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We all carry the potential to be homosexual in our genes

Women typically get on well with homosexual men. Gay men often have the social skills that women appreciate but straight men tend to lack. Homophobia is largely down a certain kind of heterosexual man, who disrespects men (and women) for being on the receiving end of penetrative sex. Modern films often make references to the (grossly exaggerated) occurrence of prison rape, thereby perpetuating unjustified prejudice. Men who vilify gays may be repressing their own predilection for homosexuality. [i]

The law tends to focus on anal intercourse rather than homosexuality (lesbians apparently threaten no one). In Britain the Buggery Act of 1533 legislated for consenting adults to be punished (by death until 1861) for what they did in private and reflects the massive taboo surrounding anal sex.

Alan Turing (famous for breaking the Nazi Enigma codes and saving thousands of lives during World War II) was one of the victims of this legislation, which made homosexuality a crime. Offered the choice between prison and hormone treatment (equivalent to castration) he chose suicide. It was only after The Sexual Offenses Act (1967) that consenting adult men (over the age of twenty one) could legally have anal sex in private. For a time in the UK we then had the incongruous situation where anal intercourse was explicitly legalised for gay men but not for heterosexuals.

In 1994 The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act established equality once more by setting the age of consent at 18 for all homo- and heterosexual activity (later lowered to 16 by the Sexual Offenses Act 2003). Anal intercourse was thereby legalised (implicitly) for heterosexuals to legislate for sexual equality rather than as a response to demand from heterosexuals.

While 50% of men are straight only 4% of men are exclusively gay. Some men are aroused by both sexes and a surprising number (37%) have at least one gay encounter that ends in their own orgasm. Many of these are one-offs or sporadic. Some men resist homosexual urges because of the taboo. Yet homosexuality is evidently an aspect of humanity shared by all of us.

Some gays (notably lesbians) do reproduce. But relatively few children are fathered by gay men compared to those fathered by straight men. Yet research indicates that the relative number of homosexuals in the population remains steady over time. Responsiveness to homosexual stimuli surfaces in random individuals. There is no biological justification for homosexual behaviour but given humans are highly successful reproductively, perhaps like left and right handedness, homosexuality is just a harmless variation.

[i] The highest incidences of the homosexual, however, are in the group which most often verbalizes its disapproval of such activity. (p384 Kinsey 1948)

Excerpt from Jane’s book Sexuality & Sexual Techniques (2015)

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