NATURE OR NURTURE
According to Eberstadt, the most influential factor in our adult behavior is our rearing. Whether we are happy or troubled, whether we succeed or fail to succeed in life, our sexuality, all of this, Eberstadt states, is primarily controlled by whether we had attentive and loving parents. On the other hand, Hammer states that almost every aspect of our behavior is affected by and influenced by our biology in general and our genes in particular. He feels that if you wish to understand people, you would be well advised to look not to the psychiatric couch but to the biogenetic laboratories.
As it relates to human sexuality, Herbert (1997) calls these clashing claims the nature vs. nurture models of human behavior. Essentially, the question associated with these two perspectives is: Are people born gay or are psychological and social factors more influential than biogenetic factors in determining whether a person is homosexual? A good deal of the early research attempting to answer this question focused on either looking for support for biogenetic influences as the primary determinants of sexuality or on looking for psychosocial and environmental factors as the primary determinants (Money, 1999).
However, current research and theory no longer attempts to separate the two models (Bermant, 1995). Rather, current scientists agree that human sexuality (like other human behaviors) are due to the influence of a combination of social, biological, genetic and psychological factors. As a result the current literature offers a number of integrative models in which both biogenetics and the environmental (the mental and the physical) factors are used to explain the origins of homosexuality.
The purpose of this paper is to review the relevant current research on the nature vs. nurture debate and delineate some of the current models that have been developed in answer to...