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The term homosexuality did not exist until K.M. Benkert coined it in 1869. The phenomenon, however, has existed probably as long as humans have walked the earth. The many enigmas of sexual orientation that have baffled people for centuries—including what makes some children grow up to be homosexual, while others become heterosexual or bisexual, and to what degree is gender identity determined before birth—continue to do so.
John Money, one of the foremost investigators of human sexuality, cogently addresses many of these questions in this authoritative, thought-provoking study. Drawing on case studies from his sexology clinic, he explores the diverse historical, cultural, and physiological influences that determine sexual orientation. Covering such topics as prenatal and postnatal history, gender differentiation in childhood, and postpubertal hormonal theories, Money offers a much-needed, highly informative, and timely exploration into this important subject.
Posted January 21, 2007
John William Money, PhD (1921-2006), New Zealand born psychologist and sexologist, in 'Gay, Straight, and In-Between' (1988), investigates sexual orientation, explaining how some find themselves swimming outside of the mainstream. In the first of this book's four chapters, 'Prenatal Hormones and Brain Dimorphism' covers how before birth the neuroendocrine/central nervous systems, endocrine glands and some visceral tissues secrete into the bloodstream chemicals disbursing information to other bodily organs and cells, which, in turn, affect individuals portraying defective characteristics of both sexes after birth. Second, in 'Gender Coding,' Money describes what it is collectively hormonal, genetic and social that impacts on one's mind, body and behaviour, causing them in childhood to be--through 'identification,' behaving like someone else, and 'complementation,' behaving unlike another person (both applied to G-I/R, gender-identity/role)--totally female, male or androgynous. Chapter three, 'Gender Crosscoding,' delves the conflict between one's gender and behaviour, cross-purposed against external genitals, found in, for instance, homophilia, transvestism and transexualism. Finally, chapter four, 'Lovemaps and Paraphilia,' the author expounds on mental templates of the brain, which, because of development, represent one's ideal sexual proclivities/partner(s). Some of which are thought of as egregious perversions. However, Money doesn't believe homosexuality, with its lovemap, is a paraphilia (declassified as one in 1973 from the 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders' of the American Psychiatric Association, and Sigmund Freud, in a 1935 letter to an American mother of a gay son, said homosexuality wasn't an illness, nor could it be changed). Irving Bieber, et al, in 'Homosexuality' (1962) said, 'Freud's formulation of the etiology of homosexuality postulated a continuum between constitutional and experiential elements.' That is, a causation based on what one is physically born with versus what they experience. Money proclaims, 'Biology and social input interact at a crucial phase of maturation. It is their interaction that determines the outcome.' Further, he states homosexuality is, if anything, understood through the developmental determinism principle, outlining just when the brain becomes heterosexualized, or homosexualized, and to what length, magnitude and permanence. Such development occurs in stages with several causes. In the prenatal stage, causatively, male sex hormones may masculinize and not defeminize the brain, but a hormonal lack may demasculinize and not feminize, same. During the prenatal/early-newborn phase, preponderant male sex hormones oblivious to female sex hormones, a propensity, but not a predestination, to homosexuality is ratified. From infancy to childhood, the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal system that deals with secretion of hormones is quiescent, where the causative agents enter the brain, to varying degrees, through the sense organs, i.e., social conditioning or learning based on experience and familiarity, called 'apperceptive assimilation.' Identification with an 'exemplar' or model representing one's own sex, and complementation with same of the opposite sex, brings about heterosexuality. When there is discordance, instigated by amerced prepubertal, boy-girl sexual rehearsal play, homosexuality might ensue. The author says the 'Exigency theory,' that describes requirements intrinsic to one's human existence, by bonding(s), being sustained, typecast and destined by fate, through using/restraining/unfolding mechanisms, unites all sexological theories here. At the conclusion of this work is a handy, forty-five page glossary, followed by an appendix, exploring treatments for sex offenders. 'Gay, Straight, and In-Between' by John Money is well worth reading to discover what makes one tick sexually, where congested paths regale in the touch at each profound jun
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Posted June 1, 2010
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