I'm mainly referring to experimenting with the same sex, but curious about other norms. I find it highly likely that many of our ancestors had same-sex relations, especially since it's so common among other primates.
asked byorangepeels (106)
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on March 15, 2011
at 06:21 PM
Hunter-gatherers practice homosexual behavior (mostly male-male). It's been studied in many instances, particularly in Melanesia. However, they do not have a homosexual identity in their cultures that we know of and few are exclusively homosexual. There are no "gay" hunter-gatherers, such an identity is a modern thing. Same for the great apes.
No hunter-gatherer cultures practice life-long monogamy. The only monogamous great ape is the gibbon. And remember than monogamy in biology means stable pair-bonds, gibbons still have extra-pair sexual relations.
There is substantial evidence for a biological origin for modern human homosexuality. WAPF's journal made Lierre Keith very angry some years ago when they suggested it might be caused by malnutrition in the womb. There isn't any evidence for that so far, but many of the theories like the "sister hypothesis"(the idea that sisters of male homosexuals are more fertile) have failed in further study so it's a big question why something so obviously maladaptive would exist naturally in our species.
These statements make a lot of people angry. I don't know why. What species and other cultures do doesn't always speak to what is best for individuals. I enjoyed Sex At Dawn and I consider myself monogamous. It's like the people that are furious with the idea that hunter-gatherer cultures might be violent! It's good to be realistic about our proclivities as part of the human species. It allows you to analyze your own behavior and desires. And it helps make decisions that are best for you. Just because something is in our heritage or is modern doesn't make it good or bad.
But you also have to remember that living hunter-gatherers are not our ancestors and neither are the living apes. Humans are quite unique in many ways and one of them is our culture-based flexibility.
It's also worth noting that it's possible evolution in this area is happening NOW. The socioeconomic outcome for children born outside of pairs is very poor in most cultures. Furthermore, notice very few of the men using evolution as an excuse to sleep with every woman they can get their hands on have children. The people having lots of children are very religious and monogamous. Google Hasidic or Amish population growth...
on March 15, 2011
at 01:34 PM
I'm not sure that what Grok did, in this context, is terribly relevant. Homosexuality can be both an expression of genetics and culture. I can't imagine that evidence of homosexual activity in HG societies could ever cause me to suddenly find males attractive, if I hadn't been culturally trained to be. And, even then, I suspect that engaging in cultural rituals that exist in conflict with ones own genetically defined sexuality is a recipe for psychological disaster. I've found this to be true with monogamy, which is why I have personally rejected it.
On a side note: I wonder if you're looking for justification for homosexual feelings? I'm here to tell you that you don't need justification from imaginary gods, society, or Grok. Let the gay out, friend; and apologize to no Grok. :)
on March 15, 2011
at 02:04 PM
No, in fact, paleo has had the sometimes-troubling* consequence of making me a little more heteronormative, a little less queer. Something about the paleo zeitgeist makes the alpha male seem more attractive, perhaps because I'm a little more in touch with my ovarian impulses, a little more inclined toward a mate that will produce healthy, robust young and support them**? Or maybe just because I am becoming more of a sexy badass due to CF, so I am attracted to fellow sexy badasses? Who knows.
Not that I will be turning down any nice, pretty ladies any time soon. No amount of steak and sunshine can change the fact that my orientation is less toward "sex and gender" and more toward "interesting and nice to look at."
*Troubling because of my own personal relationship with sexuality and gender, not because I think there's anything wrong with those of you who are comfortable with traditional gender roles/heterosexuality/etc.
**Which has a delicious interestingness about it, because as I delve further into the lifestyle I think more and more about choosing not to reproduce, due to my shoddy genes.
on March 15, 2011
at 02:04 PM
no. from my vantage point, women are hotter than men. that's how I see it.
on March 15, 2011
at 12:37 PM
I'm not sexually attracted to other women, but lately I do find myself more drawn toward close relationships with them - both investing in the friendships I have and starting new ones. And I think I've identified the reason:
I am not getting what I need from - have lost patience with - most of the men I meet; let's call them the North American Softie - Softus Americanus.
I date semi-actively in an urban area (Washington, DC). Lately I am repelled by mild-mannered, spaghetti-spined, emotionally needy, physically weak (or apathetic about their health), unambitious men. I feel guilty admitting this; so many of them are genuinely sweet people. Goodness knows I am at least as flawed as anyone else. But as I often lament after a date or two, "He's super nice, but I am not inclined to get naked with this person."
On the other hand, I'm VERY attracted to more aggressive (but still respectful), more capable men, strong of intellect and body, physically larger, hair on their chests, who would make good protectors and providers - not so much financially, but in the home: I am impressed, on a deep, subconscious level, by a man who knows his way around a toolchest and under the hood of my car. Even though I know the loyal guy with a great sense of humor - which I also value greatly - would make a better long-term partner.
Maybe I've always felt this way, but I am REALLY noticing it lately. Could be a reproductive mechanism; could be the paleo; could be I'm just a picky, judgmental b!%@h. I feel like a jerk admitting it all but at least I am gaining some insight into my own needs just by writing this answer. Glad you asked!
Does anyone else feel this way? Do you think it could be evidence for or against long-term monogamy?
on March 15, 2011
at 06:05 PM
The statement "monogamy is a societal concept imposed on us" makes me angry. I don't think that monogamy is pushed on anyone - if you don't want a monogamous relationship don't have one - but don't cop out with a statement like that. Some men - real alpha males - are willing and able to carry out monogamous relationships. Some aren't.
I beleive that monogamy is a personal choice, like many things in life - it is your choice to make - not societies.
Oh and - maybe let your partner in on your choice up front! (kind-of a joke) ;)
on March 15, 2011
at 08:16 AM
Desmond Morris talks a lot about sexuality in "the Human Zoo", same-sex sexual encounters do occur in the wild, but they are far more likely to occur in a zoo-like environment (like that in which we live). More likely than not the primates you are talking about studied, were in a zoo environment - although some primates in the wild use sex (same sex or not) as a means to resolve petty conflicts, humans don't in the same way.
To answer the question, if anything, "going paleo" would most likely make you less inclined to towards homosexual encounters - which is not the societal norm either.
on March 15, 2011
at 06:50 AM
I'm a lot more comfortable exploring with women. I've always been 'men for love/sex, women for sex' but never really acted on it and kept it quiet. I'm certainly not one of these girls who makes out with other chicks at the club but I've allowed myself to not be afraid to follow my feelings.
on April 10, 2013
at 03:04 PM
Hunter-gatherers do not willingly overshoot the carrying capacity of their landbase. Translation: not everyone needs to, or should breed. In fact, most people simply shouldn't. Because there are only so many humans the greater habitat can support indefinitely. We live on a finite world, with finite resources, and an attempt at infinite expansion of human population and the economic activity that that expansion entails is suicidal, as we can see with our current global predicament.
We can???t imagine non fascistic methods of keeping the birth rate down because 1) we've been enculturated into subtle and not-so-subtle forms of fascism and 2) we take for granted compulsory heterosexuality and the deeply-ingrained directive to ???go forth and multiply, and subdue and have dominion over every living thing that creepeth on the face of the earth.??? This dictate has been violently enforced, and the modern nuclear family, an anomaly among human familial relations, has become the norm. The majority of human cultures have taken homosexuality for granted, not just for a special ???minority??? of the population, but as a part of daily life that could include - and often did include ??? everyone. Boys overwhelmingly sleep with boys, and girls with girls, unless procreation is desired. And not everyone ??? gasp ??? needs to have children. In fact, everyone can???t. And no one needs to tell everyone they can???t, because they know how many people their landbase can support without destroying it, without people going hungry. Abortion and infanticide are also a part of daily life for most people who have ever lived. We can turn our noses up, feel better about ourselves, scoff at the "barbarity" of it all. But is there anything more barbarous than liquidating entire biomes, and driving innumerable species into extinction, just because we all feel entitled to have as many children as we want, and because we feel entitled enough to destroy the homes of the children of others to make that possible? And because we've resigned ourselves to living out a rather boring trajectory that we tell ourselves is "the good life" :: get married, have 2.5 kids, live alone with them, put your parents into a nursing home, don't share your space with anyone else, disconnect yourself from any real larger community, and feel guilty for any nonmonogamous - or queer - impulses you might have. Even if it makes you miserable. Because that's just what people do, right? Right, assimilated white middle class people in the United States under late capitalism, maybe. But the majority of people who have ever lived, certainly not.
From a scholarly study called "The Origins and Role of Same-sex Relations in Human Societies" by James Neill ::
"A survey of the extensive homosexual behavior in the animal world, a review of the virtually universal homosexual practices among pre-westernized indigenous peoples, and a consideration of the general patterns and sexual characteristics of that sexual behavior in light of what is known of the psychology and physiology of sex and the results of recent research in sexuality make inevitable some provocative conclusions about human sexuality.
"- Homosexuality among humans is an integral aspect of the multifacated sexuality inherited by the human race from its primate ancestors, not a perversion of nature, an invention of degenerate urban inhabitants, a psychosexual disorder or a biological anomaly. The evidence that humans are an ambisexual species and inherited that trait from the primate ancestors of the human race is overwhelming.
"- As is the case among the primate relatives of the human race, and many other mammal species, homosexuality plays a complementary role to heterosexuality in the reproductive strategy of the human species.
"- All human beings are capable of some degree of responsiveness to homosexual stimulus, whether acknowledged or not, especially in the adolescent or young adult years.
"- A strong tendency to homosexual behavior is a normal aspect of adolescence and young adulthood for all individuals, and provides a positive benefit to the species by diverting the sex drive away from heterosexual partners for people too young or otherwise unable to shoulder the responsibilities of parenthood, the natural consequences of heterosexual activity. Same-sex relationships among young people supports the reproductive success of the species by helping to insure that human conception occurs under more ideal conditions between psychologically and emotionally mature individuals. Conversely, the socially and culturally promoted heterosexual involvement of adolescents in Western societies represents a premature heterosexual development of the individuals.
"- Because the multifaceted sexuality the human race inherited from its animal ancestors includes a homosexual component that would be latent to a greater or lesser degree within all individuals, it could be expected that any social and moral codes that strictly prohibit, harshly condemn or otherwise demonize homosexual expression would engender considerable psychological conflict and resulting defenses and neurosis within a significant number of those subject in response to such a social and moral code."
"- Exclusive homosexuality, which has also been observed to a limited degree among other mammals, very probably became widely established in the genetic line of the human race because the extra help provided by non-reproducing homosexual members of early hunter-gatherer clans gave them a reproductive advantage that enabled them to survive during periods when human existence was marginal.
"- The special abilities and spiritual powers of berdaches and transvestite shamans that indigenous peoples attributed to a male-female spirit is very likely in large part the result of a greater functional balance between the right and left hemispheres of the brain that scientists say would be supported by anatomical differences that have been discovered in the brains of exclusively homosexual individuals.
"- While the presence of non-reproducing exclusive homosexuals among hunter-gatherer clans may have been critical to the survival of the human species, exclusively homosexual individuals have continued to support the quality of life of human societies through the aesthetic and spiritual contributions made possible by the special mental abilities resulting from the greater functional balance in the brain structures. The homosexual shamans and berdaches (both male and female) of the Paleolithic hunter-gatherers are, therefore, the genetic prototypes of the exclusive homosexuals of modern times."
And, of course, as our dry, academic, and likely straight author here is unaware of or unwilling to say, people also have gay sex because...gay sex is FUN.
on April 10, 2013
at 04:53 PM
the paleo diet has put my sexuality on a cycle. I havent really timed it yet or paid much attention but there are weeks where I dont think of sex at all and dont "turn on" very easily and then all of a sudden i wake up and for 2 weeks or so sex is the only thing on my mind and i am in a continuously "turned on" state of mind. it has really become apparent over the past 3 months as it has reached the height of its extremes. as a male, i did not expect this sort of development within myself. I dont mind it yet since during the off phase it is easy for me to focus on life goals however once the on phase starts i feel like an animal. I tried googling male sexual cycles and there is small evidence for it but maybe i am just a more extreme case. i am beginning to wonder how this would effect the sex life in a steady relationship or if this is the phenotype for a more polygamous individual. i would rather be in a monogamous relationship.
on March 15, 2011
at 05:32 PM
Yes, you find homosexual behaviour in the animal kingdom, not only in humans. But I don't care.
I don't know what HGs did, but I don't care. HGs didn't have fire departments, POSE running coaches and biochemistry textbooks. So I should not have them? Gimme a break! "Paleo enactment" is ridiculous. Mat LaLonde talked about that in one of Robb Wolf's podcasts.
As for sexual preferences - I have always been open minded and gender is not an important factor in my personal "attractiveness assessment". Paleo lifestyle didn't change anything in this regard.
Sexual preferences are the result of individual biography and cultural norms and discourses. Sigmund Freud about sexuality: nothing is "natural" . It's a choice.
<< Whereas most of his contemporaries believed that sexual desire was a subordinate part of the reproductive process, Freud inverted the relationship. He not only insisted that sexual desire and sexual reproduction were two completely separate things (...), but that desire was the primary motive force and a valid end in itself. 'Sexuality', he said, 'is regarded as the more comprehensive bodily function, having pleasure as its goal and only secondarily coming to serve the ends of reproduction' (An Autobiographical Study).
Remarkably for his time, Freud went on to question the naturalistic and normative assumptions about heterosexual desire. In his supplementary note to Three Essays on Sexuality, he refused to accept heterosexual attraction as something given. Instead, he viewed it as problematic and requiring scientific explanation. 'From the point of view of psychoanalysis, the exclusive sexual interest felt by men for women is also a problem that needs elucidating, and is not a self-evident fact.'
Freud's theory of a universal bisexual potential represented a profound challenge not only to right-wing moralists, but also to the biologism of his contemporary liberal sexologists and campaigners for homosexual rights, such as Karl Ulrichs and Magnus Hirschfield, who insisted that lesbians and gay men were 'born that way'. Rejecting their view of homosexuality as a fixed biological condition affecting only a minority of the population, Freud argued: "All human beings are capable of making a homosexual object-choice and, in fact, have made one in their unconscious. Indeed, libidinal attachments to persons of the same sex play no less a part as factors in normal mental life...than do similar attachments to the opposite sex' (Three essays on Sexuality).
on March 15, 2011
at 07:04 AM
I have nothing against it but same sex does not seem to be supported by modern hunter-gather groups.