Several gay people, both male and female, recollect being attracted to people of their own sex, from a very early age. This attraction to members of their own sex is just one of several deviant tendencies observed in human sexual attitudes. In most people, the sexual orientations emerge in early adolescence even prior to any sexual experience. Research into evolutionary and hormonal pattern in homosexuality has not yielded any consistent results. Scientists have not fully understood as to how sexual orientation develops in an individual.
However, it is certain that homosexual orientation is too complex for any simple or single model to fully explain. Many theories explain sexual orientation on the basis of biological, genetic factors and on early childhood experiences. Scientific evidence predominantly attributes such sexual orientation, particularly homosexual attraction to be related to prenatal or genetic issues. It is generally perceived that human beings cannot select their sexual orientation as to being a gay or a straight.
Although sexual orientation is not subject to an individual’s inclination or be consciously changed; individuals can choose whether to respond to such feelings or not. Towards the end of the 19th century, psychiatry and medicine began to confront religion on homosexuality. Homosexuality was explained more on the basis of pathology, against the backdrop of crime and sin. Havelock Ellis was of the opinion that homosexuality was inborn and not a disease. He also pointed out that many homosexuals made outstanding contributions to the society.
Sigmund Freud believed that all human beings were inherently bisexual and their attraction towards being heterosexual or homosexual resulted from their experience with parents and others. However, both agreed that homosexual adoption is not due to pathology. Subsequently several theories attempted to explain homosexuality on several grounds. Sandor Rado argued that heterosexuality was natural and people take to homosexuality only when normal heterosexuality fails.
Today most scientists agree that sexual orientation results from an influence of environment, cognitive and biological factors. Genetic and inborn hormonal traits play an important role in deciding a person’s sexual attitude. Psychologists and psychiatrists believe that homosexuality is not due to emotional or mental disorders and it was in 1973, when the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its official list of emotional and mental disorders, after appropriate research. Research based on twin studies also indicate that male homosexuality is genetically mediated.
A study with about 76 gay brothers and their families in 1993 by Dean Hamer found that gay men had more gay uncles and cousins on the maternal side compared to the paternal side. One of the most reliable finding in homosexuality adoption was reported by Blanchard and Klassen in 1997, who suggested that the odds of an individual being a gay increased by 33% correpondingly for each older brother. It has been implied that the male foetus causes a maternal immune reaction which is increasingly stronger for each successive male foetus.
Research increasingly point out that homosexual orientation is mostly a biological phenomenon, which is also influenced by the environment. The attitude change therapies generally do not bring upon the intended results, which again emphasize that orientations are deep rooted. Attempts to change sexual orientation from homosexuality to heterosexuality has actually resulted in suppression of homosexual attraction and response, rather than a complete switchover to heterosexuality.
Several conversion therapies, which are claimed successful, may not all be true. Bisexuals too have been classified as homosexuals, who successfully progress to adopt heterosexual pattern, which are then claimed as successful. Thus such interventions mostly result in suppression of homosexual arousal or reduction in sexual response capacity.
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