Homosexuality. Some scientific perspectives

In a letter from the pupil marcus Aurelius and his teacher Fronto, 144-145.C., he paid attention to all the nuances of life, mood, the experience of the self, in virtue of the act of writing, in telling even the smallest detail to your mentor:

Greetings, my most sweet master: (…) To return, and before I turn around to start to snore, I keep my task, and I give my teacher wanted a story of what I have done during the day, and even if you could cast it more than less, not could suffer more by wasting their teachings, my sweet life, my love, my joy. How is the thing between you and I? I love you and you’re away. (Foucault 2010:65)


Homosexualidad. Algunas perspectivas científicasThis loving relationship homosexual between Aurelius and Fronto, one between a young man of twenty-four years old and a man of forty, was important in this period. Homosexuality classified by age was the normative form in the athenian society, expressed with the term kinados.

But in this preliminary phase of this trial, and before you deal with the central idea of this work, influenced after the reading of the trial of Ken Weston “Studies in lesbian and gay in the field of anthropology” in the book of José Antonio Nieto, Anthropology of sexuality and cultural diversity, I would like to locate the very term “homosexuality”. It was taken from the German <<homosexualität>> (Giner 2006:412), and coined by psychologists germans, as opposed to heterosexuality, at the end of the NINETEENTH century, but accepted by the academic community and the general public, well beginning of the TWENTIETH century, and due primarily by the conceptual difficulties that develops the polysemy of the very word. The extension in the dictionary of the R. A. And1 called the word homosexuality as the <>. Therefore, you can refer to relationships as diverse as those of friendship, cross-dressing, transsexuality, or pedophilia. From here we find the complexification of a representation of reality, that I will deal succinctly in the following lines, and from a number of perspectives, sociological, ethnographic, anthropological and sociobiológicas.

The greater part of the population did not pay any attention to the existence of a gay and lesbian community until the incident occurred Stonewall Inn in New York city, in which police officers raided a gay bar in 1969. This free manifestation and spontaneous citizens, has been considered as the beginning of the movement of gay rights. The gay liberation had their roots in the movement homófilo and in the “culture bar”.

In addition we should not talk of homosexuality, but of homosexualidades, since we could observe a variety of models that would identify, in a certain sense, with the concept of homosexuality, although you cannot make a principal recognition between any of them: homosexuality ritual in Melanesia pederasty in Greek, sodomy in the middle ages, cross-dressing, etc (Pichardo 2002:1)

From the field of the social sciences, has dealt with the issue, for example, from the Sociologíade homosexuality, which has been oriented in two study perspectives:

  1. The of describe and classify the etiologies of homosexuality, and the use of methods and qualitative techniques, which have produced numerous texts that address sexuality as a social category.
  2. Which is dedicated to the problematization of the category homosexual and it is linked with the theories of deviance, labelling and social constructionism.

The possible extent of homosexuality in western societies is unveiled for the first time published the research of biologist Alfred Kinsey, one of the pioneers of the research in human sexual in the united States, with his work sexual behavior in the man of 1948. It was a detailed study, with a battery of thousands of personal interviews, where he came to a series of conclusions about homosexuality. The Kinsey report describing homosexuality as a continuum from heterosexuality exclusively, to homosexuality-exclusive (Pacquiao 2000:76).

Much later, Kenneth Plummer, in his classic study, discerned in four types of homosexuality within today’s western culture (Giddens 2006:437):

  1. Homosexuality occasional; the homosexual encounter passenger.
  2. The localised activities; practices of homosexuals that regularly occur but that are not converted in the preference capital of the individual.
  3. Homosexuality custom; homosexuality as an activity, furtive, hidden to friends.
  4. Homosexuality as a way of life; where same-sex activities are part of a specific lifestyle.

Can documents in the extensive existing literature to locate the light and dark and empty on this theme, but you can instantiate in the following definitions, which can be in the inadequate adjective; until 1973, the American Psychriatric Association classified homosexuality as a <>. In the Dictionary of Sociology by Henry P. Fairchild, we find this definition of homosexuality: <> (Fairchild 1944:144). After almost seventy years of this last appointment, and in accordance with gays, lesbians and bisexuals have gone on to become more visible and integrated in western societies, have been a focus of attention and have been incorporated into the discussions of the social sciences, leaving behind outmoded and old meanings.

There are some theories that frame the issue of trafficking, but certainly the Queer theory (Queer theory), which argues that <> (Macionis 2010:331). The development of the rights of homosexuals have been driven to a large extent, the emergence of this theory, which stresses the adequacy of the disappearance of prejudice against homosexuals, and this is to be achieved by giving the floor to opinions are not heterosexual.

Until the end of the sixties of the century pasadola Antropologíano began to take an interest in the studies and lesbian/gay, <> (Nieto 2003:161). In our days, these studies in anthropology, is unique in the irregularity, and by the disputes in the emergency of any domain in the research. Studies lesbian/gay owe their emergence to a series of advances intellectuals who prepared the ground for its current expansion, <> (Nieto 2003:163).

Sexual ambiguity has always been part of the reality, as well, which poses interesting problems from the point of view of anthropology, it is not their existence, but their social visibility (Julian, 2010:155). Since the end of the EIGHTEENTH century the strategy of the homosexuality was punished, patologizarla, deny it and ignore it. Only in the last decades there has been a firm interest is to observe homosexuality, away from any positioning-stigmatising or discriminating.

Since the modern origin of the structuralism of the hand of Foucault, he already stated that <> (Carrasco, 2006:312), argued in favor of the convenience of discerning between homosexual identity and homosexual behavior (Nieto 2003:169). We, humans, are largely cultural products, we are framed in a historical context that determine us, but with margins (species, body, culture), of action, of freedom, of determination, of autoconstitución, of self-realization, but subject to external forces that displace our “I” profiles peripherals, in a permanent dialectic, between our culture and our individuality. The influences exerted from the society, and the ability of the free development of the individual, all of them, stimulated culturally, in a context of complex and heterogeneous.

In any society, individuals will differ in terms of nature, scope and intensity of their interests and sexual impulses. <> (Kottak 2006:229), playing a key role as the culture around the molding of these impulses to one set of regulations, collective, varying these from one culture to another.

<> (Barash 2010:17). Gay men from Samoa, known as faafafine, they do not reproduce, but are fully accepted in society in general, and especially in his family, with a behavior much more active than their heterosexual peers. Unlike the experience of gays and lesbians in most of the industrialized world, the faafafine are fully integrated in the society, samoan, and are not discriminated against. <> (Macionis 2010:331).

Currently presentations ethnographic behavior and the gay identity ranging from friendship, erotic in Lesotho (Africa), until the stories of macho nicaraguans, who have homosexual relationships, but not considered as such. We also find studies on sexual relations among miners in southern Africa, the marriage of boys of Azande in north central Africa, of the relationships, butch/femme among lesbians in the united States, studies of some groups of Melanesia (Oceania), which have regarded the semen as a substance’s curative and restorative, where men can acquire it in oral or anal sex.

But those same ethnographic studies, show sometimes an excessive reliance on concepts such as socialization and gender role that some authors suggest as <> (Nieto 2003:175). Unni Wikan refers to the xanith of Oman, islamic society of the Arabian peninsula and Will Roscoe in his book, The Zuni Man-Woman to the Zuni Ihamana (Native Americans), as the <> (Aldrich 2001:563). In north America, this genre of alternative, or third party is called a berdache , or more recently, <> (Barfield 2001:314). While some ethnographers were investigating the possibility of multiple genres, others began to develop more specific studies of the dichotomy between Man and Woman.

For the majority of the scholars, it is axiomatic that the generic behavior is shaped by historical forces, therefore, away from biological questions. Although there are studies of gender in the application of models Sociobiológicos that try to recognize differences of behaviors innate to configure the style and shape of the sexual behavior, and studies suggest that as a possibility the existence of a gay gene: <> (Suárez 2004).

The OMSdefine sexuality as the result of the interaction of biological factors, psychological, socio-economic, cultural, ethical, religious and spiritual. Sexuality contemporary has broken its historical ties with the reproduction and has led to a great variety of practices of gender (Macionis 2010:332) As pointed out by Giddens, in his book The transformation of intimacy (1992): <>. Be attentive, and in our future role as social scientists, observe the new manifestations that occurred here, and in the redefinition of homosexuality as a constructor of culture.


Thomas Javier Prieto Gonzalez

March 20, 2011
Text of the academic work done in grade in Sociology (UNED), in the course: Social Anthropology, during the Course 2010/2011. Center Associated deLa Laguna, Tenerife.



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  1. http://buscon.rae.es/draeI/SrvltConsulta?TIPO_BUS=3&LEMA=homosexialidad [↩]

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