Are Homosexuals Sexual Cowards?

Gandalf: I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.
Bilbo Baggins: I should think so—in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anyone sees in them!

There is a mystery to sexuality. A large part—perhaps even the largest part—of maturing into an adult is exploring and coming to understand sex and sexuality. And perhaps that mystery is never quite fully dispelled, even after one finds comfort in one’s own skin, so to speak.

However mysterious one’s own sexuality remains to oneself, so much more mysterious is the sexuality of someone of the opposite sex! To draw an analogy, the mystery of one’s own sexuality is like the undiscovered in a familiar land. What caves, gems, artifacts, or other unknowns lurk beneath your own house or in the hills of your own hometown? But the mystery of someone else’s sexuality—someone else of the opposite sex, that is—is more like the mystery of an altogether undiscovered land. What is this place? What will I find here? Is it like my own? What are the people like? That’s at least partly why we admire early explorers. Penetrating the mystery of foreign lands and peoples requires courage.

After Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, they looked upon each other and for the first time felt embarrassed by each other’s nakedness. Why don’t men feel the same sense of embarrassment before other men in, say, communal showers? Or why don’t women feel that same sense of embarrassment when they help dress one another in a clothing store? Because when Adam and Even partook of the forbidden fruit they alienated themselves from God and, in so doing, alienated themselves from each other. They became foreigners in a land God created for them, and their sexuality became foreign to each other as well. But the sexuality of man is not foreign to men, nor is the sexuality of woman foreign to women.

Now, just as exploring a foreign land requires courage, so, too, does exploring the sexuality of someone of the opposite sex. But not everyone has the courage required to explore foreign lands. Some people simply prefer the known to the unknown, even in their own hometown. There is comfort in the familiar. I can understand, therefore, why, in the process of coming to understand sex and sexuality, a less courageous spirit will find comfort in the more familiar territory of one’s own sexuality, thereby finding oneself attracted to people of the same sex.

I don’t have to explore the unknown, for I can reliably depend on what I know about myself. There is less of a mystery about how I can please someone else; I can reliably depend on what pleases me. I don’t have to overcome the embarrassment of feeling foreign before, well, a sexual foreigner. In short, I can be a sexual coward. I can prefer the known to the unknown, the familiar to the unfamiliar, the domestic to the foreign, and forsake the courage and trust that’s required of men and women in heterosexual relationships.

Perhaps this what’s behind calling homosexuals “sissies” and “pussies” (not that I advocate calling homosexuals such things; I do not). They are those poor, pusillanimous souls that don’t have the guts to leave their hometowns. They never go on an adventure. They don’t have the courage to explore the foreign land of a person’s sexuality unlike their own. Of course, maybe not all homosexuals are sexual cowards. But not all human beings have two legs, either.

Touchstone

Former feminist turned conservative. PhD. Proud helpmeet. Teaches at a liberal arts school somewhere in the Midwest. Enjoys hunting and eating animals. Favorite musician: Hank Williams Jr.

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17 Comments

  1. This topic will either be ignored or get completely out of hand, so I will indulge the privilege of a first reply with these comments:
    The response to someone of the opposite sex is a response to the whole person – not simply the physical dimorphism, but the differences in identity (a psychological concept) to which the physical distinctions give rise. This integrated response is difficult to learn, and is best acquired by observing and experiencing behavior modeled by adults, especially the behaviors and interactions of parents of each sex. However, in addition to the possibility of cowardice, I believe that narcissism can also be a cause for a homosexual response.

  2. I have a couple points I’d like to raise, hopefully you can respond to them.

    I’m not really sure your jump to cowardice follows, even if I grant everything else you have said. You say:

    ‘Now, just as exploring a foreign land requires courage, so, too, does exploring the sexuality of someone of the opposite sex. But not everyone has the courage required to explore foreign lands. Some people simply prefer the known to the unknown, even in their own hometown. There is comfort in the familiar.’

    The issue I see with this is that even if doing something lets call it X requires courage, it doesn’t mean not doing X is result of any sort of cowardice or even that the likely cause is cowardice. An example of what I mean would be that going to war takes courage, however not doing so doesn’t mean you’re a coward.

    A question I have as well is how does bisexuality fit into this picture? It doesn’t seem to fit neatly in with the sexual cowardice view as to the origin of their sexual desires. Perhaps you think that bisexuality is caused by something else or it doesn’t exist. All three possibilities seem to me to potentially cause some issues , so depending on your view maybe I can explain that a bit more.

  3. I think I’ve got it: homosexuality is conservative intellectuals’ achilles heel. They seek to be taken seriously as thinkers and philosophers, but get them on the topic of homosexuality (usually male anal penetrative activity) and they can’t help themselves but to look silly. My recommendation: stop talking about homosexuality and start talking a lot more about the truly significant culture (see Amy Wax and the leftist meltdown over her common sense arguments) and other (e.g., limited govt) wars where conservatives actually have a footing and a case to be made.

    Why, going well into the 21st century now, is homosexuality even an issue to anyone? Hint: it’s not a pressing issue; people have better things to focus on, get it over it already. The opportunity costs are getting way too high as it is.

    One could ask the cultural conservatives to make a deal just to see if they go for it: they let the homosex and same-sex marriage issues go, but they get the rest of the Wax-ian and limited-govt agenda to push to their hearts’ content. Something tells me they might be too hung-up to accept even that entirely reasonable deal.

    • Put another way: why do (self-avowed) conservatives care what other people do with their sexual lives? What business is it of theirs? What difference does it make if it’s a lifestyle choice or something determined by genetics or both? Who gives a shit, really? (Maybe the idiotic counterparts on the left want to keep making it an issue, or maybe they’re making an issue out of their far-right counterparts always wanting to make it an issue.)

      If there is a pathology going on here, it seems to be an intellectual and cultural pathology of the Right, in making people’s sexual lives a political issue.

      People of common sense care a lot more about actual barometers of a culture’s and society’s health. This is why Amy Wax can make such a splash on the bourgeois-values front without bringing in the (irrelevant) topic of homosexuality, while those continuing to obsess over homosexuality will continue to wither on the political vine.

      No one cares about conservatives’ sexual hang-ups, either . . . until they start making it a political issue. It’s conservatives of all people who should be wary about politicizing things that needn’t be and shouldn’t be.

      Perhaps most pathetic of all is when these self-avowed conservatives (sic?) start abusing statistical data to “establish” that it’s (the widespread acceptance of) homosexuality that’s a driving cause of social ills. Plus, many of the biblical passages on the subject are vile/inhumane/cruel, making it all that much more pathetic for someone to forego common sense and to adhere to those passages instead. And then to politicize *that* viciousness . . . ?

    • Ultimate Philosopher,

      Let’s try this again, now that time has passed, and we both have cooler heads.

      Consider:

      1) As a union, homosexual coupling necessarily is nonprocreative.
      2) As a union, heterosexual coupling is procreative.
      3) Society, as a significant majority of individuals, recognizes that both homosexual coupling and heterosexual coupling are equal, i.e. apt for marriage.
      C1: Society views procreation, i.e. whether or not as a union being nonprocreative or procreative, as not inherent to marriage (From 1, 2, 3).
      4) If society views the capacity for procreation as not inherent to marriage, then society has no moral reservations about procreating outside of the bonds of marriage.
      C2: Society has no moral reservations about procreating outside of the bonds of marriage (Modus Ponens 4 and C1).

      If you accept this reasoning, remember one of the Bourgeoisie values Amy Wax was excoriated for was waiting until one’s married to have kids, i.e. procreate. In a post-Obergefell world, it seems like this Bourgeoisie value is not grounded. How can we make sense of it? Argue for it even if we agree in its truth? Indeed, all those traditional values and proscriptions against divorce and adultery, and prescriptions for working hard and sacrificing for your kids, modeling what it means to be a woman and man for the sake of the next generation, the whole house of Bourgeoisie values crumbles because it’s foundationless.

      And when the mediating institution of the family is nought but ash (it’s been burning for quite some time already), then what is left to pick up the pieces, i.e. provide for the single mothers, care for orphaned children, etc.? The state. I believe as a libertarian and a conservative, we both find an expansive, nanny-state deplorable and inimical to our flourishing as rational animals.

      As for evidence: Consider the 70+ percent out-of-wedlock birthrate in American’s black communities. There’s a strong correlation between it and the high rates of crime, relative poverty, social dysfunction, reliance on food stamps and other welfare program. Look to history: Observe how totalitarian states dissolve the buffer between the family and the state, e.g. Hitler Youth, the Soviets praising Pavlik Morozov as an exemplar for all because he betrayed his family to them.

      You find the conservative impulse to criticize homosexuality (not that I necessarily endorse the OP’s argument) tired and a failed tactic that should be abandoned in the realm of right-wing politics. That’s fantastic. Do you think it bothers a group philosophers, who, like Socrates, rather pursue the truth instead of being politically correct and unpopular? It’s a badge of honor! To be Boethius and preserve civilization though our world slides in ignominious decline — there’s nothing better for the philosopher!

      Beyond this, if you concur that Bourgeoisie values ought to preserved and renewed, criticizing homosexuality and its connection to the libertine excesses of the left not only seems fair game, but integral to such an end.

    • This comment is in reply to Jan Sobieski IV. Sadly, the comment system will not let me reply to your comment directly.

      Your argument would be sound, if not for the fact that 4) does not hold.

      “If society views the capacity for procreation as not inherent to marriage, then society has no moral reservations about procreating outside of the bonds of marriage.”

      To illustrate the problems with this logic, I will apply the same logical structure to another context:

      Given that people who are on trial a crime will sometimes be acquitted, it can be said that a prison sentence is not inherent in a criminal trial. But applying your logic to this situation yields the following statement:

      If society views a prison sentence as not inherent in a criminal trial, then society has no moral reservations about sentencing somebody to prison without a criminal trial.

      But society does have such reservations, so the logical structure of 4) is invalid.

      Now, you might be tempted to nitpick and point out that some people are imprisoned without being convicted, as in the case of defendants being remanded, as well as the case of terror suspects being detained without charge in places like Guantanamo. The morality of the latter will polarise people, but most will (rightly or wrongly) have no objection to the former. However, although these are forms of imprisonment, they are not prison sentences in the literal sense of the term, and so have no bearing on the statement in question. In any case, if you find this distinction to be too subtle, you can quite easily substitute ‘prison sentence’ for ‘death sentence’, and this ambiguity goes away:

      If society views a death sentence as not inherent in a criminal trial, then society has no moral reservations about sentencing somebody to death without a criminal trial.

  4. Ultimate Philosopher,
    I don’t think gays are cowards, and I agree there are more pressing issues. But the idea that the sexual aspects of life can be a private matter with no implications for “society’s health” is a crazy Leftist idea. It’s just not possible for a society to take no stand on what constitutes the ideal or better form of sexuality, family, child care, etc. If society decides that the model of man-woman-extended-family is no better than man-man-reproductive surrogate (for example) that decision just does affect how kids are raised, what they value or consider normal, what kinds of relationships they’re able to have. For the most part we should let individuals do what they want, as long as there’s decent hypocrisy, but we have to reject this complex of Leftist ideas: that it’s wrong to uphold norms of sexuality other than consent; that every person’s “sex life” is a merely personal thing; that it makes no difference to the overall health of society whether children are being presented with traditional roles and norms rather than promiscuity, abortion, trans and homo and poly…

  5. Put another way: why do (self-avowed) conservatives care what other people do with their sexual lives?

    Because we care about truth, a concept the liberal abandoned long ago.

  6. Yes, clearly homosexuality is the Achilles heel of many right intellectuals, because they feel free to opine without any attempt to actually engage with anything that might be called evidence. (This is not a post by someone who cares about the truth.)

    Homosexuality is a human variation, occurs in all human societies. Homosexual behaviour also occurs in nature. Plenty of societies have managed to be stable, and have stable family structures, while accepting sexual variation. Really, heterosexuals are about 90% of the population: people can cope with others being variant (bisexuals, homosexuals, asexuals etc make up about 8-12% of the population, according to CDC figures). We know, because lots of societies have.

    Perhaps one might bother to talk to some homosexuals about their experience, read some of the research and anthropological literature. There are potentially huge social/emotional/family costs in being homosexual: it is why so many folk resist being honest about themselves over it. (Hence the joke that it is better to be black than gay, as you don’t have to tell your mother that you’re black.)

    • Lorenzo,

      There’s also a question of what you mean by “homosexuality” — there’s ambiguity with how you use the word. Do you mean homosexuality as sexual behavior toward the same-sex or a deeply-seated urge or attraction toward members of the same sex? Either way, just because something occurs is not a sufficient reason to institutionalize it as normative. For example, theft occurs in all human societies. Should we treat it as a normative? As for a deeply seated urge, I think we all have a innate propensity toward selfishness or an urge to “get even” when we’re wronged by someone. Again, it doesn’t follow that these all too human desires should be normative and encouraged. Furthermore, cannibalism or forced copulation is common in nature too — does it follow that we should accept cannibalism and rape? This isn’t to say homosexuals don’t deserve equal protection under the law or that they’re less than human (obviously, not the case). Nor does this mean there shouldn’t be a right to “same-sex marriage,” though I fully admit I subscribe to a) There is no such thing as “same-sex marriage” and b) There is no legal right in the US Constitution for “same-sex marriage.” Rather, your reasoning here just isn’t sufficient to establish the “gay rights”-friendly conclusions you and many others believe they do.

      “Plenty of societies have managed to be stable, and have stable family structures, while accepting sexual variation.”

      I fully concede that civilizations have thrived with widespread acceptance of homosexuality, e.g. Ancient Athens. However, I don’t think even Aristophanes considered same-sex relationships and opposite-sex relationships as both marriages. “Same-sex marriage” is unprecedented in human history. Marriage as a heterosexual institution far predates the existence of Christianity and the “anti-gay” prejudices attributed to the religion. So is the understanding that the basis for marriage is to fulfill adult romantic desires instead of producing and rearing the next generation. That these novel social changes and the triumph of the sexual revolution aren’t big deals and don’t have long-term consequences for society as a whole, some of which aren’t and might not be good, even though it may take years for them to realize, is a leftist canard that is either uttered dishonestly or ignorantly. It’s about as obtuse as Peter Singer claiming that “sex raises no unique moral issues at all. Decisions about sex may involve considerations of honesty, concern for others, prudence, and so on, but there is nothing special about sex in this respect, for the same could be said of decisions about driving a car. (In fact, the moral issues raised by driving a car, both from an environmental and from a safety point of view, are much more serious that those raised by sex.)”

  7. Given that we are the cultural species, and that male homosexuals in particular are wildly disproportionately important in the creation and transmission of culture, having a persistent minority with strong incentives to invest in cultural skills has likely proved to be beneficial. (Male homosexuals are also disproportionately involved in the caring professions, which may well be connected.)

    Heterosexuality is dominant and robust. There really are much bigger cultural issues than homosexuality. Especially as, given that homosexuality is a persistent human variation, one cannot attempt to delegitimise it without being vicious and nasty to highly vulnerable individuals (as queer folk grow up in overwhelmingly straight families and social milieus), without causing absolutely unnecessary human misery. It is why the issue has turned into such a boon to post modern progressivism–there is no humane way to be agin homosexuality.

    • “Given that we are the cultural species, and that male homosexuals in particular are wildly disproportionately important in the creation and transmission of culture…” Huh?!

    • “Especially as, given that homosexuality is a persistent human variation, one cannot attempt to delegitimise it without being vicious and nasty to highly vulnerable individuals (as queer folk grow up in overwhelmingly straight families and social milieus), without causing absolutely unnecessary human misery…”

      I suspect that you won’t get much agreement here among the blog’s posters that homosexuality is a variation of any thing other than sexual perversion.

  8. To carry on:

    “Gay men really do want girls like me. They’re just scared.”

    This sounds like the height of ego-driven, motivated reasoning. Great work. I’m sure this hypothesis does a lot to calm your post-feminist rage.

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