Logical and Spiritual REFLECTIONS
Book 6.No to Sodom
Chapter 2.Homosexuals defined
Let us first clarify and define some terms. Forgive the explicit language sometimes used here.
Concerning the terms “sex” and “gender”: they mean the same thing, of course – they both refer to the distinction between males and females. But the more colloquial term “sex” can sometimes, in the context of a discussion like the present one, be confused with reference to the sex act – so the term “gender” (which was till recently only used by grammarians) seems often preferable.
Males and females are distinguishable physically, mentally and behaviorally. They have markedly different anatomies (sex organs, hormones, shapes and sizes, facial appearances) and genetic makeup (sex chromosomes), somewhat different feelings, thoughts, attitudes and characters, and somewhat different behavior patterns. There may also be spiritual differences between the sexes (and maybe even sexual differences between souls).
Thus, gender is a complex of many factors, some of which are clear-cut, while others are more difficult to define precisely. Still, it is quite amazing how quickly we are, in the vast majority of cases, able to “tell” a man from a woman at a glance (although sometimes we are uncertain or wrong in our initial assessment).
Broadly speaking, heterosexuality refers to sexual relations between people of different sexes – i.e. a man and a woman, while homosexuality means sexual relations between two (or more) people of the same gender – i.e. between two males or two females.
Heterosexuality and homosexuality are distinguished with reference to the “sexual relations” they involve. However, since sexual relations are occasional, how shall we define “a heterosexual” or “a homosexual”? Because our discussion here is focused on homosexuality rather than heterosexuality, we must propose the following.
A heterosexual is someone who, occasionally engaging in sex, always does soexclusivelywith a member of the opposite gender (i.e. never with one of the same gender). A homosexual is someone who occasionally has sex with someone of the same gender (whether or not he or she also occasionally has sex with someone of the opposite sex).
Thus, under our definitions, a bisexual, a male or female who has sexual relations occasionally with men and occasionally with women, or with both at once, is a homosexual. That is, whether someone only turns to the same gender for sex (an exclusive homosexual) or sometimes also turns to the opposite sex (a bisexual) – such an individual is, for all intents and purposes here, to be termed “a homosexual”.
These distinctions are important to note, because apologists of homosexuality often cunningly use bisexuality to blur differences with heterosexuality in peoples’ minds. Vague terminology is used to confuse issues.
It is clear that a person can be called homosexual only if he or she engages in sex with someone of the same genderknowingly and willingly. If he or she did not know the sex partner to be a transvestite or transsexual, or if the sex act occurred under coercion or before being mature enough to understand what is happening, then he or she is obviously not a homosexual, but simply a victim of homosexual trickery or rape.
The question may be asked: is a person who has engaged in homosexual activities (once or more) in the past (recent or distant) to be called a homosexual? The logical answer would be: yes – unless or until that person has sincerely regretted past deeds and resolved never to repeat them. For an unrepentant past homosexual is surely more susceptible to homosexuality than a non-homosexual. Only a repentant past homosexual may properly be called an ex-homosexual.
Some people, of course, are neither heterosexual nor homosexual. They may have no sexual relations at all (through voluntary abstinence or without choice, for whatever reasons). Some heterosexuals, homosexuals and people without sex partners sometimes engage in activities resembling sex by themselves, i.e. alone (masturbation).
This brings us to the next question: what is meant in the above definitions by “sexual relations” or “having sex”? The primary intent here is to refer tophysicalacts or eventsproducing sexual sensations in one or more of the people involved.
Is a mere hand caressing someone’s arm, or a kiss on someone’s cheek, or a gentle hug – to be termed a “sex act”? The answer is, obviously, sometimes: yes. It is yes in cases where such conceivably non-sexual acts arouse sexual sensations, however vague, in at least one of the persons concerned. Even a seductive smile, a tone of voice or a perfume can be considered a sexually charged phenomenon, in this perspective. When judging the nature of volitional actions, we must especially focus on theirintent. A smile or caress without sexual intent is obviously not comparable to one with sexual undertone. But such cases would be the minimal degree in a wide continuum of possibilities.
At the other extreme of this continuum, there are a host of sex acts involving active useof the sex organ(s)of the person(s) involved. That is, when a sex organ is actually touched by some part of the partner’s body. And between these two extremes, there are an infinite number of possible acts or events, of greater or lesser sexual implication.
This infinity of varieties of sexual activities and of degrees of sexuality should not, however, divert our attention from the central defining issue: whether the physical act or phenomenon concerned, whether “lightly” or “coarsely” performed, produces or does not producesexual sensations.
A phenomenological remark is worth making here, concerning the varying quality of sexual sensations. Every sex act arouses a particular sort of sexual sensations – these sensations are evidently not all one and the same. The sensations aroused within heterosexual sex differ from each other, and no doubt from most of those of homosexual sex or of masturbation. This means that homosexuals are not attracted to just any sexual sensation, but specifically to the peculiar sensations that homosexual acts, perceptions or imaginings arouse in them.
Note, though it happens extremely rarely, that there are borderline cases not easy to classify. For instance, people who have both male and female sex organs (hermaphrodites). According to what I have read, these people are usually predominantly male or female, whether due to their genetic makeup, their hormonal balance, their psychology or other factors (or combinations of factors). Such people do admittedly (very occasionally) present a difficult problem for sexual ethics; but in view of the many parameters involved, this problem can only conceivably be solved on a case-by-case basis (i.e. by casuistry, usingad hocinsights of wisdom).
Another difficulty occurring in exceptional cases is the discrepancy between genotype and phenotype, i.e. between a person’s genetic sexual identity (XX or XY) and their sexual morphology (male or female sexual organ). Is a genetic male with a female sex organ to be counted as female, as superficially apparent, or as “really” male? Likewise, what is a genetic female with male sex organ to be counted as? Hard to say. Note that such disorders are fatalities, mostly due to genetic defects; also, such people lack reproductive ability. The moot question here from an ethical standpoint is: should sex between a normal man and a “dubious” female, or between a normal woman and a “dubious” male, be considered as homosexual or heterosexual? A humane answer would seem to be: act according to outer bodily appearances; but many scrupulous heterosexuals would probably prefer to preempt such ambiguities by asking their partners to take a genetic test.
When referring to transsexuality, we must distinguish two sorts. If someone is born with an ‘intersex’ condition, like a hermaphrodite or someone whose sexual genotype and phenotype are at odds, it would seem biologically and medically ethical to legally allow them to have corrective physical treatment. But this is very different from someone normally constituted whowillfullychanges sex; for in such case, there is no conceivable biological or hygienic justification for surgery.
Some people go so far as to have sex with members of other species of animal (bestiality or ‘zoophilia’). Fortunately, this seems to be extremely rare – but there have been times and places where it was more common (and it may yet again spread, judging by current Internet trends). In the present context, we may view this as a farfetched sort of masturbation (although it is much more than that, of course).