Saturday, August 6, 2022

on "orientation", choice, determinism, etc.-- with applications to male (and female) sexuality (hetero and homo)

Thanks for the 1st paragraph and the clarification on the 2nd P. In particular, it seems important/vital to make the distinction between men and women in terms of sexual fluidity. And it seems to me, without strong evidence, significant female sexual fluidity undermines the claim that males have no fluidity. Of course, it's possible that females have quite a bit, while males have none, but this seems odd. (As an interesting aside, such a difference is troubling for those who [like/need to] imagine that men and women are roughly the same.)

To be clearer on my end in the 2nd P: I'm modeling orientation as a spectrum rather than a 0/1-- and I'm not narrowing this to (male) homosexuality. If the model is correct, then feeding an orientation will make it stronger, tend us toward more rationalization about both the orientation and the choices within it, etc. So, for example, if I don't practice disciplines in contexts that tempt me to anger, then I will tend grow angrier over time. If I hit the cookie jar more and more, it will be more and more difficult to avoid it. If I watch porn, I will increasingly objectify women, etc. And so on. (Beyond the narrow point, I believe that orientations are inter-related: if I hit the cookie jar with less self-control, then I will tend to struggle more with anger, lust, doing difficult things, etc.)

I don't see this (or at least these examples) as debatable. Within this model, some orientations might be tougher to battle than others-- or tougher for certain people: easier to end up on a slippery slope, more difficult to move the other direction, etc. But this model allows for the impact of choice (vs. utter determinism) for all/most people.

Is male homosexuality or other things (e.g., alcoholism) different in this regard-- for everybody or anybody? I don't think so and would need (strong) evidence that X is different from the model that I believe (strongly) to be correct. (To be candid, I'm not sure that fully-compelling evidence is even possible. What would it look like?) Perhaps it's interesting that sex and alcohol are arguably the (only?) two areas where there are questions about my model. In any case, is alcoholism inevitable for some people? Is there a trigger for potential alcoholics-- that they have a first drink and then they're toast? It's difficult to believe it's that simple. It's common to hear that males have a "sex addiction". But what does that mean? How did this happen? Were/are they without choice? And finally, why would homosexuality be different in this regard? It's easy enough to believe that many/most males are strongly oriented toward homo or hetero from an early age. But even there, we know examples where people cross between the two, undermining the claim for utter rigidity. And my model allows that change in some/many cases (albeit difficult in many of those cases).

Happy to continue the discussion on FB-- and maybe the public portion is instructive to others. But it took a long time to craft this, so if it'd be more constructive to meet in person, let me know.


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