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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Dear Sir: Although I read die essay by Gallup and Suarez [1] with much interest, I find it difficult to accept the possibility that a preference for homosexual behavior arises out ofheterosexual frustration in man. These authors suggest that heterosexual frustration is a consequence of the different reproductive strategies of males and females. However, if heterosexual frustration were the cause of homosexual behavior, then most gay men should especially desire heterosexual activity, if it were available, as would "facultative homosexuals" in prison. While die latter men probably would like to have sex with women, I know ofno data to support the contention that men who identify themselves as gay are suppressing a desire to have sex with women. I believe it is more productive to consider die origins of male homosexual behavior in a larger context of human evolution, behavior, and sexuality. This broader perspective is not possible when one focuses on sex only as it relates direcdy to reproduction, as these audiors seem to do [I]. For example, one could also consider that primates form hierarchies and alliances. Two or three male baboons may thus dominate a troop that none of diem could control alone [2]. These alliances may elevate their members in status and thus improve their chances of feeding and reproducing. Moreover, the capacity to respond sexually serves more than a reproductive function in our species. It is also used for bonding between men and women [3] and possibly between mother and infant [4,5]. Perhaps sex between male allies can serve to strengthen this relationship as well. Thus, homosexual behavior might threaten heterosexual men who are unwilling to engage in this activity because it could strengthen alliances between men who will have sex widi each other. In fact, Kinsey, Pomeroy, and Martin [6] were the first to report that most males in our society do engage in at least some homosexual behavior to the point of orgasm. Thus, the threat of open, socially accepted homosexual behavior may be more that it is open and accepted radier than that it is homosexual. The optimum strategy for a male would seem to be to use sex to bond with and reproduce with women, bond with and form strong alliances with men, and deny competitors the opportunity to engage extensively in either type of bonding. Thus, men's "locker-room talk," while accepting exploitive sex with women, does not encourage men to use sex to bond with either women or men. When the relationships of other people are closer, men tend to view them as more dangerous [7]. However, the man who bonds more or less secredy with as many men and women as possible might optimize his own sucPermission to reprint a letter printed in this section may be obtained only from the author. 490 J Letters to the Editor cess. Thus, I see Kinsey's [6] continuum of sex-partner preference in men (from strictly heterosexual to strictly homosexual) as a natural consequence ofa species which has evolved the tendency to form alliances and hierarchies and uses sex not only for reproduction direcdy but for bonding in relationships as well. In this regard, perhaps open, accepted homosexual behavior is tolerated less among teachers than among military personnel [1, 8, 9] because male adolescents will soon be competing with adults. They would become more ofa threat if diey were encouraged to form alliances which included sex bonding. In contrast, alliances among soldiers in the military are unlikely to upset the relatively rigid hierarchy characteristic of this subculture. In fact, closer bonds between men in the military might be adaptive in that they could help to form more cohesive and reliable fighting units. Gallup and Suarez [1] see heterosexual hostility toward homosexuals as originating from a fear that one's own offspring will be less reproductively successful if they learn, from teachers, to prefer homosexual behavior. In contrast, I see homophobia as a fear that homosexual behavior will strengthen the alliances of other men and in this way decrease the power and ultimately die reproductive success of men competing with these alliances. I have purposely limited this discussion to male homosexual behavior in humans since...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 490-496
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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