Re: Homosexuality: male & female

Lars Eighner (
10 Sep 1996 07:51:04 -0500

In our last episode <512qo1$>,
Broadcast on sci.anthropology
The lovely and talented (Yousuf Khan) wrote:

>Now I don't mean this to turn into some debate about right and wrong, all
>I'm asking for below are numbers.
>Is it just my imagination or do male homosexuals tend to outnumber female

Every study has found this to be the case. There are good reasons
to suppose the studies are biased and that some cultural biases will
prevent people from recognizing female homosexuality when they
see it, but the disparity is so great and so uniform that it is not
really within the realm of reason to attribute all the difference
to the various biases.

However, there really is no good reason to suppose a priori that
male homosexuality and female homosexuality would be symmetrical
phenomena. So far the interesting but far from conclusive attempts
at finding a biological basis of homosexuality have almost all
restricted themselves to male subjects or made wholly unwarrented
assumptions about female subjects. Female homosexuality has been
extensively under-studied and ignored.

>Or is it just that males are more open and vocal about it?

In many cultures males are more open and vocal about their
sexualities, whatever their sexualities are.

>Also, what are the latest figures on the percentage of homosexuality in the
>general population? Last I heard they were talking about 10% of the human
>population is fully homosexual,

There is essentially no basis for this figure, if by fully homosexual
you mean life-long homosexuality with no opposite-sex sexual experience
whatever. The figure for that kind of homosexuality is consistently
in the 2-4% range every place a reasonably well designed study has
been attempted. However, there seems to be considerable reason to
accept Kinsey's view that sexuality should be seen as a continuous
variable, and the 10% figure is not entirely out of the question if
you take homosexual to mean someone who has more same-sex contacts than
opposite-sex contacts.

>with 25% of the human population showing
>some degree of homosexuality (ie. bisexuality). Now, I don't know if those
>figures are accurate anymore or not, nor do I know if that 25% figure
>denotes both bisexuals and homosexuals, or just bisexuals alone. Can
>somebody fill me in on the latest survey figures?

Essentially, for all its flaws, no work comparable to Kinsey's has been
done. Moreover, you rather quickly run into a number of problems of
definition. What does "some degree of homosexuality" mean? Does it
mean actual behaviors with a partner leading to orgasm? Does it include
fantasies? Masturbatory fantasies? There are serious epistomological
problems in trying to quantify factors such as preference and sexual
identity. Yet, merely counting behaviors has certain limitations too.

Even if you think Kinsey's numbers are wrong or are too old to be
of any value, it is still worth reading his book for the insight in
to these kinds of difficulty (and also to discover what his numbers
really were, for they are often misrepresented).

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