Humans have been intrigued by homosexuality for millennia. An explanation of human homosexuality has long eluded us. However, there is plenty of information available now for a reasonably comprehensive understanding of homosexuality. A book on "The Nature of Homosexuality" was long due and has been published on Nov 30, 2004. You will find a brief book description below. Below this book description, you will find a note concerning the steps that I have taken to make this book accessible [with respect to readability] to the general public, another note describing why this book is different from competing titles, a comment on peer review, a brief description of the challenges concerning the origin of homosexuality, and a description of other contents of the book. The column on the left links to various pages that support the arguments in the book and update the data in the book.

Book description

The Nature of Homosexuality

Science vindicates homosexual activists and the religious right: proof that homosexuals are born that way and that homosexuality is not part of human design.

The nature of homosexuality - by Erik Holland

A comment on book size: The main text occupies only about 370 pages. These 370 pages contain 15 figures and 31 tables. So, there is not that much to read. The book has about 25 pages of introductory materials, 69 pages of appendixes, 123 pages of references, a 23-page glossary, a 23-page index, and about 100 pages of footnotes.

From the back cover: Few topics are as fascinating as homosexuality. The origin of homosexuality is perhaps the most interesting aspect of homosexuality. Given the prominence of homosexual issues, it is high time this issue were resolved.

Some biological correlates of homosexuality can be dismissed with little difficulty but others are hard to explain away. Some specific family environments and childhood experiences have been reported as more common among homosexuals than heterosexuals. Homosexual behaviors or interests tend to be unstable in some individuals and this has been interpreted as suggesting that some people chose to be homosexual. Additionally, homosexuality in some contexts was socially tolerated and not extremely uncommon, as in classical Greece, Tokugawa Japan, and some other societies, i.e., homosexuality could be socially constructed. Given diverse potential sources of homosexuality, is a parsimonious explanation of what makes one a homosexual possible?

Yes, it is. Several homosexual activists will be pleased to learn that homosexuals are born that way. However, the religious need not despair; homosexuality is not part of human design. Sounds hard to believe? It gets more interesting. The contents of this book agree with the American Psychiatric Association’s decision to stop considering homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973. Intrigued? Look inside…

Purchase options: The book can be ordered from various online retailers, some of which are linked to below. Some non-credit/debit card options are also mentioned below.

Best Online Deals -
Telephone Orders - Call the following toll-free number (in the U.S.A.) during business days, Monday-Friday, 8:30AM-5:00PM, U.S. Central Time: 1-877-288-4737.
Bookstores - Any Barnes and Noble bookstore will order it for you.

Reader-friendly approaches in this book: It is impossible to avoid technical material in addressing homosexuality. Therefore, several steps have been taken to improve the readability of the text. For instance, technical terms are often explained as they occur, either in the main text or in the footnotes. However, to avoid unnecessary clutter, some such terms are explained in the glossary only. Additionally, each chapter is divided into a number of sections; this way the reader needs to only absorb the central ideas in each section and does not need to keep track of all the details as he reads along. Some materials requiring specialized knowledge are placed in the appendixes or footnotes, and not being able to understand them won’t interfere with an understanding of important issues. However, most appendixes or footnotes are easy to read. Details are often provided in the footnotes to expedite reading on the part of those only interested in the basics. The gist of some sections is summarized in an italicized footnote. Although the reader should read the main text in its entirety, such summaries have been included to facilitate speedy reviewing, help readers with parts of the book that may be difficult to understand, and to enable readers to skip sections addressing data that they are already familiar with. Lastly, it is not necessary to understand every word in this book.

Why is this book different? Explanations of homosexuality typically account for only some correlates of homosexuality. Such explanations are equivalent to the description of an elephant by blind men in the classic legend of the blind men and the elephant. Almost no explanations of homosexuality account for the anomalous mental health status of homosexuals and the relative overrepresentation of homosexuals among individuals with paraphilias, non-paraphilic sexual compulsion disorders, and disinhibited sexual interests (see here). Whereas it is not possible to reconcile different explanations of homosexuality, it is possible to account for the data behind these explanations in a coherent and parsimonious manner, and this is what I have done in the book.

Peer-reviewed? Any potential reader of this book would be concerned about whether the information in this book is peer-reviewed or merely my opinion/take on issues related to homosexuality. The vast bulk of the data in the book are taken from peer-reviewed journals and, with few exceptions, the data pertaining to scientific issues are taken from peer-reviewed journals, which are liberally cited throughout the book. Additionally, no major arguments concerning the origin of homosexuality in the book rely solely on data from books but not peer-reviewed journals. On the other hand, the synthesis in this book has not been peer-reviewed but is well-within mainstream science. Additionally, there are two other problems as far as the potential reader is concerned, namely that I could have deliberately misrepresented some finds or that I have simply cited data that support my arguments and ignored anything to the contrary. Let me address these concerns.

I have little to gain from deliberate misrepresentation of data because this would make me lose credibility and hurt sales. To those making the argument that I have made my case by conveniently ignoring data to the contrary, the burden of proof is on them to list the data and they won’t have met this burden until I fail to rebut their claims. Therefore, if you come across a critique of my book that I have failed to rebut, then send me an email.

An explanation of homosexuality is usually believed to be within the domain of psychology. An extensive review of various correlates of homosexuality (peruse this site, for instance) leads to the impression that a politically correct explanation of homosexuality is unlikely. Therefore, peer review on the part of clinical psychologists or psychiatrists would likely be a sham peer review given that these individuals would have to fight to retain their license to practice their profession should they take any politically incorrect stance concerning the etiology of homosexuality. Besides, the book draws upon a lot of disciplines within the biological sciences that psychologists in particular are not usually familiar with (my own background is in physiology). Therefore, an interdisciplinary committee would be required to review the synthesis in this book. This will happen slowly and indirectly as more people learn about this book and read it. Within this site, I will be addressing the concerns/criticisms of scientists as these concerns/criticisms surface. Read about some of the challenges in explaining the origin of homosexuality below.

Some problems in understanding the origin of homosexuality

Various explanations of the origin of homosexuality have been proposed. Some of these explanations invoke biological factors, whereas others invoke social factors. Some argue that homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle, some believe that sexuality is socially constructed, and some make a case for homosexuality being multiply determined. Who is correct?

Hypotheses such as above are typically backed up by empirical data. For instance, there is strong evidence that handedness is determined prenatally.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to manifest non-right-handedness.9 Therefore, one could say that homosexuality has a possible prenatal origin in some homosexuals. On the other hand, the majority of homosexuals are right-handed. So, what should one make of elevated non-right-handedness among homosexuals?

Some studies alleging a biological origin of homosexuality in some homosexuals have been so thoroughly criticized that one need hardly address them.10 Two examples of such studies are a study by Dean Hamer and colleagues, who reported a genetic link of homosexuality among some male homosexuals with the q28 region of the X chromosome,11 and a report that the 3rd interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus (INAH-3) is more than twice as large in heterosexual men compared to both women and homosexual men.12 Interestingly, Byne et al. confirmed a trend toward a smaller INAH-3 in homosexual men compared to heterosexual men even though the number of neurons in this region did not differ between the two groups, and also showed that HIV does not affect the volume of INAH-3.13 Furthermore, the portion of the brain in rams that roughly corresponds to INAH-3 in humans is larger in rams than ewes and twice as large among rams that prefer to mount ewes compared to rams that prefer to mount rams.14 On the other hand, in reviewing brain research, one needs to consider the possibility that homosexual behaviors have shaped the relevant part of the brain rather that the other way around. In this regard, homosexuals,15, 16, 17, 18 left-handers,19, 20, 21, 22 and schizophrenics23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 manifest reduced functional brain asymmetry compared to heterosexuals, right-handers, and non-schizophrenics, respectively. Assuming that behavioral factors are responsible for reduced functional brain asymmetry, what behavioral factors are common to homosexuals, left-handers, and schizophrenics such that these behaviors are not indulged in by right-handed non-schizophrenic heterosexuals?

Recent studies on the concordance for homosexuality among identical twins have shown that identical twins are highly discordant for homosexuality; these studies have also consistently implicated the non-shared family environment but not the shared family environment in the genesis of homosexuality.32, 33, 34

Several environmental factors have been implicated in homosexuality. For instance, male homosexuals are more likely to report a dominant mother than male heterosexuals.35, 36, 37 On the other hand, not all male homosexuals report a dominant mother and some heterosexual men have a dominant mother. Additionally, in a sample of homosexual men with borderline personality disorder, their fathers were more affectionate and their mothers were more emotionally distant than controls, which is the opposite of the dominant mother, absentee father paradigm.38 Another environmental factor associated with homosexuality is childhood molestation. Both male and female homosexuals appear more likely to have been molested or raped by men in childhood than heterosexuals.39, 40, 41, 42 However, several homosexuals molested or raped in childhood recall experiencing same-sex attraction before their molestation or rape. Additionally, how is it that whereas boys molested by men are more likely to be homosexual as adults, even girls molested by men are more likely to be homosexual as adults?

It has been robustly show that there is a strong association between childhood sex-atypical behavior and adult homosexuality; average effect size (mean ± standard deviation; Cohen's d): men = 1.31 ± 0.43, women = 0.96 ± 0.35; these effect sizes have been corrected for biases by the use of Hedges’s correction.43 Bem has proposed that in childhood, “feeling different (with respect to gender-related traits) from any class of individuals can potentially eroticize that class for the individual.”44, 45 Therefore, children with sex-atypical behaviors [resulting from a biological predisposition] will identify with the opposite sex and eroticize the exotic, i.e., same-sex peers. Bem notes that this model is “not intended to describe an inevitable, universal path to sexual orientation but only the modal path followed by most men and women in a gender-polarizing culture.” Bem has also argued that the greater odds of a bisexual outcome in women can be explained by the greater odds of girls indulging in play behavior typical of both girls and boys, something that is considered acceptable by many people. However, the “modal path” to heterosexuality and the “modal path” to homosexuality do not share a similar mechanism, as suggested by a brief review of the sexuality, mental health aspects and other correlates of homosexuality listed in the book.

Some authors have described the variability of homosexual lifestyles as disconcerting,46, 47 and given this reason, some prefer to use the term “homosexualities” rather than homosexuality.48, 49, 50 See some examples of the remarkable variability of homosexually behaving individuals. Such variability supports the notion that homosexuality is multiply determined, i.e., there are several causes of homosexuality.

Among those that are not lifetime-exclusive heterosexuals, sexual orientation identity, sexual behavior and same-sex attraction need neither match (Fig. 1) nor remain stable through the lifespan. This has been interpreted by some to imply that homosexuality is a choice.

Prevalence of homosexual behavior, homosexual desire, and homosexual/bisexual identity in a U.S. probability sample.
Fig. 1: Prevalence of homosexual behavior (B), homosexual desire (D), or homosexual/bisexual identity (I), and combinations of the three since age 18 in a 1992 U.S. probability sample.51 Values are in percent of total sample. 2% of men and 0.9% of women self-identified as homosexual; 0.8% of men and 0.5% of women self-identified as bisexual. Note that whereas 0.9% of women identified as homosexual, only 0.3% of women reported exclusive attraction to women.

Social constructionism as applied to understanding the origin of homosexuality is better known as queer theory, though Queer theory does not strictly concern itself with homosexuality; it aims to undermine any explanation that goes against the social constructionist paradigm. Queer theorists argue that “the homosexual” is a 19th century social construction, and a product of medical discourse, an idea initially made famous by Michel Foucault. Queer theorists argue that prior to this date, some people engaged in homosexual acts but had no homosexual identity. Queer theorists also emphasize the instability of erotic targets in some individuals and the cross-cultural variability of homosexual expression to argue that homosexuality is socially constructed. The notion that the concept of a homosexual is a recent social construction has been thoroughly debunked.52, 53, 54 Throughout recorded history, several European and non-European cultures have been aware of individuals who sexually prefer partners of the same sex or both sexes. Such awareness has also often corresponded to a taxonomy of the types of people with sexual interest in the same sex, and such taxonomy has often classified both the receptive and the active partner in a male homosexual act. Middle-Eastern cultures have even had terms for 9 different kinds of boy prostitutes. Some cultures have not developed a taxonomy of nonheterosexual types or lack the concept of a homosexual. However, one can still find homosexuals among such cultures.55 Indeed, a cat by any other name or by no name is still a cat.

On the other hand, sexual activity between adult men and adolescent boys (pederasty) was tolerated by upper class men in classical Greece and Tokugawa Japan. Additionally, about 10-20% of Melanesian tribes practice ritualistic homosexual behaviors, more specifically, boy-inseminating practices because they are not aware that testes produce sperm and believe that pre-pubescent boys must obtain their supply of semen from post-pubertal males. This boy-inseminating practice occurs in the form of fellatio in some cultures, anal sex in others, and smearing of semen on the body in yet others.56 Melanesian cultures that practice fellatio as a boy-inseminating practice consider anal sex as a boy-inseminating practice disgusting and vice versa. Therefore, the claim of the social constructionists that there are social sources of human sexuality cannot be easily dismissed. Surely, those who favor a biological explanation of homosexuality need to account for the cross-cultural variability in the tolerance and expression of various homosexual behaviors.

Clearly, various hypotheses on the origin of homosexuality appear very difficult to reconcile with each other, and for those who have researched such hypotheses, it should have been evident that the typical proponent of any of these hypotheses is either ignorant of empirical evidence supporting the other hypotheses or conveniently ignores or dismisses such evidence.

Is a coherent explanation of homosexuality possible, especially one consistent with Occam’s razor? Occam’s razor, also known as the law of parsimony, is the scientific precept that other things being equal, the simpler explanation tends to be correct. Yes, a parsimonious explanation of homosexuality is possible, and my book will show how this can be achieved.

Other contents of the book

The book also addresses the impact of homosexuals and bisexuals on society. Readers will find such information useful with respect to dealing with various demands of homosexual activists such as marriage, domestic partner benefits, anti-discrimination laws, hate-crimes legislation, freedom to engage in public sex, etc., though the book isn't oriented toward activism.

For instance, homosexual activists portray a picture of victimization to elicit sympathy and a favorable response toward their demands. However, it is easy to document several examples of both intentional and non-intentional victimization of heterosexuals by homosexuals. The origin of the AIDS epidemic in the First World as a result of the bathhouse phenomenon is merely one example of the victimization of heterosexuals by homosexuals. Then, there is the issue of homosexual behavior in prisons, which considerably exceeds that in the general population. One may argue that people confined in a same-sex setting for an extended period may resort to homosexual behavior to satiate their sexual desires. However, ask any exclusive heterosexual man if he can imagine himself engaging in homosexual behavior, let alone do it, if confined with other men for a long time, and the answer would be a quick no. Women do not have to get an erection to engage is sex and women, in addition to male homosexuals and bisexuals, can relate to desiring a phallus or phallic-shaped object inside them, but this desire is beyond the imagination of exclusively heterosexual men. So is it that homosexuals and bisexuals are more likely to commit crime than heterosexuals? If this is so, then elevated criminality would be another way that homosexuals and bisexuals victimize heterosexuals. Read the book for an answer to this question.

Another example of the victimization of heterosexuals by some homosexuals is the use of skinny female high-fashion models by fashion designers (the typical high fashion designer is a male homosexual). These skinny female models closely approximate adolescent boys and, given their high status, cause unnecessary dieting among a number of non-mentally-ill women who are medically normal-weight or even under-weight. Read the book to learn about the basic principles and associated physiological and/or genetic correlates of human aesthetics to better understand the impact of female haute couture models.

Feminists invariably end up blaming patriarchy for skinny fashion models. For instance, Rhodes Scholar Naomi Wolf has argued that having been scared by the increasing successes and power of women in the West, some men decided that the best way to put women in their rightful place is to occupy their thoughts with self-appearance and starve them.57 However, with respect to starving, patriarchy has nothing to do with the preferences of male homosexual fashion designers. As far as preoccupation with self-appearance goes, feminists would love to read what the book has to say. Speaking of feminists, given that homosexual women are considerably overrepresented among feminists, feminism needs to be addressed in order to fully understand the nature of homosexuality, and the book devotes a full chapter to feminist perspectives.

The book also provides a much more extensive discussion of so-called homophobia and the role that Christianity plays in it than provided within this website. In a nutshell, remember that the contents of this website constitute the tip of the iceberg compared to the contents of the book. See the book's detailed table of contents.


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