Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 8, pp 1653–1664 | Cite as

Homosexual Orientation—From Nature, Not Abuse: A Critique of Roberts, Glymour, and Koenen (2013)

  • Bruce RindEmail author
Invited Commentary


Roberts, Glymour, and Koenen (2013), using instrumental variable models, argued that child abuse causes homosexual orientation, defined in part as any same-sex attractions. Their instruments were various negative family environment factors. In their analyses, they found that child sexual abuse (CSA) was more strongly related to homosexual orientation than non-sexual maltreatment was, especially among males. The present commentary therefore focused on male CSA. It is argued that Roberts et al.’s “abuse model” is incorrect and an alternative is presented. Male homosexual behavior is common in primates and has been common in many human societies, such that an evolved human male homosexual potential, with individual variation, can be assumed. Cultural variation has been strongly influenced by cultural norms. In our society, homosexual expression is rare because it is counternormative. The “counternormativity model” offered here holds that negative family environment weakens normative controls and increases counternormative thinking and behavior, which, in combination with sufficient homosexual potential and relevant, reinforcing experiences, can produce a homosexual orientation. This is a benign or positive model (innate potential plus release and reinforcement), in contrast to Roberts et al.’s negative model (abuse plus emotional compensation or cognitive distortion). The abuse model is criticized for being based on the sexual victimological paradigm, which developed to describe the female experience in rape and incest. This poorly fits the gay male experience, as demonstrated in a brief non-clinical literature review. Validly understanding male homosexuality, it is argued, requires the broad perspective, as employed here.


Homosexuality Sexual orientation Child sexual abuse Pederasty 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LeipzigGermany

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