About Homesexuality in General
The Cases of Sexual Orientation.
Attitudes Toward Homosexuality.
Fay and Lesbian Families.
Fay and Lesbian Parents.
How Many Are Out There?
Divorced Lesbian Mothers and Fay Fathers.
Lesbian and Fay Men Choosing Parent-hood.
The Children of Fay and Lesbian Parents.
Tender and Sexual Orientation.
Children Born to Lesbian Mothers.
Implications for Counselors.
I. About Homesexuality in General.
Homosexuality is sexual activity between individuals of the same sex. Both men and women may be considhomosexual. Female homosexuals often call themlesbians. Male homosexuals sometimes refer to themselves as gay. Scientists estimate that 1 to 10 perof men and women in the United States feel sexuattracted primarily to members of their own sex.
Some people are not entirely homosexual or entirely heterosexual (sexually attracted only to the opposite sex). Some people with homosexual experiences or tenden-cies marry individuals of the opposite sex and have chilMany people who identify themselves as heterohave participated in some kind of homosexual activity at some time in their lives. People who are strongly attracted to members of both sexes are called bisexuals.
It is fairly common for young boys — and, less frefor young girls — to masturbate (handle or rub their sex organs). Boys may stimulate each other in this way, and so may girls. Such activity rarely indicates or develops into a homosexual orientation. In most cases, the young people are simply exploring their own sexual development. See Sex (Puberty).
Some homosexual behavior results from the unavaila-bility of partners of the opposite sex and may not reflect a homosexual interest that continues once partners of the opposite sex become available. Thus, a person who spends long periods separated from the opposite sex may turn to members of his or her own sex for sexual partners. For example, such a situation may occur in prison.
Many homosexuals hide their homosexuality. Others are more open about it. Many join gay or lesbian groups. Sometimes two homosexuals establish a long-term relationship that is similar to marriage.
2. The causes of sexual orientation are not fully un-derstood. Some experts believe all people are born with a bisexual potential. But for a majority of people, either homosexuality or heterosexuality becomes their sexual orientation.
Most experts feel that a number of different factors can influence the direction of one's sexual orientation. Some researchers have suggested that sexual orienta-tion results chiefly from biological factors. These may ina specific gene inherited from a parent or the ef-fect of hormones in the mother's womb on the developing brain of a fetus. Other researchers believe a person's sexual orientation is associated primarily with social and psychological factors. For example, according to one theory, children can learn through pleasurable sexual experiences to become increasingly attracted to either of the sexes or to both sexes.
Homosexuality is more comfortable than heterosexufor many men and women. Some people try to change their sexual orientation through psychiatric treatment. However, learning to manage and appreciate one's feelings and life style may be a more realistic goal for people.
3. Attitudes toward homosexuality.
Throughout hishomosexuality has existed in most societies. Varicultures have differed in their attitudes toward it. For example, some ancient Greeks not only accepted homosexuality but considered it to be an ideal relationship —perhaps because ancient Greek men bethat only men could fulfill the role of true friend and lover. Other cultures have permitted homosexuality but have not encouraged it. Still others have forbidden it, and some have punished homosexuals.
Today, many people in most Western countries conhomosexuality immoral or unnatural.