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Psy 265 week 5 Assignment Historical and Scientific Perspectives on Homosexuality




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Views towards homosexuality during the last few centuries have shaped the way that society as well
as some gay individuals perceive themselves. Those perceptions of both personal and public have
transpired in both a public and private way. Within this thesis we will be discussing how one thinks
historical and scientific perspectives on homosexuality may have shaped the way gay individuals perceive
themselves. This will include the analysis of experiences of coming out and adjusting as a gay individual
as well as historical and scientific perspectives reflecting on one’s own sexual orientation.
Throughout history, many notable figures have been known to have had romantic or sexual
relationships with their own genders such as Alexander the Great, Socrates, Plato, William Shakespeare,
and Emily Dickenson. In today’s era, many famous singers and television personalities have also been
linked to same-sex relationships such as Elton John, Rosie O’Donnell, Clay Aiken, and Ellen DeGeneres.
Even with the progression of this century, public views on homosexuality still have not lead to the total
acceptance of gay, or lesbians. Those views still have not made it easy being gay both socially and
In previous centuries, sexual practices were conducted openly between males. In ancient Greece, men
had sexual relationships with adolescent males. These sexual experiences were described as inserting the
penis between the boy’s thighs and thrusting until he ejaculated (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner- Rathus
2005). The Romans described that gay men who were extremely feminine would prance around in
flamboyant attire and prowled around searching for partners.
Gay men were open with their sexual preference during the fifteenth century but the seventeenth
century viewed homosexuality as being sinful. During this time, the Christian Church formed a negative
attitude when it came to homosexuality. Because of the position that the church held led to the creation of
“ the Office of the Night” which gave the public the chance to anonymously turn in sodomites. After “the
Office of the Night” was incorporated, homosexuals were forced to conceal their lifestyles.

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Due to past influences of the church, many gay men have reframed from “coming out” due to the fear
of public humiliation. In New Zealand, the parents of an adolescent boy withdrew him from school after
the never-ending harassment of his classmates (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner- Rathus, 2005). Instances like
this are directly linked to the causes of why many homosexuals remain “in the closet”.
Homosexuality, from a scientific perspective, influenced the self- perspective of many gay men.
According to our reading, biological perspectives focus on the evolution, genetics, and hormonal
influences as possible roles that shape sexual orientation.
Past studies conducted of identical and fraternal twins’ shows that fifty-two percent of identical twins
were found to be the same for gay male sexual orientation. The fraternal twins were found to be twenty-
two percent similar. Identical twins may be higher due to the fact that identical twins are most likely to be
treated the same even down to the way they are dressed. Due to these circumstances, environmental
factors may play a role in gay sexual orientation.
The brains of heterosexual and gay men have been studied during autopsies and found that the third
interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus was more than half the size of each other (Rathus, Nevid,
and Fichner- Rathus, 2005). However, not much difference was found in the brain tissues of gay men, and
The psychological view, based off of Sigmund Freud, believes that children are open to any form of
stimulation in a sexual mature. From this view, Freud believes that without the proper resolution of the
Oedipus complex, homosexuality forms and identifies with the parent that is the same sex. As a result, a
boy may identify with his mother and may even “transform himself into her”, and may develop sexual
interests in men (Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner- Rathus).
The learning theory also agrees that the development of sexual orientation is based off of early
experiences. People will also take non- pleasurable experiences and exchange them for more pleasurable

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