Libido and Learning: Psychosocial Models
Same-sex eroticism is a problem for most moralists and many scientists. As this chapter’s epigraphs suggest, same-sex erotic attraction is often seen as a contagion, and people who have such desires are seen sometimes as dangerous predators of innocent children. Even people who believe that same-sex erotic attraction is inherited may worry that children will learn to be “gay” from hearing about “gay” people’s lives, watching “gay” characters on television, or having intimate physical contact with someone of the same-sex. Many religious fundamentalists of various stripes—Christian, Islamic, and ultra-orthodox Judaism—believe that same- sex erotic attraction is easily acquired and a deadly threat. Some Christian fundamentalists describe same-sex eroticism as a potent virus1 that is strategically designed to break through fragile “heterosexual” defenses and infect and destroy “our” most cherished (heterosexual) traditions (Dannemeyer, 1989; Dobson & Bauer, 1990). In fact, fear of same-sex erotic attraction is at the core of contemporary Western culture. For over 100 years, Western culture has obsessed about male same-sex eroticism, which is the primary reason why scientific theories of erotic attraction are largely theories of male homosexuality. Male-male eroticism has been seen in this culture as a critical social and moral problem that demands explanation and remedy. Female-female eroticism, on the other hand, has been far less of a cultural concern and has received little attention, scientific or otherwise. And, male- female eroticism, while requiring defense against deviant forms of sexuality, has been viewed as normal, natural, automatic, and needing no explanation.
KeywordsConditioned Stimulus Sexual Arousal Sexual Attraction Psychoanalytic Theory Conversion Therapy
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