Gay Men Smell Different(ly)

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The brains of gay men respond to a whiff of testosterone in much the same way that those of heterosexual women do, according to the Associated Press which is reporting a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The AP also reported a second study that found that gay men preferred to smell t-shirts worn by other gay men.

This looks to be another salvo in the ever entertaining battle over whether or not homosexuality is innate or a choice.

In press release responding to the new studies, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese declared, "Science is closing the door on right-wing distortions. Opposing discrimination is always the right thing to do. Now it's even more clear that discrimination can be opposed on scientific grounds too. At the end of the day, science shouldn't matter. Treating people fairly shouldn't be based on scientific evidence. However it does help people understand who people are and alleviates fear. That's a positive step."

Science may or may not be "closing the door" on the question of innate versus a choice. But who cares? It's nobody's business but their own anyway.

NEXT: You Know How Hot It Gets In Mississippi

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  1. I’m not sure if homosexuality is biological or learned behavior. But, IMO, even if it is learned behavior it is so deeply ingrained within the pysche that the net effect for most people is exactly the same as if it were genetic.

    “But who cares? It’s nobody’s business but their own anyway”

    Exactly

  2. It is truly nobody’s business but their own (RIP Peter WcWilliams):

    http://www.mcwilliams.com/books/books/aint/toc.htm

    I view both medical marijuana and studies trying to prove the innateness of homosexuality with a fair amount of trepidation.

    So we have to prove we’re preprogrammed to be gay in order to be free to be gay?

    We have to be deathly ill to use a medicine which not only could have kept the author of the above book alive (and failed to do so when it was forbidden by the state = state murder), but holds enormous promise for enhancing creativity and reducing stress?

    What kind of begging bums for our rights have we become?

    Fucking pathetic.

  3. So we have to prove we’re preprogrammed to be gay in order to be free to be gay?

    Finding out the cause(s) of homosexuality is a worthy scientific goal in and of itself. Same with learning the effects of different drugs. I commend those studies that give you trepidation.

    As you suggest, however, the proper course of action should not be dependent on the outcome of such studies. Let people do whatever the fuck they want as long as they don’t hurt other people. Pot shouldn’t be legal because it’s safe, and gays shouldn’t be tolerated because they were born that way. If smoking pot rots your brain and lungs out, and every gay chooses to screw their own sex just for shits and giggles, society should STILL tolerate those acts.

  4. And of course this folds neatly into the attempt to absolve humans of their moral responsibility using cognitive models devoid of individual choice.

    This is simply another of our choices we’re not responsible for, and another right we therefore do not have.

    Loss of responsibility = Loss of rights

  5. Seems to me that proof of a genetic basis could also be viewed as proof of a genetic deficiency.

    If it isn’t genetic, then the issue is “recruitment”. If it is genetic, then there’s an inherent difference.

  6. We’ve secretly replaced the students science books with Leviticus – let’s see if they notice…

  7. If it isn’t genetic, then the issue is “recruitment”.

    Not necessarily. One can choose to adopt a certain lifestyle without being “recruited” into it. My friends didn’t lure me into posting on H&R.

    That being said, my own opinion is that some biological component is very likely in the case of homosexuality.

  8. I don’t get it… what is proven if gay men prefer the scents of other men or other gay men? Seems to me that the pleasantness of an odor is generally not hard-wired by genetics. Seems more likely that people who prefer men associate the scent of men with sexual attraction via a conditioned response.

    Well, the article never states that these responses have a genetic link… only biological. These findings don’t suggest to me an argument one way or the other about the nature/nurture debate regarding sexual preference.

    But as all us libertarian types know, the debate is politically irrelavent.

  9. phocion,
    Why is finding the cause of homosexuality a worthy scientific goal in and of itself?

    At best it’s an exercise in futility that drains good minds away from the search for causes to things that truly ail us. AIDS comes to mind.

    At worst it’s what it’s become: Science infected with the culture germ. Culture war by scientific proxy.

    I could do without it.

  10. “This looks to be another salvo in the ever entertaining battle over whether or not homosexuality is innate or a choice.”

    It seems to me that homosexuals can’t win this argument either way. If gayness is innate it may be considered a disease or mental dysfunction which can be cured. If it is a choice (powerful word nowadays) then they have the power to change their ways if they want to.

    Of course this exact same argument can be used with heterosexuals but I won’t bring that up.

    I do have trouble when homosexuals push for the ‘right’ to be considered ‘normal’. I don’t care if homosexuals consider me normal (hardly anybody does anyway) so why should they care if I consider them normal?

  11. You guys realize that this doesn’t matter. The anti-gay folks don’t care about what most of us consider science.

    And worse, it comes from a “university”.

  12. Pat,

    Why is finding the cause of homosexuality a worthy scientific goal in and of itself?

    Increasing human knowledge is good, whether that knowledge is about how the human mind is wired, what the chemical composition of a planet’s atmosphere is, or what the migratory pattern of a certain bird is. Not all of this knowledge is immediately useful — and certainly not all of it should be discovered on the public dime — but it all increases the understanding of our universe. Asking why a rather significant percentage of the human population is attracted to their own sex seems to me a question one would be naturally curious about.

    At best it’s an exercise in futility that drains good minds away from the search for causes to things that truly ail us. AIDS comes to mind.

    The people running an experiment with gay men sniffing shirts do not necessarily have the skills to cure AIDS. And in a market-based society, they should be free to do whatever they want, not what best serves the public good.

  13. While the scientific argument about innate vs. learned behavior is interesting, every time I hear this question, I think back to a conversation I had in high school. At the time, I thought homosexuality was probably a choice, although I didn’t view it as an evil thing. I ended up in a discussion with a guy who was openly gay, and this subject came up. He asked a question that really framed the discussion for me. Paraphrased, it was something like this: “We both know that gay people are discriminated against, that gay kids get beat up in school, that ‘fag’ is considered a terrible insult and that most gay people have to either live in the closet or put up with a world of shit. If all that’s true, why would someone choose to be gay?”

    I didn’t have an answer then, nor do I now. I’m sure some bible-thumper could explain how it’s the influence of satan or Snoop-Dogg, or Janet Jackson’s tit, but in the end, I think the guy’s point still stands. Why would anyone choose to put up with that bullshit, unless it was a deep biological drive?

  14. I guess it follows that being an atheist libertarian is also innate, because nobody would choose to be an outcast of society.

  15. the argument is a losing proposition either way, as others have pointed out.

    it’s more or less impossible to have discussions with people who confuse their personal sense of “icky” with biological or sociological data.

  16. I wouldn’t trust any study on this subject no matter what. The result is always going to be what the researcher wanted. The political controls many judicial decisions, and it controls many scientific studies. At the very least, I want to know the “controls.”

    For example, how is homosexuality defined? Is it the engagement in homosexual conduct? I was watching HBO the other day. A “documentary” claimed that about 75% of “gay porn” actors were straight. They did the porn for the money. Obviously all female actresses in the industry play both sides. Are they all homosexual? Bi? Or do they engage in such conduct for some chosen reason (money)?

    Any society that encourages any type of behavior is going to get more of it. The more mainstream it is, the more people will engage in it. In ancient Greece, most upper society men engaged in homosexual conduct. It was common. Did that mean they all smelled differently? I seriously doubt it.

    I think common sense (pun kind of intended) controls here. Most of us have “tendencies” that are hard wired. Some of us have temptations for greed to the point of theft, some have tendencies to get violent quickly, and some have sexual impulses of various types, be they attractions to multiple partners, same sex partners, skinny/fat partners, etc. Homosexuality, as understand to mean some sort of attraction to the same gender, is probably a continuum of tendecies and at some level a decision.

    To claim that it is all biological is nonesense. Some people most certainly choose to engage in such conduct even without the hard wiring. Others maybe less so. The bottom line is that at a personal level, we all have temptations that we would like to give into but shouldn’t, either for legal or moral, or both, reasons. The study is irrelevant to either question.

  17. phocion,
    Point taken. You know the other kind of compromise this reminds me of is those who would either send people to drug court vs. actual court and also those who advocate going after dealers instead of users.

    Drug court is a tacit admission that law has failed in the drug war, and it is as the Onion correctly noted true that: “Drugs Win Drug War”

    Advocates of going after dealers and not users suffer a weird kind of split mind wherein they can simultaneously believe that those wanting this product should be left alone, but those supplying it should be killed.

    My big problem with all of this, again, is that we’re begging for our rights! Fuck that.

    The only compromise of this sort that I’m open to is with medical marijuana, because there are people dying to get this drug, and I mean literally. If we can prevent another tragedy of the sort that killed Peter McWilliams (and thousands of others) then I say Go Medical Marijuana!

  18. But nothing short of legalization of all “consensual crimes” is acceptable.

  19. KJ-Of course one can choose to resist or give in to biologically based impulses. One can choose not to eat or choose to be celibate, even though there are strong drives to both eat and have sex.

    The question, from a political perspective, is whether a person who is biologically inclined to have sex with people possessing the same reproductive equipment should be expected to respond to his impulses any differently than a straight person. The answer is, of course, no. That answer remains the same even if the the biological drive is minimal or non-existant.

    My anecdote was not meant to offer any deep wisdom or to make a definitive case. It was just an arugment I found appealing based on common sense.

  20. Since my second paragraph contradicts itself, I’ll rephrase. Even if homosexuality is mostly or entirely a choice, government has no right to treat gay people any differently than straight people. Having sex with another man, with a woman, or a barrel of midgets, provided that everyone involved consents, is a private act that the government has no business thinking about, much less legislating about.

  21. I guess it follows that being an atheist libertarian is also innate, because nobody would choose to be an outcast of society.

    No, what’s worse is being a Catholic libertarian: The libertarians mock me for being superstitious, and the Catholics are upset that I don’t support using the state to protect life and promote charity.

  22. I don’t get it, if straight women responded to the scent of testosterone the same way gay men did, why don’t I have crowds of straight women following me around, like I do with gay men?

  23. I think people are downplaying the repercussions of this research. In elementary school, boys who seem effeminate are frequently teased and/or bullied, long before they are old enough to act on whatever sexual preferences they may actually have. Science that can help us distinguish between boys who seem like poofters, but who are actually straight, and actual homos, no matter how butch-looking, will allow bullies to concentrate on those who actually deserve the wedgies, indian burns and plain old beat-downs they have coming. True, the challenge of picking on fruits who are not sub-defective athletically will require a change in bully-strategery, but that obstacle can be overcome by the efficient use of ganging-up, piling-on and ambushing.

    Anybody who misses thumping straight guys who seem gay can always target them for their good grades, or something, I guess.

  24. “The libertarians mock me for being superstitious, and the Catholics are upset that I don’t support using the state to protect life and promote charity.”

    Nah, just those libertarians who think religion is inherently anti-political liberty.

  25. thoreau,

    But you’re also a physicist so that makes it all ok. You get respect from both quarters. Right? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Come to think of it, I’ve gotta say that my favorite category of believer would have to be those who are also libertarian scientists.

  26. my favorite category of believer would have to be those who are also libertarian scientists

    You use a plural pronoun: “those”

    I’m trying to remember who the other guy is.

  27. Nelson:

    Ha Ha

  28. Mental doodling:

    If homosexuality is genetic, and the gene is identified, and if a fetal homosexuality test is developed, and if people start to selectively abort potentially homosexual fetuses, well, what will they do then?

  29. “We both know that gay people are discriminated against, that gay kids get beat up in school, that ‘fag’ is considered a terrible insult and that most gay people have to either live in the closet or put up with a world of shit. If all that’s true, why would someone choose to be gay?”

    via Number 6

    I have many gay friends who use this line and I don’t buy it (as an answer to “why would anybyody choose to be gay when it’s so socially unacceptable?”. As far back as I can remember I have often made choices that have left me very unpopular. Most of the time, I have reveled in this notoriety (as I assume many of the libertarian minded folks here can identify with). I’m not gay but I spent high school being called a fag because I was friends with folks who were. This had nothing to do with my genetics but was a choice.

    With that said, I think that every personality trait which makes us who we are has some aspect of choice involved, even if we are genetically predisposed one way or another. I have chosen many paths disapproved by society with no regrets.

  30. I think the simpler (and more pesuasive) version to many straight folk is: “Did you choose to be straight?” Probably not.

  31. My mother hates my gay uncle (for reasons unrelated to his orientation) and it has colored her perception of homosexuals in general. Every time the topic of any homosexual comes up, my mother interjects “You know, it’s a choice”. My brothers and I always have a good time mocking this.

    I can honestly say that it’s obvious to me that there is something genetically hardwired about one’s sexual orientation (at least with mine). But I still don’t buy the argument that nobody would make choice that ostracizes them from mainstream society.

  32. hey thoreau, can I be a libertarian scientist too?

  33. Even if it’s proven that homosexuality is NOT a choice, that won’t matter to the bigots. I’ve never heard a Klansman claim that people choose to be black, after all.

  34. This item seems to illuminate the human desire to categorize and label that which we cannot comprehend. Why would human beings have sex with someone of the same gender? Are such beings inherently homosexual by nature? Would such individuals willingly categorize themselves as “homosexual” if given the choice?

    A survey mentioned earlier stated the 75% of “gay” porn actors consider themselves to be straight. So in their minds, performing acts of homosexuality is not enough to place them squarely in the category of homosexual, just as someone who happens to vote for a Republican candidate might not consider themselves a card-carrying Republican.

    Now we have the mayor of Spokane, Washington, an outspoken critic of gay rights, implicated in a “gay” sex scandal. He said that he had been leading a “double life” as a homosexual, which means either he does not view sexuality as an extension of his identity — which makes his stance on gay rights baffling — or he is in serious denial.

    Besides, is labelling someone based on their sexual acts even relevant anymore?

  35. I wonder if this means that gaydar is actually just “Smell-O-Vision?”

  36. Will this lead to the production of gay-themed cologne? I smell a marketing opporunity!

    (Question is, could it be sold openly at the counter, or would it have to be mailed to customers in a plain brown wrapper?)

  37. Coming to a conservative journal near you:

    Normal = Heterosexual Sex (objective is to begat offspring)

    Homosexual Sex does not begat offspring

    Thus,

    Homosexual Sex is NOT Normal

    And (now),

    Homosexuality is inborn rather than learned

    Therefore,

    Homosexuality is a birth defect

    Which means,

    We need to FIX these people.

    To be 100% clear: this is not my argument, but how long will it be until it reaches the mainstream?

  38. But I still don’t buy the argument that nobody would make choice that ostracizes them from mainstream society.

    I would have thought the billion-channel, 24/7/365 freakshow that is the internet would have put that idea to rest as well.

    Why would anyone get tattoos and grow their hair long and ride a chopped hog? That ostracizes you from “mainstream society,” but its also a ticket into a tribe that can fulfill all your social (and likely economic) needs.

    Same thing with being gay, I suspect – who cares if the mainstream squares like you, as long as you have a pack of gay buddies to chill with. And at least in Dallas, I don’t see being gay as much of an economic burden, either – the nicest house on my block is owned by two gay men, who just gave it a six figure upgrade.

    And damn if they don’t have impeccable taste. Good landscaping, too.

  39. too many, it’s already there in some quarters. reparative therapy, exorcisms, etc. though i tend to think of a lot of that stuff as the same mechanism for how pearls get made…you take a little irritant, and constantly freak out over it, cover it up cover it up cover it up and the poor bastard wakes up one day the meatpacking district wearing nothing but a boa and bruises.

    well…you get the idea.

    hey thoreau, i know a veterinarian who’s a buddhist anarchist…that’s kinda close, right?

  40. I think the simpler (and more pesuasive) version to many straight folk is: “Did you choose to be straight?” Probably not.

    Just to be the devil’s advocate, are all “choices” conscious? Just because I never made a conscious choice to be heterosexual doesn’t prove it was an innate fact that my life experiences had nothing to do with.

    I remember hearing that 40% of identical twins of gays were also gay whereas only 15% of fraternal twins were. Which suggests to me that there’s a strong genetic factor but that it’s not up to the level of being deterministic. But then, I think most personality traits have genetic factors which are rarely deterministic, so it’s easy (for me, anyway) to see sexual orientation in the same light.

    I agree with whoever said that this study hardly proves genetic determinism anyway. I also agree with Mr. Bailey and everyone else who said the whole issue should have nothing to do with the subject of the rights of gays. And face it, being a libertarian is not a healthy choice for one’s social life, whatever one’s theological orientation, but some of us just can’t help it… ๐Ÿ™‚ (Luckily most of us don’t “find” ourselves until after adolescence!!)

  41. The question, from a political perspective, is whether a person who is biologically inclined to have sex with people possessing the same reproductive equipment should be expected to respond to his impulses any differently than a straight person. The answer is, of course, no. That answer remains the same even if the the biological drive is minimal or non-existant.

    Of course, from a libertarian political perspective, the answer remains the same. But, when it comes to gay rights, we don?t have a real libertarian political climate. How gays are treated in the political realm reflects cultural views of homosexuality?more specifically, the nature of it.

    From a practical political perspective, whether homosexuality is seen as either a) an innate type of personality characteristic, or b) a deviant choice by an otherwise-straight person, is totally relevant. Whether it?s philosophically relevant or not, for homosexuals to receive full political equality, homosexuality has to been by the majority of people as a personal characteristic: a majority has to view the person himself as separate from the act of sex itself.

    That said (the legitimacy of the pheromone research aside), I believe it is unlikely that any evidence toward the biological nature of homosexuality will sway fundamentalist religionists. It will probably always, at least for a sect of them, always be a ?choice,? always seen as the sex-act itself, and not the person himself. Indeed, this religious view dehumanizes gay people more than any other.

  42. Why would anyone get tattoos and grow their hair long and ride a chopped hog?

    Apples and oranges. My desire for men began at a young age – and had nothing to do with any desire to be a “rebel outcast” from society. Quite the opposite in fact: I spent many years wondering what the fuck was wrong with me and worrying that “normal” society would never let me in. I believe most gays experience something similar growing up. You cannot easily compare that to getting a tatoo or having gay sex for a paycheck.

  43. Rhywun-

    I’m not arguing that genetics didn’t determine your sexual orientation. I just don’t think that “This choice has made me wildly unpopular so obviously I would never choose it willingly?” is valid argument for anything (sexual orientation or otherwise).

  44. Not necessarily. One can choose to adopt a certain lifestyle without being “recruited” into it. My friends didn’t lure me into posting on H&R.

    Sure. But my point is that if it is a choice, gays can go forth & recruit new gays–not that all gays were recruited. Point is, genetics or not, there is a basis for bashing gays. The basis might be different, but a basis remains.

    Well, the article never states that these responses have a genetic link… only biological.

    If it is biological it is genetic.

    At best it’s an exercise in futility that drains good minds away from the search for causes to things that truly ail us. AIDS comes to mind.

    We can get more “bang for the buck” by investing in other things than AIDS research. So AIDS probably shouldn’t come to mind–except that funding AIDS research is all PC and touchy feely. Frankly, funding DDT in remote, primitive areas probably would save more lives for less cost. But DDT ain’t PC . . .

    IMO, if researchers can get the investments and they want to do the research, they should be allowed to do it. Someone else shouldn’t be deciding what research they really should be doing.

  45. Will this lead to the production of gay-themed cologne? I smell a marketing opporunity!

    Introducing:

    WHIFF

    A different kind of scent. For a different kind of man.

  46. I’m not arguing that genetics didn’t determine your sexual orientation. I just don’t think that “This choice has made me wildly unpopular so obviously I would never choose it willingly?” is valid argument for anything (sexual orientation or otherwise).

    I tend to think it is genetic, but also don’t agree that the “unpopular” argument is persuasive.

  47. Why would anyone get tattoos and grow their hair long and ride a chopped hog? That ostracizes you from “mainstream society,” but its also a ticket into a tribe that can fulfill all your social (and likely economic) needs.

    How ’bout the Goth look among high school students?

    Obviously all female actresses in the industry play both sides. Are they all homosexual? Bi? Or do they engage in such conduct for some chosen reason (money)?

    It seems that top actresses sometimes have the clout to choose to only “play” one side–and they tend to choose to only play with other girls. Yet they consider themselves strait.

  48. I dunno. I never made the concious choice to be a ‘rebel outcast’, I was driven to be so by a society that refuses to accept people that think and act differently and have different obsessions from the norm. I have never been accepted by ‘normal’ people for longer than the time it takes them to become uncomfortable with my behavior or conversation, yet there is virtually no ‘abberant’ sexual component to my personality. I’ve probably had a higher percentage of gay friends than the average straight american, and many of them have either denigrated my experience of rejection because it’s not based on some easily identifiable personality component or easily labeled behavior, or claimed that I ‘must be gay’ and that is why I ‘feel different’. I think in some ways, my life would be easier if I could point to my otherness and call it ‘gay’, but I can’t. I know, from experience, that that ain’t it.

    Some of us are just born freaky, I guess. The costumes and make up just help you find people who have ANYTHING in common with you.

  49. Regarding choice, I’ve always been interested in the “ick” factor. If you don’t have an ick factor, wouldn’t that point to at least some disposition toward liking sex with your own kind? For instance, I “prefer” sexual relations with a guy, but I could occasionally get it on just as happily with a girl. Is this a choice, a depravity, or am I just not “wired” to have a strong preference either way?

  50. If it is biological it is genetic.

    Not true. It could be congenital, but not have a genetic component. There are many conditions that can come about due to the placental environment that could cause changes. There also may be a genetic component to it without genetics being the sole determining factor.

  51. “If you don’t have an ick factor, wouldn’t that point to at least some disposition toward liking sex with your own kind?”

    maybe, but “ick” in the sense i’m using it is more along the lines of “ahhh! get it off me!” type shit rather than “blah, whatever.” the ick stuff is the root of the term homophobia – which does apply in somebunall cases – whereas “blah, whatever” is a far more normal reaction to shit you don’t particularly care about.

    like people getting upset about PDA – as if there weren’t another 245 degrees one could be looking at…but not really. that’s more like being a nosey busybody, but there may be a degree of ick there…clearly something beyond the “blah, whatever.”

  52. If you don’t have an ick factor, wouldn’t that point to at least some disposition toward liking sex with your own kind?

    Huh? Most gays consider sex with the opposite kind to be “icky”. Those that don’t might be more properly considered bisexual.

    I was driven to be so by a society that refuses to accept people that think and act differently and have different obsessions from the norm.

    Well, it’s nice to be among a crowd of people whose reaction to gays is mostly “well, whatever”, but out in the real world it’s a little different. Children are not raised by their parents and/or taught by their religion to hate tattoos or Goths, or to deny such people full enjoyment of life. No government that I am aware of throws people in jail or even executes them based on their dress or the inks applied to their skin. Y’all have accused me of playing the “victim” before here — and of course things aren’t nearly so bad here now in the United States as elsewhere (or at other times) — but if you pause to consider that gays are indeed hated by a large portion of humanity, I mean viscerally *hated* — to a far greater extent than tatooed people or Goths — then the appeal of an argument such as “why would anyone choose to be this way” should be clear. Sure, there are people who *choose* to be “different” or to make life difficult for themselves for whatever reason, but most people are not like that.

  53. anyone else notice both gunnels and billy ray disappeared at the same time?

    usually something involving gays and science would bring out our hillbilly overlord by now.

    “damn liberal scientists trying to gay us up scientifically!”

  54. Now that you mention it, dhex, discussions *have* been a lot more civil around here lately….

  55. In the real world I’ve had quite a number of acquaintances get beaten severely and put in the hospital for no reason other than that they had tattoos or dressed ‘funny’. I’ve been beaten up for just ‘acting weird’. Things have gotten better for people who look or act differently than the norm. But then, you misunderstand me, because I am not talking about things that you make a conscious choice to adopt, which are often a reaction to being arbitrarily ostracized your whole life. There are plenty of people who are straight up weird for reasons not pertaining to sexuality who are treated like shit by the ‘normals’, and they no more choose to be the way they are than gay people choose who they are sexually attracted to. To muddy the waters more clearly, there were quite a few gay people I knew back in the day who were not of the ‘really obviously gay’ personality, who no one would’ve known they were gay unless they told you. And, surprisingly, some of them didn’t care or consider themselves to be closeted (one assumes because they were sexually active?). Some people who aren’t gay might’ve been better off like them, don’t you suppose?

  56. My uncle claims it’s all environment and cites his son (my cousin Barry J) as proof. I said ‘huh’? He said, “Mike, we called him BJ ever since he was old enough to talk. Shoulda never done that.”

    I think he was kidding…….

    On a slightly different note our family has a larger percentage of gay men (going back several generations) than one might expect to see by random chance. All on my dad’s side of the family I might add.

  57. will we ever isolate the lavender gene????

    “There are plenty of people who are straight up weird for reasons not pertaining to sexuality who are treated like shit by the ‘normals’, and they no more choose to be the way they are than gay people choose who they are sexually attracted to.”

    oh what a fucking load of crap. get back in the goddamn locker, holden!

  58. nobody would choose to be an outcast of society.

    Ammonium, are you sure? Have you looked at society lately?

  59. usually something involving gays and science would bring out our hillbilly overlord by now.

    Best name for a rock band ever!

  60. http://www.neurodiversity.com/main.html

    Not sure why I bother sometimes.

  61. In the real world I’ve had quite a number of acquaintances get beaten severely and put in the hospital for no reason other than that they had tattoos or dressed ‘funny’.

    No disrespect, I just find that really hard to believe, unless they were being called “faggot” while being attacked.

  62. (subdivisions…)
    In the high school halls
    In the shopping malls
    Conform or be cast out

    (subdivisions…)
    In the basement bars
    In the backs of cars
    Be cool or be cast out

    (Obligatory Rush song snippet. Been stuck in my head for a while; needed an excuse to exorcise it.)

  63. Being gay or being perceived as gay is only one reason that’ll get someone stuffed into a trash can. Half the high school world is oppressed by the other half for not being cool……..

    That’s why they make movies like “Mean Girls” & “Princess Diaries”.

  64. “nobody would choose to be an outcast of society”

    I’m not so sure about that.

  65. Man, I can’t believe we’ve gotten this far into a “nature or nurture” debate without anyone reaching back and pulling out Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson.

    Perhaps the reason that you are gay (or straight) is neither genetic nor a choice. Perhaps it is imprinted on your neural networks. Biological, yes, but controllable/reversible too!

  66. given enough money, widescreen tvs, porn and lsd, i think we could create a whole bunch of bisexuals, at least.

    (f.n.o.r.d.)

    to defend holden nostradumbass, i have friends who grew up in interesting backwater places like pennsylvania and the western united states who did get their asses kicked repeatedly by the local guido-equivalent of their particular state (rednecks or jocks or whathaveyou) for wearing shirts, but “faggot” and “dyke” were almost always involved.

    verbal violence is another story and was far more general, but that doesn’t really count, so back in the locker with you!!!

  67. “If it is biological it is genetic.”

    Maybe that would depend on how you define “biological”, but clearly, the way this article uses the term, there could be a biological effect with no genetic cause. Like I said, this smell difference seems better explained by a conditioned response; so the biologically different reactions to particular scents are not directly caused by genetics.

    It would be like having a fondness for a particular song because it reminds you of some wonderful girl you dated in high school… you weren’t genetically determined to like that song, but brain scans (or simple self-reflection) reveal a clear biological reaction to it.

    Hell, smell *generally* works this way… often, when I smell cigarettes, I think of my grandmother. I doubt I’m genetically programmed to associate cigarettes with grandmothers. I’m sure most of us have these non-genetic smell associations…

  68. Stevo,

    Thanks for the RUSH!

    More:

    Growing up it all seems so one-sided
    Opinions all provided
    The future pre-decided
    Detached and subdivided
    In the mass production zone

    Yet More:

    Nowhere is the dreamer
    Or the misfit so alone

    I’m thinking Rush needs to do another album like Hemispheres, only with a Gay/Straight theme instead of Rational/Romantic.

    Call it Hemisqueers!

    Rush – only band I know of who has ever dedicated an album to Ayn Rand.

  69. Rhywun – I agree with you in general, but when you say “No government that I am aware of throws people in jail or even executes them based on their dress or the inks applied to their skin”, I have to say oh yeah? Just for one example, check out how Egypt treated the local metalheads – google for “a satanic khamsiin” for one story. Yes, people get thrown in jail for their clothing or tattoos.

  70. Well, I am not aware of the government of Egypt ๐Ÿ™‚
    OK, point taken.

  71. “I dig Rush too” — Look up the lyrics to “Nobody’s Hero” sometime.

  72. Todd Fletcher writes: “I don’t get it, if straight women responded to the scent of testosterone the same way gay men did, why don’t I have crowds of straight women following me around, like I do with gay men?”

    Maybe it’s your assless chaps?

  73. andy_d writes: “Hell, smell *generally* works this way… often, when I smell cigarettes, I think of my grandmother. I doubt I’m genetically programmed to associate cigarettes with grandmothers. I’m sure most of us have these non-genetic smell associations…”

    This is true, but usually those smells are easily distinguishable.

    I’m not sure how much of a *conscious* distinction people can make between male sweat and female sweat.

    If it was a case of sweat “smelling like men” or “smelling like women”, with the smells learned by experience, they should be able to tell you which is which.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the test subjects couldn’t tell the sex of the person who provided a given sweat sample, but only noted the effect on them (arousal, or whatever), and the consistency only appeared in the data after the fact.

    What’s interesting is that humans aren’t supposed to have the usual organ (vomeronasal organ) which in other animals has receptors for pheromones.

    I’ve wondered about this myself, because I had surgery as a teen for a deviated septum, during which parts of the insides of my nostrils were cauterized. I’m pretty socially retarded, especially romantically, and I’ve wondered if the operation wiped out some vestigial vomeronasal organ that would have been useful.

  74. No, what’s worse is being a Catholic libertarian: The libertarians mock me for being superstitious, and the Catholics are upset that I don’t support using the state to protect life and promote charity.

    Thoreau–
    I’ll raise you one.
    How about being a gay Catholic libertarian? Which bloody group do I join? I think I’m supposed to hate myself in 3 different ways…

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