New study: same-sex attraction isn’t fixed

Young people seem to like gay marriage more than they like individual liberties

The Federalist reports on what researchers have found about the nature of same-sex attraction. Is it fixed? Or does it change over time? I think that gay activists would like everyone to believe that same-sex attraction is fixed, but to learn the truth, we should look at what the scientific research says.

Excerpt:

There is not only no scientific evidence that sexual orientation is immutable, there is conclusive scientific evidence that most people who experience exclusive same-sex attraction end up developing an interest in the opposite sex over time.

This is so well established by now that scholars are busy publishing methods to measure frequency of sexual orientation change in massive longitudinal studies of youth and young adults. (I.e., How many times in nine years can we expect a homosexual sexual orientation to change? Is the change associated with lifestyle habits? Who changes more frequently: males or females?)

That basic fact was already settled science when Obergefell  came before the Supreme Court. Half a dozen rigorous studies could be cited from the late 1990s and early 2000s, but the most noteworthy probably remains a Cornell-led study published in 2007.

In this study, Dr. Rich Savin-Williams examined a representative sample of more than 12,000 American youth, following each from the age of 16 to 22. Rather than rely on an individual’s reconstruction of his or her past based on current identity, researchers met with subjects three times throughout the six-year period. Each time, they asked individuals (via a computer, to protect privacy) whether they had had a romantic attraction to a member of the opposite or same sex since their last interview.

For instance, 17-year-old males were asked if, in the past year, they had had a romantic attraction to another male or female. About 1.5 percent reported only having a romantic attraction to other males. Five years later, when that 1.5 percent were asked about their romantic attractions since last interview, the overwhelming majority (70 percent) reported a 180-degree flip in their sexual orientation—they only had romantic feelings for women.

Similarly, among females, about 40 percent switched from exclusive same-sex attraction to exclusive opposite-sex attraction. Most of the rest (45 percent of the total) reported they had feelings for both men and women. Only 1 percent of women who, at 17, reported a full year of exclusive same-sex attraction reported a similar experience in the five years that followed.

This research is in agreement with previous research on identical twin studies reported by the prestigious science journal Nature:

When one identical twin is gay, there is about a 20% chance that the other will be as well. But because this rate is not 100%, it is thought that environmental factors play a role as well. One of the best characterized is the ‘older brother effect’: the chance of a man being gay increases by 33% for each older brother he has. The reason is not clear, although one hypothesis holds that the mother’s immune system begins to react against male antigens and alter the fetus’s development.

So, it turns out that homosexual behavior is a lot more related to free choices than it is to innate, fixed dispositions. That’s what the science says. It’s not what the politicians say. It’s not what the Supreme Court says. It’s not what Hollywood says. It’s not what journalists say. But it is what science has found to be true about the universe. We are in control of our behaviors, and we have to choose things that are likely to work out in the long-term – not just what feels good to us in the moment.

Whenever I hear gay activists complaining that they have no choice but to give in to their “innate, fixed, biological” sexual attractions, I always think about how I’ve never been married and have had to deal with sexual attraction to the opposite sex. As a Christian, there is simply no Biblical support for sex outside of marriage. So, that means that I’ve had to just live with not being allowed to act on my desires. In fact, this is the normal Christian life. There was a time when people had more skepticism about their feelings and desires, and they knew that self-control was a good thing. But now it seems as if everyone is so desperate to be liked that we tell everyone yes to everything that they feel like doing. We now consider every moral viewpoint as equal to any other – all the better to do what makes us feel happy. The important goal is that we all feel good right now, and who cares about the damage that our selfishness will cause down the road? We can just act surprised when that happens and pretend that there is no such thing as cause and effect. I can remember a time when Christians in particular had some suspicion about following your heart, because the heart was deceitful and selfish. I guess those days are over, and suddenly feelings are ruling over reason and self-control.

It’s pretty clear that not everything that a person feels like doing is good for them. A lot of decisions that people make to feel good right now lead to outcomes where they or the people who are depending on them will be harmed. For example, lots of people feel like staying home from a school exam, or staying home from their jobs, or drinking alcohol all night, or taking drugs. We used to have more confidence about telling people that not everything they wanted was good for them, and to have more self-control, and to think of how their decisions would harm others. Today, society has drifted away from objective moral boundaries and self-control toward subjective feelings and moral relativism, we are all finding it more difficult to tell people that they should choose to adhere to moral standards. We always seem to be looking to big government to make our irresponsible, reckless choices to be happy in the moment “work out” somehow.

Today, when people make poor decisions that wreck their families, hurt their kids, damage their health, etc. we are more likely to tax the people who haven’t been selfish and reckless in order to pay for government programs that “fix” the outcomes of the selfish, reckless people. In some countries, you can get free single mother welfare, free taxpayer-funded abortions, free sex-changes, free treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases, free rounds of IVF, and so on. Just do whatever you want and someone else who had more self-control than you did will pay for it for you. That’s why we have a twenty-trillion dollar debt, which we never had during the time when we still had the courage to tell people not to do things that were risky, and would be expensive to fix when they blew up.

When did it become normal to think that cause and effect were so unpredictable that people shouldn’t be blamed and held accountable for making bad decisions? When did it become normal to think that doing what feels good for ourselves should be rewarded with other people’s money, through big government programs? When did it become normal to take people to court to force them to celebrate your self-centeredness, just because their disagreement with what you were doing made you feel bad?

15 thoughts on “New study: same-sex attraction isn’t fixed”

  1. My pastor preached that same sex attraction, as long as you dont act on it, is NOT sin. Is this true? What about Collosians 3:5 and putting to death evil desires?

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      1. I’m not sure I understand your argument. Joe’s pastor says that only actions are sinful, not the desires that gave rise to those actions. You say you agree with Joe’s pastor because heterosexual people have sinful desires, too? How exactly does your argument work to support what Joe’s pastor said? Why wouldn’t these heterosexual desires also be sinful? Colossians 3:5 explicitly says there’s such a thing as “evil desire.” If desires can be evil, then they are sinful even if they are not acted upon, aren’t they? If you can have a desire to do something bad without being guilty of any kind of sin, then the desire can’t really be evil, can it?

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        1. Jesus did say lusting after a woman who was a sin. Hr went on to explain more how impossible it is to live by the law of sin and lay down why a new way was necessary.

          Christians are not bound by sin because we do not account for salvation by not sinning. Grace covers the sin.

          But as Paul stated do we continue on in sin that grace may abound for how can we who are dead to sin continue on in the lust of it.

          In this case the sin of homosexuality and the feeling of it isn’t going to send them to hell. But that doesn’t excuse wring behaviour. God demands that his people do their best to emulate them.

          Throwing your hat in with the homosexual group that openly celebrates promescuuity and many things against Christianity. Look at all the events around gay pride week that aren’t family friendly and are ignored by the media. But are seen as vital celebrations by many in that community.

          It would be like trying to have the maximum level of drinking without being intoxicated. It is a danger left avoided.

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    1. There is a difference between being attracted to something, and wanting to have sex with it. I am attracted to the colour blue. I don’t want to have sex with blue things.

      It’s not attraction that is the problem. It is lust, and acting on those lustful urges. This is where the “love is love” argument fails. It’s not about love. It’s about lust.

      I think one of the big contributing factors, however, is a lack of love. Real love. Agape. Philia. Storge. Our culture has sexualized everything to the point that mothers are attacked for breastfeeding their sons, fathers for kissing their daughters, and you can’t touch anyone without that touch being viewed as sexual. Humans need physical contact, and use physical contact to show love. People who are starved for genuine, platonic love and healthy physical contact are left with the sad and unfulfilling eros.

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  2. I agree and disagree with your views on this. I disagree that having a same sex relationship is morally wrong outside of what what religious doctrine happens to say. For those who are not of faith, the religious prohibition shouldn’t apply, as a Christian does not have to be on a kosher diet like a Jew, or a halal diet or pray 5x a day like a Muslim. I think the question of the morality of the gay lifestyle is the ancient question originally posed by the Greeks: “Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?” That is, is there an inherent immorality or unethical aspect to having same sex relationships outside of personal tastes and preferences or an arbitrary mandate from above? They’re not being “selfish” or hedonistic for their own personal choice to be in a consenting relationship with another same sex person. As a Christian, you can feel the Bible prohibits that lifestyle and not be gay even if you wanted to due to adhering to your own beliefs, same as a jew might want a non-kosher meal but abstains, it’s why you would seek to impose your religious restrictions on the rest of the word that puzzles me unless there’s a valid ethical reason outside a theological framework. I think if they don’t hurt or impose upon other’s personal freedoms, then no, it’s not an issue.

    Which leads to where I agree with you. My criticisms of the gay community are one, many are rabid snowflakes who claim victimhood status and demand accommodations. They turn what should be a personal decision into a political platform and preach from the pulpit not allowing any criticism of their lifestyle or community, branding any dissent as “homophobic”. The whole “pride” movement is a radical liberal one that is just as hostile to any dissent in many ways as many religious people are in opposing them. While I’m not against gay relationships, I’m not on the whole LGBT bandwagon. Also of course, I am opposed to the rules that forced the Christian businesses to make things like cakes that go against their religious beliefs. A private business should be able to refuse service if it violates their religious practices. This goes for anyone, not just Christians. A Jewish business shouldn’t be forced to make a neo-Nazi cake, a Muslim business shouldn’t be forced to serve pork or alcohol. I disagree with gays demanding to be accommodated by others by forcing everyone to go along with their agenda, PC speech, and adding caveats when talking about traditional marriage just to be “inclusive”. Also, in TV shows, I don’t mind some gay characters, but it’s like, don’t add them in just to get some diversity quota! Make them more than just your token gay person, and have gayness be their entire identity! I don’t mind same sex relationships, but I do mind it when they force it down everyone else’s throats and demand accommodations and victimhood status.
    https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/

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    1. I have posted a secular case against same-sex marriage here, and you even LIKED IT:
      https://winteryknight.com/2011/06/27/a-secular-case-against-gay-marriage/

      And yes, I agree with you about letting people choose how they want to live, my problem is when it turns into coercion of those who merely disagree, and want to be left alone to live their own lives in peace. I wouldn’t expect someone to act as if my religion were true if they didn’t believe it. But I have secular reasons to oppose redefining marriage. You can see from the Supreme Court cases who is going after who. We’re not the bullies.

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      1. I agree too, as I said, that much of the LGBT movement is comprised of radical liberal snowflakes wanting to play the victim and be immune to valid criticism. It’s a shame since I don’t mind gays being gay, but they have annoyed me with their strident, militant browbeating!

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    2. “I disagree that having a same sex relationship is morally wrong outside of what what religious doctrine happens to say. For those who are not of faith, the religious prohibition shouldn’t apply, as a Christian does not have to be on a kosher diet like a Jew, or a halal diet or pray 5x a day like a Muslim. ”

      Not equivalent.

      There are three types of law in the Bible.

      Ceremonial law – applied only to the priestly class of the Jews (not wearing mixed fibres, for example), but not all Jews and not gentiles.

      Civil law – applied to all Jews (not eating shell fish), but not gentiles.

      Moral law – applies to all, Jew and gentile alike, and is “written in our hearts”.

      There is some overlap in these. For example, both civil and moral law apply to murder.

      Therefore, a Christian is not required to eat kosher, for example, because Jesus fulfilled the covenant and we are no longer bound by those ceremonial or civil laws. Moral laws, however, are unchanging. We are all bound by them, regardless of our ideology. Just as murder remains a moral law that applies to all, so too does sexual sin.

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    3. A Lady of Reason – We are probably not so different in our beliefs, but I am not sure. Outside of any theological framework I do believe homosexuality to be a deviant lifestyle, just as I consider consensual incestuous relationships to be immoral.

      Now you might agree with me on incest, or you might consider that two adults – let’s say a father and daughter, who love each other and want to have a romantic and sexual relationship… are not harming anyone with their behavior and therefore are not acting immorally.

      If you agree with me that consensual incest between adults IS immoral, on what do you base your position? You might claim, they could have a child that is genetically flawed, but that is assuming they reproduce.

      To me, there are MANY forms of sexual desires and deviancy that are immoral, and I believed all of this the 35 years I was an Atheist.

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      1. I see issues revolving around sexuality being in terms of power and inequality or coercion versus informed consent. A parent-child, authority figure-subordinate (child, employee etc…), forced upon the other party etc… relationships are unethical because one person cannot fully consent without potential consequences or fall out. Or, if it is “consensual” in that the subordinate party agrees, the superior party who wields more power, like an adult over a child, an authority figure like an employer, respected members of a community, like police, doctors, religious figures, and such, they still have a strong influence over the other person. In an equal consenting relationship, both parties have equal influence over each other, and are free to end the relationship without serious repercussions. A same sex couple could be in any unethical scenario an straight couple could be in, but being gay in itself does not mean there is a power imbalance and coercion. As to the incest argument, gay couples can’t physically produce any child, including one inbred with faulty genes 😉 Gay couples are not free to just “love” whoever they feel like it “just because” any more than you or I do to feel we have the right to “take” a child or your secretary! Many relationships are off limits due to the harm it would cause another person, but I fail to see why two adults of equal status, age group, and influence cannot ethically enter a romantic relationship regardless of sex. As I mentioned in other comments, I do have my criticisms of the gay and LGBT community, but it’s because they want to preach and politicize their lifestyle and expect others to treat them as “victims” and give them special treatment. (P.S., as for Jewish law, there are secular reasons as you said, for murder being prohibited outside religion. My question is, are there valid secular reasons why same sex relationships are unethical other than cultural taboos or personal taste? ) Just as I don’t like gays being militant and forcing everyone to agree with their lifestyle and being immune from criticism, why must religious people force others to adhere to their religious mandates? I see whatever is immoral or unethical under both religious and secular reasoning, as being valid for everyone on secular grounds, not religious grounds. For example, I condemn promiscuous sex on secular grounds as an atheist myself.

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  3. Gays should also be tolerant of those that were in gay relationships and they choose to go straight.

    But from what I hear they are probably more intolerant of people changing their mind and leaving the group.

    I dislike forcing the lifetime commitment on people to be gay.

    As a Christian I have my own views on the topic but I don’t want to expect non Christians to follow that.

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  4. Reminds me of something described to me as Political Lesbianism, where apparently it is argued that heterosexuality is a choice and one that women should reject, and the claim that the LGBTQIAxxx community has done a disservice by convincing people that they are “born that way”.

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