Re: "natural"

Robert Owen (
Fri, 03 Dec 1999 16:23:46 -0500

KPJ wrote:

> It appears as if Robert Owen <> wrote:
> |
> |KPJ wrote:
> |
> |> What definition do you use for ``homosexuality''?
> |
> |I intend to be as polite and inoffensive as possible, but
> |I really must ask, KPJ, who on earth cares?
> I find it rather relevant to define the terms used in a discussion, so that I
> may understand what the author of a text means when using the obscure term.

Of course, KPJ. I suppose I was a bit flip, but trying to define "homosexuality" or "sexual orientation" in any precise way seems as impossible as Courts have found "obscenity"

> |Sexual orientation is not a clinical entity; sexual behavior
> |between consenting adults is not a clinical entity. What
> |might, in some cases, be a clinical entity is an obsession
> |with homosexuality, not because of its sexual content but
> |because of its obsessiveness (and its latent or manifest
> |correlative, compulsiveness).
> One can define sexual behaviour between humans, consenting as well as
> non-consenting, more easily than ``sexual orientation'' which appears
> to have much fuzzier definitions, wildly differing among those who use
> the term.

Freud was well aware of this difficulty, and used the fascinating phrase "polymorphous perversity" to denote the "sexual orientation" of an infant which is subsequently differentiated and redistributed with respect to libido. No trends are ever extinguished, however, and to a significant degree "sexual orientation" if a function of situationality. This matter is further confused by our culture's equivocation between the biological and hedonistic aspects of the behavior. Insofar as "sexual orientation" is not behavior, it cannot be defined operationally, and as I suggest cannot be defined at all.

> The "cause" of homosexuality, and certainly this is a com-
> |plex multivariate phenomenon, is only of importance for
> |those individuals who are uncomfortable with their homo-
> |philia (I prefer this term). There is no medical reason, per
> |se, to search for a cause, because it is not a disease and
> |therefore requires no cure.
> It would seem hard to define the ``cause'' of FOO, where FOO lacks a
> secure definition. Depending on the definition of ``homosexuality''
> one could have different ``cause''s:

I'm sorry to edit out your most interesting illustration of this point, but readers can refer to your original post.

Thanks for your reply,


Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA