Friday, November 21, 2008

Is homosexuality only "okay" if it isn't your choice?

As part of giving a lecture on homosexuality in my developmental psychology class, I looked up Lisa Diamond's new book, because in past year's I've had to point out that most of the work on homosexuality is on male homosexuality -- it feels funny to spend an hour on theories of why men become gay addressing a room of 70 students that is 85% female.

I'd read some journal articles by Dr. Diamond and knew she had a book coming out, Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire.

The following blurb is from University of Chicago Magazine:

Is love "blind" when it comes to gender? For women, it just might be. This unsettling and original book offers a radical new understanding of the context-dependent nature of female sexuality. Lisa Diamond argues that for some women, love and desire are not rigidly heterosexual or homosexual but fluid, changing as women move through the stages of life, various social groups, and, most important, different love relationships.
This perspective clashes with traditional views of sexual orientation as a stable and fixed trait. But that view is based on research conducted almost entirely on men. Diamond is the first to study a large group of women over time. She has tracked 100 women for more than ten years as they have emerged from adolescence into adulthood. She summarizes their experiences and reviews research ranging from the psychology of love to the biology of sex differences. Sexual Fluidity offers moving first-person accounts of women falling in and out of love with men or women at different times in their lives. For some, gender becomes irrelevant: "I fall in love with the person, not the gender," say some respondents.
Sexual Fluidity offers a new understanding of women's sexuality--and of the central importance of love.

See also this review.

While googling around, I stumbled upon the controversy regarding Dr. Diamond and NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality). NARTH has been citing Diamond's research as evidence that female homosexuality contains an element of choice, which supports their view that homosexuality can be changed. Diamond contests their misuse of her findings.

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