Homsexuality in nature

Follow BBC Earth

But forays into animal homosexuality research long predate Levick, with in unravelling how, and why, homosexuality is found across nature. The nature/nurture argument of homosexuality will continue on for years as researchers further investigate this controversy. While it is still. The answer to this question depends on how you define “natural.”.

Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection implies that genes have for heterosexual pairings, so homosexuality ought to quickly die out. Homosexuality was considered a mental illness when Richard Pillard was in medical school. It was the s and the School of Medicine professor of psychiatry. The answer to this question depends on how you define “natural.”.

The answer to this question depends on how you define “natural.”. Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection implies that genes have for heterosexual pairings, so homosexuality ought to quickly die out. Today natural law theory offers the most common intellectual defense for differential treatment of gays and lesbians, and as such it.

Imperial researchers are using a new approach to understand why same-sex behaviour is so common across the animal kingdom. Ina team of scientists set off on the Terra Nova Expedition to explore Antarctica. He chronicled the animals' daily activities in great detail. In his notebooks, he nature their sexual behaviourincluding sex between male birds. However, none of these notes would appear in Levick's published papers. The last remaining copy was recently unearthed providing valuable insights into animal homosexuality research.

But forays into animal homosexuality research long predate Levick, with observations published as far back as the s and s. More than years later, research has moved past some of the taboos those early researchers faced and homsexuality that homosexuality is much more homsexuality than previously thought. Same- sex behaviour ranging from co-parenting to sex has been observed in over 1, species with likely many more as researchers begin to look for the behaviour explicitly. Homosexuality is widespread, with bisexuality even more prevalent across species.

Researchers are now going beyond nature observing it though, with researchers at Imperial leading the way in unravelling how, and why, homosexuality is found across nature. With this behaviour seen across species from birds and insects to reptiles and mammals — including humans — researchers are trying to understand why. In the past, homosexual behaviour was often ignored because it supposedly contradicted Darwin's theory of evolution.

Scientists argued homosexuality was a sort of 'Darwinian paradox' because it involved sexual behaviour that was non-reproductive. Recent evidence however suggests homosexual behaviour could play important roles in reproduction and evolution.

Savolainen is a world-renowned evolutionary biologist who approaches many of the same questions Darwin did, but from a contemporary perspective.

Savolainen's contributions range from solving Darwin's "abominable mystery" of flowering plants to elucidating how great white sharks evolved to be super-predatory fast-swimmers. Nature explains: "I tackle big evolutionary biology questions. It doesn't really matter what organism, at the end of the day it's all nature how genes have evolved either to produce a species or a new behaviour. The overarching aim of his lab can be summed up with the saying: "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.

Savolainen has turned this philosophy to 'Darwin's paradox'. InSavolainen started some work on animal homosexuality, beginning with a chapter on the Evolution of Homosexuality. Since then, he has assembled a collaborative team of researchers to examine the question through field work, genomic sequencing and new theoretical models.

It will be his second of many months-long trips to observe rhesus macaques in the wild. Female homosexuality has been well studied in Japanese macaques, but Clive's nature would examine how homosexual behaviour differs in males and across environments. Clive explains: "Behavioural studies take a long time especially for these unpredictable and infrequent behaviours, which includes almost all sexual behaviours.

You have to do a lot of sitting around and watching while also being quite alert. It takes quite a lot of effort to recognize these individual primates.

In one social group I have to recognize males individually. Before beginning his Ph. He noticed mounting between male gorillas, though that homsexuality not the main focus of his research at the time.

I can give you papers on beetles, spiders, flies, fish, flamingos, geese, bison, deer, gibbons, bats — loads of bats, bats get up to all sorts," he says. It's early days for the Imperial research team.

Recording homosexual behaviour in the wild and collecting blood samples are the nature steps for Clive; the next is sequencing DNA to search for connections between the behaviour and genetic markers. In there was a media frenzy over the discovery of the 'gay gene'.

This idea stemmed from a study showing a correlation between genetic marker Xq28 and male homosexuality, although there were statistical uncertainties about some of the findings. Scientists have successfully modelled other complex or polygenic traits like height. There is not a single 'tall' or 'short'.

Instead, height is determined by changes across hundreds of genes in combination with environmental factors. To understand what gives rise to complex traits and behaviours, researchers must identify where the genetic nature take place and what underlying processes are driving them. Then they can see what this should look like in the real world. The biological and hereditary factors of homosexuality are most certainly not tied to a single gene. Researchers aren't searching for one genetic marker or one cause but a combination of factors that give rise to certain behaviours under specific circumstances.

To create models of homosexuality, Savolainen recruited Ewan Flintham as a Ph. Flintham previously worked on models for speciation— the formation of new and distinct species in the course of evolution—as well as sexual behaviour in fruit flies. He says: "We have the capacity to model complex behaviours and pull on massive amounts of data.

However, creating homsexuality complex model isn't beneficial unless it is modelling a useful concept. There nature many theories about why homosexuality is important for reproduction and evolution. Savolainen has outlined some leading models. One is the "bisexual advantage" model where animals with a more fluid sexuality are more likely to reproduce. Savolainen's lab looks at a range of sexual behaviours from strict heterosexuality to homosexuality. Bisexuality may be "an evolutionary optimum phenotype in many species, including humans," according to Savolainen's review.

Other models consider whether a gene is beneficial for a specific sex. For example, if the gene were 'feminizing' in the sense that it would lead nature females having more offspring so it would be passed on in spite of being homsexuality for a male's own reproduction, i.

Meanwhile, others posit that homosexuality could also play a role in evolution through co-parenting or helping to raise relatives' offspring. These explanations are not exclusive of one another, and it is likely that a combination of factors are important nature the evolution of homosexuality. With these new homsexuality, researchers can test many theories in combination and vary the data inputs accordingly. The "golden standard" would use the original genetic and behavioural data from the macaque field work and fit them to different theories to see how each could be applied to other populations and animals.

The primates Savolainen's lab is currently studying are of course closely related to humans. Studying non-human primates is helpful because it provides clearer data and separates the behaviour from culture while at the same time offering new insights on human sexuality and evolution.

His previous research examined how body-to-limb ratio makes men more homsexuality. In Savolainen's lab, he's taking nature broader and more technical approach. He will create 3-D face models of couples to compare shape, structure, and proportions. Ultimately, the project will combine questionnaires, facial modelling and genetic sequencing homsexuality examine similarities between couples and investigate whether mate-choice decisions are being driven by considerations of biological or social compatibility.

Importantly, this will include exploration of homosexual partners in the hope of understanding different mate-choice strategies in reproductive and non-reproductive contexts. Versluys is currently recruiting heterosexual and homosexual couples among Imperial students and staff for his research.

If you would like to know how similar you and your partner are or would just like 3-D models of your facesplease get in touch with him at tmv ic. Versluys says: "Homosexuality is still something that's not always well understood among the scientific community and maybe even more poorly understood among the general population. It's currently being reframed, in our lab and elsewhere, as a normal behaviour rather than something that's abhorrent or problematic.

The hope is that as homosexuality is better understood, research will dispel people's misconceptions. However, many of the historical cultural challenges persist. And despite the acknowledgement of how widespread homosexuality is in nature, homsexuality have to contend with a dearth of research that should have nature built up over decades. Savolainen explains: "It's still risky and unusual research that is difficult to support through traditional funding routes. We're looking for organizations or individuals that believe in this research and are willing to take that risk.

Vincent Savolainen et al. DOI: Thomas M. Versluys et al. The influence of leg-to-body ratio, arm-to-body ratio and intra-limb ratio on male human attractiveness, Royal Society Open Science More from Biology and Medical. Your feedback will go directly to Science X editors. Thank you for taking your time to send in your valued opinion to Science X editors. You can be assured our editors closely monitor every feedback sent and will take appropriate actions. Your opinions are important to us.

We do not guarantee individual replies due to extremely high volume of correspondence. E-mail the story Scientists explore the evolution of animal homosexuality Your friend's email Your email I would like to subscribe to Science X Newsletter. Learn more Your name Note Your email address is used only to let the recipient know who sent the email.

Neither your address nor the recipient's address will be used for any other purpose. The information you enter will appear in your e-mail message and is not retained by Phys. You can unsubscribe at any time and we'll never share your details homsexuality third parties. More information Privacy policy. This site uses cookies to assist with navigation, analyse your use of our services, and provide content from third parties.

By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. May 2, homsexuality After the two penguins bonded and began creating a nest, zookeepers at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium decided to give them an egg that had been abandoned homsexuality a pair of heterosexual penguins in the group.

On October 19,Baby Sphengic was born. Credit: Imperial College London. Spider monkeys are New World primate species for which homosexual behaviour has not been previously reported.

Inthe first report of sex between males was recorded.

I am a physician and of course understand the difference of transexual people. If the males still have sex with females then they are not gay… this is not good evidence of gayness being natural as all of those examples the animals still mate for reproduction.. This article shows an outstanding look at the reality of the relationships of animals. Thank you. Homosexual behavior is animals is not simply putting a head on the shoulder of another male.

It has been well documented that it included all sexual behavior including penetrations and ejaculation. The pictures are only to be attached to the text.

Same sex animals are capable of showing affection to each other without being classified as Homosexual. Humans have friends, animals develop friendships bonds too. Why do these friendships have to be categorized as homosexuality? Animals being affectionate to their own Family is not an example of homosexuality. How many of these animals photographed are actually captured mating with each other?????????

It is about you reading the text and the references that appear in it of scientific studies that expose these theories. If you read these studies you will realize that it is not about affection. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Leave this field empty. Gallery Blog Shop. Sign in. Log into your account. Privacy and cookies policy. Password recovery. Contact us. Zoo Portraits. Home Animal Facts. Index 1 Scientific studies and references 2 Gay geese and evolutionary theory 3 Other animals with homosexual behaviour 4 The social taboo against science.

Lots of fun for everyone interested in animals and anyone who wants to join the movement to help protect them. Perfect as a gift or statement for your wall, whether they adorn the home or office they are sure to get people giggling!

Next time you need to send your wishes to a loved one, you can do it with a Zoo Portrait animal! Which one are you? Perception in the animal kingdom: three unique information systems.

The social system of dominance in animals: hierarchy and submission. Males also have same-sex relations, typically with multiple partners of the same age. Affectionate and playful activities are associated with such relations. Homosexual behavior forms part of the natural repertoire of sexual or sociosexual behavior of orangutans.

Male homosexual behavior occurs both in the wild and in captivity, and it occurs in both adolescent and mature individuals. Homosexual behavior in orangutans is not an artifact of captivity or contact with humans. Among monkeys [ clarification needed ] , Lionel Tiger and Robin Fox conducted a study on how Depo-Provera contraceptives lead to decreased male attraction to females.

Several observations indicate that male—male sexual preference in rams is sexually motivated. Rams routinely perform the same courtship behaviors including foreleg kicks, nudges, vocalizations, anogenital sniffs and flehmen prior to mounting other males as observed when other rams court and mount estrous females. Furthermore, pelvic thrusting and ejaculation often accompany same-sex mounts by rams.

A number of studies have reported differences in brain structure and function between male-oriented and female-oriented rams, suggesting that sexual partner preferences are neurologically hard-wired.

Charles E. Roselli et al. Oregon Health and Science University , states that homosexuality in male sheep is associated with a region in the rams' brains which the authors call the "ovine Sexually Dimorphic Nucleus" oSDN which is half the size of the corresponding region in heterosexual male sheep.

In addition, the oSDN of the female-oriented rams expressed higher levels of aromatase , a substance that converts testosterone to estradiol , a form of estrogen which is believed to facilitate typical male sexual behaviors. Aromatase expression was no different between male-oriented rams and ewes [ Aromatase mRNA levels in the oSDN were significantly greater in female-oriented rams than in ewes, whereas male-oriented rams exhibited intermediate levels of expression.

It should also be noted that the results of this particular study have not been confirmed by other studies. The Merck Manual of Veterinary Medicine appears to consider homosexuality among sheep as a routine occurrence and an issue to be dealt with as a problem of animal husbandry. Studies have failed to identify any compelling social factors that can predict or explain the variations in sexual partner preferences of domestic rams. Indeed, male-oriented rams are not more or less dominant than female-oriented rams.

Homosexual courtship and sexual activity routinely occur among rams of wild sheep species, such as Bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis , Thinhorn sheep Ovis dalli , mouflons and urials Ovis orientalis. To initiate homosexual courtship, a courting male approaches the other male with his head and neck lowered and extended far forward in what is called the 'low-stretch' posture.

He may combine this with the 'twist,' in which the courting male sharply rotates his head and points his muzzle toward the other male, often while flicking his tongue and making grumbling sounds. The courting male also often performs a 'foreleg kick,' in which he snaps his front leg up against the other male's belly or between his hind legs.

He also occasionally sniffs and nuzzles the other male's genital area and may perform the flehmen response. Thinhorn rams additionally lick the penis of the male they are courting. In response, the male being courted may rub his cheeks and forehead on the courting male's face, nibble and lick him, rub his horns on the courting male's neck, chest, or shoulders, and develop an erection.

Males of another wild sheep species, the Asiatic Mouflons , perform similar courtship behaviors towards fellow males. Sexual activity between wild males typically involves mounting and anal intercourse.

In Thinhorn sheep, genital licking also occurs. During mounting, the larger male usually mounts the smaller male by rearing up on his hind legs and placing his front legs on his partner's flanks.

The mounting male usually has an erect penis and accomplishes full anal penetration while performing pelvic thrusts that may lead to ejaculation. The mounted male arches his back to facilitate the copulation. Homosexual courtship and sexual activity can also take place in groups composed of three to ten wild rams clustered together in a circle.

These non-aggressive groups are called 'huddles' and involve rams rubbing, licking, nuzzling, horning, and mounting each other. Female Mountain sheep also engage in occasional courtship activities with one another and in sexual activities such as licking each other's genitals and mounting. The family structure of the spotted hyena is matriarchal , and dominance relationships with strong sexual elements are routinely observed between related females.

Due largely to the female spotted hyena's unique urogenital system , which looks more like a penis rather than a vagina, early naturalists thought hyenas were hermaphroditic males who commonly practiced homosexuality. In Paedagogus , Clement of Alexandria noted that the hyena along with the hare was "quite obsessed with sexual intercourse".

Many Europeans associated the hyena with sexual deformity, prostitution, deviant sexual behavior, and even witchcraft. The reality behind the confusing reports is the sexually aggressive behavior between the females, including mounting between females. Research has shown that "in contrast to most other female mammals, female Crocuta are male-like in appearance, larger than males, and substantially more aggressive," [] and they have "been masculinized without being defeminized".

Study of this unique genitalia and aggressive behavior in the female hyena has led to the understanding that more aggressive females are better able to compete for resources, including food and mating partners. Several species of whiptail lizard especially in the genus Aspidoscelis consist only of females that have the ability to reproduce through parthenogenesis. Those animals with currently high estrogen levels assume "feminine" sexual roles.

Some parthenogenetic lizards that perform the courtship ritual have greater fertility than those kept in isolation due to an increase in hormones triggered by the sexual behaviors. So, even though asexual whiptail lizards populations lack males, sexual stimuli still increase reproductive success. Certain species of gecko also reproduce by parthenogenesis.

Some species of sexually reproducing geckos have been found to display homosexual behavior, e. Jonathan , the world's oldest tortoise an Aldabra giant tortoise , had been mating with another tortoise named Frederica since In , it was discovered that Frederica was actually probably male all along, and was renamed Frederic. There is evidence of same-sex sexual behavior in at least species of insects and arachnids. SSS behavior is often shorter than the equivalent heterosexual behavior.

Scharf et al. Yet, this list lacks detailed descriptions, and a more comprehensive summary of its prevalence in invertebrates, as well as ethology, causes, implications, and evolution of this behavior, remains lacking". Male homosexuality has been inferred in several species of dragonflies the order Odonata.

The cloacal pinchers of male damselflies and dragonflies inflict characteristic head damage to females during sex. Male Drosophila melanogaster flies bearing two copies of a mutant allele in the fruitless gene court and attempt to mate exclusively with other males.

Male bed bugs Cimex lectularius are sexually attracted to any newly fed individual and this results in homosexual mounting.

This occurs in heterosexual mounting by the traumatic insemination in which the male pierces the female abdomen with his needle-like penis. In homosexual mating this risks abdominal injuries as males lack the female counteradaptive spermalege structure. Males produce alarm pheromones to reduce such homosexual mating. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For homosexuality in humans, see Homosexuality. See also: Seabird same-sex pairing and Seabird breeding behavior: Same-sex pairing.

Play media. Olympic marmot left and Hoary marmot right. Further information: Sexual behavior of lions. Animals portal LGBT portal. Against Nature? Biology and sexual orientation Cross species sex Freemartin Hermaphroditism in animals Homosexuality and psychology Innate bisexuality List of animals displaying homosexual behavior Non-human primate experiments Norms of reaction Plant sexuality Sexual orientation Sexual orientation and medicine disambiguation Xq Australian Natural History.

Lay summary — ScienceDaily. Retrieved 25 March Animal Homosexuality: A Biosocial Perspective. Cambridge University Press. This makes O. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Oxford University Press. New York City: St. Martin's Press. Homosexual behavior occurs in more than different kinds of animals worldwide, and is found in every major geographic region and every major animal group.

Reprinted in Jahrbuch fur sexuelle Zwischenstufen 7 , pp. American Scientist. Retrieved International Journal of Primatology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. New Scientist. The New York Times. New York: St. New York, New York: St. Cambridge: Cambridge Press. Hystrix It. Archived from the original on May 28, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo.

February Retrieved October 6, Fox News. Deutsche Welle. CBC News. Society for Science and the Public. The Telegraph. BMC Genetics. BioMed Central. BBC News. Bibcode : Natur.

Natural History. Biology Letters. The two most important for the argument against homosexual sex though not against homosexuality as an orientation which is not acted upon, and hence in this they follow official Catholic doctrine; see George, a, ch. Personal integration, in this view, is the idea that humans, as agents, need to have integration between their intentions as agents and their embodied selves.

That is, one's intention then is just to use a body one's own or another's as a mere means to the end of pleasure, and this detracts from personal integration. Hence, natural law theorists respond that sexual union in the context of the realization of marriage as an important human good is the only permissible expression of sexuality.

Natural law theorists, if they want to support their objection to homosexual sex, have to emphasize procreation. If, for example, they were to place love and mutual support for human flourishing at the center, it is clear that many same-sex couples would meet this standard.

Hence their sexual acts would be morally just. There are, however, several objections that are made against this account of marriage as a central human good. Sex in an opposite-sex marriage where the partners know that one or both of them are sterile is not done for procreation. Yet surely it is not wrong. Why, then, is homosexual sex in the same context a long-term companionate union wrong Macedo, ?

The natural law rejoinder is that while vaginal intercourse is a potentially procreative sex act, considered in itself though admitting the possibility that it may be impossible for a particular couple , oral and anal sex acts are never potentially procreative, whether heterosexual or homosexual George, a.

But is this biological distinction also morally relevant, and in the manner that natural law theorists assume? Natural law theorists, in their discussions of these issues, seem to waver. On the one hand, they want to defend an ideal of marriage as a loving union wherein two persons are committed to their mutual flourishing, and where sex is a complement to that ideal.

Yet that opens the possibility of permissible gay sex, or heterosexual sodomy, both of which they want to oppose. So they then defend an account of sexuality which seems crudely reductive, emphasizing procreation to the point where literally a male orgasm anywhere except in the vagina of one's loving spouse is impermissible. Then, when accused of being reductive, they move back to the broader ideal of marriage. Natural law theory, at present, has made significant concessions to mainstream liberal thought.

In contrast certainly to its medieval formulation, most contemporary natural law theorists argue for limited governmental power, and do not believe that the state has an interest in attempting to prevent all moral wrongdoing.

Still, they do argue against homosexuality, and against legal protections for gays and lesbians in terms of employment and housing, even to the point of serving as expert witnesses in court cases or helping in the writing of amicus curae briefs. They also argue against same sex marriage Bradley, ; George, b. With the rise of the gay liberation movement in the post-Stonewall era, overtly gay and lesbian perspectives began to be put forward in politics, philosophy and literary theory.

Initially these often were overtly linked to feminist analyses of patriarchy e. Yet in the late 's and early 's queer theory was developed, although there are obviously important antecedents which make it difficult to date it precisely. Sticking with the example used above, of a specific conceptualization of lesbian identity, it denigrates women who are sexually and emotionally attracted to other women, yet who do not fit the description.

A second problem was that by placing such an emphasis upon the gender of one's sexual partner s , other possible important sources of identity are marginalized, such as race and ethnicity. What is of utmost importance, for example, for a black lesbian is her lesbianism, rather than her race. Many gays and lesbians of color attacked this approach, accusing it of re-inscribing an essentially white identity into the heart of gay or lesbian identity Jagose, Such a view, however, largely because of arguments developed within poststructuralism, seemed increasingly untenable.

The key figure in the attack upon identity as ahistorical is Michel Foucault. In a series of works he set out to analyze the history of sexuality from ancient Greece to the modern era , , Although the project was tragically cut short by his death in , from complications arising from AIDS, Foucault articulated how profoundly understandings of sexuality can vary across time and space, and his arguments have proven very influential in gay and lesbian theorizing in general, and queer theory in particular Spargo, ; Stychin, One of the reasons for the historical review above is that it helps to give some background for understanding the claim that sexuality is socially constructed, rather than given by nature.

In ancient Greece the gender of one's partner s was not important, but instead whether one took the active or passive role. Although the gender of the partner was more important than in the ancient view, the broader theological framework placed the emphasis upon a sin versus refraining-from-sin dichotomy.

What is the common, natural sexuality expressed across these three very different cultures? The examples can be pushed much further by incorporating anthropological data outside of the Western tradition Halperin, ; Greenberg, Yet even within the narrower context offered here, the differences between them are striking.

The assumption in ancient Greece was that men less is known about women can respond erotically to either sex, and the vast majority of men who engaged in same-sex relationships were also married or would later become married.

Yet the contemporary understanding of homosexuality divides the sexual domain in two, heterosexual and homosexual, and most heterosexuals cannot respond erotically to their own sex. In saying that sexuality is a social construct, these theorists are not saying that these understandings are not real. Since persons are also constructs of their culture in this view , we are made into those categories.

Hence today persons of course understand themselves as straight or gay or perhaps bisexual , and it is very difficult to step outside of these categories, even once one comes to seem them as the historical constructs they are. Instead it is purely relational, standing as an undefined term that gets its meaning precisely by being that which is outside of the norm, however that norm itself may be defined.

There is nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers. By lacking any essence, queer does not marginalize those whose sexuality is outside of any gay or lesbian norm, such as sado-masochists.

Finally, it incorporates the insights of poststructuralism about the difficulties in ascribing any essence or non-historical aspect to identity. This central move by queer theorists, the claim that the categories through which identity is understood are all social constructs rather than given to us by nature, opens up a number of analytical possibilities.

For example, queer theorists examine how fundamental notions of gender and sex which seem so natural and self-evident to persons in the modern West are in fact constructed and reinforced through everyday actions, and that this occurs in ways that privilege heterosexuality Butler, , Also examined are medical categories which are themselves socially constructed Fausto-Sterling, , is an erudite example of this, although she is not ultimately a queer theorist.

The fluidity of categories created through queer theory even opens the possibility of new sorts of histories that examine previously silent types of affections and relationships Carter, Another critical perspective opened up by a queer approach, although certainly implicit in those just referred to, is especially important.

Since most anti-gay and lesbian arguments rely upon the alleged naturalness of heterosexuality, queer theorists attempt to show how these categories are themselves deeply social constructs. An example helps to illustrate the approach. In an essay against gay marriage, chosen because it is very representative, James Q.

In contrast, he puts forward loving, monogamous marriage as the natural condition of heterosexuality. Heterosexuality, in his argument, is an odd combination of something completely natural yet simultaneously endangered.

One is born straight, yet this natural condition can be subverted by such things as the presence of gay couples, gay teachers, or even excessive talk about homosexuality. Wilson's argument requires a radical disjunction between heterosexuality and homosexuality.

If gayness is radically different, it is legitimate to suppress it. It is a common move in queer theory to bracket, at least temporarily, issues of truth and falsity Halperin, Instead, the analysis focuses on the social function of discourse.

Questions of who counts as an expert and why, and concerns about the effects of the expert's discourse are given equal status to questions of the verity of what is said. This approach reveals that hidden underneath Wilson's and other anti-gay work is an important epistemological move. Since heterosexuality is the natural condition, it is a place that is spoken from but not inquired into. In contrast, homosexuality is the aberration and hence it needs to be studied but it is not an authoritative place from which one can speak.

By virtue of this heterosexual privilege, Wilson is allowed the voice of the impartial, fair-minded expert. Yet, as the history section above shows, there are striking discontinuities in understandings of sexuality, and this is true to the point that, according to queer theorists, we should not think of sexuality as having any particular nature at all. Through undoing our infatuation with any specific conception of sexuality, the queer theorist opens space for marginalized forms.

The insistence that we must investigate the ways in which categories such as sexuality and orientation are created and given power through science and other cultural mechanisms has made queer theory appealing to scholars in a variety of disciplines.

Historians and sociologists have drawn on it, which is perhaps unsurprising given the role of historical claims about the social construction of sexuality. Queer theory has been especially influential in literary studies and feminist theory, even though the dividing lines between the latter and queer thinking is contested see Jagose, ; Marinucci, One of the most prominent scholars working in the area of gay and lesbian issues in constitutional law has also drawn on queer theory to advance his interrogation of the ways that US law privileges heterosexuality Eskridge, Scholars in postcolonial and racial analyses, ethnography, American studies, and other fields have drawn on the conceptual tools provided by queer theory.

Despite its roots in postmodernism and Foucault's work in particular, queer theory's reception in France was initially hostile see Eribon, The core texts from the first 'wave' of queer theory were slow to appear in French translation, such as Judith Butler's and Eve Sedgwick's central works not coming out until a decade and a half after their original publication.

Doubtless the French republican self-understanding, which is universalist and often hostile to movements that are multicultural in their bent, was a factor in the slow and often strenuously resisted importation of queer theoretical insights. Similarly, queer theory has also been on the margins in German philosophy and political philosophy. In sum, it is fair to say that queer theory has had a greater impact in the Anglo-American world.

Queer theory, however, has been criticized in a myriad of ways Jagose, One set of criticisms comes from theorists who are sympathetic to gay liberation conceived as a project of radical social change. It desexualizes identity, when the issue is precisely about a sexual identity Jagose, A related criticism is that queer theory, since it refuses any essence or reference to standard ideas of normality, cannot make crucial distinctions.

How far does this extend? Is transgenerational sex e. Are there any limits upon the forms of acceptable sado-masochism or fetishism? While some queer theorists specifically disallow pedophilia, it is an open question whether the theory has the resources to support such a distinction. It is therefore class biased and also, in practice, only really referred to at universities and colleges Malinowitz, Queer theory is also criticized by those who reject the desirability of radical social change.

Sullivan also criticizes queer theorists for relying upon Foucault's account of power, which he argues does not allow for meaningful resistance. It seems likely, however, that Sullivan's understanding of Foucault's notions of power and resistance are misguided.

The debates about homosexuality, in part because they often involve public policy and legal issues, tend to be sharply polarized. Those most concerned with homosexuality, positively or negatively, are also those most engaged, with natural law theorists arguing for gays and lesbians having a reduced legal status, and queer theorists engaged in critique and deconstruction of what they see as a heterosexist regime.

Yet the two do not talk much to one another, but rather ignore or talk past one another. There are some theorists in the middle. For example, Michael Sandel takes an Aristotelian approach from which he argues that gay and lesbian relationships can realize the same goods that heterosexual relationships do Sandel,