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Choice And Sexuality

Updated on April 19, 2015
Choice? Or Not?
Choice? Or Not? | Source

Questions and Answers

2013 and 2014 have been huge years in the world of Equality and general LGBT rights changes, the world is debating the issue of Marriage Equality. The Supreme Court are considering overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and whether the decision on Marriage Equality should be a Federal Law or a State Law, in the United States. In New Zealand, 2013 marked the beginning of Marriage Equality after the passing of the Marriage Amendment Bill into law. The French are debated the same issue, with violent outcomes for some gay couples, however granted equal marriage rights to their LGBT in the end. Russia has passed a controversial "Gay Propaganda" law, and The Netherlands has shown Russian President Vladimir Putin just what they think of him on his recent visit (Netherlands being a country that legalized SS Marriage years ago), as did the rest of the world during the recent Sochi Olympics

Regardless of what your stance on the issue is, you cannot deny it has become a hot topic in the recent months. For some, this is an exciting time, where marriage equality may give them the right to marry the one they love and have been with for 50 years. For others, it is a disturbing time, feeling that "traditional marriage" is being destroyed, and claiming that a lifestyle choice should not be given rights.

Here in lies the topic of this hub - Is sexuality a choice? If so, when do most people make this choice - to be straight, gay, or bisexual? Why do they make this choice? Is it innate?

What Hubbers Say

In order to answer this question, I posed it to my fellow hubbers over 3 weeks prior to starting this article. During this time, many people have replied and discussed the answers given by others. Unfortunately, the people (whom I recognize by HP name) whom I have come across on HubPages who were adamant that sexuality was most definitely a 'choice', did not take this opportunity to make their case heard in an arena where their answer would not have been seen as disrespectful, or homophobic.

There were several different answers - from "No, not a choice." to "Possibly inherent, but I personally chose." The question was open to people of all sexual orientations - straight, gay, lesbian, bi, trans, asexual. Many who answered this question clarified that they were straight, but did not choose this as their sexuality, it just was. Others were gay and one Hubber acknowledged that they were asexual.

Choices, Choices, Choices

It was mooted by one hubber than perhaps sexuality itself is not a choice, but that the acting on of sexual attraction. An interesting way to look at this topic. In this particular case, the hubber was not trying to say either was wrong or right, but that the choice was in the acting upon it. As a human being, I am certain there are people out there who identify along all aspects of the sexuality spectrum who choose not to act upone certain desires and attractions that they may have. This is totally their decision, and I applaud their conviction in this area.

However, it is unfortunately a stance used by many of those who consider sexuality a choice, and are against people being or acting homosexual. The "Love the sinner, hate the sin" argument often uses this theory - Being homosexual itself is not wrong, however having homosexual intercourse is. This theory means that a person can be homosexual but never act upon it - a life of celibacy, or sexual relations with persons whom they are not attracted to in the slightest.

An opinion on this is that it is often used by people who do not like the idea of homosexual sexual relations - It's fine to be gay, just don't do gay things! Why? Because it makes them uncomfortable, or "God says it's wrong" etc. Unfortunately, in these cases, it is not the homosexual person making the choice, but the person who is 'against' them forcing decisions upon the person.

It Takes Work

The sole Asexual hubber that replied to the question stated that they personally made the decision to be as such - squelching all sexual feelings until they felt nothing after watching their friends and family go through puberty and turn 'crazy' - they decided they were not missing anything. Even now, as a married person, they are what they term 'demi-sexual" - only having sexual attraction to their marriage partner and no one else. So in essence, they did make the choice - not so much in the gender of their partner, but that they had one at all.

Another Hubber identified as pansexual - that is a person who finds attraction in male, female and intersex (including transgender) people - stated that they had a choice. But that this choice was not about who they were attracted to - there was no choice there. It was more about looking for love online - which "gender" do I put down that I want to find?

The Outcome

16 of the 18 answers to the question "When Did You Choose?" stated that for them, sexuality was not a choice and never had been.

Of the two others - One was the Asexual person discussed earlier.

Another stated categorically "I think it's a mixture of a lot of thing. Some of which are environment, peers, upbringing and of course choice" . However, when asked politely if they wished to elaborate, they declined to do so, so I am not completely sure why they think it is a choice, when they made their choice, or how they did that in order to come to the certainty that it is a choice.


Conclusion

So, as you can see, the majority of those who answered the question "When Did You Choose?", believe that sexuality, regardless of what sexuality you identify with, is not a choice but something that is within us from birth.

Unfortunately, those whom I've spoken with who believe it is a choice did not take the opportunity to answer the question and elaborate on why they believe. One person elaborated, and I am thankful for their input. Another provided an answer to a question that wasn't asked - which was "is it a Choice?" - and declined to elaborate on their answer to clarify their position. If those who believe that sexuality is a choice had answered, we would have an answer as to how they came to their conclusions, and perhaps an understanding of each others opinion. Therefore it is saddening that they did not choose to participate.

However, it has simulated further questions for me:

- For those who believe it is a choice - is it merely that they believe homosexuality is a choice, not heterosexuality? Eg, they didn't choose because they were born that way, and gay people have been lead astray?

- Since when did it become a bad thing to be different, and why do we strive to make others feel awful for being different to us? Particularly if they are a minority and do/are something we dislike?

I'm afraid, due to the lack of response from those people to my original question, these new questions will never have answers - as they appear hesitant to answer.


Thanks to those who provided answers, I do hope that I have done them justice. I thank you all for your honesty and openess in answering my questions.

Comments

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    • angryelf profile image

      angryelf 3 years ago from Tennessee

      I honestly think it's all BS, that they should quit concerning themselves with the lives of the gays. Homosexuality hasn't and never will be a choice; I'm a straight female, but I know this. Especially considering the fact I'd have no problem BEING gay except for the fact that I don't like women ahaha. I've had it "up to here" with men, and if it was this OH-SO-EASY to flip light switch that they think it is, well, I'd have at least flipped it. Lol. But in all technicality, heterosexuality is normal, within the laws of nature it's the only method for reproduction XD butttttt same sex companionship and adoption are fairly common throughout nature as well!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting poll...interesting question...interesting answers. I have been around a few years now, and the older I get the more I can say with conviction that "it just doesn't matter." I am tired of people judging others because they appear different. I am tired of the lack of compassion I see in society today and I am sick to death of the apathy and complacency. We have huge problems in society today but one thing that is not a problem, nor ever should be, is the sexuality of anyone.

      Thanks for raising awareness about this issue. I'm not sure it will ever go away, but open discussion can never be a bad thing. :)

    • Astra Nomik profile image

      Cathy Nerujen 3 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space

      Oh no, being gay is not a choice, that is some silly myth and I don't now why. It just isn't true.

      Being gay is a circumstance. I discovered this some time back. It is not something a woman (or guy)n can control or has control over...

      It just happens and some of us are made this way. We don't gripe or moan about it. We just deal with life the same as everybody else and be true to ourselves as best we can.

      Your conclusion at the end of the hub sums it up well. It is inherent in some people and some find it out early, and others find it out later in life. I know a lot of people find lesbians hard to understand. I guess that is okay. Until they have friends who are gay, or meet new people, they might be afraid to ask them stuff.

      It would be nice in one sense if sexuality was a choice and could be handed back to whoever gave it to us. LOL.

      But in my heart of hearts, I would not now ever change anything about myself for any reason, and so being honest with ourselves and others, is the best policy. I have discovered far too many amazing and beautiful things.... and I have found so many wonderful people in my life who are so loving and kind and decent.

      Thank you for a nice intelligent hub.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 3 years ago from Tasmania

      For me, there was never a choice as to whom I would be attracted to. I have never felt any sexual attraction to a female. In my latter years I have made great strides in finding friendship amongst some female individuals...... and it is not a "mother-substitute" friendship. I have worked through that aspect.

      No, I have always felt sexual attraction to males.... not just any man.... I have fairly limited parameters for attraction which are private and no wish to share with the curious. I am not an animal in a zoo, just a normal human being.

      But this brings me to where I do have and exercise choice. That is, in who I might hook up with. Such occurrences have been very rare in my life. Here I can give some indication why the rarity.

      Sexuality was never talked about in my family circle, so there was no way for me to get educated. Through childhood circumstances I had become a loaner, therefore I didn't get that education from peers at school either.

      Even if I had got wind of what was going on behind the cycle shed, it would have been no use to me.... looking back, my interests were only in the male even then. So more knowledge at that time would have simply meant I got to know about homosexuality much earlier, and perhaps been able to find friends earlier, whether for sexual activity or not, who knows?

      Ask most gay persons, male or female, what their main need is, and you will probably get the answer, "friendship, good company, someone who I can care for and who cares for me." The sex and sexuality might be up front in the early days of the friendship, but the companionship takes over as the prime reason for the relationship.

      Ask any heterosexual person the same sort of questions and you will get the same answers..... mostly if not in every case.

      So, whether you are a deeply religious person or not, there is definitely no good reason to judge and condemn any person for their sexual orientation, OR what they do in their private lives. Just honour, respect and support their right to the joys of love and companionship.

    • jlpark profile image
      Author

      Jacqui 3 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks Jonny for your comment - you speak so much truth in your comment - I believe - for both homosexuals and heterosexuals. It's just unfortunate that many see us as completely separate entities, rather than two different aspects of human sexuality.

    • Marsei profile image

      Sue Pratt 3 years ago from New Orleans

      Your hub is very well done, one of the better ones on the subject that I've read. Until the last few years, being gay was a hard life. Why anyone would choose it is beyond me. I truly believe that as moregays and lesbians are open about their sexuality, there will be less and less prejudice because everyone will finally realize that they know and admire, sometimes even love, someone who is gay. I hope that will be the case. I also hope society, the organism, society doesn't find another group to hate. I think it's important that we speak up when someone says something negative about gays or gay marriage. My husband cringes sometimes when I do, but he'll survive. We condone their words by our silence. A friend told me I'd never shut some people up. I believe that's true, but I can shut them up when I'm around, and that counts for something. Thanks for your hub. It's excellent.

    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 2 years ago from Central USA

      As someone who has family members who are gay, I must say that I didn't understand it at first. After hearing their feelings and thoughts, it didn't take long to realize that it wasn't a choice for them. As they told me, "do you think I want to be ridiculed and afraid ?" Much more was said of course, but I know of one lesbian who committed suicide because she couldn't take the pressure. We should accept everyone for who they are are be done with it. As long as one is loved, it shouldn't matter by whom

    • jlpark profile image
      Author

      Jacqui 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Thank you for your comments, Weezy. I agree - as long as one is loved, it shouldn't matter by whom.

    • Rebekah Ozanne profile image

      R.Oz 2 years ago from Western Australia

      I often think about this topic.... I get confused with exactly what I think.

      For the last 5 years I have had intimate relationships solely with women ... And I like it! (Thanks Katy Perry.. Lol)

      The decision to finally respond to my wonderings and desires that bubbled within me was a conscious decision. Absolutely! However the whole wondering and bubbling desires hidden beneath my supposedly heterosexual self were not a choice. There was definitely times when the whispering became a roar and when I finally acted on it, all things, other than the reactions of others, seemed 100% natural.

      So was it a choice ?

      Am I Bi or lesbian?

      Do I like being labelled? -No. Do I have to accept a label - yes. And I accept lesbian.

      Have I become conditioned? Partially, yes. But never having been one to be affected by peer group pressure it was absolutely very happy and voluntary conditioning.

      Thank you for the article jlpark. I love to think and hear other's thoughts. Smoothly written.

    • jlpark profile image
      Author

      Jacqui 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for your comment Rebekah, and your open-ness. I understand the issue with labeling as well - I am who I am, but if you must put a label on it, then yes, I'm lesbian - I personally don't like to be labelled, but understand that people have an inherent need to put things into boxes.

      Thanks for visiting, and sharing your thoughts

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      Big Hug to you, Rebecah. Wishing you a much better and more fulfilling life from now onwards.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 2 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      I find it odd that anyone ever came up with the idea that any person can choose who they find attractive and who they fall in love with. Attraction and love kind of just happen. I never decided who I'd have wet dreams about or who I'd develop a crush on. I have not ever met someone and decided, hey, I think I'll be attracted to her or him and if she or he is compatible maybe I'll decide to fall in love. It's always one of those things where friendship turns into romance for me.

      I think attraction is hardwired. I think it is primarily biological and influenced by both genes and hormone exposure.

    • jlpark profile image
      Author

      Jacqui 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks Kylyssa.

      I think because it's 'different' to most people that someone is attracted to the same sex, they figure it must be chosen because they aren't wired like that, so surely no one else is.

      I think our own personal world views can cloud us to the flaws in those views - eg you and I can see the flaws in the logic about attraction of those who believe is the choice, but they can't. And they may be able to see flaws in our logic we can't.

      However, flaws in logic, or differences in opinion shouldn't be reason to deny equal rights in my humble opinion.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi JL- I like your topic and that you asked people on this site their opinions. I have done this twice, and it was so much fun and interesting. I don't care what people are and why they became that way, but I do like to read articles like this one that reveals thoughts and ideas. Blessings. Audrey

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 2 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      After moving to Austin, I worked with several gay men and a couple of gay women. I had never met any openly gay people before I was in my 30s and married to Bob.

      One of the gay guys, Gary, was very open and honest and told me that he had never been attracted to women even though he had been married, divorced and had 2 daughters. Even as a child, he said he got turned on by Tarzan, never Jane. He was friendly to women, but he said that they just didn't turn him on sexually.

      The lesbians that I worked with were openly hostile to men, but open and forthcoming to women. They seemed to have had very bad experiences with men and I could certainly identify with that. But even having admitted to myself that I found a couple of women that I was attracted to, I couldn't even consider leaving Bob who is my best friend.

      After menopause, I have totally lost all interest in sex and Bob has accepted that. I have some other health problems too. If Bob were the typical male, he would have just dumped me, but he is special and I am truly in love with him.

      But as for SS relationships being a choice? I have to say it's both. Perhaps I was bi-sexual in my younger days? I don't know. I think I would have always picked a life mate based on how well we got along and how much we loved each other rather than their sex or sexual orientation.

      If Bob was a woman, I think I would have still picked him for a life mate! But if I had been a guy, we would just have become best friends as he is definitely heterosexual.

      We met on a blind date and never went out with anyone else since then. It's been over 25 years now! We just instantly fell in love with each other.

      Don't know if this helps your survey, but this is our story.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      Austinstar, a big hug is all I can offer, and you know exactly what that means.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 2 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      You are so cool! Johnny! I think I'll put you two on my list to vote for for the hubby awards. You and Jax!

    • jlpark profile image
      Author

      Jacqui 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Austin - thanks for both your story and your other comment.

      In my own way, I'm like Gary. I've never been attracted to men (aside from one very effeminate gay friend...that was just weird...and has never been repeated). I can honestly say I'm able to appreciate a well maintained physique of a male, but not in the same way as my heterosexual female friends!

      However, I'm not hostile to men, nor have I had a bad experience with men - I do know of lesbians who have and many who haven't.

      I'm glad you and Bob met each other, and found the loves of your life within each other. Your thoughts around choice and SS relationships provide some thought on the matter - I am very sure that not all people who have a homosexual orientation (or a bisexual one) do not come to their realisation (or decision to be open about it) in the same way, which is why I find people in general so fascinating - not one of us is the same, has the same story.

      However, I do believe we are all equal - regardless of our skin colour, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religious beliefs, etc. If some one has come to their orienation by choice (or negative circumstances such as bad experiences with men/women), that is not reason to deny them equal protection and rights.

      Thank you for your comments - and I really am glad you and Bob found each other. Big hugs from me too!

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 2 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Everyone loves Bob! He'a a nut. I'm very lucky to have met him.

      It's so true about everyone having their own story. It's one of the major problems with bigotry, discrimination and hatred. People of certain religions, socio-economic classes, and race are taught to discriminate BECAUSE we are all different. But can you imagine a world where everyone is the same? That's just insanity.

    • jlpark profile image
      Author

      Jacqui 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Insanity...and decidedly boring too!

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