BOOK SYNOPSIS & SAMPLE

BOOK SYNOPSIS

No aspect of who we are generates more inner confusion, turmoil, and misunderstanding than sexual orientation. In addition, discrimination and persecution based upon homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender is still rampant. We all live with our sexual orientation but no one really understands it, warranting the question, what is it all about? A key to this mystery is the so-called evolutionary paradox of how behavior that does not lead to reproduction could ever have evolved. Current theories fail to explain this paradox. As a researcher with several game changing theories, founder of the Centre For Theoretical Research In Psychiatry & Clinical Psychology, and psychiatrist having treated many people suffering from sexual orientation issues, Dr Bowins solves this paradox, and outs the truth about sexual orientation. As it turns out, we all have the capacity and motivation for both homoerotic and heteroerotic behavior, with dimension activation, erotic fantasy, and social construction playing key roles in how sexual orientation is expressed. The enlightened perspective presented offers the hope of much less discrimination and real self-acceptance.

BOOK SAMPLE

HUMAN HOMEROTIC BEHAVIOR:

Although the evidence is very strong that alliance formation and the related functions of tension reduction and reconciliation play a major role in primate homoerotic behavior, it does not prove that these functions apply to human homoerotic behavior. For that we must take a look at hunting-gathering groups, the historical record, and modern-day examples. A crucial investigation of these issues was conducted by Frank Muscarella and reported in his article, The evolution of homoerotic behavior in humans. Evidence indicates that human homoerotic behavior dates well back into prehistory, based on 17,000-year old Paleolithic cave paintings showing male erections connected. Although it is difficult to determine exactly what life in hunting-gathering groups was like for early humans, it is almost certain that competition existed for reproductively active females, and that the status a male held in the group influenced reproductive success. Social status was a function of political strength and alliances formed. Even today females are attracted to signs of higher status, such as expensive clothing, good grooming, valuable possessions, and a confident attitude. Conversely, cues indicating a low social status are more of a turn-off, and have to be well compensated for as with very attractive features. Female social status would also have been crucial, and higher status females would likely have had more access to higher status males.

     Social status and political standing within the group were undoubtedly influenced by age, in that older mature individuals had more chance to develop the knowledge, skills, experience, and alliances required to achieve a higher status. On the lowest end of the social status spectrum were those just entering puberty, with limited knowledge, skills, experience, and alliances with adults. Children not yet achieving reproductive capacity were likely removed from the social status game, and hence relatively sheltered from it. Entering puberty and becoming reproductively active appears to have entailed a shift to a low status position in the competitive social hierarchy. How might an individual in this position best manage the situation? One very solid option was to form alliances with higher-ranking individuals. Given that competition is largely focuses on reproduction, alliances with other-sex members would not work. Higher-ranking same-sex individuals would likely punish the individual and restore the social order. Hence, the only real option was alliances with higher-ranking same-sex individuals. As with many primate species these alliances were probably based largely on sexual contact, the pleasurable nature of it communicating positive intentions and feelings, in contrast to aggression.

     The historical record, and even modern day hunting-gathering group examples, suggests that alliances based on sexual contact between young low-ranking members of the social group and higher-ranking older same-sex individuals were a frequent occurrence. Often, at least for males, this starts during initiation rites into puberty. For instance, amongst the Sambia of highland New Guinea, puberty initiation rites for boys involve sexual contact, typically of an oral nature, with older more established men of the group. These alliances can persist for a decade or so, and then the younger men enter into relationships with females and produce children. There does not appear to be any difficulty in their engaging in these homoerotic acts, and then later shifting to predominately heteroerotic behavior. Interestingly, approximately 10-20% of South Pacific cultures approve of homoerotic relationships between young and older individuals. To those lacking insight into the important alliance formation aspect of these sexual unions, the occurrence of such behavior might induce a sense of moral disgust, but an awareness of how important alliances between young and older same-sex individuals have been throughout our evolution, can dispel these negative feelings and replace them with understanding.

     Evidence from diverse cultures support the alliance formation role of homoerotic relationships, and in particular those involving low-ranking younger individuals and higher-ranking more mature members of society. In the Iliad the relationship between low status Patroclus and high-ranking Achilles is described. Patroclus is a marginalized member of a foreign group, after fleeing his own group to avoid punishment for a murder he committed. The relationship with Achilles, that is understood to be sexual, allows him to achieve a high rank and reproductive opportunities, because Achilles gives him access to female captives accorded him due to his acquired high status. Without the homoerotic alliance with Achilles, Patroclus might not even have survived, let alone have access to females. Similar alliances with reproductive opportunities have also been noted in all-male pirate societies, and other criminal organizations through the centuries. The image portrayed by various media of macho and straight men in these settings is then far from the truth, other than perhaps for the macho part.

     Indeed homoerotic alliances between young low status males and older higher status men are recorded amongst Melanesian, Australian Aboriginal, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Roman, and Greek societies. The younger men gain by elevating their social status without putting in all the work often necessary to do so. With higher status comes preferential access to important resources, and of particular significance from an evolutionary fitness perspective, access to reproductive age females. In some instances the females accessed are also of higher rank in the group, adding further to the advantages of homoerotic alliance formation with older higher status males. Hence, homoerotic-based alliance formation ironically led to increased heteroerotic success for the younger lower-ranking member of the partnership! You might be wondering what the older higher-ranking male of the group gets from the deal? In addition to sexual stimulation, there is support in the event of any challenge from another male of the group. In such an instance having a young, healthy, and strong male ally could prove very useful. As the older individual ages, he might even hold onto a higher status position by virtue of his alliance with a younger partner who is advancing in strength and status.

     Does the same process apply to females? Evidence suggests that it does, but details are less clear due to the greater emphasis on recording male events throughout history. However, homoerotic-based relationships between females were present in ancient Chinese, Greek, Roman, and numerous other civilizations. These unions seem to foster alliances and reduce social tensions. Amongst present day Mombasa people of Kenya, homoerotic alliances between older wealthier women and young poor women are quite common. Co-wives in polygynous societies of Africa also commonly partake in homoerotic relationships. These relationships might well reduce social tensions that can easily arise when there are co-wives, and ensure support if required. As with non-human primates, human female homoerotic behavior appears to have aided in alliance formation providing protection, resources, and mating opportunities with higher-ranking male members of the society.

     One crucial implication of the alliance formation function of homoerotic behavior, is that those who have a zero or very low motivation on the homoerotic dimension might well have been at a disadvantage throughout evolution, based on an inability to form fitness enhancing alliances with same-sex members of the group or society. Considering that the heteroerotic dimension is separate, a solid homoerotic motivation would not have precluded reproduction. In contrast, it appears to have enhanced opportunities to capitalize on heteroerotic motivation. This rationale can be extended further in that a very high heteroerotic motivation, combined with an extremely low homoerotic motivation, could have resulted in attacks and ostracism both reducing reproductive opportunities—Individuals with this combination might have sought reproductive opportunities without alliance support, incurring the wrath of higher-ranking members of the group. This wrath could entail physical attacks producing injury or death, or ostracism involving diminished access to important resources or rejection from the group. Some degree of homoerotic motivation would help ensure sufficient alliance formation, reducing the likelihood of fitness diminishing ostracism.

     A common feature of homoerotic alliances is an age differential, consisting of an older higher status individual forming a relationship with a younger lower status member of the group. Interestingly, a similar process is quite common in heteroerotic relationships, with older higher-ranking males forming relationships with younger lower-ranking females. These alliances are particularly common when resources are hard to come by and disproportionately allocated. The older higher-ranking male acquires a solid reproductive opportunity and other benefits derived from a youthful partner, while the female acquires resources that can ensure her survival and that of her offspring. In addition, the success of her partner indicates the possibility of superior genes.

     Due to the evolutionary fitness enhancing benefits of both heteroerotic and homoerotic behavior, each person inherits a capacity for both, taking the form of a specific level or small range of motivation for each. This arrangement occurs because much like personality dimensions, the value of a given level of heteroerotic and homoerotic motivation varies with social and environmental circumstances. For instance, if during our evolution few reproductively active females were present and competition for them intense, a higher homoerotic and more moderate level heteroerotic motivation in males might be most adaptive—This combination fosters alliances that could facilitate reproductive opportunities, provides sufficient motivation to take advantage of these opportunities, but not so much that the male skips alliance formation and prematurely seeks mating opportunities, resulting in attacks and ostracism from more dominant men. Conversely, in a setting with many reproductively active females and little competition, a higher heteroerotic motivation and lower homoerotic motivation might be more adaptive, because homoerotic alliance formation would not be as important. For females a similar pattern would apply, but the emphasis would be on higher quality males for reproduction given limits to reproductive capacity (the likely number of offspring that a typical woman can have).

     As it turns out then, homoerotic behavior serves several important functions, and actually enhances reproductive success! Hence, the so-called evolutionary or Darwinian paradox is no paradox at all. Homoerotic behavior fosters same-sex alliance formation, while also providing a mechanism to reduce social tensions and reconcile conflicts and aggressive encounters. These roles promote social stability and improve the odds of survival. Homoerotic alliances during our evolution, and even in more recent times, appear to have helped younger lower-ranking members of society rise in status and secure reproductive opportunities, and certainly with higher-ranking individuals, thereby providing a clear evolutionary fitness benefit. In addition, it turns out that the value of a given level of homoerotic motivation varies with social environmental circumstances accounting for the range of such behavior, and why people differ in their level of homoerotic motivation. The strength of this perspective on homoerotic behavior derives first, from how it resolves the evolutionary paradox and, second, that it provides us with an enlightened understanding that should greatly reduce negativity towards those perceived as not being straight—Persecution is much less likely to occur if the persecutor realizes that they also have some capacity for the targeted behavior. Given how common homoerotic behavior appears to have been throughout evolution, and how if anything it actually has enhanced reproductive success, it even appears that we all have some non-zero level of homoerotic motivation.

     It might be suggested that the perspective presented regarding homoerotic and heteroerotic behavior, only represents a hypothesized evolutionary mechanism vulnerable to creative interpretation. However, considering first, the widespread presence of these two dimensions in very diverse animal species, second, clear-cut functions served by them, third, the evidence for alliance formation, reconciliation, and tension reduction in primates, fourth, the apparent adaptive nature of these functions applied to humans, thereby satisfying a high threshold for any postulated evolutionary function, and fifth, the impracticalities associated with a single dimension of sexual orientation, it is reasonable to assume that homoerotic and heteroerotic dimensions exist in humans, likely serving at least the functions of alliance formation, reconciliation, and tension reduction. Additional value might be derived simply from pleasure and sexual release.

     Some of you might be wondering what this perspective has to say about homosexuality. Is there anything that actually corresponds to homosexuality? We all have homoerotic and heteroerotic dimensions that are inherited, and as such neurologically based. In addition, due to the need to reproduce the value on the heteroerotic dimension is almost certainly non-zero, providing at least some capacity to reproduce. Virtually all “gay” men are capable of having intercourse at least once to procreate, it is just that they are not highly motivated and will not relish the experience. “Lesbians” can and often have engaged in intercourse with men, although they do not really enjoy it. Likewise, it appears that we all have a non-zero level of homoerotic motivation, providing the capacity to form same-sex alliances when the need arises, and to reduce social tensions and reconcile conflicts. A low heteroerotic motivation and high homoerotic motivation corresponds to being “homosexual,” much as a high heteroerotic and low homoerotic motivation aligns with being a “heterosexual.” However, despite the popularity of these designations, “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” are not real entities, but just descriptions of natural occurrences—Homoerotic and heteroerotic dimensions.

     Another question pertains to why most people identify with being heterosexual and relatively few with homosexuality or bisexuality. The matter of sexual orientation identification is a crucial one and will be explored in the chapters that follow, particularly the social construction one. What can be presented at this point, though, is that given the importance of reproduction to evolutionary fitness and the direct role that the heteroerotic dimension plays in reproduction, it is highly likely that heteroerotic motivation is substantially larger than homoerotic motivation on average, meaning that people will naturally tend to have a higher level on the heteroerotic dimension than the homoerotic one. Due to this occurrence most people will identify with being heterosexual. Since only a minority of people will have a stronger homoerotic motivation than heteroerotic motivation, or approximately equal levels of both, a minority of people will identify with being homosexual or bisexual, respectively. Before exploring other aspects of sexual orientation identification we have to examine the crucial and novel topic of homoerotic and heteroerotic dimension activation.