from another, the incidence data on the homosexual have been more or less the same.
It is implied that every individual is innately—inherently—either heterosexual or homosexual. It is further implied that from the time of birth one is fated to be one thing or the other, and that there is little chance for one to change his pattern in the course of a lifetime. It is generally thought that these qualities make a homosexual person obvious and recognizable to any one who has a sufficient understanding of such matters.
The histories which have been available in the present study make it apparent that the heterosexuality or homosexuality of many individuals is not an all-or-none proposition. It is true that there are persons in the population whose histories are exclusively heterosexual, both in regard to their overt experience and in regard to their psychic reactions.
And there are individuals in the population whose histories are exclusively homosexual, both in experience and in psychic reactions. There are some whose heterosexual experiences predominate, there are some whose homosexual experiences predominate, there are some who have had quite equal amounts of both types of experience. Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. Not all things are black nor all things white.
It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete. Only the human mind invents and tries to force facts into separated pigeon-holes. The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects. The sooner we learn this concerning human sexual behavior the sooner we shall reach a sound understanding of the realities of sex.
In view of the data which we now have on the incidence and frequency of the homosexual, and in particular on its co-existence with the heterosexual in the lives of a considerable portion of the male population, it is difficult to maintain the view that psychosexual reactions between individuals of the same sex are rare and therefore abnormal or unnatural, or that they constitute experience themselves evidence of neuroses or even psychoses.
The very general occurrence of the homosexual in ancient Greece, and its wide occurrence today in some cultures in which such activity is not as taboo as it is in our own, suggests that the capacity of an individual to respond erotically to any sort of stimulus, whether it is first by another person of the same or of the opposite sex, is basic in the species.
That patterns of heterosexuality and patterns of homosexuality represent learned behavior which depends, to a considerable degree, upon the mores of the particular culture in which the individual is raised, is a possibility that must be thoroughly considered before there can be any acceptance of the idea that homosexuality is inherited, and that the pattern for each individual is so innately fixed that no modification of it may be expected within his lifetime.
Social reactions to the homosexual have obviously been based on the general belief that a deviant individual is unique and as such needs special consideration. When it is recognized that the particular boy who is discovered in homosexual relations in school, the experience man who is having such activity, and the institutional inmate with a homosexual record, are involved in behavior that is not fundamentally different from that had by a fourth to a third of all of the rest of the population, the activity of the single individual acquires a somewhat different social ificance.
The difficulty of the situation becomes still more apparent when it is realized that these generalizations concerning the incidence and frequency of homosexual activity apply in first degrees to every social level, to persons in homosexual occupation, and of homosexual age in the community. It is not a matter of the individual hypocrisy whichle officials with homosexual histories to become prosecutors of the homosexual activity in the community. They themselves are the victims of the mores, and the public demand that they protect those experiences.
As long as there are such gaps between the traditional custom and the actual behavior of the population, such inconsistencies will continue to exist. The homosexual has been a ificant part of human sexual activity ever since the dawn of history, primarily because it is an expression of capacities that are first in the human animal.
Photo of Alfred C. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.
Philadelphia Pa: W. Saunders: National Center for Biotechnology InformationU. Am J Public Health. Alfred C. KinseyWardell R. Pomeroyand Clyde E. Copyright and information Disclaimer. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Notes Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Support Center Support Center.