Human Sexuality

Extensive research has deduced that homosexuality has been and will always be part of mankind. Its growth and compliance in different societies has been perpetuated by the customs and practices among people. Additionally, sexual deviance has faced numerous opposition geared towards its termination including the imposition of the death penalty. The stringent taboos imposed against homosexuality in particular were an attempt to establish and defend existing and strong religious, ethical and institutional boundaries. However, despite these efforts, homosexuality still continues to prosper in the world today as it did before.

According to Vance sexuality that can be termed as good, natural or normal is one that is hinged on heterosexuality, marriage, reproduction, monogamy and is non-commercial. In his book, John Chrysostom concurs and describes homosexuality as a foul, disgusting corruption responsible for the destruction of Sodom. In spite of these two sentiments, homosexuality was and is viewed from differing sentiments by its opposers and propossers as is exemplified by the following civilizations and present societies.

Transgenerational homosexuality among the Iranians was encouraged as it was part of the young mens transition to adulthood and this was similar to the practices in Indo-European custom. The rule of the Parthian Arsacids after the defeat of the Persians was characterized by Hellenicism which introduced Greek sports. These developments encouraged homosexuality and in the words of Sextus Empiricus it became a habit for men to engage in intercourse with other men. The Arab invasion of Iran further compounded the practice despite Islamic opposition to it. Nonetheless, Zoroastrianism regarded homosexuality as heinous and took a harsher stance against it like beheading the sodomites and reaping off their bellies.

Accordingly, it is widely believed that the prohibitions expressed in Leviticus have an intricate relationship to Zoroastrianism. The penalties imposed in Leviticus were meant to set apart the Jewish people who were considered a chosen generation from their neighbors who were considered heathen in nature. Essentially, the taboos were a strategy aimed at maintaining the Jewish exclusiveness of identity and stop them from assimilating the cultures of their neighbors and to help them maintain and reinforce the boundaries. Therefore, for the Jewish people, their hostile response to homosexuality was first and foremost grounded on the general rejection of sexual pleasures. Secondly their rejection was out of legalistic adherence to these prohibitions mainly because the taboos were in writing, they were considered divine and they also threatened grim consequences for disobedience.

Unlike the Jews, homosexuality among the Greeks was accepted and approved especially among certain social groups that were regarded as being prestigious. The sexual attraction of males to other males was considered normal and to a certain extent inevitable. Even though others like Plato thought that the impulse should be curbed, they still considered the urge itself to be inevitable. Plato believed that homosexual physical love was commendable only if it was undertaken for a worthy cause such as self improvement. Thereby, he supported homosexual relationships between students and teachers or apprentice and masters if they were geared towards enhancing the learning process. Additionally he abandoned his faith with the hope that homosexual desires could be channeled into salutary forms. However, despite strong support for these acts, they were imputed as abnormal if they manifested themselves in ways that were gender-inappropriate or immoderate.

The Greeks continued to endure most of these sexual activities which were seen as different by other cultures so long as they did not pose any threat to the familys survival. The Greeks took this stance because they lacked a single decisive moral, social and religious boundary that characterized the Jews were ambiguous and they never developed fierce, strong or even consistent taboos against homosexuality. Their boundary was weakened by the fact that anyone who acquired either the culture or language of Greece could become a Greek. Furthermore the weakness was as a result of the strong set of internal boundaries both legal and political which were also ambiguous.

Conversely, the Romans viewed coerced homosexuality so ignominious that they sort ways of protecting their slaves. Their negative attitude towards homosexuality in general was as a result of the social developments in society at that time. This included the changes within the family whereby women became educated and began to actively participate in the economy and public life, and also the varying nature of politics. This eventually led to new conceptions of sexual morality. Although pagans viewed sex and homosexuality negatively, their degree of it could not be compared with that of the Christians. For instance, when Emperor Julian who was celibate took office, he replaced much of the palace staff and insisted that the priest conform to his ascetic way of life.

Similarly, early Christians were opposed to all forms of homosexuality during the times of Jesus and his Apostles. Despite the recruitment of gentiles by the early church, adherence to the Jewish homosexual taboos continued.Leaders in the early Christian churches supported the views of Leviticus against homosexuality and they considered them to be valid for Christians. Paul, an early Christian prophet held that sex was lust and naturally sinful but could only be performed within the boundaries of marriage for the purpose of procreation and if its pleasurable aspects are not over indulged. Paul in the New Testament believed that those whose crimes related to homosexuality deserved to die and nothing less. Clement of Alexandria who was in the front position in criticizing homosexuality termed it as non-procreative hence not natural. Likewise, Tertulian in the third century termed homosexual practices as monstrosities since they were more than sin. Those who engaged in such practices that were afar from the laws of nature were supposed to be expelled from the protection of the church.
Unlike the Romans and the Christians, in New Guinea and Persian cultures acts of homosexuality are acceptable and obligatory for all the male population. The acts are considered masculine in nature with the roles being based on age of the male while his partner is determined by kinship status. Although the men extensively engage in these acts, they are neither considered homosexuals nor pederasts.

In the present Western industrialized societies, homosexuality has acquired most of the institutional structures of an ethnic group. These ethnic grouping encourage sexually motivated migrations to places like New York, San Francisco and Chicago.  However, in the 1950s there was a major move when the United States altered its attention from other sexual variations to the danger of homosexuality. The justice system took it as its mandate to root out homosexuals whose activities did not fit with the post war American dream. The systematic surveillance and harassment of homosexuals by the FBI lasted until the 1970s. Homosexuals are barred from serving in the military, migration policies prohibit their admission and the fact that they can not marry restricts them from enjoying the same legal rights as heterosexuals in matters of taxation, inheritance and acquisition of citizenship for foreign partners.

To conclude, variations of sexual behavior today are psychiatrically condemned and categorized as mentally and emotionally inferior rather than sexual sin as they were regarded in the earlier centuries. Vance asserts that homosexual behavior will always be present among the human specie. However, depending on the epoch and society it may be rewarded or punished, forbidden or required or more importantly it can become a temporary or a life long vocation for those engaging in it.


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