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Christian Sexuality Article

Are Homosexuals Born Or Bred? By Sharon A Bell

What causes homosexuality? What drives a man to be attracted to his own sex? Are homosexuals born or bred?
The exact answers to these questions are unknown and many theories have been advanced through the years to explain homosexual behavior. Not all of these theories, however, apply to all homosexuals and they themselves may have different reasons for their particular behavior.
Homosexuality is usually seen as a physical or psychological defect. The physical causes include a malfunction of certain parts of the brain, a hormonal imbalance (lack of male hormones or an excess of female hormones), a genetic defect or chromosome abnormality which is likely to occur in men born to elderly mothers.
All of this is highly debatable. While chromosomal differences exist, they do not necessarily affect sexual behavior. As for the theory of hormonal imbalance, this may occur in heterosexuals who are unaffected by this problem. Moreover, treatment with sex hormones does not always change one's sexual interest.
The idea that homosexuals are bred was popularized by a study which appears to shed light on a "gay gene." Dr. Simon LeVay, the author of the study and a neuroscientist at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, stumbled on that idea upon reading an early report of Lauran Allen of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and biologist Robert Gorski.
The UCLA study showed that a portion of the hypothalamus (higher brain center) in males was larger than that of females. This prompted LeVay to think: could the same be true with gays? Could they have a smaller hypothalamus than straight males?
After a year of pursuing this lead and studying the hypothalamus of 41 cadavers - 19 homosexual men, 16 heterosexual men and 6 heterosexual women, LeVay found the answer. In gays, the cluster of neurons called INAH3 (the third interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus which controls sexual activity) was smaller than males and almost the same size as women's.
If LeVay's theory is correct, it could offer a sigh of relief to gays who are often rejected in a society that sees them as weird or abnormal. If gayness is born or in one's genes, no doubt that attitude will change. Once a gay gene is discovered and isolated, the possibility of correcting homosexuality by manipulating such a gene is also not far behind.
But this kind of thinking leaves more unanswered questions. While sexual orientation does begin in the brain, critics said the more important question is when did it get there? While considering that homosexuals may be born different (with a smaller hypothalamus), they want to know when that difference starts - is it fetal or neonatal? Does it occur during childhood or puberty?
Critics also point out that the brain structure itself could be affected by one's sexual orientation. Circulating sex hormones are known to alter the shape of the brain according to one's behavior and vice versa. Could homosexual behavior actually be a product of early experiences which affect brain structure? Find out as we discuss the psychological aspects of homosexuality in my next article.
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Sharon Bell is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premier online news magazine HealthLinesNews HealthLinesNews
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