Homosexuality appears, at least occasionally, in all or nearly all .human societies. Homosexuality is either absent, rare, or secret in about one-third of the societies studied by lord and Beach. In about two-thirds, some form of homosexual behavior IS considered acceptable and normal for at least some categories of people or stages of life. A number of societies include institutionalized homosexual roles,as among the Ionian, who socialize some male children from infancy to fill female roles. Among'the Swans of Africa, all men and boys are expected to engage in anal intercourse and are viewed as peculiar if they do not do so. Female homosexuality is either less common or less forcefully noticed but is also known in many societies. ·With homosexual as with heterosexual be- . savior, it is approximately Correct that "everything is right somewhere and nothing is right everywhere." Unlike other animals, there are some humans who are exclusively or predominantly homosexual. Kinsey's studies [1948, 1953] have clearly established that for American males homosexuality-heterosexuality is a continuum, not a pair of distinct categories. In other words, while some <Ire exclusively homosexual and some are exclusively heterosexual, many are some inter mixture of homosexual and heterosexual feelings and behavior. One may be 1(1 percent homosexual and 90 percent heterosexual in inclination, another may be 50:50, another 60:40, and yet another be 90 percent homosexual and 10 percent heterosexual. Kinsey reported in 1948 that over one-third of American males had experienced at least one homo~xual orgasm,while he estimated that about 4 percent of the males and 2 percent of the females were exclusively homosexual. Kinsey's percentages, however, report sexual behavior, not sexual preference. Some persons have sex relations, at least occasionally, with partners of the same sex because of availability and convenience rather than preference. Such relations are more or less common in prisons, isolated military posts, remote construction camps, and other places where heterosexual partners are not easily available. Some men who really prefer female sex partners may drop into "tearooms" (certain public men's rooms known for homosexual encounters) where a quick orgasm is available without the-cost, time, or obligations . involved finding a female partner [Humphrey, 1970, 1975). Whether such persons should be labeled "homosexual" is debatable, and we will here limit use of the tenn to th~ who are homosexual in preference, . Just as the degree of homosexual acuity varies along individuals, so does degree of involvement in the homosexual"subculture. Some share openly and deeply in the 60- homosexual subculture, having most of their social:.relationships with other homosexuals. Some are "closet homosexuals," concealing their homosexual activity and often sharing a household with a spouse and children. Others show every intermediate level of involvement in' the "gay community." Homosexuals are very much like heterosexuals in everything except sexual preference. A number of studies have found no other personality traits that distinguish homosexuals from heterosexuals [Hooker, 1969}. Apart from difficulties arising from the social treatment of homosexuals, personality maladjustment are no more common among homosexuals than among heterosexuals [Clark, 1975; Oberstone and Sundeck, 1975).
What causes homosexuality? The mental illness theorv sees homosexuals as victims of sex-role confusion. According ·(0 much "psychiatric opinion, the male homosexual is most often a product of a ·dominating but seductive mother and a cold, remote father [Bieber, 1962, p, 172; Saghir and Robins, 1973, ch. 8; Hart land Richardson; 1981, pp. 28-35]. But the most comprehensive research study of homosexuals yet published, comparing& large , samples of homosexuals and heterosexuals, found no significant differences in family backgrounds, parental types, or relationships with parents [Bell et al., 1981]. This research team, failing to find any explanations in the social experience of homosexuals, concluded with a strong suspicion that homosexuality may be biological or organic in origin. This suspicion is reinforced by many homosexual autobiographies in which people tell how they discovered a sex preference during childhood or adolescence which they resisted but werth unable to change and. eventually came to accept Williams, 1971J. Several studies have found Significant differences between the hormone levels of homosexuals "and heterosexuals [Bell 1981, p. 2-3J. But if homo sexuality were simply biological, we would expect it to be equally common at all times and places, and this is untrue.
The malingering theory holds that learns homosexual behavior through the same reward-punishment system that shapes moot social Learning. According to this: theory, if most childhood and adolescent interaction' with the opposite sex is pleasant and rewarding, one becomes a heterosexual; if these experiences are uncomfortable and anxiety laden and if attempts at heterosexual intercourse- are unsatisfying, one may become a homosexual. But the punishments. for homosexuality have been so severe in our society that one wonders.how, if the social learning theory were correct, there could be lily homosexuals at all. We also note that the increased social acceptance of homosexuals in recent years has apparently not increased the of homosexuals,ftsmight be expected i( 'homosexuality w.ere a learned sex role, [Mitchell, 1981, p. 56]. Most homosexuals had heterosexual parents, and most children of homosexual parents are themselves heterosexual [Green, 1978]. There is no convincing evidence that having a homosexual parent, uncle, teacher, or neighbor increases the likelihood of a child's becoming a homosexual. Punishment ancf discrimination against homosexuals is often defended as necessary to prevent homosexuals from seducing young people into' homosexuality. How realistic is this fear? can see here, once again, that theory is important, for our answer depends Pod which theory- of homosexuality is accepted.
If homosexuality is a biological predisposition-which homosexuals do not choose and are powerless to change then seduction into homosexuality is unlikely, making punishment of homosexuals needless, useless, and cruel. If homosexuality is a 'personality defect arising from unsatisfactory parent role infidels in childhood; seduction by heterosexuality unlikely arid punishment is again needless and useless; If, homosexuality is product of reward-punishment social learning seduction is possible and -punishments nigh discourage homosexuality and a rational argument can be made for excluding homosexuals from jobs where one is a role model, such as teaching or the ministry And there is also the question of values: Is homosexuality an abomination which should be repressed or is it an alternative life-style which people should be free to choose and follow without penalty? Until all these. questions of theory and values are settled, a rational set of social policies concerning homosexuality is difficult to agree upon. To summarize, the sex drive is a powerful drive which is involved, in some way in much of our activity. This drive, and the variety of behaviors through which. it is expressed, must somehow be incorporated into the social structure of each society Almost every possible sexual arrangement is found In some society or other. Each of many kinds of sexual arrangements will "work" to people's satisfaction provided that it harmonizes with the other social arrangements of the society. (Remember the concepts of cultural integration and cultural relativism.