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Is bigger better?

Name: Marie
Gender: Female
Age: 21
Location: Florida
I’ve had sex with exactly two guys. Each one has had an average sized penis, but both thought they were small. The sex we had was nice and I was happy with it. What I don’t understand is why guys have this obsession with having a large penis? From everything I’ve read, most women don’t care about size and yet that’s all I hear about from my guy friends. What gives?

Like I always say — Nothing quite captures a dude’s imagination like his cock. Its size, shape and general appearance is a source of endless wonderment. Unfortunately, along with all that wonderment there often comes envy. I wrote a long column about much the same thing back in February — Willie Worry & Willie Pride.huge pen..

I suppose if we never had anything to compare it to, our precious willie would be the best darn willie there ever was. That’s the beauty of self-love. Funny though how a guy’s self-admiration can evaporate when he’s confronted with the sight of some other fella swinging some heavy pipe. This change in mood is pretty predictable. Some people suggest that we have been programmed to believe that big is better. And this is a throwback to when us men folk were just learning to stand upright and move about on two legs. It would have been pretty obvious what we have hangin’ down there

Since the time of our primate ancestors, humans have worshiped the male phallus. At first the representations were nothing more than crude upright pillars of wood or stone called a lingam. The Egyptians created a more exalted depiction — the obelisk — to represent the sun god, Ra’s, cock. In time, the obelisk would morph into the church steeple and the mosque’s minaret, as the preferred religion changed with the ages. When capitalism became the new creed, the steeple and minaret morphed once again into the skyscraper. Simple upright pillar or immense high-rise they’re all statements of virility, power and prestige. And isn’t it just like us to believe that the city with the biggest skyscraper wins. If this “bigger is better” sort of mentality has been going on in art, architecture and religion for several millennia, you know for sure it’s been happening on an individual level too.

tantric_lingam_stone_536   Munich, Obelisk     Toshiba Exif JPEG     Istanbul_+Blaue+Moschee+Minarette14     swirl-skyscraper

From the beginning of recorded time different cultures have designated cock size as an outer sign of a man’s inner values. The size of a guy’s dong was synonymous with his status, power, masculinity and sexual potency. Curiously, the ancient Greeks prized a puny pecker as the standard of male beauty. A big dick was an object of ridicule. Their mythology saddled the satyrs — woodland creatures with pointy satyrears, hairy legs, and short goat-like horns — with exaggerated cocks to symbolize their excess and lechery. Aristotle reasoned that a small penis was more fertile than a large one, because the semen didn’t have to travel as far and it didn’t cool as much while making its ejaculatory journey. Whatever, Aristotle!

The Hindus also cherished a tiny endowment. Men with the smallest phallus, 2-3 inches, were the beautiful ideal. They were characterized as lithe and strong. Prodigious packages of 9+ inches were compared to those of the beasts. And men who possessed them were considered worthless and lazy. Imagine trying to sell these concepts today.

Except for the Greeks and Hindus, everyone else idolized generous phallic dimensions. For example, so obsessed were the Arabs with the notion big dick superiority that the Turks of the Ottoman Empire took advantage of this mindset. It was the practice of the Turks to publicly compare the cock size of vanquished Arab leaders with the superior size cocks of their own Turkish commanders. This, in the end, effectively shattered Arab resistance.

shunga5fbooks5fpillow5fbooks5f5f77Japanese “pillow books,” an early form of Asian porn, always depicted the men with exaggerated cocks and this was always to the delight of the admiring women. In renaissance Europe it was fashionable for men to don a “codpiece,” a primitive jock strap sort of thing sewn inside a guy’s drawers. The design was obviously intended to emphasize his package. Men of modest endowment, of course, found it necessary to pad their codpiece or be the object of scorn.

Here’s a startling statistic — Dr. Barry McCarthy, author of “Male Sexual Awareness,” found that two out of three men believe their dick is smaller than average. Isn’t that astonishing? How is that possible? I suppose given this culturally induced big dick bias, it’s no wonder men, of almost every historical age and society, have been obsessed with disguising their shortcomings, or trying to develop a method to compensate for what they consider to be their woeful inadequacy?

Around two thousand years ago, men in several tribes in Africa popularized the practice of hanging a weight from their cock. Actually, many historians believe the practice harkens back to ancient Egypt. The pharaohs were known to stretch their cock and balls using weights to increase sexual pleasure. Lots of guys do this very thing today — mostly for pleasure enhancement, but there are always those who think this is an effective way to increase the size of their dick.SURMA SURI TRIBE - OMO ETHIOPIA

Hanging a weight from the end of your cock (and/or balls) will sure enough stretch the tissues that make up your shaft (and/or sack). It’s gravity at work. But this can be dangerous because this practice can diminish the circulation of oxygen-rich blood, which is essential for the upkeep of the smooth muscle tissue. And smooth muscle tissue makes up about 90% of your cock. And doggoneit, this technique simply robs Peter to pay Paul, so to speak. What lengthening might happen comes at the expense of your dick’s thickness. Just stands to reason, you have only so much cock to work with. If you pull on it; it may get longer, but it’ll also gonna get thinner.

A modern variation on the age-old stretching techniques is the traction method. A guy puts his cock in a kind of noose and either straps his wiener to his leg, or hooks it up to a traction contraption that looks way too much like a medieval torture device for my tastes. The claim here is that constant stretching, makes the cells in this area divide and multiply, thus increasing the tissue mass. There’s no arguing with the concept, people have been using this method of centuries as a means of adorning and customizing their bodies, particularly lips and ears. Consider the women of the Surma tribe in Ethiopia — they wear lip plates. Their lower lip is pierced when they are young girls and stretched with ever-larger plates over time. But what they gain in beauty, they loose in sensitivity. The same thing is true of a guy’s cock. What he may gain in size he will surely loose in sensitivity. And that’s not a good thing.

The Jelq or Milking technique is an ancient method of penis enlargement practiced in the Middle East. Traditionally it was taught father to son when the kid reached adolescence. Wealthy families sent their boys to a gym or health club where a highly trained attendant would perform the Jelq technique on the boy each day. As a result of these daily treatments the kid’s dick would develop to dimensions not otherwise attained without the method. Modern day advocates of this technique claim that milking also works on the fully developed adult penis, but I have my reservations.

The Jelq involves massaging the semi-erect cock in a rhythmic and regular manner, enhancing blood flow within the shaft. The claim is that after several months of this, one could see a size increase, both in girth and length. Long-time practitioners claim gains of several inches in length are possible, but one can only imagine how many hours that might take over the course of a year or longer. Effective jelqing demands an hour or more each day for exercises. I mean, who has that kind of free time on his hands? No wonder most men fail to complete their jelqing programs.

Old_penis_pumpPenis enlargement pills and patches proliferate on internet, but there is virtually no documented evidence that they work. All such products use herbal ingredients, like ginkgo biloba and yohimbe, which act as stimulants and vasodilators. The best one can say is that some pills may enhance blood flow, which may, in some cases, cause an ever so slightly bigger woody. Once a program like this is started, it needs to be continued for as long as you want the effect to last. Imagine how much that would cost; this stuff is expensive

Finally, the early 20th century brings the advent of modern technology to the “treatment” of impotence, or as we currently know it: erectile dysfunction. Please note, all the devices and surgical interventions of the last 100 years were initially designed to treat ED. Only later did folks begin to use these interventions as male enhancement schemes. Take the Austrian inventor Otto Ledever for example. He reasoned that if a stiffy was all about blood flow then maybe he could come up with a device that would draw blood into a cock creating an erection where there wasn’t one before. In 1917, our hero patented an airtight cylinder topped by a bulb that created a vacuum within the chamber. Insert a limp dick — pump, pump, pump and TADA! — An impressive erection resulted. There was a rub, however. When the vacuum was eliminated and the cylinder removed the “faux-erection” drained away nearly as quickly as it arrived. It was only a matter of time till our friend, Otto, discovered that ya gotta constrict the flow of blood back into the body once the guy’s peanut was engorged. And that, my friends was the birth of the cockring! Isn’t science amazing?

Good luck

You make me want to shout!

Hey sex fans!

Welcome to this our latest edition of Product Review Friday. Today we feature the second of the two products sent to us by that sizzlin’ hot company, Spare Parts Hardware.

But wait, you didn’t miss the first of our reviews, did you? Well not to worry if you did, because you can find it all our previous reviews archived on my Product Review site, Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Reviews. You’ll find our first Spare Parts Hardware review HERE:

Today we welcome back Dr Dick Review Crew member, Carlos. We’ve missed you sir and we’re so glad you’re back with us.

Deuce Male Harness – $139.99

Carlos

Thanks, Dr Dick, it’s good to be back.

Those of you who follow my reviews may recall that way back in October 2007, when I participated in my first review; I mentioned I was having some prostate problems. I’ve been calling attention to that issue ever since. Well, earlier this year, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and soon there after I went under the knife. I had a radical prostatectomy, which removed my prostate gland as well as and some of the surrounding tissue.

Like my Dr Dick Review Crew colleague, Angie, who was diagnosed with lymphoma over a year ago, I’ve been struggling to regain a sense of my sexual-self post surgery. No one; not my doctors, not my nurses, not anyone in the cancer support group I attend ever talks about sex and sexuality post diagnosis and treatment. It’s criminal really.

The surgery impacted every aspect of my sex life — with my myself, with my wife and the periodic connections I used to have with some of my men friends. Thank god I’ve been able to count on Dr Dick to help me through this, because if I had to do this alone I don’t see how I would have made it.

I want to repeat something Angie said. “There is precious little information about sex and sexuality available to cancer survivors. No one seemed to be capable of speaking clearly and unambiguously about how a cancer diagnosis and treatment impacts a person’s intimate life. This conspiracy of silence has got to stop!”

Since the surgery I haven’t had a full erection. Dr Dick tells me that I may regain that capacity with time. I also no longer have an ejaculation. That Dr Dick tells me is gone for good. That really bums me out, but I can still have an orgasm, so I’m really happy for that. Dr Dick gave me some exercises to help me with the arousal phase of my sexual response cycle, mostly it masturbation sorts of things. He also suggested that rather than going without partnered sex, I could try a strap on. Hell, I didn’t even know there were strap ons for men. As you can see, I had a lot to learn.

And this is what gets me to the fantastic Deuce Male Harness that I want to tell you about today. It looks and wears just like a jockstrap. It’s completely adjustable so it always fits perfectly. It’s made of a very sensual fabric. And it’s completely machine washable. Oh, and did I mention it is smokin’ hot? It really bolsters my sexual self-confidence. And that’s about the best therapy there is.

Ok, so let’s take a closer look at the Deuce starting with the fabric. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s soft, silky and body hugging. It’s a nylon and spandex blend, which makes it stretchy and durable. If you’re trying to picture it in your mind’s eye think a quality swimsuit material. All the adjustment sliders are made of a durable hard plastic.

The front panel is super functional. The pouch, just like a jock, cradles your own equipment. If you’re gonna just use a dildo or dong with the Deuce. There is a built-in O-ring to stabilize your dong of choice. But here’s the BIG plus; there is an opening below the O-ring that allows you to slip you’re your cock through so that you can use your own johnson along with the dildo. This is ideal for double penetration; or if you simply want to experiment with a bigger dildo than your own cock; or if you want to keep pleasuring your partner after you shoot your load. Ya see, there are lots of reasons a guy might want to use a strap on even if his own unit works perfectly well.

Unlike the more traditional leather harnesses, the Deuce is really sporty looking. The wide waistband, with the attractive Spare Parts Hardware logo on it, adjusts using velcro. There’s also a second set of adjusting straps on the waistband to gain precision snugness. Even the leg straps are adjustable.

You can use a lot of different kinds and sizes of dongs and dildos, just as long as the ones you choose have a base. And putting the dildo or dong in place is super easy, the O-ring is very accommodating.

Don’t be afraid of using lots of lube, because as I mentioned earlier you just pop the Deuce in the washer and you’re done with the cleanup. Don’t even think of trying that with a conventional leather harness.

The Deuce comes with a zippered storage bag. And there’s even a pocket in the bag for condoms and/or a small bottle of lube. It’s idea for travel.

Finally, let me compliment Spare Parts Hardware on their packaging. It’s beautifully simple, yet amazingly classy and every part of the packaging is completely recyclable. Kudos!
Full Review HERE!

ENJOY

Go ahead, make my day

Hey sex fans!

It’s Product Review Friday and this week we review a great toy for the men folk. And in doing so we welcome a new manufacturer to our review effort, Perfect Fit Brand.

You’ll be hearing more about Perfect Fit Brand in coming weeks, because we have a bunch of their other products to review. But right now let’s check in with Dr Dick Review Crew members, Glenn & Hank, for the lowdown on the toy they have

Fat Boy Cock Sheath —— $41.56

Glenn & Hank
Glenn: “Damn! The fuckin’ Fat Boy Cock Sheath is about the hottest fuckin’ sex toy I’ve had the pleasure to use in just about fuckin’ ever.”
Hank: “As you can see, Glenn is being his usual articulate self. How many times can you use ‘fuckin’’ in one sentence?”
Glenn: “I’m simply being expressive in the best way I know how. So sue me, why don’t cha?”
Hank: “Don’t get me wrong; I’m totally with you on this. The Fat Boy Cock Sheath is as you say, fuckin’ amazing.”
Glenn: “Ok, so here’s the 411 on this product. The Fat Boy Cock Sheath is…well for lack of a better term, a sheath that fits snuggly around your boner. It is made of this revolutionary material called SilaSkin. Apparently it’s a proprietary blend of silicone and TPR (thermoplastic rubber). It is unbelievably stretchy and irresistibly soft. And it come in both black and clear.”
Hank: “We’ve tried other masturbation sleeves that are made of super squishy materials, like this, and we wound up tossing them in the trash after just a couple uses. While we love the softness and pliability, the trouble with most ‘skin-like’ materials is, they are also super porous and nearly impossible to clean. Of course you have to clean it after every use, but you also have to powder it to keep it from getting so tacky that you can’t use it again. It’s a fuckin’ hassle, I tell you.”
Glenn: “I admit, when Dr Dick offered us Fat Boy Cock Sheath to review, I just rolled my eyes. I was expecting the same song and dance as what Hank just described. I was actually going to demurely decline Dr Dick’s invitation until I open the plastic packaging. I did this because all the other ‘skin-like’ materials we’ve tried smelled horrible. It’s the disgusting off gas that is a byproduct of the manufacturing process. And ya know what? All the other skin-like materials are loaded with phthalates, which, if you’ve been paying attention to the reviews on this site is a definite no-no when it comes to sex toys. Phthalates are the cancer-producing chemicals that are used to make rubber and latex supper soft and pliable.”
Hank: “Yep, I’ll pass on the phthalates, if ya don’t mind. Anyhow, where Glenn was going with all of that is when you open the Fat Boy Cock Sheath packaging there is no discernible odor. There is no off-gas, because it is phthalate-free! Once we got wind of this, no pun intended, we couldn’t wait to get home and try this puppy out.”
Glenn: “Those of you who follow our reviews know that I am an insatiable bottom.”
Hank: “That’s an understatement, but please go on.”
Glenn: “Everyone’s a fuckin’ critic. What I was about to say is that I generously allowed Hank to use the Fat Boy Cock Sheath first. I simply stripped down to my jockstrap and climbed into our brand new sling.”
Hank: “Isn’t he generous? He allowed me first use of the Fat Boy Cock Sheath. Truth is he was gonna get the better part of this toy and he knew it. So ok, I have a big dick and I know how to use it. But slipping this sheath over my hog was fantastic. I dribbled some lube inside the sheath then squished it around. By the way, the inside of the sheath is ribbed and bubbled for my pleasure. We only used water-based lube to begin with; because we thought silicone-based lube would mar the silicone of the sheath. We learned later that we could have used whatever type of lube we wanted. Very cool!”
Glenn: “I watched with anticipation as Hank readied his cock. I gotta tell you the visuals were stunning. Oh, I should point out that there is a smaller hole in the base of the Fat Boy Cock Sheath through which you pull your balls. The material is real stretchy; so don’t worry about getting your boys through the hole.”
Hank: “Despite being hard as a rock from the get go, I started slipping and sliding the sheath over my dick. It felt fantastic! I swear I could have blown my load right then and there.”
Glenn: “But he didn’t. Because it was time to punish my asshole and I was all ready for him. I’m proud to say that I can take Hank’s thick 9-incher with relative ease. It’s taken years of practice, but I can do it. The Fat Boy Cock Sheath made his unit scary big and the task all that more daunting. But here’s the thing, the super soft and stretchy SilaSkin added to my pleasure, but didn’t chafe my hole like some of the bigger toys we use.”
Hank: “Speaking of pleasure, I was lovin’ both what was happening to my cock and what I could see what happening to Glenn’s hole. What a sight! My cock, encased in the Fat Boy Cock Sheath, slid in and out of Glenn’s lubed up hole with ease. I was sending him to paradise and I knew it. The squishy sound my dick made inside the sheath added to our piggy play.”
Glenn: “I knew Hank was close to bustin’ his nut so I held on for dear life. With one last thrust he was spent. But I was still ready to go.”
Hank: “A little quick thinking on my part brought Glenn to an explosive finish too. I simply slipped my softening dick from the Fat Boy Cock Sheath and replaced it with one of our beautiful glass dildos. Glenn loves the hardness of the glass, but it never seemed to fill him up. But now the sheath did just that.”
Glenn: “It was fantastic! I was yankin’ on my chub while Hank had a hold of my nuts and rammed the dildo home. I spewed so much spunk I thought it was time to notify the next of kin.”
Hank: “When the fuckfest was over, clean up was a snap. My nut was still in the tip of the Fat Boy Cock Sheath along with a mess of lube, but some warm water and mild soap took care of the whole thing. Cleaning it is easy because the SilaSkin material is nonporous and so stretchy you can actually turn the blasted thing inside out. And once thoroughly dry the sheath isn’t the least bit tacky. This product gets my highest rating.”
Full Review HERE!

ENJOY

Several Steamy Summer Solstice Sexual Situations — SOLVED!

Don’t you just love alliteration?

Summer is here…at least in the northern hemisphere. All hail Sol Invictus! Instead of being outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather we’re having here in the Emerald City, I’m stuck indoors, at this freakin’ keyboard. HELP! Maybe if I hurry up and get my homework done, my mom will let me go out and play.

Name: john
Gender:
Age: 58
Location: Detroit
married and testing the water, so to speak. Was with a man who is HIV and I swallowed a couple of drops of his cum. Should I be concerned/worried?

gettestedposter-english2.pngAhhhh, yeah! I’d sure enough be concerned, if I were you. I’d be concerned enough to get tested, that’s for sure — not just now, but again in 6 weeks or so. While it’s not overly likely that you’ve sero-converted by this incident alone, stranger things have happened.

I am of the mind that all sexually active people (especially you people who are being sexual outside of your primary relationships) be tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections regularly…at least twice a year. All you sexual athletes out there should test every other month. You shouldn’t even think about it, you should just do it. It is painless, discreet, but most importantly, it’s the responsible thing to do. If you make it part of your lifestyle, then there will be no embarrassment associated with the trip to your doctor or the local clinic. Made this happen, people.

Good luck

Name: Frank
Gender:
Age: 18
Location: Brazil
I have never had sex with anyone before and i believe i am straight, as i feel attrakted towrds girls, but every now and again i like watching gay porn. is this a sign that i’m bisexual or gay? or is it just curiosity?

Can’t hardly say what you are, Frank. Maybe it’s too soon to be giving yourself a label.

What I can tell you is, I’m as queer as a $3 dollar bill (as we say here in America), and I sometimes watch straight porn. That sure as hell don’t make me straight…don’t even make me bi, honey. I guess that just leaves…curious, huh?

Good luck

Name: asianIndian
Gender:
Age: 24
Location: San Diego, CA
I have been masturbating almost everyday for the past 10 years now. Last year was the first time I tried to get laid off. It was with a 30 woman and I found that I was not able to retain the stiffness of my dick while pumping her. At the end I had to pull out and masturbate to ejaculate. I tried it couple of more women on different occasion and I faced with the same problem. All the three times I had to pull out and masturbate with my hand. I felt really embarrassed and I am afraid of going out with any other women. I also noticed that when I masturbate I do it vigorously and for a prolonged period of time. But when I was having sex I was not able to pump the women for more than 3-4 minutes, I felt part exhausted and my penis too looses its stiffness. How can I over come this major problem?

Name: tanya
Gender:
Age: 28
Location: ca
my boyfriend has trouble cuming durning sex.he can cum if we are doing anael or I give him a blow job. he takes a long time to cum if we do doggie style. but he cant cum most the time and he cant cum if hes on top. can it be metal or health wise? help please.

You guys are a real pair! I thought I’d respond to you both at the same time.

pic13981.jpgLots of guys find it difficult to cum in penis/vagina fucking. Sometimes there’s simply not enough friction due to flabby, out of shape untoned pussy muscles. Tanya darling, are you doing your Kegel exercises? You should be, if you’re not. If the BF can get off in your ass and with your mouth and hand, then that tells me you have more of a grip in these other orifices then you do in your whoha. It’s not the end of the world. It can be remedied with a little exercise.

Mr. AsianIndian, maybe your masturbation technique gives you more direct cock stimulation than what you get inside a pussy. If that’s the case, you’ll probably have to learn to masturbate with a lighter touch or find a tighter snatch. You could also try masturbating till you get close to shooting, and then stick it in again. Either way, there’s no need to feel embarrassed. Like I said, lots of guys can’t get off by fucking alone. Just like lots of women don’t have vaginal orgasms. They need to stimulate their clit for that.

Good luck

Name: james
Gender:
Age: 18
Location: lewes, de
is there a way i can make my dick bigger without pills. my dick is so small i cant do alot of the positions i like. i even slip out doin misonary. so can you help me.

Name: ali
Gender:
Age: 39
Location: glasgow
what is the best thinks to mack the (cock-peanas) biger)

Well. Boys, here’s the deal. Throughout history, men have obsessed with the size of their cocks. And when there’s that much attention paid to something that trivial, you can be sure there’s gonna be an entire industry poised to bilk the shit out of the willie worrisome, like you guys.

All of this unfortunate big-dick envy creates a never-ending parade of con artists tryin’ to sell a remedy, of one sort or another, to cure guys, just like you, of their “shame”. But, take it from Dr. Dick, the dick doctor; it’s all bullshit. And some of the bullshit is really scary and dangerous bullshit.

monsterpumped.jpgFor every little peanut out there, there is some kooky diet, ridiculous cream, bogus massage technique or worthless breathing exercise that is supposed to transform one’s mini-meat into the giant economy size. And let’s not forget the weights you can hang on your thang, the Vacuum device to pump up your thang. And of course the twenty-first century solution — cosmetic surgery — to put a happy face on your thang. The results are dubious if there are any results at all. And each has negative side effects, some of which are more revolting than others.

Here’s the last word on this — don’t waste your money on any of this crap. Or better yet, send me the money, and I’ll put it to good use. Here’s the very best advice I can offer a guy who is unhappy about the size of his schlong…learn to love what ya got and leave it alone.

Good luck

Name: spungee
Gender:
Age: 36
Location: canada’s capital (you figure it out)
hey. i am a big time anal fan, both giving and receiving. spouse and i have enjoyed anal for some years now, both me giving to her and me gettin pegged. my concern is that while she was really into it at first, she seems to have cooled down a bit recently when it comes to nailing me. any thoughts on how to warm things up again? cheers, spungee

b758.jpgI know what the capitol of Canada is, it’s Ottawa. I went to collage, ya know. I was gonna vist Ottawa, but then I heard it’s filled with Canadians.

Why did things fall off, so to speak? Is the pegging all about you? What’s in it for her? If you get pegged, what does she get? Maybe she’s just bored. Maybe she thinks you’re being selfish. Have you checked in with her lately? Maybe she wants to see you get nailed by the real thing. Ever consider replacing the dildo with 100% prime Canadian Beef?

Good luck

Name: Carlos
Gender:
Age: 24
Location: Colombia
does coffee have a negative effect on one’s erection? Does anyone know if this is true and why this would be?

Never heard of such a thing! Since Seattle is coffee central here in the good old US of A, I’m sure I would have heard of this, or seen some evidence of this here. I have not! Everyone here in Seattle has a huge stiff erection…all the time

Come to think of it, if you poured hot coffee on your unit that would have a negative effect your stiffy. That’s for damn sure!

Good luck

We’re Not Quite ‘Born This Way’

By

newborn

Back in 2014, a bigoted African leader put J. Michael Bailey, a psychologist at Northwestern, in a strange position. Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda, had been issuing a series of anti-gay tirades, and — partially fueled by anti-gay religious figures from the U.S. — was considering toughening Uganda’s anti-gay laws. The rhetoric was getting out of control: “The commercialisation of homosexuality is unacceptable,” said Simon Lokodo, Uganda’s ethics minister. “If they were doing it in their own rooms we wouldn’t mind, but when they go for children, that’s not fair. They are beasts of the forest.” Eventually, Museveni said he would table the idea of new legislation until he better understood the science of homosexuality, and agreed to lay off Uganda’s LGBT population if someone could prove to him homosexuality was innate.

That’s where Bailey comes in: He’s a leading sex researcher who has published at length on the question of where sexual orientation comes from. LGBT advocates began reaching out to him to explain the science of homosexuality and, presumably, denounce Museveni for his hateful rhetoric. But “I had issues with rushing out a scientific statement that homosexuality is innate,” he said in an email, because he’s not sure that’s quite accurate. While he did write articles, such as an editorial in New Scientist, explaining why he thought Museveni’s position didn’t make sense, he stopped short of calling homosexuality innate. He also realized that in light of some recent advances in the science of sexual orientation, it was time to publish an article summing up the current state of the field — gathering together all that was broadly agreed-upon about the nature and potential origins of sexual orientation. (In the meantime, Museveni did end up signing the anti-gay legislation, justifying his decision by reasoning that homosexuality “was learned and could be unlearned.”)

To help write his paper, Bailey assembled an impressive multidisciplinary team: It consisted of the psychologists Paul Vasey and Lisa Diamond, the neuroscientist S. Marc Breedlove, the geneticist Eric Vilain, and Marc Epprecht, a historian with a focus on gender and sexuality in Africa.

Their article, which was recently published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, is something of an all-you-can-eat buffet for anyone interested in the current state of scientific research into sexuality. While it’s loosely organized around the “moral” concerns raised by Museveni, it covers a wide range of subjects. It’s worth a full read, but three main points leaped out at me:

1. There’s a connection between gender expression and sexual orientation that seems to show up just about everywhere. It’s important to note that just about everything in Bailey and his colleagues’ paper has to do with average differences between members of different groups. Nothing in the paper (or this article) should be taken as implying that “all straight people X” or “all straight people Y.” The average man is significantly bigger than the average woman, but plenty of women are bigger than plenty of men; the same logic holds here.

That caveat aside, there seems to be a consistent, robust way in which sexual orientation and gender roles play off of each other and that starts early in childhood for many people. Bailey and his colleagues point out that “Childhood gender nonconformity … is a strong correlate of adult sexual orientation that has been consistently and repeatedly replicated.” For boys, this means that if a child enjoys cross-dressing, playing with dolls, growing their hair long, preferring girls as playmates, and so on, then — true to stereotype — there’s a significantly increased chance that he will grow up to be gay (in cases where all this is accompanied by gender dysphoria, or discomfort with their natal sex, there’s a chance he could also end up identifying as transgender).

Broadly speaking, these sorts of differences between (pre-)gay and (pre-)straight people persist into adulthood. Among adults, “Research indicates that heterosexual men have greater interest in occupations and hobbies focusing on things and less interest in those focusing on people, compared with heterosexual women.” For gay men and women, the pattern flips: Gay men are more into people-things than their straight brothers and dad, while gay women are more into object-things than their straight sisters and moms. This blending of stereotypically gendered behavior seems to extend to “gestures and walking,” “speech,” “physical presentation,” and “even facial appearance.”

Fascinatingly, “the link between gender nonconformity and nonheterosexual orientation has been found in a wide variety of cultures,” the authors write, and seems to manifest itself in similar ways just about everywhere. To take one example, the researchers quote from a book chapter called “Os Entendidos: Gay life in São Paulo in the late 1970s”:

In the Guatemalan Indian town of Chimaltenango, two men lived together as lovers, wearing typical Indian clothing in an outwardly traditional Indian adobe house. The house, however, was decorated in a manner strikingly different from the other Indians. It was meticulously and elaborately decorated, a characteristic frequently found in homosexual subcultures … The occupation of the lovers was that of stringing pine needles in decorative strands, traditionally used in Guatemala for holidays and other festive occasions, and supplying flowers for weddings. In essence these two men were florists, involved in the arts of embellishment, which in larger societies are universally linked with homosexual subcultures.

Because of this striking consistency in the (again, average) differences between how straight and gay people present themselves around the world, the researchers suspect that whatever’s going on here can’t be explained solely by suggesting gay people are simply fulfilling — or being socially coerced into — culturally expected roles:

Before leaving the topic of gender nonconformity, we address a commonly raised question: Might the gender-atypicality of adult homosexual men and women simply reflect a culturally influenced self-fulfilling prophecy? In other words, given that society expects homosexual individuals to be gender atypical, and given that LGB communities often support and facetiously celebrate such gender atypicality, perhaps some homosexual people adopt gender-atypical characteristics to conform to their own stereotypes. Because of the evidence we have reviewed — indicating that gender nonconformity often begins before a prehomosexual child even has a sexual orientation or is aware of cultural stereotypes, and that the link between gender nonconformity and nonheterosexual orientation has been found in a wide variety of cultures — we think it is highly unlikely that gender nonconformity in LGB populations represents a self-fulfilling prophecy due to cultural beliefs. It is possible, however, that cultural stereotypes sometimes amplify gender nonconformity among LGB people. Many LGB individuals report that they have always been fairly gender-typical in dress, appearance, and interests. It is possible that as these individuals come to identify as LGB and participate in the LGB community, they adopt aspects of gender-atypicality.

So if they’re right, what does explain these average differences? No one’s quite sure. But it seems like for the average human, sexuality and gender presentation are intertwined in important ways.

2. The best evidence for a nature-over-nurture explanation of sexuality comes from an accidental quasi-experiment involving surgically removed penises. Bailey and his colleagues ran through a bunch of the different ways researchers have tried to puzzle out what makes some people gay, others straight, and others bisexual: brain and hormone and genetics studies, among other areas of research. All these fields have added interesting nuggets, but it’s clear from the study that the researchers are most excited by a coincidental small pile of research they call “the near-perfect quasi-experiment.”The participants in this quasi-experiment might not share the researchers’ enthusiasm. All of them were natal males who were either “born with malformed penises or lost their penises in surgical accidents.” Between 1960 and 2000, Bailey and his colleagues write, “many doctors in the United States believed that such males would be happier being socially and surgically reassigned female,” and that’s what happened to these kids: They were raised as girls, wearing “girl” clothes, doing “girl” things, and so on. (Alice Dreger does a wonderful job explaining this practice and how it came to change, in part due to activism she herself helped to spearhead, in her book Galileo’s Middle Finger.)

Bailey and his colleagues examined the seven such cases that have been written up in the literature. Of the seven, they found, six of the unfortunate subjects came to eventually identify as heterosexual males at the time they were followed up with; the seventh still identified as female and said she was “predominately” into women.

If socialization were a significant part of the sexuality equation, the odds that not one of these natal males would grow up to be attracted primarily to men are just about nil, statistically speaking. “These results comprise the most valuable currently available data concerning the broad nature-versus-nurture questions for sexual orientation,” write the researchers. “They show how difficult it is to derail the development of male sexual orientation by psychosocial means. If one cannot reliably make a male human become attracted to other males by cutting off his penis in infancy and rearing him as a girl, then what other psychosocial intervention could plausibly have that effect?”

So does that clinch it? Sexuality is, in fact, innate? Not quite …

3. “Born this way” is probably wrong, but it doesn’t matter. Think back to the reason Bailey decided to co-author this paper: Uganda’s homophobic president was asking for “proof” that homosexuality is inborn. Bailey and his colleagues don’t think it would be accurate to claim to be able to deliver him that proof. At the moment, they write, when you look at the (somewhat limited) twin research that has been conducted — studies on twins being the best large-scale way to tease out nature-nurture questions — it looks like about a third of the variation in sexual orientation in human beings comes from genes; 43 percent comes from environmental influences a given set of twins don’t share (random factors that cause their brains and bodies to develop differently, such as different experiences); and 25 percent from environmental influences they do share (their general upbringing, developing in the same uterine environment, and so on).

Putting things a bit more straightforwardly: Identical twins share the same genes and the same womb, and yet when one is gay, the other is usually straight. That means things likely aren’t set at birth. Those environmental factors — mostly nonsocial ones, the researchers think — do matter.

So it’s complicated, and there’s also a sex divide: Bailey’s current view is that male sexual orientation is probably more or less set by birth, but for females, who in general exhibit a bit more fluidity with regard to sexual orientation, postnatal factors could be important. For humanity as a whole, “born this way” is probably a bit too pithy a summary of what’s going on, at least in light of the current evidence — which could change as we come to better understand the brain, genetics, and hormones. (Note: I updated this paragraph post-publication to mention the sex difference, which is important and comes up throughout Bailey and his colleagues’ paper.)

But as the authors hint, people often misinterpret this as meaning sexual orientation is a choice, or is something one person (presumably a creepy older adult) can teach another one (presumably an innocent, otherwise-straight child). That’s not the case. It’s important, they argue, to keep in mind a simple distinction: The sentence “I choose to have sex with partners of my own sex” makes sense, while the sentence “I choose to desire to have sex with partners of my own sex” doesn’t. No one chooses what they desire. The authors make this point nicely with a quote in which Einstein sums up one of Schopenhauer’s views: “Man can do what he wills, but he cannot will what he wills.” The opposite of inborn isn’t chosen.

It’s perhaps no surprise that in the last part of their paper, Bailey and his colleagues come out strongly against the harsh anti-gay laws Museveni passed. There’s scant evidence, contra Museveni’s claims, that homosexual people “recruit” otherwise-straight children into their subculture, or that sexuality is otherwise socially learned. Museveni’s resistance to evidence might be a useful lesson: People seeking to demonize and stigmatize other people’s identities and behaviors probably aren’t particularly interested in the science underlying those identities and behaviors, anyway. They tend to be far more animated by political opportunism or fear or disgust than a desire to truly understand the full, fascinating range of the human experience.

For the rest of us, born this way might be useful shorthand, but it doesn’t capture the full picture — and we can handle the nuance.

Complete Article HERE!