Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Almost Like Pure Heroin

I've always kind of rolled my eyes when people bring up the finding that homophobic men show more arousal than non-homophobic men when they're exposed to homosexual stimuli. You remember the study:
Men in both groups were aroused by about the same degree by the video depicting heterosexual sexual behavior and by the video showing two women engaged in sexual behavior. The only significant difference in degree of arousal between the two groups occurred when they viewed the video depicting male homosexual sex: 'The homophobic men showed a significant increase in penile circumference to the male homosexual video, but the control [nonhomophobic] men did not.' [...]

When asked to give their own subjective assessment of the degree to which they were aroused by watching each of the three videos, men in both groups gave answers that tracked fairly closely with the results of the objective physiological measurement, with one exception: the homophobic men significantly underestimated their degree of arousal by the male homosexual video.
I know, I know, it's great stuff from a political standpoint, and it's a respectable research design - but I've never put much credence in it. It just seems a little too perfect to be regarded without suspicion. Besides, I hate that psychoanalytic bullshit about how what people really feel is always the opposite of what they think they feel.

Still, I'll admit, sometimes I do wonder:
“Untrammeled homosexuality can take over and destroy a social system,” says [Paul] Cameron. “If you isolate sexuality as something solely for one’s own personal amusement, and all you want is the most satisfying orgasm you can get- and that is what homosexuality seems to be-then homosexuality seems too powerful to resist. The evidence is that men do a better job on men and women on women, if all you are looking for is orgasm.”

So powerful is the allure of gays, Cameron believes, that if society approves of gay people, more and more heterosexuals will be inexorably drawn into homosexuality. “I’m convinced that lesbians are particularly good seducers,” says Cameron. “People in homosexuality are incredibly evangelical,” he adds, sounding evangelical himself. “It’s pure sexuality. It’s almost like pure heroin. It’s such a rush. They are committed in almost a religious way. And they’ll take enormous risks, do anything.”

He says that for married men and women, gay sex would be irresistible. “Marital sex tends toward the boring end,” he points out. “Generally, it doesn’t deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does” So, Cameron believes, within a few generations homosexuality would be come the dominant form of sexual behavior.
So maybe there is something in that study after all. Cameron, incidentally, was kicked out of the APA for ethical violations involving distortions of the state of psychological science as it relates to homosexuality. Given the state of the science, well, you can see why he'd be tempted.

I can't believe I've encountered this bizarre argument twice in one week. I know plenty of heterosexuals ('cause I'm liberal), and they always seem to be perfectly happy with straight sex. Even the ones who haven't particularly internalized the societal prohibitions against homosexuality, which are supposedly the only things that make men and women want to have sex with each other in the first place. Do these guys, Cameron and Orson Scott Card, even know how they sound? Or do they really think they're voicing something that all straight people feel, deep down?

(via TBogg)