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Were there gay people in the paleolithic, or do you think homosexuality is a neolithic, "civilized" phenomenon?

by (1772)
Updated about 3 hours ago
Created February 13, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Were there gay people in the paleolithic, or do you think homosexuality is a neolithic, "civilized" phenomenon? I don't wish to offend anyone by this question. I'm asking because I would like to know people's thoughts because I'm trying to figure this out myself.

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10490 · September 07, 2013 at 1:28 AM

If you mean that a homosexual is a person who has had sexual relations only with members of their own gender and never with the opposite gender, then yes. But I don't think the definition of homosexual (or heterosexual) is based on the actions but on the desires. If we base sexuality only on actions that have already occurred, all virgins are asexual.

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12677 · February 19, 2013 at 8:38 PM

I didn't downvote this answer but we can't assume that the healthier we get, the more straight we become. At least not without scientific data or evidence to support that conclusion. Being healthier might even generally increase homosexual inclination for all we know. Both hypothesis are equally valid at this point.

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15400 · February 18, 2013 at 10:56 AM

If they all had square jaws, I am not sure they would find each other attractive. Maybe they just waited till they got home?

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172 · February 16, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Also, since the studies actually support a more fluid female sexuality I don't see how enjoying a tryst, or even preferri ng one, with another female would cause a woman to become sterile. Paul isn't as bright as he thinks he is.

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10490 · February 15, 2013 at 5:55 PM

I don't think that's necessarily the case, August, at least not among all Paleolithic societies. (I'd expect some cultural variations.) That's assuming that their family units were based around monogamous male-female couples. While making more people may have been considered an obligation for the survival of the tribe, I don't think that fulfulling one's social obligations would prevent them from also fulfilling their desires.

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10490 · February 15, 2013 at 5:51 PM

There's plenty of women who like "pepes" in their "poopers" and lots of men who like putting their "pepes" in women's "poopers." Anal sex =/= gay.

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10490 · February 15, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Your horribly offensive pejorative term aside, homosexual men CAN have sex with women, in most cases. There's not really that many who are completely unable to achieve an erection long enough to impregnate. There's plenty of men who come out of the closet after marriage, after having married just to fulfill societal expectations or being unsure of what they desired before marriage, or guys on the "down-low." You clearly don't understand sexuality OR respect, do you?

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78422 · February 15, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Luckie, they would not be able to have intercourse since women aren't men. You don't understand fags very well, do you?

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10490 · February 15, 2013 at 5:02 PM

And there's another -1 for ya, doof.

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78422 · February 15, 2013 at 5:32 AM

Humans would never have such genes, Alex.

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78422 · February 15, 2013 at 5:30 AM

I dislike yours too, syrahna

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78422 · February 15, 2013 at 5:30 AM

Then they weren't truly "homosexual" now, were they Luckie?

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0 · February 15, 2013 at 3:10 AM

Well anal sex is obviously a gross practice. You like pepes in your pooper

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
12677 · February 15, 2013 at 3:03 AM

Naturalistic fallacy based on equating homosexuality with male-male anal sex. Terrible arguement. Whatever, this ain't even worth the downvote.

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0 · February 15, 2013 at 2:53 AM

Ok maybe that came off a bit strong. When you think about how it works it just does not seem natural at all.

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2506 · February 14, 2013 at 8:41 PM

I also believe paleo folks didn't hunt big game that often. Small game, birds, and fish are all much more accessible. I believe neanderthals were much more into big game; it was the demise of big game that lead to their extinction.

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41442 · February 14, 2013 at 8:31 PM

I don't believe testosterone correlates with sexuality, alligator. And the idea that as soon as the men went off hunting away from the women they started screwing each other seems a bit farfetched. You and VB might be projecting a little bit of your lust for your romanticized caveman. ;)

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5949 · February 14, 2013 at 8:24 PM

Genes don't have to be expressed in an individual in order for a trait to be passed on. My mother was not colorblind, but she passed that trait from her father to my brother. A heterosexual could pass on to his/her offspring a recessive gene for homosexuality.

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14877 · February 14, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Thanks, Caveman_Mike. At least he will never grow old and weak and bald. Forever young I guess.

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1772 · February 14, 2013 at 5:57 PM

hehe. I was employing the literary technique of hyperbole to emphasize my point. A more precise declaration would be "out of shape desk jockey."

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2506 · February 14, 2013 at 5:37 PM

"the typical ugly, physically effeminate, overweight man". Hmmm... I didn't think you knew me, alligator. ;)

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3280 · February 14, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Sorry for your loss @foreveryoung

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1772 · February 14, 2013 at 5:16 PM

This made me laugh out loud. I like this answer. back then the men were probably a lot more than today's men. They were probably almost all strong and in shape with square jaws, broad shoulders, and slender waists.

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1772 · February 14, 2013 at 5:12 PM

It's probably less common now, considering how ugly and out of shape most men are today.

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1772 · February 14, 2013 at 5:10 PM

@ surfing on a rocket- are you blaming grain conusmption on homosexual behavior? That's a bit of a stretch. If anything it would be the opposite if you see grains as diminishing testostereone. Less testosterone means less sexual behavior

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1672 · February 14, 2013 at 3:23 PM

that closet must be very claustrophobic.. come out

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41442 · February 14, 2013 at 3:17 PM

+1 for answer and openness.

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2417 · February 14, 2013 at 6:17 AM

I don't mind disagreeing but I really dislike intellectually lazy answers.

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1672 · February 14, 2013 at 5:08 AM

There is some evidence emerging that homosexuality, like numerous other traits, is epigenetically mediated..

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723 · February 14, 2013 at 4:10 AM

Absolutely! nowadays, people are quick to label people 'gay' or 'straight.' people have likely engaged in both hetero and homosexual activities from time to time throughout human history. probably was not 'either or' like it is now

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723 · February 14, 2013 at 4:06 AM

I think this is a great question! It is a valid question about human lifestyle and sexuality. I was wondering this myself! I'm eager to hear the answers

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10490 · February 14, 2013 at 3:39 AM

I used to be OCD. Now I'm CDO. The letters are alphabetical, like they're supposed to be.

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41442 · February 14, 2013 at 3:31 AM

If you have OCD, you very likely have to at least categorize it. Everything into neat orderly boxes, pigeonholes for everybody!

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10490 · February 14, 2013 at 3:16 AM

Wow, diabeticbinger, it sure is nice of you to point out what YOU think someone ELSE'S sexuality should be called. Surely he isn't capable of applying his own labels, should he even want to apply one.

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10490 · February 14, 2013 at 3:14 AM

Actually, they CAN repopulate with no problem (if it is a male and they are able to get an erection). LOTS of homosexual men and women have had children. Just because they weren't having a ton of fun during the babymaking doesn't mean they can't do it.

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14877 · February 14, 2013 at 3:13 AM

I also suspect that because you seem so determined with your comment, that you have probably never been involved in any rigorous sport where the other is quite literally an extension of yourself. But, yes, one's gay feelings could just be narcissism if you see the other person as the better version of yourself and vice versa.

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14877 · February 14, 2013 at 3:10 AM

...the great thing about being anonymous. I've only admitted that to one other person before.

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14877 · February 14, 2013 at 3:07 AM

You must have misread somewhere because I'm saying everyone falls on this spectrum, and it may change over a lifetime. Part of that spectrum is "straight as an arrow," which is where you apparently lie. I've only actually felt ABC for 1 male person in my life, and he unfortunately died almost a year ago. Outside of that isolated instance, I can't say I've felt any "gayish" feelings for another guy and I don't suspect I ever will again. I love women for the most part but can't deny that one isolated incident. I grew up sailing with him and rowed a coxless scull pair with him for 4 years.

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14877 · February 14, 2013 at 3:05 AM

You must have misread somewhere because I'm saying everyone falls on this spectrum, and it may change over a lifetime. Part of that spectrum is "straight as an arrow," which is where you lie. I've only actually felt ABC for 1 male person in my life, and he is dead now. Outside of that isolated instance, I can't say I've felt any "gayish" feelings for another guy and I don't suspect I ever will again. I love women for the most part but can't deny that one isolated incident.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · February 14, 2013 at 3:03 AM

You must have misread somewhere because I'm saying everyone falls on this spectrum, and it may change over a lifetime. Part of that spectrum is "straight as an arrow," which is where you lie. I've only actually felt ABC for 1 male person in my life, and he is dead now. Not since and I don't suspect ever again. I women for the most part, but there was that one experience that I can't quite deny.

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1242 · February 14, 2013 at 2:55 AM

No. Not here. Perfectly straight. I have never found another guy sexually attractive. The thought is repugnant. Speak for yourself. Probably you're bi or have tendencies thereto.

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10490 · February 14, 2013 at 2:37 AM

I agree. A person's sexual preferences don't need to be normalized, validated, justified, OR categorized. Unless it's a celeb-crush. Then we can mock. ;)

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2904 · February 14, 2013 at 2:35 AM

People on this site are mentally stunted when it comes to talking about anything mildly risque. Some people like to limit the scope of PaleoHacks to STRICTLY nutrition, even though they don't realize that homosexuality may itself have its origins in nutrition of the fetus.

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10490 · February 14, 2013 at 2:35 AM

Agreed. :) I have definitely drifted from one end to the other, never being polar on either side. Why pick one? I prefer not to limit myself by wanting only men, only women, or wanting both equally or for the same things.

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14877 · February 14, 2013 at 2:30 AM

I don't think I explained that very well. It makes a lot more sense in my head. What I mean is that we all fall on a spectrum, and polars are we call now as "gay than a 3 dollar bill" and "straighter than arrow." One probably isn't static on this spectrum either throughout one's life. I see this as human nature, and given the setting is probably not exclusive to the neolithic period.

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41442 · February 14, 2013 at 2:25 AM

Haha, No, I'm proud of my mancrush no matter what. :P

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14877 · February 14, 2013 at 1:47 AM

@ Matt- But wouldn't you like your little man-crush on Robb Wolf to be justified? I'm just messing around.

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41442 · February 14, 2013 at 12:59 AM

A lot of the examples of "homosexuality" are rather questionable. Co-raising young by a pair of the same sex is homosexuality? Is a single Mom asexual then? Is asserting dominance homosexual? Don't take it the wrong way, but there is an agenda to normalize, validate, justify out there. I simply don't think it needs to be normalized, validated, or justified.

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2949 · February 13, 2013 at 11:59 PM

Why the downvote? Just because it is a touchy subject for some doesn't make it a non-worthy question.

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14877 · February 13, 2013 at 11:50 PM

Cool thanks. Fascinating.

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488 · February 13, 2013 at 11:17 PM

http://www.livescience.com/1125-homosexual-animals-closet.html http://www.news-medical.net/news/2006/10/23/20718.aspx http://www.yalescientific.org/2012/03/do-animals-exhibit-homosexuality/ http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-10/can-animals-really-be-gay Bunch of different sources because I know some people can be nit picky.

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14877 · February 13, 2013 at 10:42 PM

Not that I'm denying such things may happen in the wild, I would like to see some examples if you know of any.

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41442 · February 13, 2013 at 10:38 PM

In nature or in artificial environments like zoos? I'm not too well read on the subject, but the example that comes to mind are the male pairs of penguin who in zoos adopt female behaviours. Artificial environment, artificial behaviour...

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726 · February 13, 2013 at 10:25 PM

There are also arguments that homosexuality in Sparta and Greece was largely driven by the belief that it would boost military morale, or by the lack of women in those military units. I don't know the academic status of these arguments, but they don't go against the idea that civilization plays a role in the development of sexuality.

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14877 · February 13, 2013 at 10:16 PM

I'm pretty sure everyone is a little bit gay. If you're not you're inhuman and unable to appreciate beauty.

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14877 · February 13, 2013 at 10:14 PM

haha. Right on.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · February 13, 2013 at 10:14 PM

haha. Right on, man.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · February 13, 2013 at 10:13 PM

There is abundant evidence of homesexuality in ancient Sparta and Greece as well.

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21 Answers

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21
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1672 · February 13, 2013 at 10:05 PM

I would say that it is homophobia that is a Neolithic phenomenon.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · February 13, 2013 at 10:14 PM

haha. Right on.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · February 13, 2013 at 10:14 PM

haha. Right on, man.

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488 · February 13, 2013 at 9:47 PM

Homosexuality is found in all sorts of animals. I don't think it has anything to do with civilization.

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10490 · February 14, 2013 at 3:39 AM

I used to be OCD. Now I'm CDO. The letters are alphabetical, like they're supposed to be.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41442 · February 14, 2013 at 3:31 AM

If you have OCD, you very likely have to at least categorize it. Everything into neat orderly boxes, pigeonholes for everybody!

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d
10490 · February 14, 2013 at 2:37 AM

I agree. A person's sexual preferences don't need to be normalized, validated, justified, OR categorized. Unless it's a celeb-crush. Then we can mock. ;)

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41442 · February 14, 2013 at 2:25 AM

Haha, No, I'm proud of my mancrush no matter what. :P

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14877 · February 14, 2013 at 1:47 AM

@ Matt- But wouldn't you like your little man-crush on Robb Wolf to be justified? I'm just messing around.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41442 · February 14, 2013 at 12:59 AM

A lot of the examples of "homosexuality" are rather questionable. Co-raising young by a pair of the same sex is homosexuality? Is a single Mom asexual then? Is asserting dominance homosexual? Don't take it the wrong way, but there is an agenda to normalize, validate, justify out there. I simply don't think it needs to be normalized, validated, or justified.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · February 13, 2013 at 11:50 PM

Cool thanks. Fascinating.

9712e4ce885436e557751cfa6ffedd5a
488 · February 13, 2013 at 11:17 PM

http://www.livescience.com/1125-homosexual-animals-closet.html http://www.news-medical.net/news/2006/10/23/20718.aspx http://www.yalescientific.org/2012/03/do-animals-exhibit-homosexuality/ http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-10/can-animals-really-be-gay Bunch of different sources because I know some people can be nit picky.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · February 13, 2013 at 10:42 PM

Not that I'm denying such things may happen in the wild, I would like to see some examples if you know of any.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41442 · February 13, 2013 at 10:38 PM

In nature or in artificial environments like zoos? I'm not too well read on the subject, but the example that comes to mind are the male pairs of penguin who in zoos adopt female behaviours. Artificial environment, artificial behaviour...

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571 · February 14, 2013 at 1:29 AM

Homosexual and heterosexual love are poor substitutes for bacon.

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10490 · February 14, 2013 at 12:31 AM

I think that categorizing oneself or others by sexual preferences is more Neolithic than not. Homosexual behaviors and activities, however, are probably as old as mankind itself.

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723 · February 14, 2013 at 4:10 AM

Absolutely! nowadays, people are quick to label people 'gay' or 'straight.' people have likely engaged in both hetero and homosexual activities from time to time throughout human history. probably was not 'either or' like it is now

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40 · February 14, 2013 at 12:02 AM

I have to admit, when I first read the title of this thread, I expected a bunch of ignorant comments. But I was pleasantly surprised to see serious and interesting responses. Bravo Paleohackers!

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4292 · February 13, 2013 at 11:52 PM

I think you have to separate between homoerotic desire (the sexual attraction to someone of your same sex) and homosexual cultural identity (things like gay men being associated with art, musicals, tight pants, etc.)

I've heard of animals in the wild showing homosexual behavior, so I'm perfectly willing to believe that homoerotic sexual attraction existed in Paleolithic humans as well. But I'd be willing to bet that homosexual cultural identity was very different if it existed at all...our current GLBTQ culture is very much a product of modern society and likely to be much different than anything found in Paleolithic communities.

And since culture has such a huge effect on the development of things like desire, sexual behavior, etc., who knows what the expression of those homoerotic sexual desires would have looked like back in the day? They might have played such a different cultural role in the society that they weren't really analogous to anything we currently understand as cultural "homosexuality" or "gayness."

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726 · February 13, 2013 at 9:53 PM

The Spanish conquistadors burned a lot of Indigenous North Americans alive for homosexual acts. Sure, that was in the Neolithic, but I the Spaniards definitely did not consider them civilized.

6864d23c49952605b2a97d6256af804d
726 · February 13, 2013 at 10:25 PM

There are also arguments that homosexuality in Sparta and Greece was largely driven by the belief that it would boost military morale, or by the lack of women in those military units. I don't know the academic status of these arguments, but they don't go against the idea that civilization plays a role in the development of sexuality.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · February 13, 2013 at 10:13 PM

There is abundant evidence of homesexuality in ancient Sparta and Greece as well.

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4400 · February 14, 2013 at 3:52 AM

First of our, our closest relative the Bonobo has tons of homosexual behavior, way more than humans. Flush the "not found in nature" argument down the drain. Bonobos also reproduce no problem, and retain that homosexual behavior, so flush the "can't reproduce" argument down the drain too.

It seems that a certain percentage of kids seem to come out gay even in the most anti-gay cultures. Every parent seems to know a kid -- their own or a friend's -- who was clearly gay from age three or so. It's hard to imagine that some kids wouldn't just come out gay in a hunter-gatherer culture too.

Why evolution would select for this is a whole other question, but it's certainly not unreasonable. There are a ton of traits that make it harder to reproduce when they arrive in certain combinations but are advantageous to keep in the gene pool in other combinations. That's the explanation for the genetically-disadvantaged individuals we call nerds!

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14877 · February 14, 2013 at 2:15 AM

This probably won't be what you're looking for, but I think you need to define homosexuality before one can really answer the question.

Many guys seem to think that simply thinking another guy is attractive means you're gay. I beg to differ.

I think every guy whether he likes to admit it or not will happen upon a time when he finds another man (a) sexually attractive, but not every man will find another (b) sexually desirable. The latter (b) I think is a necessary aspect of being gay (or bi). But I actually think that if you are capable of gay or bi love (c) platonic love must also be present. I actually think that this is far more common in gay relationships than it is in hetero relationships, and I think this is brought on by a sense of camaraderie and a friendship that you build doing something physical (often athletics..which would explain Ancient Greece and Sparta).

I think (a) is universal. (b) is less common. and (c) even less so. A and B is you just like good looking people. A B and C is you're gay (or bi if you also have A B and C with the opposite sex).

EDIT: After just posting this, I have noticed Luckie's response. Which is essentially the conclusion that I am trying to draw, just with an (overly) verbose explanation.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · February 14, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Thanks, Caveman_Mike. At least he will never grow old and weak and bald. Forever young I guess.

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3280 · February 14, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Sorry for your loss @foreveryoung

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1672 · February 14, 2013 at 3:23 PM

that closet must be very claustrophobic.. come out

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41442 · February 14, 2013 at 3:17 PM

+1 for answer and openness.

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10490 · February 14, 2013 at 3:16 AM

Wow, diabeticbinger, it sure is nice of you to point out what YOU think someone ELSE'S sexuality should be called. Surely he isn't capable of applying his own labels, should he even want to apply one.

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14877 · February 14, 2013 at 3:13 AM

I also suspect that because you seem so determined with your comment, that you have probably never been involved in any rigorous sport where the other is quite literally an extension of yourself. But, yes, one's gay feelings could just be narcissism if you see the other person as the better version of yourself and vice versa.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · February 14, 2013 at 3:10 AM

...the great thing about being anonymous. I've only admitted that to one other person before.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · February 14, 2013 at 3:07 AM

You must have misread somewhere because I'm saying everyone falls on this spectrum, and it may change over a lifetime. Part of that spectrum is "straight as an arrow," which is where you apparently lie. I've only actually felt ABC for 1 male person in my life, and he unfortunately died almost a year ago. Outside of that isolated instance, I can't say I've felt any "gayish" feelings for another guy and I don't suspect I ever will again. I love women for the most part but can't deny that one isolated incident. I grew up sailing with him and rowed a coxless scull pair with him for 4 years.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · February 14, 2013 at 3:05 AM

You must have misread somewhere because I'm saying everyone falls on this spectrum, and it may change over a lifetime. Part of that spectrum is "straight as an arrow," which is where you lie. I've only actually felt ABC for 1 male person in my life, and he is dead now. Outside of that isolated instance, I can't say I've felt any "gayish" feelings for another guy and I don't suspect I ever will again. I love women for the most part but can't deny that one isolated incident.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · February 14, 2013 at 3:03 AM

You must have misread somewhere because I'm saying everyone falls on this spectrum, and it may change over a lifetime. Part of that spectrum is "straight as an arrow," which is where you lie. I've only actually felt ABC for 1 male person in my life, and he is dead now. Not since and I don't suspect ever again. I women for the most part, but there was that one experience that I can't quite deny.

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1242 · February 14, 2013 at 2:55 AM

No. Not here. Perfectly straight. I have never found another guy sexually attractive. The thought is repugnant. Speak for yourself. Probably you're bi or have tendencies thereto.

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10490 · February 14, 2013 at 2:35 AM

Agreed. :) I have definitely drifted from one end to the other, never being polar on either side. Why pick one? I prefer not to limit myself by wanting only men, only women, or wanting both equally or for the same things.

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14877 · February 14, 2013 at 2:30 AM

I don't think I explained that very well. It makes a lot more sense in my head. What I mean is that we all fall on a spectrum, and polars are we call now as "gay than a 3 dollar bill" and "straighter than arrow." One probably isn't static on this spectrum either throughout one's life. I see this as human nature, and given the setting is probably not exclusive to the neolithic period.

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15400 · February 14, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Of course, homosexuality is very Paleo.

Imagine, five or more guys (and some of them are very tall, dark and handsome) go out for a number of days in search of... gazelle? Or whatever.

For days they run under the hot sun, covered with sweat, oozing with testosterone.

Finally, they catch some ... buffalo - or something else. The wives stayed in their cave for the day, about 2 hour walk from where they are. And the hunters need to satisfy their cravings for celebratory sex. They look at each other. Slim, naked bodies with six packs. Hey, why not?

Then they come home and if their wives are old and ugly... they don't mind younger and pretty looking hunting expedition team members.

This is my logic behind homosexual behavior during Paleo times. But if you read Melissa's blog, it seems like hunter gatherers are straighter than chimps.

Don't know. Happy Valentine's anyway!

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15400 · February 18, 2013 at 10:56 AM

If they all had square jaws, I am not sure they would find each other attractive. Maybe they just waited till they got home?

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1772 · February 14, 2013 at 5:16 PM

This made me laugh out loud. I like this answer. back then the men were probably a lot more than today's men. They were probably almost all strong and in shape with square jaws, broad shoulders, and slender waists.

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8574 · February 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Homosexuality is as old as sex (which is pretty old).

What is possibly a newer epiphenomenon is defining oneself as gay, but the importance of onself as an individual (personal subjective) is a fairly new social evolution and most likely did not exist anywhere near the degree of superlative importance it has today.

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3432 · February 14, 2013 at 2:21 PM

I suggest anyone interested in this subject check out Dr Gabor Mat??. He is a champion of nurture over nature. He's primarily worked to dispell the myth of biological determinism concerning ADHD and addiction, but I think there are strong implications for sexuality, as well.

Mind you, Mat?? is NOT anti-homosexuality, and his work absolutely does not support any type of anti-homosexuality rhetoric or agenda.

Just some very well thought-out and supported ideas on genetics.

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11254 · February 14, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Well, we have a lot more free time, a lot more not-hungry time, a lot more hormone-like substances messing with our chemistry.

Thus it is reasonable to believe that we've got a lot more time and reason to develop preferences and act on them without worrying about our survival. Modern America can generate a sub-population inordinately interested in feet. Additionally, Americans tend to define themselves via their sexuality, though in other places in the world people engage in various acts but don't consider them to define them. Thus it might make sense to find homosexual behavior under certain circumstances in the paleolithic, but it is doubtful that ACT UP would be anywhere to be found. People had to depend on family, so they'd place a pretty high premium on creating more family rather than identifying and gratifying whatever desires they could come up with.

So basically, I think homosexual activity could be found in the paleolithic, but the conditions under which it flourishes are much more present in the modern age.

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10490 · February 15, 2013 at 5:55 PM

I don't think that's necessarily the case, August, at least not among all Paleolithic societies. (I'd expect some cultural variations.) That's assuming that their family units were based around monogamous male-female couples. While making more people may have been considered an obligation for the survival of the tribe, I don't think that fulfulling one's social obligations would prevent them from also fulfilling their desires.

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1772 · February 14, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Wow thank you everyone for the thoughtful, surprisingly non-bigoted answers. Well, mostly non-bigoted answers.

I don't think I can choose a best answer at this time, because there are so many good ones.

A few things I don't get is @surfing on a rocket's comment that "There is some evidence emerging that homosexuality, like numerous other traits, is epigenetically mediated.." Whjat is that evidence and are you insinuating that grains are the cause of homosexual behavior? I find that a dubious assertion. Especially considering that there has probably been a decline of testosterone in today's men, and less testosterone means less sexual behavior. Not only that, but if paleolithic men looked like today's hunter gathers (square jaw, flat stomach, athletic build, long and lean muscles), they were a lot better looking than the typical ugly, physically effeminate, overweight man today.Oh, and I almost forgot, men probably spent a lot more time together than today's men. They spent hours, days, weeks, hunting and fishing alone together while the women stayed back at the camp to look after children and gather plants. Seems likely that one thing might lead to another like @VB said. So to me homosexual behavior seems MORE likely in the paleolithic to me.

@surfing on a rocket and @brenjin. Thank you for these two incredible answers. To everyone else, thank you for your answers as well. I enjoyed hearing your thoughts and opinions.

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2506 · February 14, 2013 at 8:41 PM

I also believe paleo folks didn't hunt big game that often. Small game, birds, and fish are all much more accessible. I believe neanderthals were much more into big game; it was the demise of big game that lead to their extinction.

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41442 · February 14, 2013 at 8:31 PM

I don't believe testosterone correlates with sexuality, alligator. And the idea that as soon as the men went off hunting away from the women they started screwing each other seems a bit farfetched. You and VB might be projecting a little bit of your lust for your romanticized caveman. ;)

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1772 · February 14, 2013 at 5:57 PM

hehe. I was employing the literary technique of hyperbole to emphasize my point. A more precise declaration would be "out of shape desk jockey."

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2506 · February 14, 2013 at 5:37 PM

"the typical ugly, physically effeminate, overweight man". Hmmm... I didn't think you knew me, alligator. ;)

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2506 · February 14, 2013 at 1:21 PM

A very interesting question. Paleolithic people had to work together in tight units for survival. Presumably these units were familial based. Of course there were homosexuals back then but what intrigues me is: how did they live? I cannot believe two men or two women being a loving unit fending for themselves. I suspect a gay man/woman would be part of sibling's unit, or else they would die a particularly early death. Homosexual activities would have been rare.

Maybe dirty cave drawings are actually early gay porn? :)

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695 · February 14, 2013 at 7:09 AM

It does make sense from an evolutionary perspective. Firstly, those same genes could increase women's attraction to men, thereby making the particular gene an advantage. The gene cold in this way pass on through the sisters of the homosexual men. Secondly, it may have some bonding properties in some tribal societies. Better than fighting and killing each other like the chimpanzees, if survival and reproductive success is the goal.

However, there may be some chemicals that we are exposed to in modern days that may increase the frequency. There is no question that many chemicals that most people ingest daily causes changes in the endocrine system and in the brain, but at this time it is all just speculation.

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4292 · February 14, 2013 at 3:14 AM

(sorry; didn't realize this posted the first time bc I got an error message)

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150 · February 19, 2013 at 5:15 PM

I have PCOS and on a certain PCOS forum, I found some women sharing their experience like - they are lesbian and the better their hormonal profile (due to medication or lifestyle changes or both), 'more straight' they find themselves. Also the general distribution for PCOS is different in case of lesbian women - they are more likely to have PCOS.

I don't mean to say homosexuality is a disorder in itself but that homosexuality is not one of the random phenotypes of sexuality, it happens due to foetus being subjected to specific condition like exposure to excess testosterone, etc.

Can we assume that the healthier we get, more straight we become? provided we don't calculate health by blood chemistry and body composition only but by vulnerability to certain ailments and inclination to certain conditions...

I hope I make sense...

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12677 · February 19, 2013 at 8:38 PM

I didn't downvote this answer but we can't assume that the healthier we get, the more straight we become. At least not without scientific data or evidence to support that conclusion. Being healthier might even generally increase homosexual inclination for all we know. Both hypothesis are equally valid at this point.

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0 · February 15, 2013 at 2:52 AM

Mscott is right, it's not worth a downvote, flag it for the mods to delete.

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10490 · February 15, 2013 at 5:51 PM

There's plenty of women who like "pepes" in their "poopers" and lots of men who like putting their "pepes" in women's "poopers." Anal sex =/= gay.

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0 · February 15, 2013 at 3:10 AM

Well anal sex is obviously a gross practice. You like pepes in your pooper

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12677 · February 15, 2013 at 3:03 AM

Naturalistic fallacy based on equating homosexuality with male-male anal sex. Terrible arguement. Whatever, this ain't even worth the downvote.

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0 · February 15, 2013 at 2:53 AM

Ok maybe that came off a bit strong. When you think about how it works it just does not seem natural at all.

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1242 · February 14, 2013 at 2:58 AM

Nature seems to have difficulty spritzing on the right amount of hormones to make 50% of its creations attract to women, and the other 50% to men. It's apparently not easy as flipping a single switch.

It seems homosexuality has causes both genetic and/or developmental. That is, any of a number of things could cause the process to go awry, or lean one way instead of the other.

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78422 · February 14, 2013 at 2:54 AM

It is obviously not genetic since they cannot repopulate.

Therefore, it is a neolithic issue, perhaps due to grain consumption. We see it in nature as many animals are also malnourished as most of us now are.

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10490 · September 07, 2013 at 1:28 AM

If you mean that a homosexual is a person who has had sexual relations only with members of their own gender and never with the opposite gender, then yes. But I don't think the definition of homosexual (or heterosexual) is based on the actions but on the desires. If we base sexuality only on actions that have already occurred, all virgins are asexual.

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172 · February 16, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Also, since the studies actually support a more fluid female sexuality I don't see how enjoying a tryst, or even preferri ng one, with another female would cause a woman to become sterile. Paul isn't as bright as he thinks he is.

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10490 · February 15, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Your horribly offensive pejorative term aside, homosexual men CAN have sex with women, in most cases. There's not really that many who are completely unable to achieve an erection long enough to impregnate. There's plenty of men who come out of the closet after marriage, after having married just to fulfill societal expectations or being unsure of what they desired before marriage, or guys on the "down-low." You clearly don't understand sexuality OR respect, do you?

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78422 · February 15, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Luckie, they would not be able to have intercourse since women aren't men. You don't understand fags very well, do you?

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10490 · February 15, 2013 at 5:02 PM

And there's another -1 for ya, doof.

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78422 · February 15, 2013 at 5:32 AM

Humans would never have such genes, Alex.

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78422 · February 15, 2013 at 5:30 AM

I dislike yours too, syrahna

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78422 · February 15, 2013 at 5:30 AM

Then they weren't truly "homosexual" now, were they Luckie?

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5949 · February 14, 2013 at 8:24 PM

Genes don't have to be expressed in an individual in order for a trait to be passed on. My mother was not colorblind, but she passed that trait from her father to my brother. A heterosexual could pass on to his/her offspring a recessive gene for homosexuality.

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2417 · February 14, 2013 at 6:17 AM

I don't mind disagreeing but I really dislike intellectually lazy answers.

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10490 · February 14, 2013 at 3:14 AM

Actually, they CAN repopulate with no problem (if it is a male and they are able to get an erection). LOTS of homosexual men and women have had children. Just because they weren't having a ton of fun during the babymaking doesn't mean they can't do it.

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