Sexuality

Themes

As Process
The aim of this essay, is to try and establish if sexuality, is an innate
biological process that takes place as a result of our genetic make-up or wether
sexuality is a result of our cultural back ground and the environment in which
we are raised. These two differing theories are known as the nature/nurture
debate, nature representing the biological theory for our sexuality and nurture
representing environmental influences for our behaviour. The first part of the
essay, will focus on the biological side of our sexuality and will put forward
theories by Barnard, Hamer and Young, who will argue the point, that our
sexuality is established at the foetal stage of our development. It is at this
early stage of life, that genes carry specific information about who we are. A
gene is a unit of hereditary that our sexuality is established through and the
genes determine the biological characteristics of an individual, both physically
and mentally. The essay will then give further evidence that our sexuality is
biologically driven, by describing the changes our bodies undergo when we reach
puberty, changes that are triggered by hormonal transitions. Hormones are
chemical messengers, they send massages from glands around the body, which
triggers a response in other parts of our anatomy. The essay will give evidence
that, hormones are a biological indicator that we are biologically driven
towards our sexuality. The second part of the essay will argue that, sexuality
is greatly influenced by environmental factors, environmental factors such as
rearing styles and differing cultural practises. It will look at different
societies and the way in which they perceive sexuality and argue that sexuality
is learned through a combination of expected social norms and observational
learning, giving evidence from Bandura, Mead and Money along the way. Finally
the essay will look at the evidence that has been put forward and sum up what
has been debated, it will then draw a conclusion. From the point of conception,
human beings are made up of 46 chromosomes, 23 male and 23 female. After
insemination, paternal and maternal chromosomes fuse, this fusion determines the
sex of the child. The amalgamation of two X chromosomes creates a female child,
while the combination of X and Y chromosomes, leads to the development of a male
offspring. Each chromosome contains thousands genes and each gene contains
specific information about how part of the body will be formed. Genes are
responsible for almost every aspect of the human body, from hair colour to the
development of our organs, organs like the brain and it is within the brain were
the biggest changes take place when our bodies under go their sexual
metamorphous, during sexual maturation. When we reach sexual maturity, we have
our first insight into our sexuality, an insight which is genetically programmed
into our consciousness through our DNA, this theory is supported by the work of
hamer et al ( 1993) who conducted a study of male sexual orientation. “Hamer
examined 40 pairs of gay brothers. He examined 22 genetic markers distributed
across the X chromosome in order to see if brothers concordant for
homosexuality, were also concordant for the markers. He found that the
chromosomal region of xq28, at the tip of the long arm of the X chromosome, 33
of the 40 pairs of brothers shared all the markers. This was statistically
different from the expected rate (20 out of 40) suggesting that the gene
influencing male sexual orientation, lies within that chromosomal region”
In this study, Hamer along with many other fellow geneticists, is claiming that
he has found the gene which dictates our sexual orientation, therefore genes are
a precursor to our sexuality and our sexuality is decided at an anatomical level
in the womb. Whilst in the womb, it seems that our sexuality is being pre
programmed by our genes but there are other biological developments taking
place, namely the formation of our hormones, hormones which will lie dormant
until the onset of puberty. “The hypothalamus an important co-ordinating
centre in the brain, signals the onset of puberty. The hypothalamus stimulates a
gland just below it, the pituitary, to secrete hormones (chemical messengers
carried in the blood). These are carried to other hormonal secreting glands. In
their turn these release other hormones which regulate physical growth and
development” (DR Christian Barnard. 1981) The two main hormones released at
sexual maturity are testosterone for males and oestrogen for females. When
Testosterone is distributed throughout the sexually maturing male, his testes
will enlarge and begin producing sperm. His body will begin to