From a high level view, the idea that something that is so critical to species survival, like a sex drive, isn't largely genetic determined seems rather unlikely.
I suspect the situation is something like height - this primer gives a good overview of properties of something that might be largely genetic but by many many factors. Also it covers the issue of rare exceptions, being different from the general rule.
Also note height is a continuous function not a binary state of tall or short - I suspect the same is here - this would easily explain, why some people feeling they were born that way, and others feel it's more a choice.
Actually I found that surprising to hear. We have so many social processes that in many cases discourage and reduce sexual behavior.
Marriage works against the survival of the fittest you might get from sowing wild oats, but it's almost universal.
Homosexuality, indeed, is a discouragement to species survival (if I understand your meaning correctly). Yet you're claiming it is unlikely that it doesn't originate in genetics?
I don't know, I mean, I basically agree with your final statement - that we don't actually have a discrete variable here even if we largely see discrete behavior (since we tend to prefer long lasting relationships, so if you're F45-55M then you'll probably focus disproportionately on finding an M partner).
And what it means to be a guy or a girl is definitely not genetic. Most of our interaction with sexual beings is "pants on". And those pants, and the nature of our interactions, is hugely cultural determined.
And I think most people have the experience of being attracted to a person without engaging in any sex-seeking behavior with them. And many people seem to have experience of the reverse.
Given the cultural and experiential components of sexual attraction, I really don't think genetics need to be worth that much. Maybe there's some contribution, but it doesn't seem to have much scope, nor does it need it.
Survival of the fittest is useless if none make it to reproductive age (or the opportunity to reproduce), and humans are incapable of fending for themselves for at least the first couple of years of their lives. Simply reproducing with many is not a surefire way, and doesn't seem to be the optimal way, of guaranteeing that your genetic material endures.
Bret Weinstein has some interesting thoughts on the evolutionary merits of things like marriage and religion, I'd reccommend having a look at his work.
Also I'd have to say that one of the great successes of humans as a species is they are much more adaptable without genetic change than most - ie escaping our genetics is something to be acknowledged and celebrated not berated.
> Homosexuality, indeed, is a discouragement to species survival (if I understand your meaning correctly). Yet you're claiming it is unlikely that it doesn't originate in genetics?
I said the sex drive is likely largely genetic - note that there are two sexes! - women who are attracted generally to men and vice a versa - so both attractions would be encoded in the same genome - each by many factors. The question them becomes in any individual, which ones are switched on to what extent.
Genetic variation is a cornerstone of evolution, without it you can't genetically adapt or change.
Clearly sexual attraction involves the brain, which is one of the most adaptable organs in the body - so environment is very likely going to play a role - these things are not absolute.
Finally you seem to be under some illusion that the current state of humans is perfect adaption, rather than continuous work in progress against a constantly moving target.
However when it comes to things like predicting which body form will be most successful there isn't a single one as it depends on the environment. ie massive breasts and wide hips might be good for child rearing, but not very good for running. On the other hand in some situations a very large muscled man might be good - but not in a situation were food becomes scarce, or you need to be able to float.
ie there's isn't one form that fit's all niches - and so you'd expect there to be variation in body shape attraction as well.
So even putting aside the whole men/women different sexual attraction factors, even within one 'form' there will be significant variation.
Maybe not. Homosexuality has been very widely observed in nature.  My understanding is that modern biologists tend to take the view that evolution is, for whatever reason, not acting to eliminate it.
There exist genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis which, it seems quite clear, have no evolutionary 'upside', but which nonetheless haven't been eliminated by natural selection.
I believe most modern biologists tend not to put homosexuality in the same bucket, simply on account of how widespread it seems to be in nature.
I have to say I don't understand Dawkins' idea that homosexuality might be a 'misfiring' of genes, contingent on modern human life, given that homosexual behaviour has been observed in other apes.  
Annoyingly Wikipedia has very little to say on this interesting question. 
> Given the cultural and experiential components of sexual attraction, I really don't think genetics need to be worth that much. Maybe there's some contribution, but it doesn't seem to have much scope, nor does it need it.
I don't see how that figures. One would surely expect evolution to 'care' a great deal about mate-selection. That's how we have Fisherian runaways, after all. 
It was immensely useful during the gay rights movement, especially in the years preceding Obergefell, as a way to essentially persuade straight people, "This is not something I can control, so it's not something I can change, even if I wanted to." There was a de-emphasis on how sexual relationships typically develop -- through a serious of free, conscious choices to which sexual partners consent -- and instead an emphasis on sexual attraction itself, which often does not feel like a fully a conscious choice.
Now, I'm seeing more and more LGB people, especially those under 30, freely admit what had been considered an open secret: that many of those who insisted that they were "born this way" actually consider sexual orientation not to be immutable, but fluid, to various degrees. Whether one has conscious control over whom one finds attractive at any given time, of course, is another question, but for a time, evidence for sexual fluidity, especially within the queer community, was considered potentially damaging to the "born this way" efforts and de-emphasized or suppressed.
Post-Obergefell, more queer people seem to feel like they've gained enough legal and cultural ground that they can freely admit it, though. And some do in an almost defiant way, saying essentially, "So what if my sexual choices are free choices? If I choose to be gay, who's to say I shouldn't?"
That's a far cry from the prevailing narrative from just 10 or 15 years ago, when very few gay people would admit that they might have any conscious control over being gay.
(Obviously "fluidity" of sexuality does not preclude "born this way" - it could be that it's written in your genes that your sexuality would/will change throughout your life, similar to many people's libidos and/or hair color.)
Edit: on second thought, it's very possible that it could be random environmental influences (e.g. amount of... I don't know... drums + beech pollen ... the fetus is exposed to in the womb) - that could be pretty much orthogonal with genetics, while still leaving the person with "no choice". It's just that AFAIK most personality traits have a significant genetic component, either actually genetic or epigenetic .
The simple explanation is that we simply don't fully understand how sexual preferences form. But that should be a moot point on this because why should people care? You're a human, I'm a human ergo we have the same rights. End of story. I know that is not the world we live in sadly.
The underlying issue here is a matter of unity. People want to be with people like themselves, and consider sexuality a parameter in this. Obviously we need to change that, but it shouldn't matter one iota why some people are gay.
I wish it were that simple, but unfortunately pedophilia still exists even though it fits all your criteria. Clearly some people adopt sexual behaviours even if it could lead them to a terrible outcome. Actually, some might do it specifically for that reason and the thrill of it.
You could make the same comment about religion, drugs, literature, politics etc... It's not rare for humans to adopt behaviors that put them at risk even if there are no obvious benefits. People routinely endanger themselves while doing kinky things. There probably are more kinks out there than there are genes in the human genome. There's clearly a large number of factors at play here, only some of them genetic.
Being gay isn't a kink, just as being straight isn't.
Straight people continued relationships despite being outlawed, which is the entire premise of Romeo and Juliet. Would you call Romeo and Juliet's relationship a kink?
Some people are way to powerful to be punished like Leonardo Da Vinci who apparently everyone knew was Homosexual but remained close to power because of his importance (mostly due to skill)
Even being terrorist or mass shooter is condemned by society but doesn't stop the determined ones.
Don't get me wrong, I am not saying being homosexual is like being a terrorist, just comparing the condemned part of the situation which used to be the case before.
It might not be a single genetic element, it might be a combination. It might be epigenetic. It might be something during early development. But don't dismiss people who say they're born a certain way just because some other people supposedly said otherwise.
We know that e.g. dementia has a strong genetic component and have still failed to identify it despite knowing with certainty that component is there. We know faces are almost entirely determined by genetics but are still far off from being able to accurately predict a face from dna. We have a long way to go.
You're misappropriating studies that you don't understand to support a personal viewpoint that has no basis in the facts.
Obviously some people choose to be gay, Cynthia Nixon for example, who got in huge hot water for saying that for her, being gay IS a choice. She was specifically not “born that way.” Others clearly are. It’s a spectrum. :)
I’m “gay” and it’s not something I could change even if I wanted to. But I know that if someone who wasn’t the same sex came along and we got amazingly and there was sexual chemistry I wouldn’t limit myself because I use the label “gay”. (Really I’m about 90% along the spectrum to gay, but it’s easier just to say gay) For other friends they don’t have this, they are just “gay” and have zero interest in someone not the same sex and it’s not a choice that’s just how they are whether that’s through genes or environmental factors.
People have conscious control over how they act and who they sleep with but I’m almost certain they don’t have control over their sexuality.
Environmental factors have never been identified, and there is no clue as to when the determination is made. The sexual orientation can only really be observed/felt around puberty, but it seems to be determined long before.
> but it seems to be determined long before [puberty].
If your first statement is true, your second statement has no basis. If your second statement is based on anything, your first statement is false.
Just pointing this out because I'm curious what the actual findings in this area are.
Sexual orientation, at least if we are talking about mostly-heterosexual vs mostly-homosexual as a trait is first observable around puberty, and doesn't seem to change, ever.
So puberty is an upper bound for the determination having been made. And I really can't imagine that it would be this hard to figure out what factors "turn someone gay" if the decision is made closer to puberty.
If it were already determined at birth, much like gender, it would fit with what we observe about homosexuality not being a choice, not being "curable" or "preventable".
I'm not a scientist with deep knowledge in this topic, but from what I understand, there is no evidence pointing to the determination happening after birth.
So there are in fact some "clues as to when the determination is made". Clues such as this one and others you pointed out.
This was really all I was confused about.
You cannot choose to be born into a poor family, like you cannot choose beeing the youngest silbling, having a depression, being left handed or developing interest for the same sex.
Things like these happen to us independent of what we want, which is precisely the reason why it makes no sense to use atributes like these to single out individuals and spread falsehoods and hatered.
The weirdest thing is that everyone should know this, because we know that you can’t just decide with whom you fall in love with.
So just because there is no genetic deposition it doesn’t necessarily indicate that you can choose freely. Especially with desires that are rooted deep within, you can’t just go and decide that you have different desires from now on. That doesn’t mean these desires can’t change their shape over time, but influencing the how and what is neither easy nor possible in most cases.
I also am not sure we should draw much of a conclusion about what activists are saying. Activism seems to like aligning itself with what is most modern. That 'born this way' is now trending down says very little about either truth or what is going to happen in the future. Modern activism seems to be aligning itself with smaller and smaller minorities. Not that the people in said minorities don't also deserve to be treated fairly. People should take what people say about their sexual nature at face value instead of needing to know the precise label for something before being able to take it seriously. When we are talking about smaller and smaller minorities there will not be a label that is widely known for everyone.
To add some personal anecdata: my gay sexual nature seems to be about as fluid as rock.
>That's a far cry from the prevailing narrative from just 10 or 15 years ago, when very few gay people would admit that they might have any conscious control over being gay.
There's a large gap between "I'm gay because it's in my genes and I was born this way" and "I consciously chose to be gay". Social pressure and environment can probably play a role. Maybe (probably?) some gay people wouldn't have been gay if they had been raised in a different environment and vice-versa, but that doesn't mean that they ever consciously decided one way or the other the way you decide to go vegan or learn Japanese.
I like to think that sexuality is like food, music or anything else, what you like and don't like might be influenced by genes but it's obviously not the only factor at play. I doubt there's a gene for liking pineapple on pizza, yet here we are.
However we probably agree on two things: sexual orientation is not always a scale where the more you are attracted to one sex, the less you are attracted to another. And as many articles stated, the result for this study mostly means that we are not close to having a blood test that can determine if a person is gay.
Gays aren't the only ones who say they are born that way. As far as I know, everyone who is straight does too. Not that I researched it scientifically, but every straight person I know believes they were born straight, and that heterosexual animals were born heterosexual too.
How many people believe that heterosexuality is a choice?
There are lots of stories of homosexual men following societal pressure to create offspring.
You're assuming that "being born gay" implies a static, albeit nonbinary, sexual orientation, and you seem to be confusing the concept of sexual orientation with gender identity.
Yes, it's possible to be genderfluid and to be attracted to both men and women, to different degrees at different times, but none of that implies a conscious choice to "be gay." Do you believe straight people choose to be straight? If not, why would it be the case that heterosexuality is genetically determined, but not homosexuality or bisexuality?
I don't think I am. There is gender fluidity and sexual fluidity, and I'm talking about the latter.
Does this mean that every gay (or straight) person perceives their sexual attractions to be conscious decisions? No, but if you continue to insist that it's preposterous in the face of counterexamples, particularly counterexamples from gay people themselves, then I don't know how to respond to your outrage.
It's one thing to say, "Oh, I think such counterexamples are few and far between," but to say the very idea is preposterous just doesn't jibe with reality.
Bisexuals indeed have the unique opportunity to "decide" which side of their sexuality they pursue, because they enjoy both. That's what makes them different from "true" heterosexuals and homosexuals who can not enjoy both. (Though one could argue a homosexual forcing himself to have sex with a woman and make a family is not truly homosexual and we do know that's possible and happened quite often. I will leave that to the philosophers.)
Please keep in mind I am not even arguing for the "born this way" view. I have a "It does not matter" stance. I welcome ideology free research to clear it up though, but don't we already know the results? Both genes and environment play a role...
It’s not a growing trend to suggest people can control this. It is perhaps a trend that people acknowledge things change over time. Those two are not the same.
Good for advertising clicks and idiotic comments that have already started to appear.
Yeah i found that weird too. a Sexual experience is not "orientation"
Another interesting thing is that homosexual people use 23andme more frequently than the rest. Perhaps looking for clues like this
Natural selection means that a trait like male homosexuality, if it had a genetic component, couldn't have persisted over evolutionary time if the individuals that carry the genes associated with that trait are not reproducing.
In my observation of two contrasting cultures that I grew up in, it could be better explained by sociology than genetics.
We have genetic diseases that kill people before they reach adulthood. We have gay people who get married, make kids, and feel zero sexual attraction to their spouse.
Evolution is a complex process. It's not a mere "more offspring = everyone else disappears" deal.
It can be evolutionary advantageous for some of your kids to come first, even if it means others come last, rather than all your kids coming second.
A "male gay gene" could evolutionary surivive if it leads to boy crazy girls. Vice versa for a "lesbian gene".
In fact the study did find that partly different genetics were correlated for lesbians and for gays.
Not really, if we go back to time people were prosecuted for being homosexual. They used to have a wife and kid but still practised homosexuality in private or killed their desires and gave it up at great pain and sufferings.
It will take time for natrual selection to remove Homosexual genes (if we believe they exit) if they've full freedom and aren't forced to have kids.
"genetics seemed to account for between 8 and 25 percent of the behavior. The rest was presumably a result of environmental or other biological influences. "
There is a lot of other research which identify these "other biological influences" as hormonal imbalance during the pregnacy, which in most severe cases causes a child to be transgender, in milder ones gay (this kind of explains "drag queens", gay man who identify as male, but still like to dress up as women sometimes. Not sure if there's a female counterpart to this phenomenon).
But yes, that's not necessarily malice or incompetence on the part of the title's author.
If it's not malice, then it's linguistic incompetence.
Language can be used in too many ways and not all correct ways to use it are also easily understood. Often enough that doesn’t matter because of context but here context leads actually to people coming to the wrong conclusion because the well known conflict is between some (any) kind of genetic origin of homosexuality and environmental factors being responsible.
Or do they have a theoretical model of homosexuality and took just the genes that the model predicts should point to it?
But when looking for specific mutations, the sum of all these effects is often just a small fraction of that inheritability, suggesting that the interaction of the genes and the environment is more complex than can be captured with such models.
I'm pretty sure I could get statistical significance for any trait with a highly dimensional dataset.
The article says that it is a POLYGENIC situation, as in "not ONE gene, but many."
In reality there are going to be a bunch of different factors. Genetic predisposition is certainly likely to be one of them. Environmental factors too - like the hormonal environment in the womb, which I seem to remember had some correlation. Upbringing and social factors will also play an effect - a child with a strongly homophobic upbringing is less likely to explore their sexuality and end up identifying or embracing same-sex attraction.
Also, same-sex attraction usually occurs long before any kind of "exploration", and doesn't seem to be any more controllable or malleable than heterosexuals would be able to control their attraction to the other sex.
What in the parent comment makes you think this way (besides being an awful way to introduce an opinion)?
He's just stating that someone with homophobic parents will probably be discouraged to explore, accept, or even recognize his sexual orientation. More broadly, that environmental factors will play a role.
And yes, I guess it's not more malleable than any other sexual orientation. It could happen to heterosexual children in an heterophobic society, too.
I just get the feeling that you believe homosexuality to be something that can be consciously influenced by the individual himself or his social circle. And that can be a harmful attitude.
And the suggestion that "homosexuals would behave equally badly in a heterophobic society" is at best unhelpful.
So if somebody hides his homosexual orientation, that's not what the study would refer to as heterosexual orientation.
At no point did I say that it was uncommon for homosexual children to have homophobic parents. That obviously happens all the time.
But I think you are trying to use overly precise ideas to analyse human sexuality. It’s complex and messy and the result of many different factors. You can’t completely isolate sexual attraction from identity or social background; indeed it seems blindingly obvious to me that upbringing would have an effect on an individual’s willingness to think about, accept or acknowledge any latent same-sex attraction they experience. It can be hard for an individual who is raised to reject same-sex sexual activity as perverted or morally wrong to even consider the possibility that it’s something they might experience themselves. People ignore or reject aspects of themselves all the time.
I can’t be certain, but my experience suggests that human sexuality is probably much more fluid than we generally expect as a result of long-standing social conventions. This is something that might change as same-sex relationships lose their taboo. And maybe I’m totally wrong; maybe homosexuality is just the result of a bunch of physiological changes. I find it hard to reconcile though.
Many homosexuals really don't like the Idea of their sexual identity being "fluid". It doesn't seem to be the case that people "find out" they are homosexual later in life. They usually know it in puberty, even if they may not be able to clearly articulate it.
Talking about sexual identity as fluid is very close to saying it is a choice, curable or preventable, and that idea is causing a lot of harm.
Bisexual behavior or identity is something different again. And it's not clear to me if these are homo/heterosexuals also being able to "function" in the other way, or if it is a third kind of sexual orientation. From what I know it seems to be that a lot more heterosexuals are able to feel homosexual attraction/arousal than we may think. And homosexuals, especially in the past, have led opposite-sex relationships with all the "trappings".
There indeed seems to be an immutable difference between those who are primarily/exclusively attracted to the same or the opposite sex. But actual behavior, affected by culture and circumstances, does make all of this more difficult.
Homosexuals are often perfectly able to "function" in heterosexual intercourse, and heterosexuals in homosexual intercourse. But the study didn't ask for that, they asked for the underlying preference. They may even have used physical measurements. Yes, there are studies where the participants are exposed to different stimuli and their arousal is measured physiologically.
Later children in large families are more likely to be gay but the reason might be related to the mother already being exposed to hormones with earlier children. On an evolutionary scale this might make sense that the first born are more likely not to be gay as to pass on the genes but later children population control might make more sense.
Another might be hormone levels of the mother.
Another might be gene related where physical changes are different
Another might be gene related that increase gender fluidity which combined with society can shape sexuality
But we do know there isn't a single simple gene.
Sexual orientation seems to be somewhat similar, in that environmental factors, akin to chance, lead to choosing one path among several.
So... this was obviously going to be true.
And maternal effects are a thing that can be computed statistically, both as a genetic and environmental factor.
And it's not helpful to confuse sexual orientation with hormonal causes or effects.
I used to very odd kid and mostly spent my life around girls from very early age.
I almost never had male friends which ofc changed in late teenage.
Now, don't find females that attractive and mostly spend time with guys.
Don't call me sexist or smth but I find it's more fun to work with guys. That's my preference.
I've been bombarded from young age (by pop culture, TV, magazines, porn) by thin women wearing make-up. I have a strong sexual preference for thin (fitspo thin, not anorexic thin) women and a strong dislike of women wearing make-up. Go figure...
Sexual behavior is definitely learned. But despite centuries of "theories" or convictions about "what experiences turn people gay", nothing has been identified scientifically.
Why it would be sexist? It's your personal preference and nobody's else but yours.
A Human individual's fitness affects the chances of his whole family. And it's just not true that Homosexuals don't have children. In practice they have fewer children, but more than you might think.