Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) & Homosexuality

Psychology is largely to blame for the pathologization of homosexuality. The inclusion of homosexuality in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) as a Sexual Deviation served to put homosexuals in the same category as Pedophiles and served to justify societies distain (and even hatred!) toward sexual interests that deviated from the heterosexual norm. It was until the DSM-III-R that homosexuality was fully removed. While the disorder listed in the DSM-III, “Ego-dystonic Homosexuality” is certainly an improvement upon what is listed in the DSM-II, “Sexual Deviations,” it still rings of homophobia. Below you will see two excerpts, one form the DSM-II and another from DSM-III.  


“302 Sexual deviations

This category is for individuals whose sexual interests are directed primarily toward objects other than people of the opposite sex, toward sexual acts not usually associated with coitus, or toward coitus performed under bizarre circumstances as in necrophilia, pedophilia, sexual sadism, and fetishism. Even though many find their practices distasteful, they remain unable to substitute normal sexual behavior for them. This diagnosis is not appropriate for individuals who perform deviant sexual acts because normal sexual objects are not available to them

302.0 Homosexuality
302.1 Fetishism
302.2 Pedophilia
302.3 Transvestitism
302.4 Exhibitionism
302.5 Voyeurism
302.6 Sadism
302.7 Masochism
302.8 Other sexual deviation
[302.9 Unspecified sexual deviation]”


“302.00 Ego-dystonic Homosexuality

The essential features are a desire to acquire or increase heterosexual arousal, so that heterosexual relationships can be initiated or maintained, and a sustained pattern of overt homosexual arousal that the individual explicitly states has been unwanted and a persistent source of distress.

This category is reserved for those homosexuals for whom changing sexual orientations is a persistent concern, and should be avoided in cases where he desire to change sexual orientations may be a brief, temporary manifestation of an individual’s difficulty in adjusting to a new awareness of his or her homosexual impulses…

Diagnostic criteria for Ego-dystonic Homosexuality:

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-III-RA. The individual complain that heterosexual arousal is persistently absent or weak and significantly interferes with initiating or maintaining wanted heterosexual relationships.
      B. There is a sustained pattern of homosexual arousal that the individual explicitly states has been unwanted and a persistent source of distress.”

      What are your thoughts on the shift of homosexuality from the DSM-II to the DSM-III? 


Evolution and Homosexuality

When studying the history of psychology, we often talk about Sir Frances Galton and his controversial theory of Eugenics. The practice of eugenics, the selective breeding of eminent individuals to enhance the human race, is widely debated. Similarly, Darwin’s theory of evolution is also quite relevant when discussing our ability to pass on the most desirable traits. No doubt Darwin’s approach is much more, shall I say, natural, than Galton’s; however, they both have a gapping hole in their theory. Where do gay individuals fit into the equation? If the goal of our entire species is to procreate and produce virile and robust offspring to pass on our superior genes, how is it that homosexuals are still around and not extinct? An interesting article addressing this issue can be found on Psychology Today.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Biological Basis of Homosexuality

A fascinating 60 Minutes segment highlighting the current research on the biological basis for homosexuality.