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What is Sexual Orientation?

A sexual orientation symbol created by AnonMoos [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A sexual orientation symbol created by AnonMoos [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to study sexual behavior, choose the fruit fly. Its behavior is not nearly as obvious as you might think, and you aren’t likely to raise a storm of protest from opponents of sex research or from advocates of the fruit fly.

If you want to study human sexuality, though, watch out. Just about every aspect of sexuality evokes powerful beliefs and prejudices, causing people to scrutinize research findings through the prisms of their own sexual behavior, their political and social ideologies, and wishful thinking. Add to this Congress’s antediluvian attitudes toward sex and sex research (Congress apparently acts on the theory that “if we don’t study it, no one will do it”), and no wonder it’s so difficult for science and skepticism to even get their foot in the bedroom door. And if your interest is sexual orientation —its causes, expression, variations, development— you’ll have to steer a course between the Scylla of conservatives who know that same-sex orientation is a sinful, psychologically determined “life-style choice” and the Charybdis of liberals who know that it is biologically determined and no more “chosen” than eye color.

The view that sexual orientation is biologically determined through the action of genes or hormones was an important weapon in the struggle for gay and lesbian rights. But what if it’s more complicated than that? What if that causal dichotomy (“biological v. learned”) is oversimplified? And so what, anyway? If sexual orientation proves to be far more complex and varied than we thought, why should that have anything at all do with extending rights to any group? If a person wants to be mono-sexual, bisexual, or, hell, trisexual, whose business is it? As the great screenwriter William Goldman famously said about filmmaking in Hollywood, “nobody knows anything.” When it comes to understanding sexual orientation, that’s a pretty close assessment. Consider this fascinating array of controversies and findings:

Is sexual orientation a matter of categories—straight, gay, bi—or is it a continuum?

Eminent sexologists differ. In their extensive review of the research for the eminent journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, J. Michael Bailey and his colleagues argue for the category view.1 But sexologist Ritch Savin- Williams holds with Alfred Kinsey’s original assertion that “Males do not represent two distinct populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats.” Savin-Williams, drawing on a study of some 71,000 men and 118,000 women, argues for a five-point continuum that includes exclusively straight, mostly straight, bisexual, mostly gay or lesbian, and exclusively gay or lesbian.2

What exactly is sexual orientation?

Researchers (and the rest of us) disagree on how to define it, given that at least four components are involved: sexual behavior; sexual identity (does a person identify as straight, gay, bi, or other); degree of sexual attraction to the same or other sex; and physiological arousal to men, women, or both. Some researchers, such as Bailey’s group, use “attraction to members of the same sex, both sexes, or the other sex” as their primary definition of sexual orientation. Others think that sexual behavior is a better criterion, although it will get a person who has had only one same-sex experience—or “opportunistic” same sex experiences, as in prison or boarding school—into a category with those who have had many. Savin-Williams points out that these components of orientation and behavior are “imperfectly correlated and inconsistently predictive of each other,” which is the reason that depending on which element you use to define orientation, the prevalence rate of homosexuality ranges from 1 to 11% to even 21%. Thus, across large-scale surveys, about 2% to 4% of the populations of Western nations identify as exclusively gay, lesbian, or bisexual. However, if you ask people if they have ever had “any homosexual feelings,” those numbers jump. But what does “homosexual feelings” mean? In a study that yielded 11% reporting homosexual feelings, only 3.3% said they were as attracted to the same sex as to the other. An inherent shortcoming of all such selfreport data is that we do not know what people are thinking (let alone doing) when they check a box. To make matters even more complicated, most people who are attracted to their own sex and engage in same-sex behavior do not identify as homosexual,3 and there are far more people who have “incidental” homosexual feelings and occasional contacts than who have persistent, strong same sex feelings and frequent same-sex experiences.

Understandably, prevalence statistics are often furiously disputed, with those opposing lesbian and gay rights favoring lower figures and advocates favoring numbers that show a higher prevalence. But this dispute is senseless, say Bailey and his coauthors. Jews make up 2.2% of the American population, but anti-Semitism would be wrong no matter how many Jews there are.

What does it mean to say that sexual orientation is “biological” or “chosen”?

These words are handy descriptors for many laypeople, but to scientists both terms are vague, ill-defined, and oversimplified. There are many things that adults do, many preferences that we have, many habits we have acquired, and many beliefs we hold, that we don’t feel we can change; they feel “innate,” “part of us,” but they are a result of years of experience, perceptions, and reinforcers. There’s no gene or hormone for the attraction or revulsion people feel about sex with fat people, old people, blond people, big- or small-breasted women, or soft or muscular men—let alone that can account for all the variations in sameand other-sex behavior and fantasy. “The issue of whether sexual orientation is chosen,” Bailey and his coinvestigators write, “represents intellectual confusion, and no scientific finding will illuminate this issue in any interesting way. Although clumsy reasoning may advantage a particular political position in the short term, in the long term, clear thinking is best for everyone.” What skeptic would disagree with a call for clear thinking? Of course, let’s not be naïve: The belief that sexual orientation is not “chosen” has fueled the gay rights movement to astonishingly rapid successes. And yet, interestingly, it may be that those very successes have now paved the way to a more nuanced approach to sexuality.

What factors are related to sexual orientation?

“No causal theory of sexual orientation has yet gained widespread support,” Bailey and his colleagues conclude, though the evidence does support “nonsocial” causes: across cultures, adult homosexuality is strongly related to gender nonconformity in childhood; same-sex behavior is found in many other species; twin studies find support for moderate genetic influences; when infant boys are surgically changed into girls, they remain sexually attracted to females; the rate of same-sex attraction has not varied much across time and place, and there is no good evidence that it increases “as a result of contagion and social influence.” In other words, they add, the success of gayrights movements has not “made more people gay,” though in tolerant environments people may become more likely to act on homosexual desires or, even lacking such desires, be willing to experiment. And be politically correct: The college-age son of a friend of mine told her he is bisexual, though he is not attracted to males nor has he had samesex encounters. But, he said, he thinks he should identify as bi, “just in case” and to show solidarity with gay friends.

What does bisexuality mean?

Bailey and colleagues report that “a nontrivial proportion” of straight people call themselves bisexual. Some identify as bisexual on their way to coming out as gay (“transitional” bisexuality). Some, like my friend’s son, identify as bisexual but have patterns of arousal and behavior that are predominantly gay or straight—and, conversely, some people who identify as gay or straight have bisexual patterns of arousal. The muchreported greater sexual fluidity of women—their inclination to have sex with the person they love, regardless of that person’s gender—may soon come to describe men as well.

Skeptic magazine 21.3

This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 21.3 (2016)

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So what?

Bailey and his colleagues took on this contentious topic knowing full well that scientific findings have been used both to support and to attack gay rights. But the basic question of why some people are attracted to men and others to women (and still others to both) is, they say, just plain intrinsically interesting, and in the final analysis, they argue, justice and science alike are best served by good data and clear thinking.

By 2015, 118 nations had decriminalized homosexual behavior, but it remains illegal in 75 countries. Eleven countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East still retain the death penalty for gay men and lesbians. Hate crimes in the U.S. persist, most recently the heinous massacre at the gay bar in Orlando. At present, it seems that “science and justice” would also be served by focusing less on homosexuality than on homophobia. END

About the Author

Dr. Carol Tavris is a social psychologist and coauthor, with Elliot Aronson, of Mistakes Were Made (but not by me). She writes “The Gadfly” column quarterly in Skeptic magazine.

References
  1. Bailey, J. Michael, et al. 2016. “Sexual Orientation, Controversy, and Science.” Psychological Science in the Public Interest, Vol. 17, No. 2, 45–101.
  2. Savin-Williams, Ritch. C. 2006. “Who’s Gay? Does It Matter?” Current Directions in Psychological Science, Vol. 15, No. 1, 40–44.
  3. Laumann, Ed, et al. 1994. The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

32 Comments

  1. Ron says:

    It’s not a far stretch to jump from the continuum of physical expression of gender, which is there for any medical practitioner to see if there eyes are open, to a continuum of brain synapses to cater for every mental expression of gender.

  2. Agnostic says:

    This is all wonderful.

    The real problem, however, is that our legal system only recognizes categories.

    In the olden days, social norms – a flexible and adaptable tool with local effect – were used to deal with the reality of continuity as it occurred. Legal norms with general validity were few and applied in the breach.

    Now we insist on legal norms. This is a Procrustes bed in any case as it is difficult to mold reality into a pandect. In addition, by making a local problem a general one, we needlessly disturb the unconcerned.

  3. Mike says:

    Thirty-five years of experience as a man married to a man has taught me the following about male homosexuality:

    One doesn’t choose one’s erections.

    One does choose one’s mate.

    One is responsible for all one’s sexual choices, regardless of whether they’re biologically determine or not.

    Very few men are actually gay (maybe 4%).

    Even fewer men are bisexual (maybe 2%), but, yes, bisexuality is quite real.

    Allowing another man to fellate you does not make you gay, or even bisexual, whether it’s at prison, at boarding school, or at summer camp.

    Some sheep rams don’t care for ewes. They hang out with other rams.

    Do sheep make choices?

  4. Greg says:

    The article is marred by the either utterly naive, or deliberately politically correct, contention that the Orlando massacre was an example of homophobia, as opposed to yet another obvious example of Islamic terrorism, and an act totally opposed by the society at large.

  5. awc says:

    Sexual preference is like food.

    Is like food. I have a favorite, I just don’t want to eat it every meal.

    Trying to understand “desire” in any context is no small task.

    Awc
    Armchair skeptic

  6. aBSa says:

    What is the evolutionary advantage to same-sex behavior?

    • Patrick says:

      Not every facet of human behaviour is from evolution, and not every evolutionary change is advantageous. Natural selection is full of side trips and dead ends – the underlying mechanism is one of random changes.

    • Mary Goetsch says:

      I was wondering the same thing. Homophobics say it is a preference that can be “corrected” to being “normal” hetero. They say it isn’t natural to be homosexual since one can’t reproduce. So why doesn’t homosexuality die out? I have read critics of the theory of natural selection, too. I don’t think we have all the pieces to the puzzle of evolution. There are memes, and also group survival aspects in the survival equation.

  7. Melkat says:

    I wonder when our society will ever allow any sort of serious research into the roots of sexual attraction to children. People who feel the attraction and don’t want to hardly dare to even seek help, even if they have never acted on their attraction. What if, for some people, there is some biological factor in this attraction that is no more their “fault” than any other sort of sexual attraction, and all they want is help in resisting it? The same liberals who decry any sort of “conversion therapy” for non-heterosexual attraction, on grounds that sexual orientation is inherent and immutable, seem to reject that hypothesis for any person with pedophilic inclinations, and join conservatives in treating such people as “monsters”. But a rational approach ought to at least allow serious research, and a compassionate approach ought to allow those who recognize the attraction to seek and receive some sort of help, without being condemned merely for the content of their private thoughts.

    https://m.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/522/transcript

  8. Edward Kreusser, MD says:

    The even more complex issue of “Transgender” was not included. I would like to read Dr. Tavris’ comments on or analysis of this closely related, but most confusing and elusive branch of human sexuality… I have long admired her masterful grasp of psychology coupled with her writing skills.

  9. Tzindaro says:

    There are two different issues here. Some cases of same-sex attraction are determined by upbringing and some are not. The ones of biological origin are due to prenatal exposure to radioactivity or gender-bending chemicals in the womb. This causes developmental damage to the hypothalamus, the part of the brain which controls sexual responses, and this type of homosexuality cannot be cured by psychotherapy, though some kind of hormonal or other physiological treatment might possibly be found someday. It should rightly be considered an environmental problem.

    The other type, the cases of psychological origin, which were almost the only kind that existed prior to the introduction of radioactivity and artificial chemicals to this planet in the 1940s and 50s, can be successfully treated, but not by conventional forms of psychotherapy. The treatment that works is LSD. Research done in the 1960s at the Hollywood Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, showed much promise for this form of treatment, but the research was derailed by the public hysteria about LSD and nothing has been done since.

    The shift in social attitudes on the subject in the 60s coincided with the great increase in the number of cases of homosexuality due to maturation of the first generation born after the start of the Atomic Age, with it’s contamination of the environment by radioactivity and new chemical substances not found in nature. Political pressure then declared homosexuality “normal” and research into a possible cure became taboo.

    • Patrick says:

      Well, actually human history is full of societies where homosexuality (and paedophilia for that matter) were socially accepted. The ancient greeks being the obivous example, and many other middle eastern cultures. Secondly, why would anyone want to “treat” something that’s a harmless part of human nature/nurture?

    • Patrick says:

      Well, actually human history is full of societies where homosexuality (and paedophilia for that matter) were socially accepted. The ancient greeks being the obivous example, and many other middle eastern cultures. Secondly, why would anyone want to “treat” something that’s a harmless part of human nature/nurture?

    • Whiskyjack says:

      Care to back any of that up with, you know, some evidence or peer-reviewed literature?

  10. Dan says:

    Tzindaro’s theory is just plain nuts

  11. Brian Myres says:

    It would be healthy if people were exposed to the biology, rather than the sociology of human sexual orientation. It’s obvious the orientation is not “male or female” but a sliding scale of sexual behaviors. It is correct that sexual orientation is determined to a large extent during embryological development, as genes turn on and off and hormones are released, and these are also variable, but genes aren’t everything, as neuroscientists have discovered…genes are affected by environment, and the environment that determines most of sexuality is the mother’s uterus, certainly not that after birth. That identical twins, quite often with the same sexual orientation but certainly not always, can have different orientations is explained by the environmental effects on genes (epigenetic effects) during development. Socially, a male with homosexual feelings may act upon those feelings more readily in, say, San Francisco than in Waco, Texas, and that would determine how he (or society) classifies himself. Yes, it’s a complicated problem, just like human sexuality is a complicated phenomenon, but for religious people to discriminate toward those with “sinful” orientations is reprehensible. It’s none of their damn business!

  12. Kennwrite says:

    Nobody said one kind thing about the necrophiliacs. Nowadays, though, that’s a dead issue.

  13. Kennwrite says:

    Nobody said one kind thing about the necrophiliacs; nowadays, though, that’s a dead issue.

  14. barry says:

    “Mike says: March 15, 2017 at 2:39 am
    Thirty-five years of experience as a man married to a man has taught me the following about male homosexuality:”
    ———-Barry: You didn’t include “nature obviously doesn’t want my kind procreating” in your list. Please revise

    “One doesn’t choose one’s erections.”
    ———-Barry: The psycho who hurts people for no reason at all doesn’t choose to act that way either. But we still put a stop to it.

    “One does choose one’s mate.”
    ———-Barry: In modern times, yes. In ancient times, no. Perhaps the ancient practice of forced marriages reveals something about nature’s intentions.

    “One is responsible for all one’s sexual choices, regardless of whether they’re biologically determine or not.”
    ———-Barry: I don’t know what you mean by “responsible”. Am I ‘responsible’ for my choice to keep looking at a pretty woman to the point that I interact with her and end up having a sexual relationship with her? Some would argue that the sexual attraction force that motivates us to seek heterosexual encounters is something beyond our control, and if any monks are able to suppress it, it is because they have less testosterone than most men.

    “Very few men are actually gay (maybe 4%)”.
    ———-Barry: Which carries necessary implications about nature’s intent, which gay men would wish to avoid at all costs. The more gay you are, the more you increase the likelihood of the human population dying out. This comes from a very ancient genetic predisposition that did not think about in vito fertilization. A heterosexual man can dig a hole in the ground to help satisfy his urges, but most people would assert this dude has serious mental issues.

    Even fewer men are bisexual (maybe 2%), but, yes, bisexuality is quite real.
    ———-Barry: The fully homosexual man is a birth defect akin to a baby born with no eyes. A bi-sexual man is birth defect akin to a baby born with only one eye.

    Allowing another man to fellate you does not make you gay, or even bisexual, whether it’s at prison, at boarding school, or at summer camp.
    ———-Barry: I’m sorry, but “gay” is defined as sexual attraction to the same sex, and I don’t see how a man could enjoy male-only fellatio unless he was gay. But on the other hand, I would argue that fellatio is equally as unnatural as anal intercourse.

    “Some sheep rams don’t care for ewes. They hang out with other rams.”
    ———-Barry: Trust me buddy, you don’t want to start arguing that because the lower-order animals do it, this argues it is morally justified for humans to do it. The mammalian world is full of rape and cannibalism too.

    “Do sheep make choices?”
    ———-Barry: Yes, and their lacking the same level of intelligence as human beings is precisely why we understand how governed they are by instinct.

    Face it, anal intercourse is a perversion of nature’s intent. We know perfectly well what nature intended the rectum for, and the fact that modern-day humans can figure out new exciting ways to use the human body does not morally justify those acts.

    Pedophiles likewise can put a child’s body to uses that nature equally did not intend. If you agree that pedophilia’s immorality derives from its clear perversion of nature’s intent (what fool would argue a person below the age of 6 is “ready” for sex?), then you admit homosexuality’s immorality derives from its likewise using the human body in ways nature never intended.

    I’m an atheist, and I ask the fundamentalist Christians, who are also disgusted by homosexuality, to make a compromise and agree with me that homosexuals constitute birth defects no less than babies born with one arm. Some of us have physical birth defects which are obvious immediately upon birth, and some of us have defects that appear in our genetics, and which don’t manifest their symptoms until later in life.

    • Jody says:

      FFS, Barry. You believe that crap?

      Did you even scan the article above, or did you get a hard-on to write homo-hate when you saw the title?

      The human race is safe. There won’t be hordes of horrible homos halting human history anytime soon. People will fuck and make babies. People have been fucking and making babies for a long time, right beside other people fucking and not making babies.

      Homosexuality is a part of human sexuality. It’s a part of -animal- sexuality, observed in everything from our closest animal relations, the bonobo, to more distant counting like rams. It’s no more a birth defect than left-handedness, white skin, or the ability of adults to still process milk.

  15. Bob Pease (Dr.Sidethink) says:

    what I want is discourse with people on subjects that I Think are important.

    “How you going yer dong” is not one of these for me .

    Often folks will define Inquiry in to their viewpoint as Pathology;
    (it declares you as some kind of “phobe” or “phile” )

    BTW, Math Folks might enjoy Marcus du Satoy “Music of the Primes

    ” *** I find the style of writing convoluted and would get a 14% on MIL SPEC 2016B *** ( 3 demerits to me for article 14 excessive ) asterisks )
    I suppose that means I am a asterophobe ???

    So whazzup with them Broncos for next season.

    Dr, S

  16. Ford Warrick Jr says:

    Replies in this comment section illustrate how individual bias makes research in sexuality difficult. Sexuality involves genetics, neurology, physiology, psychology and sociology; add legal and moral dimensions and it becomes even more complicated. It is difficult to get accurate data on human sexual behavior in an ethical manner. This is why I more skeptical of research on sexuality than research in other subjects.

  17. Brian Myres says:

    Just wondering if “barry” read any of the other comments…apparently he has his mind made up as to what’s moral and immoral, right or wrong, and clearly refuses to think. Science-oriented people change their minds when data makes things clearer, and part of society listens. But religious zealots and politicians, as Carl Sagan pointed out, never seem to do this. That’s fundamentally what is wrong with the world, and it won’t cease until reason and logic trump (pun intended) ignorant and outdated religious stupidities (and remember, that’s what many politicians use in their arguments).

  18. David says:

    Kudos to Bailey et al for working on an important subject. I will admit that as a zoologist I am curious about the biological bases for sexual orientation. One of the points we may want to consider is not so much what causes homosexual attraction, but what are the mechanisms that cause or influence sexual attraction generally, since we aren’t very sure what causes heterosexual attraction either. Figuring out what makes some people attracted to men, some to women, some to neither and some to both is a useful scientific endeavour. As far as society and law is concerned though, I suspect it is unlikely that scientific evidence will influence how people feel or what laws are passed; after all, the majority of countries which do not criminalize homosexual behaviour do not do so because of the science but rather because of their stance on rights and freedoms.

  19. Richard Dale says:

    Interesting. As an evangelical Christian I find myself in agreement with the atheist! I would not put it all so aggressively but he seems to be on the right track.

    I would suggest that we are all looking at the issue of sexual attraction in the wrong way. It is really much more simple.

    God (or evolution if you prefer, maybe Mother Nature?) has given human beings a strong sexual drive. It is not unlike the urge to breath or hunger or thirst. They are all powerful drivers of behavior. As a past practitioner of SCUBA diving I can tell you, if you can’t breath, you become irrational and do anything to get air. That’s why water boarding works.

    Hunger or thirst can be ignored but most of us don’t think about it because food and water are abundant for us. Take those away and see how the ‘drives’ kick in.

    The sexual drive pushes us to experience orgasm. We are attracted to anything that offers us that experience. Whether we do it ourselves or in conjunction with someone else is less important than having the experience.

    What provokes the experience is likely determined by personal experiences that go back to infanthood and would be impossible to isolate or catalog. Those peak with puberty and early experiences of a sexually tinged nature, and we spend the rest of our lives sorting out all those powerful drives and feelings.

    What I find sad is the underlying assumption that love between people must have a sexual component to be powerful and verified.

    True love may have a sexual component but that component has nothing to do with the validity of the relationship. Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession for the very reason that orgasm can be disassociated from any relationship at all.

    My conclusion is that all the “research” and analysis of human sexuality is in the same category as the early chemists trying to turn other elements into gold. There may be some interesting things to be discovered but in the end it is a fool’s errand.

  20. Chrysippo says:

    The sensitivity in matters sexual is also shown by scientific researchers (normally rigorous in definition of terms used), including Dr Tavris above, now employing ‘gender’ as the current socially preferred euphemism for ‘sex’ in public discourse. Except perhaps botanists: as plants’ reproductive organs don’t determine recognizable behavioural traits – much flora harbouring both sexes in the same flower – so gendered characteristics aren’t available to be confused with biological status.
    Trivially, I wonder if terms such as ‘fair sex’ fell into disuse owing to political correctness or the stupidity of ‘fair gender’ apparent even to those not disposed to consult a dictionary. Or am I gender mad?

  21. Tom says:

    I’ve been reading your May 15, eSceptic column, “What is Sexual Orientation?” by Carol Tavris. I’m also wearing my Haldeman, Howard, Shermer, Marino 2011, 508 t-shirt. Another coincidence is that I’ve been listening to an MP-3 of Kathy Reichs’ Bones Never Lie mystery novel. Part III chapter 39 describes the possible Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) condition of the antagonist. “She” seems to be neither and both sexes at the same time.
    My thoughts regarding the “spectrum” of fortunately rare AIS possibilities is that all people just still might have a “spectrum” of male/female interests. It’s been my observation that humans in general are highly tactile, social and have an almost insatiable appetite for the “spectrum” of life experience especially sexuality. My idea is that all human “people” have equal potential intelligence and character. A distant second is our physiological reproductive role gained by chance. Coupled with several millennia of emphasis on our separate sexual functions resulting in, what I call, artificial male/female social constructs like hair length, clothing, everything including women and laws being subservient to white male land owners, etc.
    For some decades, I’ve considered a circle with horizontal physical and vertical more social construct driven axes. Each spectrum axis has male and a female end points. Any individual can “no harm, no foul” be at any point in any quadrant at any time. We seem to prefer pursuing the “viva-la-difference” possibilities of the spectrums.
    Nancy Isenberg’s recent book, White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America describes the down-side of enforcing these “sex” based, among others, social construct “norms” and our struggle to finally attain “Of ALL the people, by ALL the people and for ALL the people.” All people just seem to want to have fun – in my opinion with Cyndi Lauper’s help.

  22. StephenP says:

    I believe what disturbs me most about this article is the lack of empathy on the the part of the author for her subject matter. It’s all fine and good to discuss conflicting ideas about sexuality, but it is almost inhumane to be so blithe about such a fundamental part of a person’s existence. As an elder gay man, I have seen my sexual orientation radically re-defined (for me, not by me) over the years. From the 60s till the 20-teens, everybody seems ready to tell me what I am, and what I am all about. Carol Tavris is no different, and no better.

  23. John Favreau says:

    Chrysippo,

    ‘Sex’ is used to refer to the physiological categories (i.e. primary and secondary sexual characteristics; male, female, intersexed) whereas ‘gender’ refers to the social categories of which there can be many depending on the culture (transgendered people for example; ‘Hijras’ in India and Pakistan; etc.).

  24. awc says:

    sex is a physical description

    Never mind “sexuality” if the discussion is framed in the context of “desire” it becomes understandable.

    The few studies I have read about desire is a continuum in the healthy brain.

    I consider sexual desire equivalent to food desires I have my favourite foods. I do not like to eat the same meal every day.

    The debates and arguments I have heard around this topic moves from scientific to political quickly and political positions in the days of alternative facts are more emotional than rational. Neither do I see the landscape of this debate changing in the near future.

    awc

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