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Old 08-26-2009, 09:01 PM   #1
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Question Nature vs nurture?

Nature vs nurture, any thoughts? I know I did a persuasive essay about nature vs nurture in my health class and I was definitely on the side of nature, but who knows really? I mean, what I researched was very convincing, and very scientific and everything, but at the same time I believed everything I was reading about nature, I also had this haunting feeling that nurture could be part of it as well..

I think it depends, really. I know nature is supposed to be this... foolproof argument because of genes and the fact that you're born with whatever you have, but I really think it's both. I mean, there are recessive genes. If the gay gene exists, it'd be recessive right? Maybe that recessive gene doesn't come out (no pun intended...okay maybe a little ) until it's "nurtured" out of you, if that makes any sense? That's the one part that makes sense to me about nature (no vs) and nurture. Maybe it has to be both for certain (not all) people to become gay..I'm just thinking out loud here, but I'd like to read more on this, so if anyone has any links to any good sources of information, research, studies, or anything, please post them. Also, I want to hear opinions as well. From what you know already, what do you think?
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:10 PM   #2
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I really believe that it's nature. Many people, myself included, report feeling "different" even when they are young, pre-puberty. I don't think that nuture could cause this simply because of how young the child is.. without experiencing anything puberty let alone sexuality related yet, how could they be 'nutured' into being homosexual? They have no reason to even think about sexuality, yet they recognize this feeling of being different. Also, how would one 'nuture' someone into being homosexual? What things would a parent do or not do that would cause this? It just doesn't make sense. I've heard my grandparents on both sides say that they didn't even know homosexuality existed until they were older (in their 20's or so) so, if this was the case, how would those who were gay (although definitely still in the closest) have these feelings if it was nuture.. how could they be nutured into being homosexual without ever being exposed to homosexuality or even realizing it existed, you know what I mean? In short, I think there's been many cases where someone recognizes the feelings of being different or the attraction to the same sex long before the idea of homosexuality even enters their consciousness, if that makes sense. This leads me to believe that it has to be in your genes, that it has to be something you're born with.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for your input, I agree with most of what you said, I just still have this nagging feeling that there is more to it than all of that. Does anyone out there feel like it really was nurture for them?

It doesn't necessarily have to be parents, it's the surroundings of the person, society, media, friends, other family members. I have a friend who swears he's gay because of all of the female attention he got from a very young age, and he was always around it, therefore when he hit puberty that kind of thing wasn't sexual to him. He said he had "boobs in his face" out of the womb so he was never turned on by it. And I'm not just talking about breastfeeding or anything, he said he had a lot of aunts, and a lot of girl cousins. I think it depends on the environment you're brought up in as well as your genes. Nurture is obviously not always correct, I mean there are straight people with an "overbearing mother" or an "absent father", some of the nurtured to be gay arguments...but we don't know as much about nature yet because they haven't found the gay gene. Eh. There is definitely some gray area here, debatable for now. I just don't think either of them should be written off. I mean who's to say that one of them is absolutely always correct. There could be those few situations that don't match up with the norm...if a norm is eventually established...
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:04 AM   #4
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I'd say 'nature' is the vast majority of it, but nature doesn't just mean what genes you inherit. Get Melian to explain epigenetics properly, but it is essentially the question of what genes are actually turned on....something that can be inherited, but is much more dynamic than genes themselves. Also things can just happen during fetal development.

It is no doubt outdated, but I recall reading in the book "Brainsex" that there are very specific windows during fetal development where it would seem sexual identity, 'masculine' or 'feminine' nature is wired in, and sexual identity gets its foundation poured. If the expected hormones aren't present in the right levels in those windows, any or all of those may not get wired in the way that they most commonly do for someone of that gender.

But I think the nature is more a matter of the fundamentals, I think the 'nurture' part (or at least your experiences, starting at a very young age) will change how those fundamentals express themselves. Like, a rose bush is always going to grow into a rose bush, but its shape can be changed a lot.
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:40 AM   #5
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I will just say that most of my psychology essays end with -"You cant dichotomise nature/nurture..but..". Most things are a bit of both and as soon as you are born your envoronment invariably plays a role as to who you are, though to which extent its hard to tell.
I read about studies recently that showed quite compelling evidence that gender sexuality begins in the womb depending on what hormones are a happening at the time in there.
Even if gender sexuality was in some way genetic (there was a gay gene), environment will play a huge part on whether or not you are going to act on your feelings and to what degree.
I have heard of people feeling totally 'straight' for 40 years of thier lives then just falling in love with and being sexually attracted to someone of the same sex. I often wonder if in these cases the person in question was in total denial or just that some people can fall in Love with the person and the sexual attraction happens after.
I know many 'totally' straight and 'totally' gay people would disagree but i tend to believe there is a little bi-sexual in everyone. There are So many men i have met who are like women and women i have met that are like men in so many ways, that i think it would be impossible to limit yourself even if you had a preferred gender.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:34 AM   #6
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I've written about this topic before on Dims, so i won't rehash what I said there.

I will say that in my life, I think my sexuality at least is very much social constructed. I don't think my genes had much to do with my sexuality. Perhaps hormonal issues in the womb have influenced my gender identity, but I do not see evidence in my life that I'm genetically wired to be queer.
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Old 08-27-2009, 04:32 PM   #7
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See, it strikes me that where someone falls on the Kinsey scale is probably a nature piece, but how they live their sexual life based on that is much more nurture. So someone who's 60% (or even 40%) het may live "straight" if they're in a repressive culture and "bi" if they're in a more open one.
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:09 PM   #8
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I was told by someone that they actually had located a gene that may be responsible for homosexuality.
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Old 08-28-2009, 02:26 AM   #9
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I was told by someone that they actually had located a gene that may be responsible for homosexuality.
Yeah, but what "activates" it?
I mean, people have all kinds of genes, controlling eye color, number of digits, length. I don't know for sure because I'm far from being a scholar in that field, but isn't it whether a gene is dominant or recessive that counts?
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Old 08-28-2009, 02:46 AM   #10
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I was told by someone that they actually had located a gene that may be responsible for homosexuality.
Were they a Scientist or a rightwing christian fundimentalist? The answer to that would indicate a lot!
I've never heard that they have isolated a gene but if they could and you could switch it off.. that would be a shame cause i kinna like Gay pride parades!
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Old 08-28-2009, 09:36 AM   #11
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Yeah, but what "activates" it?
I mean, people have all kinds of genes, controlling eye color, number of digits, length. I don't know for sure because I'm far from being a scholar in that field, but isn't it whether a gene is dominant or recessive that counts?
Yeah, it matters if it's dominant or recessive. I'd assume it's recessive if it does exist. My guess is that both parents would have to be carrying the recessive gene for the child to be gay. I don't think anything "activates" your genes.

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Were they a Scientist or a rightwing christian fundimentalist? The answer to that would indicate a lot!
I've never heard that they have isolated a gene but if they could and you could switch it off.. that would be a shame cause i kinna like Gay pride parades!
Haha, they were neither.. just my nerdy gay best friend:]
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Old 08-29-2009, 05:27 AM   #12
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See, what about bi-sexual people. Do they have half a gay gene? Or if people had a wee snog with someone of the same sex and sort of enjoyed it did they have a 99% hetro gene?? Also, why would it be called the Gay gene? It makes it sound like being gay is somehow abnormal. What about the 'hetrosexuality' gene? I think this needs to be discussed by the gay scientists who are planning to take over the world and make it queer!!
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Old 08-29-2009, 08:58 PM   #13
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Well, being gay is 'abnormal' in the sense that the majority of people are straight so homosexuals make up a small part of the population and therefore are not the 'norm.'
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Old 08-30-2009, 07:21 PM   #14
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Well, there have been a lot of things said that have opened my mind and closed them in other cases. I really don't think it's just nature..but I'm not precisely sure about either anymore. I think my new opinion is "Don't know" when it comes to nature vs nurture. Even about myself. I mean, I'm bisexual, but I really don't remember ever feeling different when I was younger...or feeling like I was gay or anything like that. I didn't even know what homosexuality in general was until I was like, 14 or so. I was never turned on by it until maybe 16. I swear, before I thought it was gross (no offense!) and now I obviously don't think that anymore. I mean, did my gene get activated, was I nurtured to be comfortable around that kind of thing and eventually see what I was missing? I don't know.
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Old 08-30-2009, 07:41 PM   #15
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I am going to have to go with nature..My sister has 6 children,the 3 oldest are gay and the 3 youngest hetro..They were all raised in the same way by the same parent so if it was nurture then all 6 of them would have been gay..It is funny when you listen to those younger kids talk about how growing up with the 3 older gays they thought something was wrong with them since they did not turn out gay..
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:53 AM   #16
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Well, being gay is 'abnormal' in the sense that the majority of people are straight so homosexuals make up a small part of the population and therefore are not the 'norm.'
I do think the majority of people are bi though, to some degree. I think pure hetrosexuality is not the norm.

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Well, there have been a lot of things said that have opened my mind and closed them in other cases. I really don't think it's just nature..but I'm not precisely sure about either anymore. I think my new opinion is "Don't know" when it comes to nature vs nurture. Even about myself. I mean, I'm bisexual, but I really don't remember ever feeling different when I was younger...or feeling like I was gay or anything like that. I didn't even know what homosexuality in general was until I was like, 14 or so. I was never turned on by it until maybe 16. I swear, before I thought it was gross (no offense!) and now I obviously don't think that anymore. I mean, did my gene get activated, was I nurtured to be comfortable around that kind of thing and eventually see what I was missing? I don't know.
I think the reason we don't know we are gay or what being gay is up until we are older, in many cases is because the media and social role models are so focused around being hetrosexual. I think tv is better now at representing gay people (Though i'm sure not proportionally..i think the same goes for black people) than it was when i was younger. I remember when i was about 14 and the first lesbian kiss happened in a soap. There was so much shock and controversy, they banned the omnibus edition which showed it before the watershed and caused a group of lesbians to storm into the news studios. As i am writing this i actually can't believe it though i guess it was about 17 year ago and gay rights/representation has come along way. Still has a long way to go though. I actually find it hard to belive that you can;t get married in America ..though it was only pretty recently you were allowed that right here.
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:55 AM   #17
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I do think the majority of people are bi though, to some degree. I think pure hetrosexuality is not the norm.
Yeah, I actually agree with this to an extent.
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Old 08-31-2009, 06:10 AM   #18
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I do think the majority of people are bi though, to some degree. I think pure hetrosexuality is not the norm.
Well, some pretty recent studies using MRI or some other brain scanning technology suggests that most women are varying degrees of bisexual, with zero interest in one of the genders being rare. On the other hand it suggested that most men are either hetero or gay, that no matter what they said in words the 'sex interest' (not the scientific name!) centres of the brain only lit up for one gender or the other. Which is not to say that guys can't get sexually excited with their 'off' gender (just look at prisons....), but that it seems there really is a difference between the genders on this one--statistically.

So if you stick 'female' in front of 'people' I'd agree with you....I do think it is rarer in men.
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:52 AM   #19
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Well, some pretty recent studies using MRI or some other brain scanning technology suggests that most women are varying degrees of bisexual, with zero interest in one of the genders being rare. On the other hand it suggested that most men are either hetero or gay, that no matter what they said in words the 'sex interest' (not the scientific name!) centres of the brain only lit up for one gender or the other. Which is not to say that guys can't get sexually excited with their 'off' gender (just look at prisons....), but that it seems there really is a difference between the genders on this one--statistically.

So if you stick 'female' in front of 'people' I'd agree with you....I do think it is rarer in men.
Maby you are right. I think though women are more open to talking about it and even thinking about it. Even if hetro guys do lust occassionally after other guys it may be supressed waaaaaay into thier inner selves. This contradicts with the amount of 'straight guys' my gay friend seems to have slept with though. lol. I'm always a little dubious of brain scan tests. We don't know enough to know enough about the brain. It could be that in men certain areas of the brain show more activity because they are attending to one thing over another. In a womans brain parts of themselves that they attend to less may still be stimulated. Eg. If a guy is mainly Hetro he wont attend to pics of other guys whereas women might. There was a study conducted recently where the part of the brain that indicates sexual excitement was 'turned on' when women watched bonobo apes fucking. I'm sure not all women are beastials, so we have to look for other explainations, which i think can be found by looking at things from an evolutionary perspective.
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:04 AM   #20
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This contradicts with the amount of 'straight guys' my gay friend seems to have slept with though. lol.
I totally agree!

Sometimes I wonder if women are turned on by girl/girl porn ONLY because they are conditioned to think it is hot. I know quite a number of women who often fantasize about lesbian sex, enjoy lesbian porn and even eye other women, but they were sorely disappointed by their own girl/girl experiences. Not sure if their partners were bad or if lesbian sex is just so hyped (OMG girls will definitely know what you want and give you orgasm after orgasm) these days. I also know a few who tell me that they are more into exhibitionism (and think of it when they watch lesbian porn) and won't get off without their appreciative male audience.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:20 PM   #21
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I know quite a number of women who often fantasize about lesbian sex, enjoy lesbian porn and even eye other women, but they were sorely disappointed by their own girl/girl experiences. Not sure if their partners were bad or if lesbian sex is just so hyped (OMG girls will definitely know what you want and give you orgasm after orgasm) these days.
I would fall into this category. Using the word disappointed might be a little strong but I have to say that it was different, and not as good, as I was hoping or expecting. I actually felt very unfulfilled sexually being in a girl/girl friends-with-benefits situation. I don't think it was the other girls fault but more of just how I perceived the situation was going to work out and when it didn't meet those expectations it was somewhat of a disappointment.
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:29 PM   #22
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me and many others are proof that fetishes - can't speak to orientation - are constructed via social means, and lots of sexual proclivities are formulated from trauma or experiences. it might actually be more offensive to say "nature" than (what is normally deemed the offensive belief) "nurture" because of the whole scientific "find the gay gene" (and stamp it out?) study.
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:53 PM   #23
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me and many others are proof that fetishes - can't speak to orientation - are constructed via social means, and lots of sexual proclivities are formulated from trauma or experiences. it might actually be more offensive to say "nature" than (what is normally deemed the offensive belief) "nurture" because of the whole scientific "find the gay gene" (and stamp it out?) study.
I'm not totally convinced fetishes are all nurture.
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:24 AM   #24
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I'm not totally convinced fetishes are all nurture.
If fetishes are inbuilt you would think that there would be some sort of evolutionary reason for them. I find it difficult to find an evolutionary reason for most of the fetishes i can think of.
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:22 AM   #25
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If fetishes are inbuilt you would think that there would be some sort of evolutionary reason for them. I find it difficult to find an evolutionary reason for most of the fetishes i can think of.
But isn't that the argument against homosexuality as being 'nature' since there is no evolutionary advantage to being gay (since gay people can't reproduce, and nature/biology isn't smart enough to know about surrogates and adoption and all the other ways that gays can become parents)?

One reason I'm not so interested in the nature/nuture debate is because for things like gayness and fatness, the search for a genetic cause seems to be rooted in an idea of 'cure' that I don't want to take.
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