This volume is an indispensable reference for a wide range of scholars working across multidisciplinary fields of inquiry that focus on British and continental histories of medicine and sexuality, gender history and studies of nineteenth ...
At first sight, homosexuality has little to do with reproduction. Nevertheless, many neo-Darwinian theoreticians think that human homosexuality may have had a procreative value, since it enabled the close kin of homosexuals to have more viable offspring than individuals lacking the support of homosexual siblings. In this article, however, we will defend an alternative hypothesis - originally put forward by Freud in "A phylogenetic phantasy" - namely that homosexuality evolved as a means to strengthen social bonds. Consequently, from an evolutionary (...) point of view, homosexuality and heterosexuality have entirely distinct origins: there is no continuum from heterosexuality to homosexuality. Indeed, the natural history we propose shows that the intensity of the homosexual inclination has little or no predictive value with regard to the intensity of heterosexual tendencies. In fact, this may be a sound Darwinian way to understand sexual ambivalence. But if sexual ambivalence is a biological datum, one has to conclude that psychodynamic mechanisms are often needed in order to explain exclusive heterosexuality or exclusive homosexuality. (shrink)
Reports about possible genetic bases of homoerotic sexual orientation in adults have received a kind of schizophrenic social reception. On the one hand, these reports have been welcomed by some gay men and lesbians as biological confirmation of the commonly held view that sexual orientation is an involuntary trait, that sexual orientation is not in any meaningful sense chosen. Simon LeVay has received mail from thankful correspondents who welcomed his 1991 report about the possible neuroanatomical basis for male homoerotic sexual (...) orientation, and some legal analysts see important implications of biological studies for the ways in which civil rights are recognized, especially those that depend on an immutable characteristic like race or gender. (shrink)
For a balanced discussion of the main social, medical, and philosophical aspects of homosexuality, here is the ideal book. Written by philosophers of science, each comprehensive chapter takes a critical look at research on the etiology of homosexuality. Read Philosophy and Homosexuality and examine the evidence for both the sociobiological and hormonal explanations of homosexuality and study the definitions of sexual orientation and how they have affected research.