Matthew Parris

Of course you can choose to get up early (and maybe you can choose to be gay)

Books giving the patina of science to comforting self-delusion fly off the shelves

21 February 2015

9:00 AM

21 February 2015

9:00 AM

‘Oh, I’m an owl,’ said my friend Nick. ‘You’re probably a lark.’ I raised an eyebrow. He explained. Apparently all human beings are either owls or larks, being genetically predisposed to stay up late or get up early, and to be at their best after sundown or dawn.

Nonsense, of course, complete nonsense. Nick just likes partying and his career does not demand his availability much before ten in the morning. The woman friend he had just consigned to the larks section of the human aviary has land and horses, needs to be up before dawn, and not unnaturally begins to flake out after about 9p.m.

None of this has anything to do with genes. Obviously the earlier you rise the earlier you feel like bed, the later you drift off the harder it is to get up early, and we settle into the rhythm and sleep patterns determined by our circumstances, by the pleasures that we seek, or by the willpower we lack.

Willpower (I’ll grant) might be influenced by genes; but it would be strange indeed if Darwinian selection had created two categories of human, the larks and the owls. In rural Africa, I pointed out to Nick, there are no electric lights and everybody goes to sleep around nine. They have to be up well before dawn, because of the heat that comes after sunrise; women have to fetch water, men to work in the cool. Are millions of rural Africans, then, natural owls, living wretched lives as their body clocks fight their circumstances? Or was Nick suggesting all Africans are larks?

But he was having none of my scepticism, and the reason was plain. The cheeky cigar, the midnight brandy, were because dear Nick was an owl, not because he was being self-indulgent. The disinclination to rise before ten was something he couldn’t help, he told himself: it was easier for larks.

Nick had read about owls and larks (‘Scientists say…’; ‘A new book explains…’) in a newspaper, and felt at once the theory’s persuasive force. As every pop psychologist or ‘A Doctor Writes’ medical correspondent knows, there are two surefire ways to hook in your readers and (if you write a book) pen a bestseller. Each can be summed up in a phrase. The first is ‘A little of what you fancy does you good’ and the other is ‘It isn’t your fault, you can’t help how you’re made’.


What links the two is evident. Both make the reader feel the pressure’s off. If a glass or two, or four, of red wine in the evening may be good for your heart — well, uncork another bottle. Your health! And if you turn into an alcoholic — well, maybe that’s because you’ve been born with an ‘addictive personality’, poor thing.

If you’re fat, don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s probably in your genes; or you’re in need of emotional reassurance; or you’re an endomorph (or whatever); or nature has given you more (or less) ‘brown fat’. Your body is trying to make you overweight, unlike those lucky people who can eat what they like and it doesn’t make any difference.

So you’re off the hook. Nature made you that way. We lap up the reassurance that this isn’t anything to do with self-indulgence — oh no, perish the thought. Books giving the patina of science to comfort like this fly off the shelves. Such newspaper features leap into the ‘most read’ category. Shakespeare may whisper, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/ But in ourselves…’ but we hope experts will explain otherwise.

I shall now make a suggestion that I fear is guaranteed to enrage elements in the gay and lesbian community, so please be assured of what I am not saying. I don’t think the majority of gay men or lesbian women can ‘help’ their sexual orientation. I know I can’t and many, many gay friends would say the same.

But I do believe the imperative to insist that homosexuals ‘cannot help’ their sexuality has distracted modern thinking from the incidence of a numerous minority who can.

You may think you doubt it, but here’s a thought experiment to make you reconsider. Imagine we lived in a society where it was considered best to be homosexual; where gays were admired as perfect specimens of the species; where heterosexuals, though a majority, were called inferior and flawed, and made to feel ashamed; and where children were taught to see their ideal future in same-sex love.

Now ask yourself this. Do you honestly think that in such a culture, the number of people who thought of themselves as naturally gay would still be only about 5 or 6 per cent, as in the West today?

Of course not. Millions, aware that for them there was a choice, would have swung the other way. Likewise, in modern history the persuadable, seeing that the heterosexual persuasion was most advantageous, have taken an often unconscious choice, suppressing one side of their natures and opting to go with the grain of the other.

In my decades of campaigning for homosexual equality, I was never comfortable with the implicit whimper in ‘it isn’t our fault’. This was always the easiest way to sell reform: the 1957 Wolfenden Report keeps repeating that ‘inverts’ were the captives of their own bodies, advancing this as a reason why criminalisation was inappropriate. And ‘I am what I am’ became a gay anthem, with its hint that there could be no choice.

For many — I believe most — there never could. But for a substantial number, there has always been a choice. It should be self-affirming to say this; but we gays have never wanted to play into the hands of the religious right with their mumbo-jumbo about ‘curing’ homosexuality; so the quiet voice that suggests there are some who could change if they wanted is ignored.

I wish I could have chosen. I hope I’d have chosen to be what I am now. A thin gay lark.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
  • dan

    I’ve often thought it odd the types that acknowledgewatching too much porn can affect how boys act sexually can’t acknowledge that gayness or hetroness can be, at least to some extent, learnt. don’t see what the problem is, if you got there thru nature or nuture, its your body

    • I would say that watching any can ‘affect how boys etc.’. The problem, if there is one, is about the integrity with which one relates to others. Unless you are on your own, it’s not just ‘your body’, is it? It involves somebody else’s. And it’s not just about bodies, is it? It’s about souls (or minds and hearts if you prefer).

      • dan

        sure, but i wouldnt want to open a window into another’s soul

        • Why not? I do it all the time.

          • dan

            that’s better left to god

          • No, I think it’s the purview of the philosophic, too.

          • dan

            just the sophic

          • speak for yourself!

          • dan

            we already established ‘i wouldnt want to open a window into another’s soul’

          • I meant the sophist reference. We’ve already established that you are a cookie-cutter, out of the mould member of the great herd of ‘independent minds’. Heh heh heh.

  • Couple of things.

    One doesn’t choose to be ignorant of nutrition: many millions are now, since government agencies and medical bodies have spent the past 40 years badgering people to eat the wrong things, to view natural foods with suspicion and to hate fats (‘fat makes you fat’, ‘a calorie is a calorie’ etc.).

    One doesn’t choose to do oneself harm: the pleasure pathways exist for a reason, and no one can live contentedly without reward. Wine is a great pleasure and I have few enough of those. So I drink. I even drink what is ‘too much’ in one way because it is certainly not ‘too much’ in another: and that’s my choice. We live with competing goods. It would be nice to have everything our way, but we can’t.

    About sleep: I have never in my life, whatever my habits or circumstances, been someone that likes to get up routinely at 6:00. Part of this has to do with the fact that I need a lot of sleep. The more sleep you need, the later your start will be, whenever you go to bed. There is nothing I can do about that.

    As for secksuality, I can’t imagine wanting a woman in any way, shape, or form. One v-gina in the relationship is about as much as I can handle, and it has to be mine! If I lived in your theoretical world, where g-yness was the done thing, I wouldn’t do anything at all. I wouldn’t swing to women. And I can prove that because I’ve chosen to do nothing at all within marriage, lo these many years, rather than divorce.

  • Zanderz

    We are all born with certain proclivities. Whether one chooses to indulge or not is a personal judgement based on many factors; morality, health, wellbeing, social affect etc. Active homosexuality is as much a choice as choosing to rise early – although obviously not in the same league of personal significance.

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      I presume that by “active homosexuality” you mean homosexual behaviour, as opposed to homosexual orientation. Yes, of course it’s as much as choice as choosing to rise early; you don’t HAVE to do it. In that respect, it’s just like active heterosexuality: you don’t HAVE to do it.

      • Zanderz

        Indeed, all behaviours are a personal choice. We may feel strongly compelled to realise our mind’s desires, but it is still our choice to do so. For that not to be the case one would have to be defined as mentally ill or incapable.

      • Bruce Lewis

        What’s so fascinating to me about the Christian religious bigots’ attitude toward homosexuality is precisely what you are pointing out. They call themselves “Fundamentalists” who follow the Bible “literally,” conveniently forgetting that in both the Christian New Testament and the Letters of Paul, active HETEROSEXUALITY is also recommended against, and celibacy, or being a “eunuch” for the “Kingdom’s sake” is what is enjoined for followers of Christ, as being the most sanctified way of living.

  • Cobbett

    While I ‘tolerate’ gays in the sense that I don’t beat them up, torture or otherwise kill them(I even know a few socially) I don’t consider them natural, normal, healthy or equal to straights. But I accept the vast majority if not all are biologically predisposed to be Gayers…they were born that way. Not the same as getting up early or choosing tea over coffee is it?

    • Men control the media

      You just demean them in public by calling them gayers. So well done you.

      • Gwangi

        Men control the media? Really? Have you watched femi-TV lately – all aimed at women viewers to get the easy meat ratings. The BBC is practically run by women now. That’s possibly why it’s so shyte.

    • Gwangi

      The argument used to be (from various religious bigots especially) that animals didn’t do gay stuff, and thus it was unnatural and abnormal.
      Then a huge amount of evidence came to light showing numerous animals engaging in gay behaviour – from dolphins to dogs and will everything in between.
      So the religious nuts had to change their argument. Now they claim gay people ‘behave like animals’ and it’s disgusting!
      Fact is: gay behaviour is 100% normal; it is innate so people are born that way – though any man can exhibit that behaviour in certain contexts. Secksual relations in humans are firstly a social thing – they strengthen social bonds; indeed, pregnancy was, in early Mankind, a byproduct of that – just as oak tree growing is a byproduct of squirrels following an instinct to gather and bury acorns.
      Me, I have no idea why so many religious types get so worked up about gay behaviour. I do, however, suspect that a great many of them are repressed gays (esp Muslims and African Christian nuts).

      • tolpuddle1

        Many other species perform acts of cannibalism.

        But – despite that – there are still many (religious bigots especially) who dare to object to Cannibalism !

        But more enlightened attitudes show signs of spreading, notably in the C of E.

      • Mc

        Fundamentalist religious people tend to be authoritarian, insisting on controlling the minutae of people’s lives. So they have a problem with the fact that because sex happens in private, they are unable to control it.

        Add to that the fact that they are keen to condemn people to hell if such people don’t abide by their particular theological interpretations. Never mind that people just generally like to have a hate figure on which they can project their bigotry.

    • MacGuffin

      You say gays ‘were born that way’, yet you also say you don’t consider them natural.

      Unpack for us, then, your imbecilic definition on the word ‘natural’, because right now you are making no sense at all.

      • Tom M

        You are making a good attempt at trying not to understand.
        I don’t see anything wrong with what Cobbett said. Just because someone is “born that way” doesn’t necessarily make it nautral or normal.
        The logic is inescapable. Natural, in the sense intended in the post is what would be statistically expected in the given circumstances. Normal, by the same token, would be the most likely statistical activities of most of the population (hence a “normal” distribution curve). Gays don’t fit into these categories.
        Personally I prefer to consider gays as people with an intrinsic phychological disability and should be looked upon and treated with the same respect as anyone else with a disability.

  • Always_Worth_Saying

    You really are a self indulgent pain in the neck Paris. Write something interesting that the rest of us want to read.

    • Men control the media

      Or you could.

    • Blindsideflanker

      It is easier trying to stop the Earth’s orbit round the sun than trying to stop a gay talking about their sexuality.

  • Frank

    Why do British gays still try and insist that 5, or 6 percent of the population are gay when the last census revealed that actually only 1.50 percent classified themselves as gay?

    • Terry Field

      And how any of those have chosen it as a proclivity??? (Mind you, when I look at the leathery old hardbitten strivers that pass for western femininity these days, being a cottage dweller may be preferable).

      • westerby1

        I know what you mean Terry, as 80% of men are either bald headed blobs or 8 stone weaklings, with faces that could sour milk, it is a wonder many, many more women are not “on the turn”

        • Terry Field

          The hardworkingstriver women have been on the turn for so long that they have turned into yoghurt. The men are reduced to the point where M&S underwear for men are saving money on material because they no longer require to include a frontal pouch.
          Buy M&S shares – benefit from the ball-less British men!
          The same with the bras – the new woman runs and works hard – the result – redued bust sizes; hence M&S bras save on material for cup sizes. Buy the shares!!!!! Gain from the hardworkingsriverdom that Britoland has become!!!!

        • Helen of Troy

          I think their answer is simply not to bother!

    • teepee

      Worse yet that the Government accept this inflated estimate and use it to inform policy.

    • Gerschwin

      Because most of them are shirt lifters themselves.

    • beatonthedonis

      Maybe the other 3.5-4.5% like to swim in a certain Egyptian river, much like Parris likes to swim in the Thames.

  • Men control the media

    We’re all born sexually indiscriminate. People will have sex with inanimate objects and other species given the chance, so they sure ain’t going to baulk at human beings.

    • rolandfleming

      evidence to support claims?

      • westerby1

        I had a friend who was a nurse, she related many stories of, mainly men, getting into difficulties by inserting their member in various objects. Quite a few attended A & E accompanied by vacuum cleaner nozzles , milk bottles, etc. Others had various bits and bobs in their rectum: broom handle, cucumber, electric toothbrush etc. Some had been bitten by their pets, because they had smeared dog/cat food on their appendage and invited the animal to feed!

        She was a nurse for over 40 years, and said these things were a weekly occurance. Now just imagine all the other hospitals that this will happen in, and those out there, doing this, who do not get into difficulty… is that enough evidence rolandfleming?

        We are animals, and male animals, given the chance, will sha* anything: their mother , their dad, their siblings, a cushion, cuddly toy, your leg! My friend’s dog even had a go at the vacuum cleaner and the lawnmower!

        • tolpuddle1

          Should we, then, start barking at each other all the time, rather than talking to each other ?

          And, when we fall ill, should we be humanely put down, seeing that we are animals ? And thus solving all these NHS funding problems.

        • Grace Ironwood

          hilarious

        • Gwangi

          Yes, men will fe-ck a puddle of mud, it’s true. And far safer than a lawnmower or pet with sharp teeth, surely?

          The problem with the rec-t-um is thing can get stuck up there; I am sure women stick the same into the front bottoms, but they have a natural ‘ending’ so don’t get stuck. In short, men are more like the M25; women are more M4 – you will get to the end eventually.

    • Zanderz

      Wrong, man is born morally weak. He therefore succumbs to personal and social temptations. Hence, he may choose to indulge his proclivities with others of the same sex, or animals or whatever. We all have a general sense of what is morally correct. However much the gay rights movement tries to change society, homosexuals will never feel happy as they all innately know what they practice is wrong.

      • Bruce Lewis

        It seems that the Greeks of classical Athens did NOT “know what they were doing” was “wrong.” Read Plato’s Symposium.

    • tolpuddle1

      Well, a certain deceased DJ didn’t baulk at any human being. The law, however, requires more sexual discrimination.

      And most pet owners do NOT sexually assault their animals.

    • Grace Ironwood

      huh?

  • Terry Field

    Lacking any cellular, chromosomal or other abnormality, it is quite plain that many, but of course not all, ‘gay’ (yuk) people ‘choose’ to copulate with their own sex. That seems unarguable, don’t you agree, Mathew, old cocker?

    • Helen of Troy

      No: You’re the making the fundamental category error of assuming that s-ksuality is about genes as such, rather than about the hormones (for instance) that the embryo experiences in utero.

      • Terry Field

        And you, mr. mrs. cod scientist, are making the ‘category error’ (sexy modern phrase like ‘neocon’ that means sod all but sounds profound) of suggesting a load of cods (NOT a sexy modern phrase but dead-on where you are concerned about ‘hormones in the womb. Bullshit; not data, no support, no proof, just make-it-up prejudice. Are you a member of the buggery tendency? Or just keen on being a la mode??
        ‘in utero’.
        oooh very medical-sounding! I am supposed to be cowed by you faux- expert phraseology. You are a joke old cocker, a joke.
        Or old cocket if you are a ladyperson. How’s your ‘utero’ Helen, need a D & C?

  • Terry Field

    I am happy that there is equality before the law; yet not free speech. If, for example, I were to say that I thoroughly disliked and disapproved of heterosexual sex, I would probably not be fingered by the politically corrupted police, But were I to say, just for argument, that I disliked buggery, the same would not be true. Can this be an equitable state of affairs, Matt old sausage????

    • Gerschwin

      Don’t worry…one of them will always finger you.

      • Terry Field

        Finger?

  • Sean L

    Well Anthony Burgess wrote a futuristic novel fifty years ago, The Wanting Seed, in which homosexual behaviour *is* considered best: heterosexual acts getting you nicked by the homosexual police. Cannabilism is also rife and Preston in Lancashire is a northwest London post code. It’s now published in a single volume with his other dystopian novel, 1985, written in the late 70s. In this one, unions go on strike for no reason and Islam has become a major political force with mosques arising throughout the land. . .

    • GraveDave

      Was it also called ‘Future Imperfect’? If it was I read it.

      • Sean L

        Yes mate that’s what they called the reissue of both novels under the one cover. Remarkable how prescient was Burgess about Islam writing in 1978. Here’s a link to an excellent discussion on Burgess and Islam, shedding valuable light on both, that everyone should read regardless of any interest in Burgess himself, right from his time in Malaya in the 50s when he flirted with conversion, to the Rushdie fatwa, with some great quotes from his novels and various interviews and newspaper pieces over the years, not least his article on Rushdie. He saw it all coming:

        http://www.artificialhorizon.org/essays/burgess.html

        • William_Brown

          Good reference – very interesting and frighteningly accurate.

  • Blindsideflanker

    Trying to suggest their is a Gay gene seeks to rewrite Darwin’s Origins of the Species, for a Gay gene has redundancy built into it.

    • William_Brown

      Interesting thought, but over how much time will the redundancy need to be complete, I wonder?

      • Grace Ironwood

        🙂

    • balance_and_reason

      there is no gay gene.

      • Guglielmo Marinaro

        I agree. At any rate, no gay gene has been discovered to date, and it is now considered highly unlikely that one ever will be. If there is any such thing as a straight gene, that too remains undiscovered.

        • Helen of Troy

          People do think so simplistically, don’t they? Imagining that there is a gene — a single gene, note — for every human consequence and faculty. Who’s not learning biology anywhere?

    • Bruce Lewis

      And so why, then, do so many animal species keep on replicating this trait? Shouldn’t it have had its trait rubbed out through “natural selection”?

      • Blindsideflanker

        So it is your contention that there is a homosexual gene, which by some miracle can be passed onto the next generation.

        Did your Mum and Dad tell you about the facts of life? They either failed to do that, or else you are peddling some Gay Creationism.

      • Helen of Troy

        No, because obviously it is not a trait that can be selected against. This is Genetics 101.

  • Gwangi

    I used to be am owl but am now a lark. And? It’s age, silly!
    One has to differentiate between gay ‘behaviour’ and ‘inclination’. It is perfectly possible for those with hetero tastes to engage in gay behaviour – and in many cultures where women are unavailable, young men and boys are smooth enough to ‘pass’ as surrogate females (just ask the Libyan soldiers who recently tried to buy a 16 year old British army worker to gang raype).
    In many parts of the world, even in Europe (south and east) a gay lifestyle is not accepted – it means no children usually, after all – so men get married, create an heir and a spare, all the while having secret gay lives. And who are we to judge?

  • Diggery Whiggery

    Woah, I actually agree with Matthew Parris. Whatever’s going on? Hang on let me read it again…………………..yep, it definitely sounds like common sense to me.

    I feel nauseous.

  • Robertus Maximus

    Like Stephen Fry and so many other gays, Mr Parris seems to have developed a one-track mind in that all he seems to talk about these days is the community which shares his own sexual preference. There is a big wide world out there Mr Parris full of all sorts of wonders. Why don’t you free you mind from its narrow remit and explore some of its many, non-sexual, delights.

  • Bob Hutton

    I firmly believe that gays can be changed through the power of prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit of God; as 1st Corinthians 6 v 11 says…”such were some of you”.

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      Try spinning a different yarn, Mr Hutton. Hardly anyone swallows that one any more, and the fortunately ever-diminishing number of psychologically and spiritually abused homosexuals who fall for it invariably discover sooner or later that it’s not true.

      • tolpuddle1

        The truth is somewhere between your two comments. Especially among the young, homosexuality is sometimes a mere phase or an episode that can be grown through.

        But if homosexual orientation is still there at age 30, it almost certainly will be there always.

        Both comments make the same mistake as the article – ignoring the distinction between homosexual orientation and homosexual behaviour.

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          My comment above refers to sexual orientation, not to sexual behaviour. Anyone can change their sexual behaviour. They can even force themselves into sexual behaviour which contradicts their orientation; indeed many homosexual people have done precisely that – far fewer nowadays than formerly, no doubt – either in the hope that doing so will change their orientation to a heterosexual one or simply through a desire to conform to social or religious expectations.

          It would be rash to claim that no-one’s sexual orientation ever changes, in either direction, but change of that kind in adults is the exception, not the rule, and deliberate attempts to engineer a change of sexual orientation, whether through religious “ex-gay” programs or through “conversion therapy”, prove invariably futile.

          • Bruce Lewis

            Among upper class British men who were “same-sex-attracted” from an early age, there was a tradition of “turning straight,” as one approached marriageable age. In British history James I Stuart is the great symbol, but he DID keep Buckingham, as he shagged Ann of Denmark, to produce heirs. Evelyn Waugh (who wasn’t UC, but wished he were) did it, and Siegfried Sassoon (who was) did it. Their heterosexual marriages were generally a living hell for the poor women.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Thank you for those examples. In my view, anyone nowadays who would knowingly and deliberately put pressure on a gay man to force himself into a straight lifestyle and to contract an orientation-discordant marriage deserves to be horse-whipped.

            I appreciate, however, that my view is an extreme one, and that there does exist a more liberal, laid-back attitude which says, in effect, “Well, I sure as hell don’t want a gay man luring MY daughter/sister/niece etc. into a pseudo-heterosexual marriage, but as long as it’s the life of someone ELSE’S that he’s playing games like that with, then heigh-ho, that’s fine by me.”

      • Bob Hutton

        I’m not “spinning” any yarn but simply writing the truth, gays can be changed because the Bible says so.

        You state that “hardly anyone swallows that one anymore”; the answer to that statement is simple – Jesus said that the way to eternal life is narrow “and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7 v 14).

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          There may be cases of people’s sexual orientation spontaneously changing from homosexual to heterosexual and vice versa, but they are the exception, not the rule. There is no known effective means, either religious or secular, of deliberately engineering change of this kind. The “ex-gay” movement is cruel, time-wasting hocus-pocus, and you can’t make it into anything else by telling us what the Bible (or any other collection of ancient documents) allegedly says.

          That is not bad news, however, since there is no more need for gay people to change their sexuality than for straight people to change theirs.

          • Bob Hutton

            The ex gay “movement” is based upon sincere testimonies of people who have been changed through the power of prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit.

            You may not agree with the Bible but you cannot argue with the testimony of one who has been so changed.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I regard such testimonies as being in the same category as the sincere testimonies of those who claim to have been cured of genuine illnesses by Christian Science, spirit healing, psychic surgery, Scientology etc. The history of the “ex-gay” movement, which is now about 40 years ago old, is all about homosexual people who, for one reason or another, could not or would not accept their sexual orientation, and who have given sincere testimony to how it has been changed to a heterosexual one through the power of prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit. Many of them have gone public in the media as “ex-gay” and have run ministries to help others to be similarly “healed” of their homosexuality. Again and again, however, they have sooner or later found the pain of living a lie too much to endure and have come out and confessed to the world that their “change” was simply self-deception; that, despite the heterosexual lifestyle into which they had forced themselves, their homosexual orientation had never changed; and that none of the clients of their ministries ever changed in this way either.

          • Bob Hutton

            The Bible is full of warnings about the danger of “falling away” from the faith and indeed, Jesus warned of this in John 8 v 31 when He stated that continuance in the Word of God is proof of discipleship, not mere profession of faith.

            No doubt there are people who fall away but there are people who persevere unto the end – Matthew 10 v 22.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            No doubt there are people who, although they realise that they have been bamboozled, never manage to admit it even to themselves, never mind to the rest of the world. But most, I think, though it may take some of them years or even decades, succumb in the end to that nagging urge – one of the better traits of human nature – to “fall away” from deception, to put things right, to tell the truth and shame the devil.

  • EUROJESUS

    I believe it is time we banned the word “gay” on the grounds that it is descriptively inappropriate and wilfully misleading, especially for young adults.
    I mean, what on earth has light-heartedness or being jolly got to do with sticking one’s cucumber up someone else’s jacksy?

    • Bruce Lewis

      And what does real, genuine and self-sacrificial romantic love got to do with sticking one’s “cucumber” up some poor woman’s “pussy”?–except for the purposes of a commitment to love and nurture children together?

      • Helen of Troy

        May I suggest ‘for the purposes of a commitment to love each other as mates in life’?

  • gerronwithit

    I see, so in his tireless quest for homosexual rights, the next step for Matthew is to ‘convince’ many more of us heterosexuals that we are really repressed homosexuals and presumably after that heterosexuality will be declared as a disgusting abomination. To be honest, I have never given a second thought to my own sexuality and I don’t really want the likes of Matthew doing it for me. I would rather chew off my left bollock than sample his preferences.

  • Grace Ironwood

    I think that Matthew is correct. He’s not saying everybody, he’s saying a few.

    Sheer Hite the s*xologist said that as she grew older she found she simply had higher standards so migrated from bi to wholly women. : ) Fact is in some circles it’s cool to be gay, almost reprehensible to be straight. So a number of people will choose.

    A minority of whites in Australia “identify” as aboriginal on the basis they ” feel” aboriginal & focus on their heritage from one great great great great great grandmother. They are often furious if others mistake them ( with their blond and blue-eyed looks) for a white fella.

    There was a highly successful blond blue-eyed ” aboriginal” on TV recently who broke down in tears due to the fact he hadn’t experienced the racism he felt was his due. How he cried and how we laughed.

    Heartless columnist Andrew Bolt was convicted under our race hate laws & compared to a N*zi by the judge for suggesting these white aborigines were exploiting the system by taking scholarships and prizes meant for the disadvantaged. How all the right-thinking people crowed to see Bolt’s fate. The racist.

    There is very good reason in this day and age to try and escape the straight white male identity. It’s only natural that some jump ship.

  • Doug

    “Imagine we lived in a society where it was considered best to be
    homosexual; where gays were admired as perfect specimens of the species”

    It would be one hell of a short-lived society. One generation, max.

    • Bruce Lewis

      Classical Athens lasted more than one generation, and THEIR form of “homosexuality” wasn’t even as civilized as ours, since it romanticized “man-boy love.”

      • Helen of Troy

        Is ‘romanticized’ really the word, though? The Spartans had political reasons for it, not so sure about many of the other Greeks, though. I don’t think it was as widespread or as acceptable as some moderns assume.

  • Guglielmo Marinaro

    I agree that no gay person should EVER say “I can’t help my sexuality” or “It’s not my fault”. Why not? Not because it isn’t perfectly true – it is – but for the very same reason that no straight person should ever say those things and that hardly any straight person would ever think of saying them. Such expressions, whether or not they logically have to, do in practice carry the implication “My sexual orientation is a negative trait, so it’s pity that I can’t help it.” That implication is false.

  • q-pantagruel

    Maybe birds, bees and educated fleas do it, but if everyone did it there’d be no one left to do it in no time flat. Can we cut the PC Bull please? We are not talking about platonic love here, we’re talking about what one does with one’s genitals. No matter how natural it is, or whether it’s by choice, nature, nurture or whatever the cause, it is just a form of recreation; a sexual fetish. Which is fine. Have fun. However, as far as species survival is concerned it has no value and is an evolutionary dead end — (oh, perhaps there is some evolutionary value in venting male s3x drive in populations where the relative number of available females is low).

    Nonetheless, “gay” is not a moral issue or an important ideological concept to be defended. It is just some people’s idea of fun and now that it is no longer a criminal offense and gay people are protected under law I cannot understand why people like Mr Paris keep banging on about it, questioning and querying and celebrating gay PRIDE! Pride in what exactly? Where you jolly your Roger? Please. Do what you want in your bedroom and keep it to yourself. It’s none of my business – so stop making it my business.

    • Bruce Lewis

      Do you not agree, though, that HETEROSEXUAL romance is rubbed in our faces every time we want to buy a car or choose a perfume? Isn’t it possible that the reason that “gays” want to “rub it in our faces” is that OUR sexual preferences are being rubbed in THEIR faces every minute of every day? As a person who prefers no kind of sexual activity of any kind, I think that the culture’s obsession with EVERY kind of sexual permutation is obscene, and in remarkably bad taste, compared to the relative public chastity of previous ages.

      • q-pantagruel

        Yes I would agree with that to some degree. I don’t know if my public chastity knob would be turned quite as high as yours, but in principle I think sex of any descrption is a bit overdone and – yes – rubbed in our faces a bit much. There are numerous narratives – and not just sexual ones – being rubbed in daily. I don’t much like anything rubbed in my face.

  • tolpuddle1

    “Homosexual people are called to chastity.” (St John Paul II).

    That phrase contains more truth, more sense, than all the articles by gay commentators or lobbyists.

    Orientation and behaviour are two different things. We see this in non-sexual matters; if, for example, someone is by orientation foul-tempered (as many people are), we ask them to show at least some self-restraint.

    But in a Western world where even the IDEA of sexual self-control has been abolished, this is never applied to sex.

    Though that isn’t primarily the fault of homosexual people, of course.

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      I’m all in favour of self-control, but I have yet to hear anyone suggest that self-control for heterosexual people is synonymous with obligatory, unending sexual abstinence, whether they want that “lifestyle” or not. I see no valid reason for giving it that meaning for homosexual people.

      • tolpuddle1

        Celibacy is something to which all single people are called, even if only for a time.

        Since there is no such thing as SSX marriage (whatever parliaments or commentators may say), for someone who is strictly homosexual (as opposed to bisexual) the celibacy is, sadly, lifelong.

        Not easy though; but gay lifestyles are self-destructive, so what real alternative is there ?

        Which is why homosexual orientation is an affliction.

        • Bruce Lewis

          Celibacy is something that is RECOMMENDED in the Christian Sacred Scriptures and, indeed, for a “lifetime.” It is preached by Christ Himself, as being the superior sanctified lifestyle, and better than “burning” with lust–even for one’s wife.This “affliction” of being a “eunuch for the Kingdom’s sake” was strongly prioritized by original “Jesus Movement.”

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          “but gay lifestyles are self-destructive”

          Ah, that old trick of making a statement in which “all” is implied, but only “some” is true. Yes, there are plenty of self-destructive gay lifestyles to choose from, just as there are plenty of self-destructive straight lifestyles to choose from. But gay relationships as such are no more destructive than straight ones.

          As for those who maintain that lifelong celibacy is an obligation for “someone who is strictly homosexual”, I have no more to say to them than to those who maintain, for example, that it is immoral to have a blood transfusion or to drink a glass of wine, or that people are have a moral obligation to mutilate their genitals.

          • tolpuddle1

            Oral and anal sex are, by nature, self-destructive, whether hetero or homo.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Really? You’d better make sure that you keep off them, then.

          • tolpuddle1

            They’re unknown among homosexuals, then ?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Hardly, any more than they’re unknown among heterosexuals.

    • Bruce Lewis

      John Paul II was very much a neo-Christian: HETEROSEXUAL persons are ALSO “called to chastity” in the Christian Scriptures. And, please, let’s make a distinction–the Catholic Church actually does it, in its theology, but not in the way it preaches to the hoi polloi–between “chastity” and “celibacy.” Viz.: EVERYONE is called to “chastity,” including married people who are having sex every day, because “chastity” means never using another person’s body purely as an object, and always treating the other person’s body as a SACRED object, not to be used simply for gratification. “Celibacy” means simply remaining single. By that definition, a Catholic priest who is a member of the secular clergy (no vows of “chastity” taken for membership in the “regular,” or ordered clergy) has NOT broken his vows of celibacy if he merely keeps a mistress. So, taking all of this theological stuff about sex together, it should be perfectly possible for two “same-sex-attracted” people to live together chastely, so long as they quit using each other’s bodies for sexual gratification. This Judaeo-Christian hatred of “gays” is cultural, and part of archaic religious practice, but it’s definitely NOT theological.

  • balance_and_reason

    I understand that the largest and most rigorously scientific surveys pointed to homosexual population at around 1.5% of each sex…..i can understand why you might want to ‘big up’ your category…but lets keep it accurate.

  • Fred Bastiat

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1332396/Bruce-Reimer-Tragic-twin-boy-brought-girl.html

    Gender and sexual orientation are less pliable than some would purport. On a voluntary basis be whoever you want and, as long as you harm nobody, do whatever you want. But let’s not pretend that man and woman are not plumbed differently, that our biology has not developed to support reproduction, and that sexual orientation is a part of that biology. Be who you want, but let’s keep the paragraphs of silly to a minimum please.

  • jim

    Sick and tired of listening to them.If we give them what they want will they go away and stop annoying us? 1.5% of the population hogging the national media.How does that old line go?: From the love that dare not speak it’s name to the love that will not shut up about it….from a bored homosceptic.

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      I agree that this article is pretty trashy, but no-one forced you to read it, did they?

      • jim

        No one forced you to reply either.But we choose to paticipate in the debate.If that’s OK with you?….and even if it isn’t.

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          LOL. That’s fine by me, if you don’t mind my joining in…and even if you do…

          • Gwangi

            Interestingly, I once had a gay friend who was going out with an Italian – and this gay Italian swore he was not gay, despite doing the dirty to my friend on numerous occasions. That is what Catholic culture does to the mind.

            See, in places like the south of Europe, Asia, Africa etc a man can bon-k another man up the ar-senal and still be considered 100% straight. The man/boy who’s bug-g-ad is the one seen as the sad girly gay in these cultures.

  • ohforheavensake

    Erm… human sexuality is complicated.

    So that’s this whole column in four words. Should’ve asked me before you started writing: you could have done something else with your day.

  • Beaumont7

    So, no person can decide to be gay, you are born that way, fair enough, but you can decide to be become an alcoholic with all the misery that contains. Who makes that choice? I think you need to show more consistency and clarity Matthew and maybe re-think the assumptions you have that you so disparage in others..It seems as if being gay is a special case, the rest, like alcoholism, is just weakness.

  • Sean L

    Given that gender’s a continuum, that men possess feminine traits and women masculine in varying degrees; that there are even people of indeterminate gender; and men who *feel* like women and vice versa. If it’s the case that genes for feminine and masculine traits are variously distributed along this continuum, then if some men exhibit the prominent feminine trait of desiring c*ck, that’s no great shakes conceptually. And if that’s an undesirable characteristic reproductively, as it must be considered in isolation, perhaps its propagation is due to combining with other socially valuable traits, pedagogic for instance.

  • Judge Judy

    If indeed the scourge of “curing” gayness could be kept at bay, a proper consideration of choice in love wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. It seems like a weak argument to me to suggest that there is no choice in what, whom and how you love, indeed, it seems far more reasonable to me to suggest that it is exactly that freedom to choose which makes love and sex significant. We’re so worried about the arguments used to defend our position and how those arguments could be used that it becomes practically impossible to ever state anything but whatever is politically correct. In the end it makes us hollow.

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