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December 16, 2005

If Homosexuality Is Genetic, Mightn't Straight Queasiness About Homosexuality Be Genetic As Well?

Via Kaus, this videoblog debate between himself and Robert Wright.

Wright takes the position that straights with an aversion to witnessing homosexual intimacy can be "desensitized" by frequent exposure to it. Kaus takes the position it may well be genetic.

Well, they may both be right. It may be both genetic/innate and quite possible to overcome or suppress by exposure to it.

Actually, the same can be said of homosexuality. Your natural sexual orientation may well be genetic (and let me use the word "genetic" here rather loosely to include, in addition to actual genetics, all sorts of innate hormonal and developmental factors; a better term might be simply "biologically innate"), but one would imagine that, like virtually all behaviors, habits, or preferences, it could be modified via intensive therapy.

But gays, of course, are passionately against he suggestion that they should undergo such "conversion therapy." (With good reason, I think.) But shouldn't similar reasoning suggest that straights shouldn't have to undergo gay-sex-desensitization therapy, either?

So: Assuming it's possible for a straight guy to no longer be queasy at the sight of men kissing, what degree of duty do they have to undertake such desensitization therapy just to make Andrew Sullivan fully free?

I'm personally wigged out by spiders. Yes, I could very well overcome this phobia by a few months of arachnid-petting. If arachnophilia became the new sexual hot-button issue, should I be required to undergo such a distasteful therapy just to be politically correct? Yes, there would be benefits to people who dig on spiders, but how far am I expected to modify/suppress my own natural inclinations in this regard to benefit others?

Again, it seems to me this is a bridge too far. The Brokeback Bullies seem to be suggesting -- they dare not actually declare it -- that the American public has a duty to watch gay porn films in order to desensitize themselves to the idea of gay sex, and thus fully liberate gays from the social antipathy towards gay intimacy.

Light Content Advisory: Towards the end of the exchange Mickey Kaus asks about the sanitariness of certain sex acts. It's a clinical sort of question, but the key words are used, so it may not be cool for work.

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posted by Ace at 12:20 PM

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