Sexuality

Does it matter if boys like cars, and girls like dolls? Both genders will love anything specifically tailored to them

We often make the case that men and women are naturally different by citing the fact that boys overwhelmingly love toy cars, and that girls prefer dolls. But is it possible that this is the result of trial-and-error by toy-makers? "Ah-hah!" the toy maker said to themselves, "I found a toy that boys consistently love." Perhaps boys and girls only share slight differences in their preference for amusements, and it's just that popular gendered toys dominate the marketplace.

Gender is not defined by mass marketability. Just because there are some signal products that most women want exclusively, such as lipstick, doesn't mean all male-female differences are signal. The differences could just be the loudest signals in the market which have drowned out all other data.

How can homosexuality be a choice if people need to be "cured" from it?

Conservatives often resist gay marriage on the belief that homosexuality is a choice. And yet, those same opponents suggest that gays and lesbians should seek ex-gay therapy. But if homosexuality is a choice, it shouldn't require therapy to correct. If someone has to be "cured" of homosexuality, then the "victim" of homosexuality is as blameless as someone who needs to be cured of cancer.

In some ways, living in tribes was more free, since we didn't need the existence of subcultures to protect our deviance

Today some subcultures support and nurture those who deviate from heteronormative sexuality, but in the past, such subcultures weren't necessary. If two men were caught having sex in a small tribe, even if they were ridiculed or molested by their group, the harassment wouldn't have carried the force of code. The tribe wouldn't have had a book describing what is or isn't wrong. Even if they had a collection of traditions or principles, the tribe wouldn't have encountered enough gay acts to condemn it. In the tribal world, the distinction between subculture and culture didn't exist. One could create a polygamist society in one or two generations without the fear of interference from external forces. The presence of one monolithic society that coexists alongside smaller tolerated/oppressed ones is a relatively new phenomenon in the history of humans.

Prehistoric humans had both types of sexuality: capable of reluctant monogamy whenever promiscuity became too troublesome

Even though we have good basic ideas as to whether prehistoric humans were monogamous or not (based simply on correlating our genitals with other primates), we don't know how much variation existed in human sexuality. If anything, the recent decline in sperm counts indicates that flexibility is the more relevant story of our sexuality, rather than that we are naturally one way or another.

Technically, procreation is pointless since its only purpose is itself, which means genitals don't need a purpose either

Robert R. Reilly makes the case against gay marriage by citing the principle of entelechy, which states that the purpose of things inheres in the design of those things. One can look at the design of a man and the design of a woman, and see that they are clearly built for procreating. But can the principle of entelechy address the bigger design question: What is the purpose of procreation?

Procreation produces creatures that are a genetic mix of their parents to attempt new and better ways of surviving in the world. But the attempt to create newer and better ways of surviving doesn't have a purpose. It's not trying to create a more perfect human. Rather, procreation is an end in of itself. It is simply to be. If the ultimate ends are pointless, then in a way, the subordinate ends are too.

There can be no "war between the sexes," so long as their genetic destinies are as twined as the strands of DNA that supposedly divide them

Ultimately the sexes are at peace with each other because their genetic destinies are linked. Every selfish man or woman who plays to the negative stereotypes of their sex has a mother and a father who benefits from that selfishness. If a selfless man or woman mates with a selfish jerk of a man or woman, they may be oppressed in this generation, but if the couple is successful in ensuring the survival and thriving of their children, then that selfless/selfish combination will perpetuate itself in their children, as designed.

While the lack of rights for women might vex those who currently live under those rules, those rules which supposedly benefit men, also benefit those women's brothers, fathers, and sons. This genetic collaboration doesn't justify those rules, but it does change the interpretation of existing, supposed fault-lines in the "war of the sexes." For example, when veiled, Middle Eastern women are trotted on Western news networks, it's framed under the guise that all those women are oppressed. Veiling is an automatic oppression according to feminism, but we can't assume that those women in rights-restricted countries are as excited about the promise of their liberation as we are. After all, those rules are intertwined with a social structure that supports their way of life.

To say that the purpose of genitalia is inherent in the design of it is to deny the other 99 uses of it

Entelechy, or the principle that the purpose of things inheres in the design of things, leads to a tyranny of the majority. People have to agree to the purpose and the design of something, and therefore the most popular opinion prevails. If one takes a pluralistic view, that everything has multiple purposes and multiple designs, then minority uses of the human body, such as the homosexuality, wouldn't be suppressed.

While homophobia has become passé, a non-bigoted resistance to homosexuality may emerge in its place

Conservatives will lick their wounds from legal setbacks on gay marriage and likely adapt the messaging of their values. While homophobia is becoming increasingly passé, a non-bigoted resistance to homosexuality might emerge in its place. The suppression of homosexuality is an ancient battle, and motivated parents will continue producing environments that discourage homosexuality. Homosexuality could wind up classified as an adult topic or not family-friendly, something that children should be shielded from. "Out and proud" might be replaced with modesty. Privacy could become a larger part of the gay conversation. Currently, right-wing libertarians justify lifting legal restrictions on homosexuality less because "gay is okay" but more to "get the government out of the bedroom."

Some members of the gay community may ultimately aid in the new obscurity. Pride was necessary to counteract the notion that homosexuality was bad, evil, or illegal. But once the legal victories have been checked off, the revolutionary justification for emphasizing acceptance may weaken as well.

You could abuse cognitive therapy if you mistake a distorted negative belief for a fixed inclination, like trying to dispute one's sexual orientation

What is the basis of one's stance toward something? Is it taste or belief? Some stances we take because of taste. You can't, for example, use cognitive therapy, to make yourself enjoy heavy metal or hip-hop music. That is unless your negativity toward those genres is based partly on a distorted negative belief toward those underlying subcultures. By extension, is it possible that some negative attitudes toward ourselves are not based on distorted beliefs, but a natural distaste or revulsion?

Most likely it's a spectrum, of taste and belief, and at the very least, cognitive therapy should be used to rule out the belief component. But beyond that, a different tool has to be used.