Homosexuality: desire or choice?

The LGBT rights are often challenged in many cultures around the world . Although legislation and policymaking may be the most talked about issues, some researchers are still trying to get to the scientific roots of human sexual desires, behavior, and arousal.

A scientific analysis of homosexuality

A new report from a multi-agency team presents the latest information on this ever-hot and controversial topic, combining studies, forums, and field surveys to provide a comprehensive analysis of advances in scientific research on sexual orientation.


“We wanted to do a good job based on a thorough review and correcting major misconceptions about the link between scientific findings and policy agendas,” said Northwestern University psychology researcher and lead author Michael Bailey, it’s a statement.

The report, published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, draws several general conclusions. In the first place, its authors write that there is a “small, but not trivial” percentage of people who have non-heterosexual feelings and that this circumstance is manifested in all cultures and throughout the globe.

Experience and causality

On the other hand, the way in which people express their sexual orientation varies widely depending on cultural norms and traditions . Research suggests, however, that the development of sexual feelings is most likely similar in individuals around the world.


Regarding causation, the report identifies several biological factors that influence sexual orientation, including specific genetic profiles and prenatal hormones. These are not the only causes, however, as the evidence suggests the existence of environmental factors, which could come into play as well.

The differences between the sexes are abundant in the research . The team explains that men’s sexual orientation is often closely linked to their patterns of sexual arousal, while women’s is not as clear on that score.

Neither learning nor choice

The research findings do not support the idea that sexual orientation can be intentionally modified, that is, taught or learned through social media, or that non-heterosexual orientations become more common, in the face of greater social tolerance. However, cultural stigma probably deters many from reporting non-heterosexual attractions or behaviors .

The authors also take up the popular debate about whether sexual orientation is a choice, a question they say is illogical and lacks any scientific foundation . “People in general are free to express their opinions, understand and express their sexual orientation and bear the consequences of their actions,” Bailey said.

“The question of whether one’s sexual orientation is chosen, that is to say that one chooses to be hetero or homo, has divided pro and anti-homosexuality forces for decades, but the question of causality is completely irrelevant in this case.”

Personal wishes

The authors state that sexual orientation is based on desires and human beings cannot choose what we want . “Sexual orientation is an important human trait and we must study it without fear, without prejudice and without restrictions of any kind,” said Bailey.

They also recognize that there are many social, religious and cultural factors that influence people’s decisions when it comes to facing their sexual option and expressing it freely. But they emphasize that: “The more controversial an issue is, the more time we must invest in acquiring impartial knowledge about it, and science is the best way to do it .”

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