Part of the problem with this debate is that I don't know how to define what "a homosexual" is.
I think most of the more modern researchers recognise this.
First of all, there is how people choose to self-identify. This IS
Second of all, there is what people really are according to the definitions of the researcher.
Finally, there are the people that fit in no definition and/or don't know how to identify themselves, nor does the research know how to identify them.
So, for instance, there are men who have never had sex with a man who identify as gay; men who have never had sex with a woman who identify as hetero, and there are some we might call outliers who have such ...uhm...interesting sexual histories that they themselves don't know who they are and science doesn't either.
I have straight chums, happily married with children, who like an occasional bit on the side with another man. In their minds (to generalise) they are not being unfaithful to their wives because they're not doing it with another woman.
For one thing, can we admit it's easier to obtain casual-immediate sex from men then it is with women? and that the availability or willingness of one gender versus another obviously influences sexual behaviour?
I think most of us agree sexuality is a spectrum. As I think DocLightning says above, there are clusters on either end of the spectrum but people in between as well. After more reading and thinking about life experiences in myself and others, moving to different points on the spectrum seems mainly a result of how you experience sex.
As I mention above, in my experience the military can push you to extremes. I might even go so far as to say that if you start out somewhere towards the middle of the sexual orientation spectrum, being in the military may push you to one extreme or the other, which is one way I see life experiences possibly
influencing sexuality. If you had some homosexual feelings when you enter the military, this may provide a quick conduit to explore them further and decide once and for all you are gay. Or you may get so turned off by men that whatever homosexual interests you had are extinguished, maybe.
I think perhaps how you experience gender, your own and others, during the first 20 years of life might influence sexuality. I can see having a total monster of a father or terrible male figures in your life pushing a girl towards the lesbian end of the spectrum if she finds comfort and sexual satisfaction in women during adolescence. Likewise, a boy who was towards the homo end of the spectrum might have such terrible experiences with men early on that he drifts towards hetero. Maybe...I think all this is possible.
I have another chum whose sex drive was so high that while he preferred woman, he really didn't mind who he did it with as long as he had an orgasm.
This is good, because now I realise I have two friends like this. Which is really amazing.
They have old Swedish names, so I'll call them John and Tom. Tom was my university flatmate. John I met later at work. But when I introduced Tom to John it was like introducing lost-identical-twins to each other. Both of them are complete sexual maniacs. I honestly believe they care little about the gender of their partner.
All they care about is the orgasm. I don't know for a fact that they've had sexual contact with men or sexual contact with each other, but I suspect it. They are both married with kids and I sense really love their family life. But their sex life is like a totally different part of their existence. The minute they leave home they are looking for sex.
An exciting time for them is a business trip, which they start planning in advance by researching the sexual outlets in whatever place they're visiting. One time we were at a convention in New Orleans, USA and we were on Bourbon Street every night for a week - I was happy to just drink and listen to music, they had to drag me to every bar because they were convinced this was the place where the full sexual buffet
was available, so we went to big singles bars with drunken college girls, drag queen bars, nice preppy gay bars, rougher motorcycle-gay-bars, topless bars, swinger sex bars...everything! They were in heaven and disappeared every night about 11. I'm almost afraid to ask what they got up to.
...but if they have sex with both men and women I would not call them bisexual. I would call them sexually obsessed.
Or is this just the old academic desire to put everyone into boxes?
I think there are clearly boxes. But there are also grey areas. Many here have said it's only been men for them forever, others say they may slightly feel some occasional attraction towards women, and so forth. Unfortunately we don't have enough women here to look at this further. However, I do find it from my personal experiences that lesbians more often are outright hostile towards men or have a very aggressive anti-male mindset about them, which is not totally absent in gay men I meet but is far less common.
But we could say the discussion is about sexuality, rather than specifically homosexuality. Then it could be addressed as a spectrum rather than binary.
It should be seen as a spectrum....but what purpose does a spectrum serve in the science of our existence? This I'd like to understand better.
Personally, I'm not too concerned about whether it's born in you or environmental (and my guess is that it's a combo). Since I don't see homosexuality as a bad thing at all, and I see no reason to deny things like marriage to gay folks, the cause is rather irrelevant. The resistance to gay rights from certain segments of the population continues to baffle me....and make me quite angry.
I get uncomfortable with two men enthusiastically kissing in public. I get uncomfortable with a man and a woman enthusiastically kissing in public.
I shake my head when a man grabs the ass of a woman in public, and I'd shake my head if a man grabbed the crotch of another man in public. I think some of us are just less or more comfortable with sexuality as a public issue.
I will never understand why it's so hard to accept that the innate, completely natural feelings I have toward women are the same feelings that gay people have toward the same sex, or bi people have toward both sexes, or whatever.
It's pretty easy for me to just think, "he loves him the same way I love my wife," and in my country there was never a big deal about this anyway. My impression is that me starting this thread among Scandinavians would get responses entirely different, with most gay men in Norway and Sweden or Denmark just curious as to this question as a point of scientific interest and not an emotionally charged political issue.