In my last post, I included a link to this article:
Same-sex experiences are on the rise
This doesn't affect me directly, as I'm married with a child. However, it does activate my intellectual curiosity.
What came first? Was being gay or bi always bubbling under the surface for everyone for millennia, and now finally being given its free pass by society? Or has the constant and deliberate exposure to same-sex sexual behavior in all forms of media for thirty years actually produced more same-sex sexual behavior?
Just like the broader debate about nature versus nurture in general human behavior, there has been much discourse for the last thirty years about whether or not being gay is genetic (born this way) or environmental (chose this lifestyle).
There are the two basic camps, with a little mixing of the two by more moderate speculators. However, due to the news and media 'campaign' I identified in the last post, whose tactics were literally lifted directly out of "The Overhauling of Straight America," published in 1987, one may reasonably wonder if environment isn't more of an influence than previously agreed upon.
There is an obvious response to this conjecture by the nature camp: all these additional numbers of people who are identifying as gay or bi always were anyway, but they were previously denying it out of fear.
To this, the nurture crowd could fire back: isn't it conventional wisdom to assume that if a person is raised in a Christian or Muslim household, he or she will usually become a Christian or a Muslim, due to indoctrination? Therefore being gay is most likely a result of environmental influences.
As with many controversial issues, at the end of the day, everyone seems to simply return to their original opinions.
In the case of the expressed sexuality of the general population, the advantages of being a same-sex enthusiast are obvious to denizens of YouTube. They consist of social media and entertainment industry clout, the concept of being completely free as opposed to the reality of being subject to a different set of restrictions than straight people, and allegedly fabulous fashion sense.
The key disadvantage has remained static through the ages:
Elective infertility, which is to say, the willful cessation of one's biological destiny as tab A or slot B.
While it's easier for a deliberately childless person to dismiss the value of having children, the truth for myself and most (not all) people I've talked to, is that the act of one's child being born completely changes the game forever.
It is so much more than biological imperative. It is beautiful, miraculous and perfect.
When I was a single man, which I was for most of my adult life so far, sex was a self-gratifying pastime. I was seeking love, but due to choosing inadequate partners, it would always devolve into a selfish exchange. I played just as much of a part in the selfishness, so I'm certainly not blaming the result solely on the other person. It was mutually agreed selfishness.
Getting married to my wife was the beginning of my transformation. It started me on the journey of what most would consider genuine love, which is typically characterized by the desire to put someone else in front of one's own selfish concerns.
My son being born was the next step. His birth was unlike anything else I'd ever experienced or witnessed in my life. It was equal parts amazing, impossible, intimidating, exhilarating, gratifying and humbling.
My experience was not unique in this regard. If you've never had children, just speak to people you know who have, and who have a tendency to speak honestly, and you will find their descriptions of the event are similar or the same.
There is great mystery tied into the whole family structure. In addition to the miracles of gestation and birth, there is the mystery known as "one flesh" referred to in the Bible.
It's the 21st century and we've amassed a great deal of scientific and other knowledge. Yet we still don't understand how a man and a woman specifically, when married, spiritually and physically joined together in love, could possibly become one flesh, or put another way, one entity.
Is it just some archaic mystical reference with no significance nor substantiation? Like the rest of our contentious landscape, the one flesh mystery either inspires or amuses.
Coming back to the original question, is it nature or nurture for same-sex sexual behavior?
Regardless of your individual answer, there's one thing you can be sure about.
The result isn't sunshine and rainbows, no matter how many times you are inundated with that message.