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The Root of Our Discomfort

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Name: Maya
Gender:
Age: 28
Location: UK
Hi there! I recently found out that my brother in law is gay. I wanted to know what makes people gay? Is it choice, genes, hormones, etc? Please clarify because his condition and opposition to his choice of sexuality has made him depressed and he’s on antidepressants and not very healthy. Please answer.

Back in 2007 Solon.com featured a little piece called: Don’t Ask the Sexperts in their annual sex issue: State of the Sexual Union. Slate asked seven people who earn their livings thinking and writing about sex, what they’ve never been able to figure out about sex or sexuality.

One of the contributors was Dr. Ruth Westheimer. She’s the author of 31 books about sex and relationships. This what she said still remained a mystery to her.

“I’m sure there are many, but one nagging one is what causes homosexuality. I admit, I am curious—but the real importance in getting to the bottom of this question is that the answer would be helpful to the homosexual community. I suspect that the cause is genetic, which would mean all those people who say that gays and lesbians can change to become heterosexual would have to sing another tune. Instead of trying to “fix” a situation that doesn’t require fixing, they would have to learn to accept homosexuals. But I am not a scientist, so I can’t set about finding out the etiology, the cause of homosexuality. All I can do is act as a cheerleader to encourage scientists to come up with the answer.”

I was astounded when I read Dr Ruth’s comment. Here is one of the most popular names in the field of human sexuality saying such a startling thing. It’s not that she misrepresented the state of scientific inquiry into the issue of sexual orientation. What she said is true. We don’t precisely know what “causes” homosexuality, but more importantly…and this is what she leaves out…we haven’t a clue what “causes” any sexual orientation — straight, gay, bi, what have you.

What troubled me so about Dr Ruth’s comment is that, perhaps inadvertently, she perpetuates the myth that homosexuality (as opposed to say heterosexuality) has a cause. And when she uses the word “cause”, she denotes to her audience that there’s a cure. All I want to say is that if there’s a “cause” for homosexuality, there is certainly a “cause” for heterosexuality. If there would ever be a “cure” for homosexuality, there would certainly then be a “cure” for heterosexuality.

Do you see how obvious and pervasive the prejudices of the dominant culture are? I absolutely expected better from old Dr Ruth, don’t cha know. It’s true that she goes on to say that she thinks the “cause” of homosexuality is genetic, therefore us homos can’t change or be “fixed”. She then suggests, if this IS the case, the dominant culture would then simply have to learn how to accept homosexuals for how they are. I went, HUH???

Dr Ruth, darling, do you honestly believe that if, or more properly, when we discover the determining factors of sexual orientation — and I do believe there are more than one — the sexual bigots among us won’t militate to have the deviant orientations “fixed”? All I can say is to think otherwise shows an alarming naivety about human nature.

When Dr Ruth, or anyone else for that matter, separates out one sexual proclivity from all the others and suggests that it has a cause, whatever it might be, the rest of us run for cover and wait for the other shoe to drop. Imagine if instead of sexual orientation we were speaking about racial or ethnic characteristics. What causes black people? What causes Asian eyes to slant? What causes flat noses? What causes nappy hair? What causes short people?

Well you see where I’m going with this, right Maya? Questions like these presuppose that there is a norm — tall white people with round eyes, perky noses and straight hair. And you know what? There are a multitude industries out there poised to prey upon all the short, non-white people with almond eyes flat noses and nappy hair who feel they must conform to any and all arbitrary and culturally induced norms in order to be happy. It’s shocking.

So on to your brother’s case. If sexual orientation is chosen, why would he have embraced a lifestyle that makes him sick and depressed? It simply doesn’t add up. The self-hatred and internalized homophobia that is at the root of your brother’s discomfort is culturally induced, but it is also self-inflicted. We don’t know what “cause” homosexuality, but I can tell you for certain what causes homophobia. And that, my dear, is bigotry.

It’s up to your bother to fight this first within himself and then in the popular culture with every ounce of his strength. Because that’s what all us well adjusted, comfortable in our own skin queers do if we want to live happy healthy integrated lives. None of us is waiting around for someone to tell us what caused us to be the way we are, because we know that whatever “caused” us caused all the other differences and variations that appear in human kind.

And one final tip for you, Maya — despite your good intentions, the more you indulge your brother’s pathologies and commiserate with him, or wonder aloud with him why he is queer then you are part of the problem, as opposed to being part of the solution. I encourage you to challenge him to buck up and get right with himself. Help him throw off the yoke of his shame and guilt, to own and embrace his uniqueness and celebrate his sexuality, which is his norm.

Good luck

More SEX WISDOM With Brad Warner — Podcast #251 — 12/08/10

Hey sex fans,

Brad Warner, Zen monk, author of Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between, punk rocker and filmmaker returns this week for Part 2 of our conversation. It’s a pleasure to have him back for another dose of his unique brand of SEX WISDOM.

I suppose you’ve already listened to Part 1 of this exceptional conversation. It appeared here last week at this time, don’t cha know. Good, cuz we don’t want you to miss out. But, if by chance, you missed last week’s show, don’t worry. It and all my podcasts are in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #249 and PRESTO! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Brad and I discuss:

  • Western spiritual traditions are shame-based;
  • The concept of sin;
  • Innately knowing right and wrong;
  • Zen, an individualistic path to enlightenment;
  • Sticking his finger in the eye of scrupulous religiosity;
  • Detachment, non-attachment and unity;
  • The Zen approach to sex;
  • Zen and porn;
  • Zen and sex toys;
  • Zen and polyamory.

For more of Brad and his marvelous and insightful writing visit him on his website HERE!

(Click on the book art below to buy Brad‘s book)

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: Fleshlight & FleshJack.

SEX WISDOM With Brad Warner — Podcast #249 — 12/01/10


Hey sex fans,

Damn, I got some might fine stuff to share with you today. This being the SEX WISDOM series, you’ve come to expect prominent movers and shakers in the field of human sexuality as my guest.  And that’s because over the last year, we’ve chatted with researchers, educators, clinicians, pundits and philosophers; each one making news and reshaping how we look at our sexual selves.

Ya’ll probably know of my special interest in sexuality and spirituality, right? I mean for me there’s no more potent place in the human psyche than where eroticism and religion come together. So when I had the opportunity to visit with Brad Warner, Zen monk, prolific author, punk rocker and filmmaker, I jumped on it.

Brad is my kind of monk. He’s got his finger on the pulse of the popular culture; he can raise hell with the best of them; and still remain as centered as a Zen master. No small task that, my friends. We will be talking about loads of interesting stuff, including his latest book, Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between. This is not to be missed, people!

Brad and I discuss:

  • Discerning between how things really are and how we want them to be;
  • The difficulty of combining sex and spirit for us in the west;
  • Celibacy and abstinence;
  • Is there such a thing as a timeless code of ethics;
  • The Buddhist precept — Do not misuse sexuality;
  • His personal spiritual and sexual journey;
  • Zazen;
  • Sexual orientations;
  • Christians and yoga.

For more of Brad and his marvelous and insightful writing visit him on his website HERE!

(Click on the book art below to buy Brad‘s book)

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll fine me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: DR DICK’S — HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

drdickvod.jpg

More of The Erotic Mind of K D Grace — Podcast #244 — 11/08/10


Hey sex fans,

I am so excited, because the very talented and oh so charming K D Grace returns today for Part 2 of her appearance here on The Erotic Mind podcast series. I had such a good time with her last week that I could hardly wait for this week to finally roll around.

But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of our conversation, that appeared here last week at this time, did you? Well don’t worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. Look for the search function in the header, type in Podcast #242 and PRESTO! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

K D and I discuss:

  • The differences, if any, between erotica and romance;
  • The audience she has in mind when she writes;
  • Her litmus test for hotness in her own writing;
  • Her writing ritual;
  • The distinction between erotica and pornography;
  • What she looks for in the erotica of others;
  • Those who inspire her and her sexual heroes;
  • Her advice for the aspiring erotica writer.

K D also shares another selection of the fruit of her Erotic Mind with us. Like last week, she reads from her new novel.

For more of K D, be sure to visit her on her site HERE!

(click on the thumbnails to get more information about these volumes)


BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll fine me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: DR DICK’S — HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

drdickvod.jpg

The Erotic Mind of K D Grace — Podcast #242 — 11/01/10


Hey sex fans,

The Erotic Mind series returns today and not a moment too soon either. I truly love interviewing these noted visual and literary erotic artists. And judging from the comments I receive, I guess you do too. I get so much out of chatting with these ingenious people, because they never fail to reveal something of the creative process involved with this specialized art form.

This week’s show takes us to the south of England where we meet a rising star in the firmament of erotic fiction. I have the pleasure of welcoming K D Grace. Her first novel, The Initiation of Ms Holly, is receiving critical acclaim, and for good reason. We will be talking about it and a boatload of other interesting topics, including one that I rarely get to talk about with an erotic artist. This is pretty powerful stuff, sex fans. Don’t miss it.

K D and I discuss:

  • Our mutual friend, Kay Jaybee;
  • Her life in the UK;
  • 20+ publications in three years;
  • What sex can disclose about a character in fiction;
  • The freedom of writing under her nom de plume;
  • The storyline of her novel: The Initiation of Ms Holly;
  • Her fascination with mythology;
  • Healing the rift between sexuality and spirituality;
  • What sparks the erotic images in her work;
  • Erotica as part of sex writing.

I even prevail upon K D to share with us a selection of the fruit of her Erotic Mind. And she graciously agrees to read a delectable morsel from her novel.

For more of K D, be sure to visit her on her site HERE!

(click on the thumbnails to get more information about these volumes)



BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

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