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The Evolution of a Taboo

Everything you ever wanted to know about homosexuality but were afraid to ask.


Over the past 50 years, homosexuality has become increasingly salient in Western societies. It has gone from taboo to toleration to celebration—from a shameful sexual perversion to an identity—from the personal to the political. A practice once relegated to the shadows of society is now publicly promoted as the next stage of the civil-rights struggle.

Lost in the current debates over homosexuality is an informed understanding of its nature and evolutionary history. Where did it come from—and why? From a Darwinian perspective, homosexuality appears highly disadvantageous, as it discourages reproductive partnering and the passing on of genes. Thus, a collective distaste for homosexuality (“homophobia”) would seem deeply ingrained in most individuals and cultures at large, much like taboos against incest and other deviations. And yet homosexuality has persisted throughout human history—rare and most often condemned but, nevertheless, universally present, and thus on some level, natural.

This paradox is resolved when we understand that homosexuality and its taboo co-evolved—that is, both were selected for under Darwinian conditions. Though the incidence of homosexuality has varied throughout history, in our age, we are experiencing something unique in the reversal of the taboo on same-sex relations. We are just now glimpsing what this might mean for the future of religion, society, and culture.

The Very Thought . . .

Twenty-one years ago, during the summer holiday between finishing school and starting university, I was given a job working in the Islington (north London) offices of the Royal Bank of Scotland by an acquaintance, who was one of the bank’s directors. The building was not yet “online” and the department in which I worked had to process the many documents sent to and from the bank’s office every day. As you can imagine, it was exciting stuff. . .

The utter tedium of the job was rendered bearable by the fact that I wasn’t always stuck behind a desk. I would go to the collection point a number of times each day to retrieve the documents that had been received.

Two middle-aged Black people worked in this office, and they were always friendly and fun to chat with. One day—I cannot remember why—they were discussing the controversial subject of homosexuality. It appalled both of them, especially the woman, who was a churchgoer. I’d never heard either of them swear until this issue came up. The woman spoke forthrightly about “fucking disgusting homos” and “fucking disgusting lezzies.” I could see in her face that she was sickened by the very thought.

This response was partly due to the fact that she was religious. The Bible is quite clear on this matter: homosexuality, male homosexuality at least, is condemned.

If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
Leviticus 20: 13

While we live in an increasingly post-Christian world, ancient commandments like this still carry weight. Then and now, religious taboos help to control behavior, they often promote health, and they ultimately tend to be for the evolutionary benefit of the group, regardless of whether we believe in their divine origins or not. Religion, too, is naturally selected, and it could not persist if it were, on the whole, detrimental to a species’ survival. Religions take behaviors that are bad in terms of genetic fitness, for either the individual or the group, and make them taboo. To take one example, religious food taboos tend to involve the forbidding of substances that are likely to be unhealthy, such as pork or shell fish, which corrupt quickly in a warm ecology.[1] Homosexuality obviously discourages reproduction and is, at the very least, looked down upon by almost every religious tradition.

But with my colleague at the bank, there was more to it. She expressed a visceral and immediate disgust, even horror, at the thought of homosexuality, which even the most kosher rabbi would not manifest if served a plate of raw oysters. Such strong feelings—which are close to being universal across cultures and classes—must be evolved to a significant degree.

This disgust instinct has accompanied homosexuality throughout history. While homosexuality can, of course, be depicted as erotic or a “forbidden temptation,” it is most often treated as expressing a flawed or deranged character, or as involving the malign seduction of innocents. This can even be seen in the American colloquialism “gay”—common up until very recently, when it was declared politically incorrect—which refers to something that is, variously, revolting, weak, lame, effeminate, underhanded, or pathetic—put simply, evolutionarily unfit.[2]

And there can also be little doubt that many homosexuals are evolutionary unfit, even putting aside the basic issue of reproduction. Homosexuals’ levels of mental illnesses such as depression are six times that of heterosexuals of the same gender; they commit suicide at eight times the rate of their heterosexuals counterparts; and they are far more likely to engage in vices such as illegal drug use and risky sex, something especially true of bisexuals.[3] Today, these unfortunate facts are claimed to be the product of bigotry and bullying, but there seems to be something peculiarly problematic about homosexuals. Members of racial minorities or “nerds” do not express these kinds of dysfunction.

And yet homosexuality persists. It is rare but present throughout human history. How can this be? If the engine of evolution is reproduction, then one might ask how homosexuality was ever selected for at all. We could take this further and speculate on whether the broad acceptance of homosexuality—social pressures in favor of heterosexuality being lessened or reversed—would not lead to a die-off of those who inherited the homosexual predilection? If homosexual men are not just tolerated, but publicly celebrated, then fewer and fewer of them would marry people of the opposite sex out of a feeling of duty or social conformism, and, thus, they would not pass on their genes for homosexuality. And as we will see, the homosexual phenomenon has multiple layers and potential causes, and it might be selected for and against at both individual and group levels.

Part I

Making Sense of Homosexuality

Born That Way?

Before we begin, a distinction should be made between homosexual behavior and identity. Homosexual acts can occur in different contexts, many of them when men or women become homosexual on a temporary basis: there are bacchanal atmospheres where “anything goes,” and also times when homosexuality serves as a sex substitute when members of the other gender are nowhere to be found, such as on long ship voyages or in prisons.[4] As we will see below, homosexual behavior can feature in ritualized expressions of power and humiliation, as well tribal acts and rites of passage.

Identity is a loaded and charged word in the contemporary political environment. For our purposes, it should be distinguished from behavior in that it denotes people who are attracted to other people of their gender in all contexts and express no interest in members of the opposite gender as sexual partners.

Over the past quarter century, the gay-rights movement has increasingly stressed identity over behavior. Homosexuals are “born that way,” to quote Lady Gaga,[5] and have not “chosen” homosexuality as a lifestyle or passing fad. The concept of “coming out” implies that one is discovering one’s true inner nature, and not simply taking up a fad or conforming to peer pressure.

A British survey in 2016 found that 93.4 percent of the population identified as heterosexual, 1.2 percent as “gay or lesbian,” 0.8 percent as “bisexual,” 0.5 percent as “other,” and 4.1 percent refused to answer.[6] Different surveys yield different results, but these findings seems broadly accurate for countries throughout the Western world.

Research has shown that homosexuality is, indeed, significantly heritable; it is, at least in part, an inalterable component of who a person is. Male sexuality is heritable in the region of 0.4, while female sexuality is only 0.2 heritable, meaning that female sexuality is far more environmentally plastic.[7] This sex difference would seem to imply that male homosexuality may have been somehow selected for, and that it was somehow more useful than female homosexuality, a topic to which we shall return.

Are Lesbians Gay?

Most assume that “gays” and “lesbians” are manifestations of the same thing in the two genders, but there is reason to believe that they are distinct phenomena. In the British survey, among men, 1.7 percent identified as gay, whereas only 0.7 percent of women identified as lesbians.[8] This lower percentage likely reflects the more mutable nature of female sexuality in general. The cliché that women “experiment” with lesbianism in college is a cliché for a reason—and notably not a cliché for males. Put simply, women are more likely to have fleeting dalliances with same-sex relationships than males, who will tend to either be “straight” or “gay.” In turn, sapphic desire is generally viewed as less toxic or shocking, and more erotic for both sexes, than male homosexuality. Lesbianism is commonplace in pornography, including that consumed by women. Women French kissing one another has, for a few decades, been featured in music videos and advertising, and often women will engage in public displays of affection with one another “just for fun.” Nothing like this features prominently among male behavior.[9]

Photo: Shutterstock

A literature review has argued that the most parsimonious explanation for greater sexual plasticity in females is polygamy, which was the human norm in prehistory.[10] In this context, wives who were less favored by the husband would have engaged in collaborative “alloparenting” of each other’s offspring, something rendered more stable if they could become sexually attracted to each other and thus strongly bonded.

This is important because it has been shown that if a child has two parents, then that child is, in effect, more likely to survive childhood and more likely to experience positive life outcomes, including sound mental health.[11] This arrangement would also mean that these co-wives would feel less jealousy towards the more favored wives, helping facilitate a more harmonious arrangement.

Women are “hypergamous” and seek to “marry up.” They tend to sexually select for high-status males because they and their offspring are more likely to survive if the male invests in them, and he is more likely to be able to do so if he is of high socioeconomic status. This tendency is found in all societies, including those in which females have relative equality with males, implying that the tendency is genetic in origin.[12] In line with this model, in female jails, about 60 percent of inmates report being “lesbians,” which few were when they commenced their sentence.[13] In essence, the shortage of high-status males leads to female homosexuality.

A parallel evolutionary theory of lesbianism is that female sexual fluidity has evolved because males are sexually aroused by females, all else being equal, who have a tendency towards bisexuality or towards temporary lesbianism. This would possibly be because if a sexually unsatisfied female had the capacity to become homosexual, then this would decrease the probability that this female would cuckold the male.[14] This would also make sense of evidence that men enjoy watching pornography involving feminine lesbians, the kind that are more likely to be bisexual and temporarily so.[15]

In terms of understanding exclusive lesbians, known as “butches,” the evolutionary explanations seem to cross-over with those that for male homosexuality, which we will examine below.

Lesbianism and Developmental Instability

Even though there is evidence for an evolutionary advantage to lesbian inclinations, there is also evidence that female homosexuality is, in many cases, a result of what is called “developmental instability,” either due to high levels of mutation (“mutational load”), a sub-optimal environment, or a combination of both factors.

“Developmental Instability” refers to development occurring in a less-than-ideal fashion, an example of which would be a person growing up to have an asymmetrical face. If you are fighting off disease and have poor genetic health, then you will not have the bio-energetic resources left over to grow a fully symmetrical face. If you have lots of mutant genes, then you will likely have a poor immune system and must use proportionately more of your resources to fighting off disease, leading to a less symmetrical face. And some people just inherit mutant genes relating to the face.

Homosexuality correlates with many other markers of developmental instability, such as left-handedness. Humans are generally right-handed and if their brains have developed symmetrically, that is what they will tend to be. Accordingly, left-handedness betokens an asymmetrical brain and, thus, developmental instability, and it correlates with many neurological and auto-immune problems, including asthma and allergies.[16] One study found that 10 percent of females are left-handed, compared to 18 percent of lesbians.[17] Among males, 8 percent of heterosexual men are left-handed, compared to 12 percent of gay men.[18] The difference may be larger among lesbians because they reflect both developmental instability and masculinization, and the latter is independently associated with left-handedness.[19] Gay males reflect developmental instability, heightening their left-handedness, but their feminization will concomitantly militate against left-handedness.

To give an example of how developmental instability can cause lesbianism, if a mother suffers from congenital adrenal hyperplasia, then this will have the effect of masculinizing her offspring, including females, in utero. The result is that females will tend to become highly masculine lesbians—“butches.”[20] Mutations tend to be comorbid, so we would expect a mother who suffered from adrenal hyperplasia to suffer from other heritable conditions, which would be reflected in the offspring. Congruous with this expectation, lesbians are far more likely to suffer from depression and contemplate suicide than are heterosexual females.[21] They are also considerably more likely than heterosexual females to smoke, develop alcohol disorders, use illegal drugs, and be obese,[22] with addiction and poor impulse control both being highly heritable.[23] Lesbians are also at elevated risk of breast cancer, but not other cancers, other than cervical cancer, which is generally elevated in childless females.[24] The fact that lesbians are at elevated risk of one particular cancer would be consistent with the hypothesis that part of the explanation for lesbianism is developmental instability caused by elevated mutational load. It would be probable that this would be more pronounced among “butches,” as these are more likely to have had mothers with adrenal hyperplasia.

Another manifestation of developmental instability is autism, a condition marked, in part, by being low in empathy and “theory of mind”—which means one’s ability to attribute mental states, like emotions, beliefs, and intentions, in oneself and others. Put simply, autism sufferers find social situations painfully difficult. Those with autism display reduced levels of heterosexuality and elevated rates of homosexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality.[26] This may be because autism and homosexuality partly reflect the same underlying factor of developmental instability.

It is also possible that, for some homosexuals, their homosexuality is, in effect, a fetish or paraphilia—a form of sexual desire linked, to an abnormal extent, to an object, part of the body, and so on.[27] The development of paraphilia is associated with autism, and a formal literature review has found that “homosexuality has a pattern of correlates largely, but not entirely, distinct from that identified among the paraphilias. At least, if homosexuality were deemed a paraphilia, it would be relatively unique among them, taxonometrically speaking.”[29] It can be cautiously inferred from this that, for some homosexuals, their sexuality may be best understood as a fetish or obsession.

Childhood Development and Abuse

British psychologist Bruce Charlton has argued that the optimum development of sexuality involves an extremely complicated sequence—and there is a lot of room for things to go wrong every step of the way.

Firstly, there is genetics. Parents with mutant genes are more likely to produce sexually deviant offspring, as noted above. Then there are hormone-induced changes, both in utero and in adolescence. There are also critical learning periods, particularly in childhood, in which there is important imprinting and other psychological development. These phases must all be successfully negotiated for sexuality to be adaptive.[30]

In this regard, there is evidence that non-heterosexuals are more likely to have experienced sexual abuse as children. Among women, 38.1 percent of lesbians, 43.5 percent of bisexuals, and 14.2 percent of heterosexuals suffered abuse. Among men, 18.6 percent of gays, 19 percent of bisexuals, and only 4.6 percent of heterosexuals, experienced such trauma.[31]

It can be argued that being non-heterosexual renders sexual predation more likely. It is unclear why sexual abuse is higher among bisexuals. This may be because bisexuals have a weak sense of self or identity, meaning that they are not sure about who they are, leading to intense anxiety. Consistent with this, among bisexual females—though not lesbians—involvement in a homosexual community is positively associated with depression and suicidal ideation, implying that their sexuality is a manifestation of an underlying confusion.[32]

Further congruous with this, it has been found that Borderline Personality Disorder—which is characterized by difficulties regulating emotions and a with having distorted sense of self—is correlated with homosexuality, bisexuality, and frequently changing the sex of one’s partner (though not one’s sexual identification). Thus, it is associated more with bisexual than with homosexual behavior.[33] Childhood sexual and emotional abuse are key risk factors in the development of Borderline Personality Disorder.[34]

But whatever the reason for higher mental instability among bisexuals, it would seem more probable that sexual abuse of some kind is causative. There may also be a symbiotic relationship whereby children who may have homosexual tendencies are more likely to be predated, so eliciting these tendencies further. There is a very weak association between having a difficult relationship with the same-sex parent and later homosexuality. But this, again, may be symbiotic in nature. It should be emphasized that the studies that reach these conclusions often involve weak correlations, small samples, and other such deficiencies.[35]

Homosexuality and Pedophilia

There is a clear cross-over between pedophilia and homosexuality. Homosexuality is much more prevalent among males convicted of sex offenses against children than homosexuality is among males who are not pedophiles. The ratio of heterosexuals to homosexuals in the general male population is somewhere between 20:1 and 50:1, depending on the study. Among male sex offenders who have abused children (aged 6 to 11), the ratio is 11:1 and some studies have found it to be a high as 2:1[36] Indeed, an estimated 25-40 percent of pedophiles have a homosexual preference.[37] Put simply, pedophiles have a significantly elevated sexual interest in males.

In itself, this could be explicable in terms of general high mutational load, to the extent that this also causes homosexuality, and we would expect sexual disorders to be comorbid. In this regard, pedophilia can be one expression of a general neuro-developmental disorder[38], and it has a significant genetic component.[39]

Homosexual pedophilia is highly distinct from heterosexual pedophilia. Homosexual pedophiles prefer significantly older children, often those that are already pubescent, and the abusers themselves are also more feminine than heterosexual abusers.[40] Taken together, this might imply that homosexual pedophilia should be distinguished from the paraphilia of being attracted to children. Homosexual pedophilia may simply be a form of homosexuality in which youth is found especially attractive, just as heterosexual males tend to sexually select for young females, including, in extreme cases, those who are only just pubescent.[41] This all potentially implies that homosexuality—including a propensity to pederasty—may have evolutionary foundations.

Homosexuality and Intelligence

Gays tend to be smart. Based on a number of large and representative U.S. samples, there is a robust positive relationship between childhood IQ score and adult homosexuality, among both males and females.[42] It is unclear why this relationship exists. One possibility is that it is a reflection of the correlation between IQ and the personality trait Openness-Intellect, which involves being open to possibilities that are novel, unusual, and that would sometimes go against evolved cognitive biases or “instincts.” The ability to rise above instinct would allow one to better solve cognitive problems, by virtue “thinking outside the box” and testing intuitively bizarre solutions. This inclination towards the non-instinctive might also manifest itself in homosexual experimentation.[43]

Another possible explanation relates to the finding that the more intelligent a person is, the greater is the plasticity of their brain, meaning that their development is more sensitive to the environment, especially in key growth phases.[44] Sexual orientation has been shown to be reducible, in part, to neurological differences, with these differences being environmentally plastic to varying degrees.[45] Thus, it may be that more intelligent people, due to their greater mental plasticity, are more likely to undergo “phases” of homosexuality. The relationship between homosexuality and intelligence is much stronger among females, probably due to their greater sexual fluidity.[46] There is no reason to regard the developmental instability correlation with homosexuality and the intelligence correlation as antithetical, because it has been found that the relationship between intelligence and mutational load is extremely weak.[47] In addition, it can be argued that homosexuality among the highly intelligent is not a manifestation of mutational load, but rather a consequence of dimensions of intelligence itself.

In line with this relationship between homosexuality and intelligence, a survey of a representative British sample in 2009 found a clear relationship with socioeconomic status, this being correlated at about 0.5 with IQ.[48] The survey found that homosexual males and lesbians were overrepresented among the highest socioeconomic group (known as ABC1). Gay people, and particularly lesbians, also had higher educational achievement than heterosexuals.[49] This can, in part, be explained by the fact that homosexuals usually do not invest in the upbringing of children and thus have the ability to pursue higher education, careerism, and leisure. But such factors alone cannot explain the correlation.

Gay Uncles

We return to the question at the beginning of this essay. Why and how have gays remained a small but persistent component of populations through the process of evolution by natural selection?[50] Some of the more plausible explanations can be classed under “gay uncle theory.” The basic postulate is that a small percentage of homosexual males in the population is actually beneficial in terms of “kin selection.”

You can pass on your genes in a number of ways: by having children, by investing energy in your kin (“kin selection”), or by investing energy in your ethnic group, which is, in effect, an extended genetic family. This latter method amounts to group selection. Group selection refers to two or more groups, members of which are genetically related to each other, fighting it out for limited resources. The group that is more adapted to this struggle wins, and its genes are passed on to a greater extent.[51]

One study found that females with homosexual brothers tend to have higher fertility than those with only heterosexual brothers. The authors concluded that material on the X chromosome was promoting both fertility and homosexuality.[52] Specifically, females have a strong desire to marry hypergamously—to sexually select for a high-status male, as we have already discussed. This leads to women becoming hyper-female to attract high-status males. It is argued that the brothers of these hyper-female women will also be feminized, causing them to be homosexual “gay uncles.” In line with this model, male homosexuality is more common the more socially stratified as society is. This makes sense because the larger the wealth differences, the more pressure there would be for low-status females to signal their femininity in order to attract the highest-status males.[53]

An extension of this theory is that homosexuality stays in the population due to kin selection. In general, homosexual males don’t have offspring themselves and therefore invest resources in their nephews and nieces, meaning that these children are more likely to survive. Some researchers have criticized this hypothesis, however. Two studies have found that homosexuals do not, in fact, provide more care for their kin than heterosexuals do. If anything, they provide less.[54] Kayla Causey and Aaron Goetz make the important point that if the “gay uncle theory” were accurate, we would expect these uncles to be asexual and single.[55] Indeed, having a sexual relationship at all, let alone investing in a sexual partner, would do nothing more than take resources away from their nephews and nieces. Of course, it may be that “gay uncles” who do have sexual relationships are simply sub-optimally group-selected. But this criticism raises the possibility that there may be a better explanation.

Tops and Bottoms

It’s been observed that homosexual couples often appear like refashioned heterosexual couples. That is, in a same-sex pairing, one partner will take on the masculine role, and “wear the pants” in the relationship, while the other acts more feminine. We can see this in stereotypes like “femme” lesbians attracted to “butches,” as well as, in the male context, “tops” and “bottoms.”

There might, in fact, be two kinds of homosexual: those who are group-selected and those who betoken a breakdown in selection. As already discussed, it has been shown that homosexuality is associated with markers of “developmental instability,” such as left-handedness[56] and neurological disorders,[57] and levels of depression and suicide are strongly elevated among homosexual males. They are, in fact, three times higher than among the general adult population.[58]

It may, therefore, be that some homosexuals exemplify group selection, but they decreasingly do so as Darwinian selection has relaxed since the Industrial Revolution. And Darwinian selection certainly has relaxed. In 1800, the child mortality rate was 40 percent; it is now 1 percent in Western countries.[59] Before the Industrial Revolution, those who had mutations (which are almost always detrimental to health) were purged from the population every generation. These mutations of the body, which led to a poor immune system and dying from childhood diseases, were comorbid with mutations of the mind, such as inclinations towards maladaptive sexuality. This is because the mind is 84 percent of the genome. This renders it a massive target for mutation, meaning that if you have mutant genes of the body, you will almost certainly have mutant genes of the mind.[60]

This historical change would have several related effects, especially if we refer back to our discussion of Bruce Charlton’s model of development. Firstly, there would be more people with maladaptive mutations of the mind, such as deviant sexuality. Secondly, these people would be more likely to be maladaptively influenced by hormones in utero. Thirdly, society would be influenced, in a maladaptive way, by these maladapted people—these “spiteful mutants”[61]—which interfere with the development of the sexuality even of some non-mutants. Indeed, some of these “spiteful mutants” might actively encourage easily influenced young people to experiment with homosexuality, to believe homosexuality was “normal,” or to believe that it was a social good to be homosexual. For these related reasons, we would expect the prevalence of homosexuality to increase. In addition, there would be two kinds of homosexual male. The stable kind, that there had always been, and the “mutant” kind, who may be becoming more prevalent.

In line with this, as we will explore in more detail below, younger brothers are more likely to be homosexual due to the pregnant mother’s immune response to proteins emitted by the male fetus feminizing the fetus—and her response strengthens with each male fetus. Accordingly, if the mother had an overactive immune system, due to mutation, then she would be more likely to produce a homosexual son even as her first son.[62]

There are also studies indicating a clear distinction between homosexual males who prefer the dominant (“top”) or submissive (“bottom”) role during anal sex, despite the fact there are many “versatiles,” who enjoy both roles. “Bottoms” are more likely to recall having been feminine boys. “Bottoms” are also much more likely to become infected with HIV, due to the bodily fluid of another person entering their anus. They seem to be stereotyped as more feminine in their psychology, and, along with straight females, suffer from higher rates of neuroticism (feeling negative feelings strongly) and thus depression.[63].

Research from China has substantiated this. “Tops” are psychologically more masculine, behave in more masculine ways, and are higher in “instrumentality,” meaning that they are competitive and act decisively.[64] Congruous with “bottoms” being a manifestation of developmental instability to a greater extent, it has been found that they are more left-handed than are “tops.”[65] Even among homosexuals, there is prejudice against males who identify as “bottoms.” They are regarded as effeminate to an unacceptable degree.[66] According to a gay school friend of mine, who lives in New York, they are known as “hungry pig bottoms.”

The Johnny Depp Effect

Males who are slightly feminine can be quite attractive to females. Kayla Causey and Aaron Goetz have espoused a hypothesis for the persistence of homosexuality derived from this truth, which they call the “Johnny Depp Effect,” named after the famously moody, coy, and androgynous actor.

Johnny Depp in 2009
Photo: Wikimedia

Causey and Goetz’s thesis is based on the work of American economist Edward Miller.[67] Miller argues that male reproductive success can be enhanced by alleles that would lead to typically feminine traits, such as kindness, empathy, and tenderness—in other words, Altruism. An optimum level of these characteristics in males would be attractive to females, meaning they would be selected for. Indeed, we could argue that they would be particularly strongly selected for in an ecology that was more group-selected, in which creating strongly cooperative groups was more important, due to the environment being harsher, an association which has been demonstrated.[68] This is because the females would be more prone to seek signs of a desire to nurture. However, if too many of these feminizing alleles were selected, there would come a “tipping point” where even mate preferences became feminized, leading to males being sexually attracted to other males.

Miller’s hypothesis has been successfully tested. Causey and Goetz summarize that Zietsch and colleagues[69] found that psychological femininity in men was associated with high numbers of sexual partners. They also note research from Finland that found that heterosexual men with a homosexual twin had more opposite-sex partners and more children than did heterosexual twin pairs, something consistent with Miller’s model. In other words, homosexuality occurs due to having, in evolutionary terms, “too much of a good thing”: alleles that females find particularly attractive.

It is unclear how this explanation works in terms of homosexual females, though female sexuality has been found to be much more strongly an environmental issue than is male sexuality, as already noted.[70] It may be that it operates in the same way. Some typically male qualities, such as a high level of spatial intelligence or systematizing ability,[71] may be regarded as attractive, because they may increase survival chances. Males, however, may be less attracted to male qualities in females than is the case vice-versa, leading to the lower genetic component of homosexuality in females. Indeed, this is consistent with evidence that males are, in general, less interested in psychological qualities when selecting a mate than are females. They are, as we have seen—and as common sense would tell us—more interested in physical qualities.

Miller’s model could potentially help to explain the abhorrence for male homosexuality that is seen in Leviticus. In terms of group selection, a group would need to maintain a relatively high level of internal altruism combined with a strong level of external aggression. It has been shown in computer models that, all else being equal, the group that is the most positively ethnocentric (acting cooperatively within the group) and negatively ethnocentric (fighting off outsiders, often with lethal force) eventually comes to dominate groups that are less positively and negatively ethnocentric.[72] Accordingly, it would require an optimum level of feminine traits in its male members, in order to be the highly ethnocentric society that would win the battle of group selection. Men who were too feminine, such that they were prepared to practice homosexuality, would thus represent a danger to the group. If they were bisexual, they would likely pass on their highly feminine nature, pushing the group to decrease external aggression. But, in addition, their very presence in the group could help to push the group in this direction, by persuading people to be less harsh to the group’s perceived enemies. We might also expect homosexuals themselves to be less harsh to the group’s enemies, thus reducing the level of negative ethnocentrism.

Consistent with this, Gallup has found that the degree of abhorrence of homosexuals varies according to what they are permitted to do. People feel more comfortable, he notes, about the idea of a homosexual male schoolteacher than they do about the idea of a homosexual male airline pilot. This, he argues, is because people implicitly regard the homosexual as a feminized male, who would thus be competent at teaching children but incompetent at piloting an airplane, where spatial intelligence and other masculine traits are crucial.[73] And there is evidence that people are correct in their intuitions. Homosexual men really do have significantly worse spatial intelligence than do heterosexual men.[74] This being the case, with reference to Leviticus, it would aid the success of the Jews to remove from their ranks men who were overly feminine.

As the group developed to found cities, we would expect that standards of living would increase. Assuming a long period of peace, Darwinian selection—and group selection in particular—would become less intense, at least among the wealthier groups within the society. Wealthier groups within the society would also be less stressed, suffering fewer dangers and experiencing lower child mortality, and thus less instinctive in their behavior. This being the case, we might expect to find increased levels of homosexuality and a greater inclination to accept or at least tolerate homosexual behavior, due to the association between homosexuality and markers of mutational load. This, indeed, is precisely what we find in the city-states of Ancient Greece, as well as among the Romans, who reached a similar level of development.[75] It is in cities, such as Sodom and Gomorrah, where the Hebrews found noticeable levels of homosexuality—which, of course, they condemned in the strongest way possible.[76]

Gay Shamans

There are, however, alternative models that might equally well explain the presence of homosexuality and attitudes towards it. It may be that homosexuality is, indeed, group selected to some extent.

Over the past 25 years, the Catholic Church, particularly in America, has been shocked and scandalized by revelations of homosexual pedophilia committed by its priests against young boys. Indeed, homosexuality and other sexually deviant behavior is quite prevalent among religious “celibates,” Catholic priests being a prime example.[77] There seems be a broad tradition of this behavior among priestly types. An effete persona, even transvestitism, is quite common among tribal shamans and Buddhist monks.[78]

In general, homosexual men are more religious than heterosexual men, despite the many prohibitions against homosexuality found in religious texts (or perhaps because of them).[79] Homosexual men also have twice the rate of schizophrenia and depression than do heterosexual men.[80] Both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are associated with an elevated propensity towards religious experiences and religiousness in general.[81] Accordingly, it may be that homosexuality renders one more prone to religious experiences and thus more able to be a convincing religious devotee.

Religious devotion might seem quite personal, but it operates on the group of level of evolutionary selection. Devotees inspire the group to believe that it is divinely chosen. In this line, it is certainly noteworthy that celibate, world-renouncing religious devotees are a dimension to all major religions, and the development of these celibate castes is ancient in origin. In Christian Europe, there were Roman Catholic priests, as well as monks and nuns, both those cloistered in monasteries or those active in the community. In the 20th century, Spanish priest St. Josemaria Escriva (1902-1973) founded Opus Dei. Its so-called “numinary members” live ascetic, celibate lives in special Opus Dei houses but pursue secular professions.[82] There are monks and nuns in Buddhism, Sadhus in Hinduism, and Fakirs in certain forms of Islam.[83] These celibates, in the case of cloistered orders, dedicate their lives to praying for the community and adhering to what are perceived as important rituals. Others, more active in the community, perform various community works, such as helping to run hospitals. In the case of the Sadhus, they publicly perform amazing feats of physical endurance as evidence of their devotion.[84] In the context of a religious community that genuinely believes in the power of prayer, it can be argued to be good for the morale of the community that a caste of people within the society spends its time dedicated to this discipline. And it’s not hard to believe that this caste wouldn’t have the time and motivation to be so disciplined if it were not celibate.

As we have already seen, there are different ways of passing on your genes. You can do so directly, by having your own children, but you can also do so indirectly. One of the ways you can do this is by investing in your kin, who share a portion of your genes. But you can also do this by investing in the broader ethnic group to which you belong. Thus, a soldier who lays down his life for his country can, in certain circumstances, be understood to be promoting his own genetic interests, if his sacrifice prevents large numbers of his countrymen from being killed.

In much the same way, a religious celibate, whose activities help to reassure and inspire his society to maintain its religiosity—with all the evolutionary benefits that come with that—can be understood to be effectively promoting his genetic interests. As such, it would be to the benefit of a society that it included a small but optimum minority of people who were extremely religious, to the extent of not wishing to have children. This is good for group selection as, in a religious context, it inspires deeper faith in the group’s spiritual cause.

In addition, as there is evidence that homosexuality is associated with elevated intelligence, as mentioned above,[85] and there might be an important connection between the priestly class and the fostering of “genius.” But it is worth mentioning at this stage that this association may imply that homosexuality remains in the population because it produces a caste of highly intelligent people whose innovations strongly help their group interests.

It is noteworthy, however, that there is little evidence in shamanistic societies that shamans actually have homosexual relationships with each other. Indeed, the evidence is that they do not, though they are often feminized males. Thus, it could be argued that homosexuality, by virtue of promoting religiosity and possibly genius, stays in the population. However, this only happens because homophobia is likewise selected for. Homosexuality and homophobia, selected together, ensure that homosexuals promote religiosity and group interests but do not invest their energy into homosexual relationships or promote it to the society at large, which would be of little benefit to their group. Instead, they invest their energies in the raising group morale through inspiring religiousness. I have termed this “Gay Shaman Theory.”[86]

At the present stage, this is a speculative theory, but it would appear to make sense of the conflicting evidence regarding the evolution of homosexuality. Consistent with it, there is experimental evidence that when people are induced to feel what they perceive as unacceptable and forbidden sexual desires, while also being primed with words relating to damnation and forced to suppress their anger, then they become more creative, in effect sublimating repressed sexual energy into artistic and other forms of creativity.[87] So there would be an evolutionary benefit to retaining a homosexual caste who were forced, for religious reasons, to repress their “forbidden” desires.

A further nuance in understanding the degree to which homosexuality is group selected may be that there are psychological differences behind the kind of homosexual role preferred. If Miller’s theory is correct, then it can be argued that those male homosexuals who adopt the submissive role during sex (“bottoms”) are more feminized than those who adopt the dominant role (“tops”). There is evidence that the association between homosexuality and mental disorders is much stronger among “bottoms,” as already noted. Indeed, homophobia is generally directed towards highly effete homosexuals, those who would be considered obviously gay.

This is clearly true in terms of abuse within the Catholic Church. Those Catholic priests who engage in abuse almost always take the dominant role. Accordingly, homophobia may also be a means of removing particularly feminized men, who would not be useful in terms of group selection. This process would, however, be less likely to be injurious to those who were homosexual in a non-obvious way; those who would be more likely to have the optimum level of personality characteristics, reflecting their homosexuality, which would produce a constant religious devotion.

Gay Younger Brothers

Fascinatingly, there exists some cultural variation in attitudes towards particular sexual activities, which may reflect differences in evolutionary strategy. It is generally agreed by Biblical scholars that, in Genesis 38, Onan was killed by God as a punishment for withdrawing during sex and spilling his semen on the ground.[88] This must be taken in the context of an Old Testament, which unquestionably demands that believers have as many children as they can, so long as they raise them properly and have them in the context of marriage: “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1: 28).

That said, especially in a polygamous society, there will be inter-male conflict over the small number of available females. This will make the group less internally cooperative (removed comma) and therefore, less ethnocentric and less group selected. Homosexuality may be a solution to this problem, it having evolved to reduce inter-male conflict. In line with this theory, the likelihood of having a homosexual son increases the more sons a woman has already had. This appears to be because the mother’s immune system treats male hormone emanating from the fetus as an enemy agent and overwhelms them with female hormones. The more this happens, the more powerfully her immune system will overwhelm the male fetus, leading to homosexuality.[89] This theory likely makes a contribution, but it does not explain the genetics of homosexuality, especially when the homosexual is not a younger brother.

Like homosexuality, homosexual pedophilia correlates with the number of older brothers (though not older sisters) that a male has.[90] There is no correlation, however, between heterosexual pedophilia and number of older brothers.[91]

Regardless, there are strong reasons to believe that that evolution has selected for, on the level of the group, a small, optimal caste of homosexuals.

Part II

Repression, Tolerance, and Civilization

Pederasty in Primitive and Ancient Societies

Disgust towards homosexuality seems to be “hardwired” into most every human and human society. That said, there are circumstances in which homosexual behavior is tolerated or, in rare but noteworthy cases, integrated into religious ceremonies and rites of passage.

Among the Sambia of Papua New Guinea, for example, boys are initiated into manhood between the ages of 7 and 10. Over this period, they must fellate adult males every day and swallow their semen. The Sambia believe that only through this act can these children obtain semen of their own and thus become men. One possible benefit of such a practice is that it creates bonds between the men and children involved, making it more likely that one will come to another’s aid at some later point. In other words, as shocking and distasteful as the tradition may seem to us, it developed because, in effect, it fostered a more ethnocentric society. It might also be argued, and this is likely to be true of any rite of passage, that shared trauma helps make society more cohesive by creating stronger internal bonds, much like the brotherhood found among soldiers and veterans.[92] It should be stressed that, for the Sambia, such behavior is normative and is not regarded as “deviant” in the way that homosexuality is.[93]

The Sambia’s activities are effectively a form of pederasty, defined as a sexual relationship between an adolescent boy and an older male. Today in the West, there are few crimes considered more heinous than child abuse, but the fact remains that the practice was common in many pre-modern societies: in Ancient Greece, among tribes in Melanesia, New Guinea[94], Northeast Asia[95], and among many Muslim communities in Central Asia during the 19th century, especially in the areas under Russian rule.[96] There is some evidence that pederasty was taboo among most Celtic, Germanic, and Scandinavian tribes, in which a male proved his manhood through successful hunting and was shunned as effeminate if he hadn’t successfully made a kill by a set age.[97] Contra to this, however, there is anthropological evidence from ancient writers that it was practiced among the Germanics, and there was no law against it.[98] Pederasty was common in pre-Islamic Asia and is widespread in many Islamic countries even to this day, particularly in Afghanistan.[99]

In these cultures, age-equal homosexuality—or homosexuality as we know it in the West—is shunned, but pederasty is tolerated. Many males are sodomized as children, and they do the same to others when they become adults. Islam may also play a role, as females are heavily secluded. Indeed, it has been argued that part of the reason for the widespread practice of pederasty in Ancient Greece was the seclusion of females.[100] This theory is consistent with the widely documented phenomenon of males becoming temporarily homosexual if they are isolated from females for long periods of time, such as in prison. This presumably occurs because certain kinds of male (those who are not yet masculinized or who are the least masculine) are the closest thing to females that is available or, indeed, visible, and a man’s sexual urges require fulfillment. In this sense, we can understand why male sexuality would be approximately 60 percent a matter of environmental causes—and that context plays a significant role.

Taking a step back, we can see that there is some benefit to feminized males remaining in the gene pool. They would be more likely to pursue a group-selected role, such as the priesthood, and this might help to explain, in the part, the genetic dimension to variance in male sexual orientation. And in a context in which there simply are not sufficient numbers of accessible females, the ability to turn to pederasty would reduce inter-male conflict by permitting low-status males, who would be more likely to be unable to access the females anyway, and who might not even be especially useful in terms of group selection other than as cannon fodder, a feeling of power and importance.

In many Islamic societies, levels of trust and impulse control are relatively low.[101] As such, the seclusion of females is necessary in order to reassure husbands that their children are genuinely their own. This, in turn, helps to foster a more group-selected society that is more positively ethnocentric. But the result of this seclusion of females is the development of (at least temporary) pederasty among unmarried young men. Banning this could potentially lead to such frustration among these young or low-status males that the social order could find itself challenged. As levels of trust increase, the need to seclude women would decrease, and pederasty would be less likely to develop; however, as we will see shortly, there is evidence that contradicts this mainly environmental thesis.

Deviancy in the British Aristocracy

Winston Churchill’s caustically observed that the unspoken traditions of the British navy were “Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash.” The late journalist Christopher Hitchens added that the three great subjects of English boarding school were “Beating, Bullying, and Buggery.”[102] Quips aside, there is a degree to which pederasty, especially in an effectively symbolic form, was tolerated by the British upper class up through the 19th and 20th centuries.

Boys at “prep schools” (for pre-teens) and “public schools” (for teenagers) would be caned or birched on their bare buttocks, often to the point of bleeding. Within certain boundaries, this ritual was entirely accepted. The homo-erotic dimension to this is clear, and it may be that such a punishment evolved because it sends a message of dominance to the person being punished by making him utterly vulnerable and assume the sexual position of the female, a point that has been made by the British zoologist Desmond Morris. Among chimpanzees serious fights are often avoided by the subordinate male presenting his posterior so that the dominant can briefly penetrate him.[103] This symbolic interplay diffuses the conflict, avoids serious harm, and allows those involved to “move on.”

Some headmasters, however, were considered either overly severe or unreasonable in their beatings, such as Winston Churchill’s prep school headmaster, the Latin expert Rev. Herbert William Sneyd-Kynnersley (1848-1886). And some actually did sodomize their pupils. For this there were consequences. Known homosexual masters were forced to resign to avoid prosecution.[104] One of Sneyd-Kynnersley’s favorite pupils, Anglo-German writer Count Harry Kessler (1868-1937), who had far fonder memories of Sneyd-Kynnersley than the badly behaved Churchill, recalled that the headmaster was “driven by empathy for the souls of individual boys which, in his case, as with many great educators since Plato, may well have been homo-erotic in origin.”[105] Another, rather unreliable, ex-pupil reported that Sneyd-Kynnersley did actually have homosexual relationships with some of his favorites[106], and he certainly loved socializing with and entertaining his pupils, often at great effort and expense on his part.[107]

The key point is that there was effectively a system of something like pederasty among the 19th- and 20th-century English upper class. This is consistent with attitudes to homosexuality having slackened as that society became less harsh, especially so for the upper class. Furthermore, Victorian England’s Puritanical attitudes towards sexual relationships and the exposure of the body meant that females were, in effect, “veiled,” which would potentially elevate pederasty, at least among the higher orders, who would likely follow these restrictions more vigorously.

Evolutionary Benefits of Prohibition

In terms of group evolution, the Jewish and Jewish-inspired religions are notable for their absolute prohibition on homosexual relations, including pederasty. This innovation was rare in its time, and there may be some respect to which it proved evolutionarily advantageous.

Pederasty was widely practiced during the age of the Early Church among the Jews, despite the clear prohibitions in the Old Testament. But Paul the Apostle argued strongly that all pederasts deserve to die:

Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error . . . Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them
Romans I, 27-32

Philo (c. 25 BC-50 AD), a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher, in his writings on Jewish scriptures, makes a point of stressing that Leviticus condemns both the passive and active partner in a homosexual relationship to death. Philo does this because many of his readers would have assumed that the passive partner must be executed but not the active partner, because he has not shown himself to be unmanly.[108] It must be emphasized that his audience is Hellenized Jews. These generally city-dwelling Jews were much more liberal than the more traditional rural Jews, who had not embraced Greek mores to the same extent.[109]

The inclination to entirely outlaw homosexuality (including pederasty) could have some evolutionary benefits. One possibility is the heightening of investment in the family and in simply having more children. In a context in which homosexual activity is permitted, then men, including married men, are investing energy in and bonding with young males who are not members of their family. It could be argued, as we already noted, that this helps to create strong bonds within society. However, active pederasts may also be investing resources in these young males, subtracting from the resources that they are investing in their family. Accordingly, from the perspective of kin selection, a societal abhorrence to all forms of homosexuality would effectively compel men to invest in their families or the group. As we’ve seen, in a polygamous society, this could potentially result in a rebellion at the hands of low-status males with no sexual outlet. However, if they could be persuaded that even God condemned all forms of homosexuality, and enough people were homophobic, then this could perhaps be obviated, and they could be forced into some useful celibate role, such as that of a holy man.

In a situation of strong group selection, all else being equal, the society that was most homophobic would be more likely to triumph—and this repulsion would usefully become higher the more intense were the levels of selection under which the group labored.[110] In a monogamous society, such revulsion would be presumably heightened because there would be very little reason to be homosexual, there being sufficient females for most men. Thus, the males who were homosexual in such a context would likely be so for primarily genetic reasons, meaning they would more adaptively be pushed into a group-selected role. In addition, as we have seen, it has been shown above that male sexuality is around 60 percent a matter of environmental factors. Thus, there may be a degree to which exposure to homosexuality, or rather to its social acceptability, can make a person more likely to be homosexual, as there would be less pressure to try to suppress these feelings, a point that has been made with regard to the acceptability of homosexuality in Ancient Greece.[111] Any group that, therefore, came to abhor homosexuality would make it less likely that their sons became homosexual, in turn, making it less likely that their investment in their sons would be wasted, by virtue of their sons not passing on their genes. Accordingly, those who held homophobic attitudes would end up with more descendants and their group would be more likely to survive.[112] This may, once more, help to explain the adoption of strict homophobia by the Jews and perhaps by some northern European peoples, where group selection may have been particularly intense due to the harshness of the ecology and a state of frequent warfare.

Urbanism and Tolerance

Once conditions become less harsh, there is a degree to which attitudes to homosexuality appear to soften and homosexuality becomes more noticeable. Homosexuality, in various forms and to a limited extent, is tolerated in various tribal organizations in hot environments where basic needs are met and the environment is relatively unstable. In these contexts, relatively few resources are invested in partner or offspring. The Sambia, whom we met earlier, would be a typical example of such a social organization. They tolerate pederasty. In Brazil, Bororo youths engage in homosexual relationships, at least during the period of their rite of passage, when they are secluded from the broader society. Male Yanomamö have sexual relationships with each other until they get married, and this is in a society in which women walk around naked. The same is true of many other tribes. This may be a form of sexual outlet in polygamous societies, because the high-status (added hyphen) men will control so many of the young women.[113] But this wouldn’t explain the tolerance of homosexuality in Ancient Greece or Rome, which was monogamous. As we move away from this easy ecology towards a much harsher yet more predictable environment, the intensity of selection, especially for investment in offspring and partner, would increase, meaning it would be advantageous to shun homosexuality for the various reasons that we have already outlined.

As we move into relatively developed conditions, such as those found in the city-states of the Ancient World, we might expect that the intensity of selection for this strategy and the shunning of homosexuality, would actually decrease (edited sentence to be concise). In other words, people would become more civilized and less warlike. It has been documented, in this regard, that living standards in the cities of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia were “luxurious” even compared to those of the city-states of ancient Greece.[114] There was the beginning of functioning medicine[115] and extremely high living standards in comparison to those of other societies of the time.[116] In other words, a larger, and more genetically diverse, population could be produced than was the case among the ancient Jews, who were simple farmers on the borders of these civilizations, though it must nevertheless be remembered that child mortality was high among the ancient Egyptians and life expectancy was around 35.[117] But in such a relatively opulent society, we would expect homosexuality to gradually become more acceptable in the developed world of the time. In addition, life would be less stressful, with stress being known to be associated with highly instinctive behavior and, indeed, with religiousness.[118] Thus, any evolved instinct to be repulsed by homosexuality would be less likely to be triggered. Consistent with this, as we have discussed, the Hellenized Jews just after the time of Christ, living in Greek city-states, were far less appalled by homosexuality than their ancestors had been, even believing that the dominant homosexual should not be put to death.[119]

So, it may be that the group-selection triumph of Judeo-Christianity can partly be found in its suppression of homosexuality (including pederasty) through religious means, which forces homosexual and single men to invest their energies in the group as a whole. Christianity takes a series of evolutionary imperatives that have developed among desert herders in the Middle East and renders those the unquestioned will of God. It then takes those to an ecology, northern Europe, where it is so cold and stable that the level of selection is extremely intense even once cities have developed and where the selection for religiousness is, accordingly, extremely intense as well. As German biochemist Gerhard Meisenberg has argued, this leads to homosexuality remaining taboo through to a much later stage of civilization than we see in the ancient world.[120] To a lesser extent, this taboo was also maintained for longer with Islam, which also adopts certain aspects of Jewish thought. But it is clearly so to a much lesser extent, as evidenced in the acceptability of pederasty in the Islamic world.

Sex and the Decline of the West

It is not just homosexuality that is taboo among many religious groups but, to varying degrees, sexuality itself. The Old Testament, for example, makes clear that the act of sexual intercourse is only to take place within marriage. Those who break this rule, such as adulterers or fornicators, are to be severely punished and even killed. The body itself is to be regulated, such that people, especially females, cover themselves and do not reveal too much flesh. The Hebrews often contrast their culture with other groups, such as the people of Sodom or of Egypt, who were more sexually liberated. This is particularly explicit as we move into the New Testament and, in particular, the letters of St Paul. The pagans are portrayed as far more sexually liberal than the puritanical Christians—repression of sexuality being portrayed as a distinctly Christian virtue. In that all religious groups appear to taboo sexuality to some extent, it is quite probable there is a sound evolutionary reason for doing so.

A long-forgotten English anthropologist, the First World War hero and proto-welfare state organizer[121] J. D. Unwin (1895-1936), noticed this when he researched his doctoral thesis. He also observed that, up to a point, the more developed a society was, the more strongly sex appeared to be repressed. In the book that this thesis led to, Sex and Culture,[122] Unwin studied 80 primitive tribes and six known civilizations, spanning a period of 5,000 years. He found a positive correlation between the degree of cultural achievement displayed by a people and the level of sexual restraint they observed. He further noted that high civilizations will tend to become extremely luxurious, at which point they start to become increasingly sexually liberal. As this change takes place, they lose their cohesion and sense of purpose and collapse back into a more primitive social organization.

How can we explain Unwin’s findings? It may be that they are a matter of “correlation, not causation.” A society is more likely to develop if it is more cooperative and group-selected, which will naturally result in greater sexual restraint—something that its religiousness is likely to elevate further. To some extent, by virtue of being high in intelligence, as civilizations tend to be—and thus higher in trust, pro-social and civic behavior, and long-term thinking[123]—people will be less likely to commit adultery or pursue short-term sexual unions.

As the society becomes more and more developed and luxurious, people will begin to feel less stressed about external dangers or unpredictable death, meaning that they will be less religious. This will, in turn, lead to more people becoming less sexually restrained, behavior that generally trickle down from the higher classes. The weakened Darwinian selection for the optimum group may mean a weaker level of selection for traits such as self-control. Furthermore, contraception, which is generally innovated in urban environments, will be taken up by the upper-classes. This will lead to a negative association between fertility and intelligence and the eventual collapse of society, maybe the people itself.

Concomitantly, the same high levels of luxury will lead to the collapse of religion, reduced ethnocentrism, the acceptance of immigration, and a lack of the drive needed to stand-up to foreign invasion. Multiculturalism, as Harvard psychologist Robert Putnam found to his amazement, reduces social cohesion even between the natives.[124]

D.H. Lawrence (1885-1938) famously wrote,

Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks.
Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools.
And their grandchildren are once more slaves.[125]

This cycle of optimism and pessimism seems to undergird a popular Internet meme.

Hard times create strong men.
Strong men create good times.
Good times create weak men.
Weak men create hard times.

Effectively, the birth of civilization and urbanism is its own worst enemy, as it leads to the degradation of the religious norms and sexual restraint that made it possible in the first place.

In this way, liberal sexual morality can be seen as tightly correlated with the rise and fall of civilization—but not a direct cause of it. Unwin, however, implies that sexual repression was somehow causal.

There are a variety of theories that have attempted to explain how this might be so. German sociologist Max Weber (1844-1920) argued that Calvinistic Protestantism acted as an incentive towards socioeconomic achievement and the development of capitalism.[126] At the root of Calvinism is the notion of Predestination, that God determines, before time begins, his “Elect” who will go to Heaven. Such a doctrine might seem to inspire a certain fatalism and “devil may care” attitude, since nothing one can do in this world will matter with regard to the next. But this proved to be far from the truth. Calvinists reasoned that God would materially bless His elect, and, in turn, they wanted to be reassured that they were, indeed, part of that Elect. This helped transform them into highly assiduous people who would attain high socioeconomic status and who would create more successful societies accordingly. In a similar vein, moral failings would make a person think that they were possibly not part of the Elect. This created a very strong incentive to be morally pure; to control and repress any supposedly immoral sexual urges, “assuaging the anxiety produced by them” by strongly focusing on ones work, and thus ensuring that one was materially “blessed.”[127]

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) proposed a related theory. Freud argued that socially unacceptable sexual or aggressive urges would be “defensively sublimated” into socially acceptable productive or creative pursuits. Repressing such ideas would create a kind of energy that could be focused into work of some kind, in particular, into creative work and the arts. So, the taboo nature of sex would lead to a psychological conflict, and consequent neurosis, that could be alleviated by being productive and even daringly artistic.[128] Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) was known for saying “There goes another novel!” upon completing sexual intercourse.[129]

Obviously, these theories are speculative. However, in 2013 a team at the University of Illinois provided fascinating evidence of causality, looking at whether Protestants, in contrast to Catholics or Jews, were “more likely to sublimate their taboo feelings and desires toward productive ends.” They found that Protestant men and women who had sexual problems related to anxieties about taboos and depraved ideas had greater creative accomplishments, as compared to those with sexual problems unrelated to such concerns and to those reporting no sexual problems. In addition, two laboratory experiments found that Protestants produced more creative art work (such as “sculptures, poems, collages, cartoon captions”) when they were “primed with damnation-related words, induced to feel unacceptable sexual desires, or forced to suppress their anger.” Significantly, “activating anger or sexual attraction was not enough; it was the forbidden or suppressed nature of the emotion that gave the emotion its creative power.”[130]

It should be remembered that this is only one study and, clearly, it would be useful if it were to be replicated. But Kim and her team have provided evidence for the hypothesis that the relationship between sexual repression and societal accomplishment is, to some extent, causal. Societies that regard sex as taboo, encourage people to feel anxious and guilty about sex, and encourage people to repress sexual ideas are, as a result, more creative. This finding would, therefore, potentially help to explain the way in which many religions will tend to present sex in taboo terms: the groups that do this are more successful, all else being equal, in the battle of group selection.

London, Two Decades Later

A great deal has changed in England since 1999 with regard to homosexuality, all of it in a direction that would likely have displeased my colleagues at the Royal Bank of Scotland in Islington.

In 1999, the age of homosexual sexual consent was 18, two years higher than that of heterosexual consent. There was no question of pardoning males who had been convicted of homosexual offenses prior to the legalization of homosexuality, which had occurred in 1967. There was no marriage (nor even “civil partnerships”) for homosexuals. Homosexual couples could not adopt children. Homosexual men could not serve in the armed forces, and they were banned from giving blood.

Well, goodbye to all that. Homosexuals have equal rights with heterosexuals and being homosexual is only taboo in the view of a small minority. (removed unnecessary comma) In 1999, homosexuality had been so controversial that there was an uproar when, the previous year, an openly gay Conservative politician had outed Labour politician Peter Mandelson live on BBC TV’s News Night.[131] The BBC imposed a blanket ban, for a period, on his sexuality being mentioned on their programs.[132] Today, a “closeted” or repressed homosexual politician is the exception, not the norm. In 2020, a former small-town mayor, Pete Buttigieg, ran for President with his “personal story” (his homosexuality being paramount) as his chief, if not only, selling point.

Despite the rapidity with which official attitudes to homosexuality have changed, my colleague’s visceral reaction to homosexuality—as well as homosexuality itself—appears to have deep evolutionary roots, going back thousands of years. Under extreme Darwinian selection, groups with an optimum, small homosexual caste were selected for, but so were groups that forced these homosexuals to repress their desires.

These Darwinian conditions have now broken down. Homosexuality is not repressed, and its prevalence may be expected to increase precisely because these conditions have collapsed. We are only now learning what this will mean in terms of social stability, artistic pursuits, and the survival of the group itself.


  1. Victor Meyer-Rochow, “Food taboos: Their origins and purposes,” Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 5 (2009): 18. ↩︎
  2. There seems to be a “hardwired” association between disgust and male homosexuality. Researchers have examined the emotions of subjects when images of homosexuals were presented to them accompanied by the release of obnoxious smells: “An induction of disgust can lead to more negative attitudes toward an entire social group: Participants who were exposed to a noxious ambient odor reported less warmth toward gay men. This effect of disgust was equally strong for political liberals and conservatives, and was specific to attitudes toward gay men—there was only a weak effect of disgust on people's warmth toward lesbians, and no consistent effect on attitudes toward African Americans, the elderly, or a range of political issues.” Yoel Inbar, David A. Pizarro, and Paul Bloom, “Disgusting Smells Cause Decreased Liking of Gay Men,” Emotion, 12 (2012): 23–27. ↩︎
  3. Lisa R. Norman, “Bisexuality,” in Mental Health Practitioner’s Guide to HIV/AIDS, ed. Sana Loue, (New York: Springer, 2012), 104. ↩︎
  4. Jeffrey Ross and Stephen Richards, Surviving Prison: Behind Bars (New York: Penguin, 2002), 86. ↩︎
  5. Lady Gaga, “Born This Way,” Born This Way, Interscope Record, 2011. ↩︎
  6. Office of National Statistics, “Sexual identity, UK: 2016,” (accessed April 15, 2020). ↩︎
  7. Niklas Långström, Qazi Rahman, Eva Carlström, E. and Paul Lichtenstein, “Genetic and Environmental Effects on Same-sex Sexual Behavior: A Population Study of Twins in Sweden,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39 (2010): 75–80; Austin Jeffrey, Todd Shackelford, Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Jennifer Vonk, and Melissa McDonald, “The Evolution of Human Female Sexual Orientation,” Evolutionary Psychological Science, 5 (2019): 71-86. ↩︎
  8. Office of National Statistics, “Sexual Orientation, UK,” op cit. ↩︎
  9. See Steve Sailer, “Why Lesbians Aren't Gay,” National Review, May 30, 1994, (accessed April 15, 2020). ↩︎
  10. Austin John Jeffery, Todd K. Shackelford, Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Jennifer Vonk & Melissa McDonald, “The Evolution of Human Female Sexual Orientation,” Evolutionary Psychological Science, 5 (2019), 71–86. ↩︎
  11. Anthony Volk, and Jeremy Atkinson, “Is Child Death the Crucible of Human Evolution?” Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 2 (2008): 103-116. ↩︎
  12. David Buss, The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating (New York: Basic Books, 2003); Edward Dutton and Guy Madison, “Why Do Finnish Men Marry Thai Women but Finnish Women Marry British Men? Cross-National Marriages in a Modern Industrialised Society Exhibit Sex-Dimorphic Sexual Selection According to Primordial Selection Pressures” Evolutionary Psychological Science, 3 (2017): 1-9. ↩︎
  13. If this theory is correct then, in that “races” are breeding populations evolved to different ecologies, we might expect there to be race differences in the prevalence of homosexuality. A large scale British survey in 2009 found that non-Whites are less likely to identify as homosexual than Whites, but they are also more likely to refuse to reveal their sexuality. As far as I am aware, there is no study on this matter that controls for the many confounding variables that may be relevant to this difference, such as intelligence or developmental stability. See Richard Lynn, Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis (Whitefish, MT: Washington Summit Publishing, 2015), Chapter 1. ↩︎
  14. Austin Jeffrey et al., “The evolution of human female sexual orientation,” op cit. ↩︎
  15. Olga Khazan, “Why Straight Men Gaze at Gay Women,” The Atlantic, March 8, 2008, (accessed April 15, 2020). ↩︎
  16. Ray Blanchard, “Review and Theory of Handedness, Birth Order, and Homosexuality in Men,” Laterality, 13 (2008): 51-70. ↩︎
  17. Brian Mustanski, J. Michael Bailey, and Sarah Kaspar, “Dermatoglyphics, handedness, sex, and sexual orientation,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31 (2002): 113–122. ↩︎
  18. Ray Blanchard, “Handedness, Birth Order and Sexual Orientation,” BBC Science, October 1, 2014, (accessed April 15, 2020). ↩︎
  19. Edward Dutton, Guy Madison and Dimitri Van der Linden, “Why Do High IQ Societies Differ in Intellectual Achievement? The Role of Schizophrenia and Left-handedness in Per Capita Scientific Publications and Nobel Prizes,” Journal of Creative Behavior, (2019). ↩︎
  20. S. Marc Breedlove, “Prenatal Influences on Human Sexual Orientation: Expectations Versus Data,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46 (2017): 1583-1592. ↩︎
  21. Audrey Koh and Leslie Ross, “Mental Health Issues: A Comparison of Lesbian, Bisexual and Heterosexual Women,” Journal of Homosexuality, 51 (2006): 1. ↩︎
  22. Institute of Medicine, Lesbian Health: Current Assessment and Directions for the Future, (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 1999), Chapter 2. ↩︎
  23. Daniel Nettle, Personality: What Makes You Who You Are (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). ↩︎
  24. Institute of Medicine, Lesbian Health, op cit. ↩︎
  25. Rita George and Mark Stokes, “Sexual Orientation in Autism Spectrum Disorder,” Autism Research, 11 (2018): 133-141. ↩︎
  26. Martin Kafka, “The DSM Diagnostic Criteria For Fetishism,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39 (2010): 357–362. ↩︎
  27. James Cantor, “Is Homosexuality a Paraphilia? The Evidence For and Against,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41 (2012): 237-247. ↩︎
  28. Bruce G. Charlton, “Mutation Accumulation and Modern Western Sexuality,” Intelligence, Personality and Genius, (20th July 2015). ↩︎
  29. Lisa R. Norman, “Bisexuality,” in Mental Health Practitioner’s Guide to HIV/AIDS, ed. Sana Loue (New York: Springer), 104. ↩︎
  30. Ignacio Lozano-Verduzco, Cinthia Cruz del Castillo and Nélida Padilla-Gámez, “Is Mental Health Related to Expressions of Homonegative Stigma and Community Connectedness in Mexican Lesbian and Bisexual Women?” Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología, 51 (2019): 1. ↩︎
  31. D. Bradford Reich and Mary Zanarini, “Sexual Orientation and Relationship Choice in Borderline Personality Disorder over Ten Years of Prospective Follow-up,” Journal of Personality Disorders, 22 (2008): 564-572. ↩︎
  32. Lucas Fortalezade Aquino Ferreira, Fábio Henrique Queiroz Pereira, Ana Maria Luna Neri Benevides, and Matias Carvalho Aguiar Melo, “Borderline Personality Disorder and Sexual Abuse: A Systematic Review,” Psychiatry Research, 262 (2018): 70-77. ↩︎
  33. J. Michael Bailey, Paul Vasey, Lisa Diamond et al., “Sexual Orientation, Controversy, and Science,” Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 17 (2016): 45-101. ↩︎
  34. K. Freud and R. J. Watson, “The Proportions of Heterosexual and Homosexual Pedophiles Among Sex Offenders Against Children: An Exploratory Study,” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 18 (1992): 34-43. ↩︎
  35. Ray Blanchard, H. E. Barbaree, Anthony Bogaert et al., “Fraternal Birth Order and Sexual Orientation in Pedophiles,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 29 (2000): 463-478. ↩︎
  36. Gillian Tenbergen, Matthias Wittfoth, Helge Frieling, et al., “The Neurobiology and Psychology of Pedophilia: Recent Advances and Challenges,” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9 (2015): 344. ↩︎
  37. Collen Berryessa, “Potential Implications of Research on Genetic or Heritable Contributions to Pedophilia for the Objectives of Criminal Law,” Recent Advances in DNA & Gene Sequences, 8 (2014): 65-77. ↩︎
  38. Vernon Quinsey, “The Etiology of Anomalous Sexual Preferences in Men,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 989 (2003): 105-117. ↩︎
  39. In much the same way, we should distinguish between heterosexual pedophiles who are exclusively attracted to children and heterosexual males with an extreme penchant for female youth. And these should all be distinguished from sexually frustrated opportunists who abuse children because they are an easy way of obtaining sex. See Michael Davis, “Differentiating Child Sexual Abusers,” InPsych, 35 (2013): 5. ↩︎
  40. Satoshi Kanazawa, The Intelligence Paradox: Why the Intelligent Choice Isn’t Always the Smart One (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2012), Ch. 9. ↩︎
  41. Edward Dutton and Dimitri Van der Linden, “Why is Intelligence Negatively Associated with Religiousness?” Evolutionary Psychological Science, 3 (2017): 392-403. ↩︎
  42. Michael Thomas, “Do More Intelligent Brains Retain Heightened Plasticity for Longer in Development? A Computational Investigation,” Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 19 (2016): 258-269. ↩︎
  43. J. Michael Bailey, Paul Vasey, Lisa Diamond, et al., “Sexual Orientation, Controversy, and Science,” Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 17 (2016): 45-101. ↩︎
  44. Satoshi Kanazawa, The Intelligence Paradox: Why the Intelligent Choice Isn’t Always the Smart One (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2012), 134. ↩︎
  45. Michael A. Woodley, “The Cognitive Differentiation-Integration Effort Hypothesis: A Synthesis Between the Fitness Indicator and Life History Models of Human Intelligence,” Review of General Psychology, 15 (2011): 228-245.  ↩︎
  46. See Edward Dutton and Michael A. Woodley of Menie, At Our Wits’ End: Why We’re Becoming Less Intelligent and What It Means for the Future (Exeter: Imprint Academic), Chapter 2. ↩︎
  47. Gavin Ellison and Bryony Gunstone, Sexual Orientation Explored: A Study of Identity, Attraction, Behaviour and Attitudes in 2009 (London: Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2009). ↩︎
  48. American evolutionary psychologist David Barash has proposed that bisexual males would be so unthreatening that they would be able to copulate with females, in pre-history, without arousing the ire of dominant males, and so pass on their genes. This theory is most improbable. Females strongly sexually select for dominant, high-status males and would thus be most unwilling to copulate with a low-status, effeminate male with homosexual tendencies. Even if this intercourse occurred through gang rape—which is extremely unlikely because if that is what happened then there would still be effete rape gangs in primitive social organizations—Barash’s theory does not explain how exclusively homosexual preference could have evolved among males either. See David P. Barash, Out of Eden: The Surprising Consequences of Polygamy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). ↩︎
  49. Frank Salter, On Genetic Interests: Family, Ethnicity and Humanity in an Age of Mass Migration (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2006). ↩︎
  50. A. Camperio-Ciani, F. Corna and C. Capiluppi, “Evidence for maternally inherited factors favoring male homosexuality and promoting female fecundity,” Proceedings in Biological Science, 271 (2004): 2217–2221. ↩︎
  51. Julien Barthes, Pierre-Andre Crochet and Michel Raymond, “Male Homosexual Preference: Where, When, Why?” PLoS ONE, 10 (2015): e0134817 ↩︎
  52. Research summarized in Kayla Causey and Aaron Goetz, “The ‘Johnny Depp Effect’—An Evolutionary Explanation for Homosexuality,” June 10, 2009, Psychology Today, (accessed April 15, 2020). ↩︎
  53. Ibid. ↩︎
  54. Michael A. Woodley of Menie, Heitor Fernandes, Satoshi Kanazawa, and Edward Dutton, “Sinistrality is Associated With (Slightly) Lower General Intelligence: A Data Synthesis and Consideration of Secular Trend Data in Handedness,” HOMO: Journal of Comparative Human Biology, 69 (2018): 118-126. ↩︎
  55. Ray Blanchard, “Review and theory of handedness, birth order, and homosexuality in men,” Laterality, 13 (2008): 51-70. ↩︎
  56. Carrie Lee, John Oliffe, Mary Kelly and Oliver Ferlatte, “Depression and Suicidality in Gay Men: Implications for Health Care Providers,” American Journal of Men’s Health, 11 (2017): 910-919. ↩︎
  57. Anthony Volk and Jeremy Atkinson, “Is Child Death the Crucible of Human Evolution?” op cit. ↩︎
  58. Michael A. Woodley of Menie, Matthew Sarraf, R. Pestow and Heitor Fernandes, “Social Epistasis Amplifies the Fitness Costs of Deleterious Mutations, Engendering Rapid Fitness Decline Among Modernized Populations,” Evolutionary Psychological Science, 3 (2017): 181-191. ↩︎
  59. Ibid. ↩︎
  60. Anthony F. Bogaert, Malvina N. Skorska, Chao Wang et al., “Male Homosexuality and Maternal Immune Responsivity to the Y-linked Protein NLGN4Y,” PNAS, 115 (2018): 303-306 ↩︎
  61. J. Michael Bailey, The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism, (Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press, 2003), Ch. 4.  ↩︎
  62. Lijun Zheung, Trevor Hart and Jong Zheng, “The Relationship Between Intercourse Preference Positions and Personality Traits Among Gay Men in China,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41 (2011): 683-689. ↩︎
  63. Ashlyn Swift-Gallant, Lindsay Coome, D. Ashley Monks, and Doug Van der Laan, D, “Handedness is a biomarker of variation in anal sex role behavior and Recalled Childhood Gender Nonconformity among gay men,” PLoS ONE, (2017).   ↩︎
  64. Thomas Brooks, Stephen Raysen and Jennifer Shaw, “Smashing back Doors in: Negative Attitudes Toward Bottoms Within the Gay Community,” World Journal of Social Research, 4 (2017): 129-139. ↩︎
  65. Edward Miller, “Homosexuality, birth order, and evolution: Toward an equilibrium reproductive economics of homosexuality,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 29 (2000): 1-34. ↩︎
  66. See J. Philippe Rushton, Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers). ↩︎
  67. Brendan Zietsch, Katherine Morley, Sri Shekar, Karin Verweij, Matthew Keller, Stuart Macgregor, Margaret Wright, J. Michael Bailey, and Nicholas Martin, “Genetic Factors Predisposing to Homosexuality May Increase Mating Success in Heterosexuals,” Evolution and Human Behavior, 29 (2008): 424-433. ↩︎
  68. Niklaas Långström, et al., “Genetic and Environmental Effects on Same-sex Sexual Behavior,” op cit. ↩︎
  69. Simon Baron-Cohen, “The extreme male brain theory of autism,” Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 6 (2002): 248-254. ↩︎
  70. Ross Hammond and Robert Axelrod, “The evolution of ethnocentric behavior,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 50 (2006): 1-11. ↩︎
  71. Gordon Gallup, “Attitudes toward homosexuals and evolutionary theory: The role of evidence,” Ethology and Sociobiology, 17 (1996): 281-284. ↩︎
  72. Qazi Rahman, Jonathan Sharp, Meadhbh McVeigh and Man-Ling Ho, “Sexual Orientation-Related Differences in Virtual Spatial Navigation and Spatial Search Strategies,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46 (2017): 1279-1294. ↩︎
  73. Thomas Hubbard, (Ed), Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A Source Book of Basic Documents, (Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2003). ↩︎
  74. See Louis Crompton, Homosexuality and Civilization (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), 36. ↩︎
  75. Ross Benes, “How the Catholic Priesthood Became an Unlikely Haven for Gay Men,” Slate, April 20, 2017, (accessed April 15, 2020). ↩︎
  76. Melford Spiro, Burmese Supernaturalism (London: Routledge, 2017); Peter Vitesbsky, Shamanism (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001); Jphn Grim, The Shaman: Patterns of Healing Among the Obibway Indians (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987). ↩︎
  77. Darren Sherkat, “Sexuality and Religious Commitment in the United States: An Empirical Examination,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 41 (2002): 313–323. ↩︎
  78. Shay-Lee Bolton and Jitender Sareen, “Sexual Orientation and Its Relation to Mental Disorders and Suicide Attempts: Findings From a Nationally Representative Sample,” Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 56 (2011): 35-43. ↩︎
  79. Harold Koenig, “Religion, Spirituality, and Health: The Research and Clinical Implications,” ISRN Psychiatry (2012), ↩︎
  80. See Michael Walsh, Opus Dei: An Investigation into the Powerful, Secretive Society within the Catholic Church (New York: HarperCollins, 2004). ↩︎
  81. See Paul Hyland, Indian Balm: Travels Amongst Fakirs and Fire Warriors (London: Tauris Parke, 2006). ↩︎
  82. See Dolf Hartsuiker, Sadhus: The Holy Men of India (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2014). ↩︎
  83. Satoshi Kanazawa, The Intelligence Paradox: Why the Intelligent Choice Isn’t Always the Smart One (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2012). ↩︎
  84. Edward Dutton, “Why are Non-Heterosexual Males Attracted to Religious Celibacy? A Case for the ‘Gay Shaman’ Theory,” Mankind Quarterly, 59 (2018): 197-215. ↩︎
  85. Emily Kim, Veronika Zeppenfeld and Dov Cohen, “Sublimation, Culture and Creativity,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105 (2013): 639-666. ↩︎
  86. See: Peter Allen, The Wages of Sin: Sex and Disease, Past and Present (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002). ↩︎
  87. Ray Blanchard, “Review and theory of handedness, birth order, and homosexuality in men,” Laterality, 13 (2008): 51-70. ↩︎
  88. Martin Lalumière, Grant Harris, Vernon Quinsey and Marin Rice, “Sexual Deviance and Number of Older Brothers Among Sexual Offenders” Sexual Abuse,10 (1998): 5-15.↩︎
  89. Anthony Bogaert, Scott Bezeau, Michael Kuban and Ray Blanchard, “Pedophilia, Sexual Orientation, and Birth Order,” Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106 (1997): 331-335.↩︎
  90. For a discussion of this phenomenon see, J. Matthews, Reluctant Warriors: Republican Popular Army and Nationalist Army Conscripts in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). ↩︎
  91. Alan Soble, Sexual Investigations (New York: New York University Press, 1997), 124. ↩︎
  92. William Percy, Pederasty and Pedagogy in Archaic Greece (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1997), 117. ↩︎
  93. Louis Crompton, Homosexuality and Civilization (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003). ↩︎
  94. Adeeb Khalid., The Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform: Jadadism in Central Asia (Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1999), 145. ↩︎
  95. Willam Percy, Pederasty and Pedagogy in Archaic Greece (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 117. ↩︎
  96. David Clark, Between Medieval Men: Male Friendship and Desire in Early Medieval English Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 40. ↩︎
  97. William Kilpatrick, Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2015). ↩︎
  98. Stephen Murray, “Some Nineteenth Century Reports of Islamic Homosexualities,” in Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature, eds. Will Roscoe and Stephen Murray (New York: New York University Press, 1997). ↩︎
  99. See Yael Sela, Todd Shackelford and James Liddle, “When Religion Makes It Worse: Religiously Motivated Violence as a Sexual Selection Weapon,” in The Attraction of Religion: A New Evolutionary Psychology of Religion, eds. D. Jason Sloane and James Van Slyke (London: Bloomsbury, 2015). ↩︎
  100. Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir (New York, 2010). ↩︎
  101. Desmond Morris, The Human Zoo (New York: Book Company, 1969). ↩︎
  102. Edward Dutton, Churchill’s Headmaster: The ‘Sadist’ Who Nearly Saved the British Empire (Melbourne: Manticore Press, 2019). ↩︎
  103. Laird Easton, The Red Count: The Life and Times of Harry Kessler (Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2002), 25. ↩︎
  104. Dutton, Churchill’s Headmaster, op cit. ↩︎
  105. Virginia Woolf, Roger Fry: A Biography (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1940), 31. ↩︎
  106. Bernadette Brooten, Love Between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 257. ↩︎
  107. Celia Brewer Marshall, A Guide Through the Old Testament (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1989), 149-150. ↩︎
  108. Gordon Gallup, “Attitudes Toward Homosexuals and Evolutionary Theory: The Role of Evidence,” Ethology and Sociobiology, 17 (1996): 281-284. ↩︎
  109. Miron Baron, “Genetic Linkage and Male Homosexual Orientation,” BMJ, 307 (1993): 337–338. ↩︎
  110. Gallup Gallup, “Attitudes toward homosexuals and evolutionary theory: The role of evidence,” Ethology and Sociobiology, 17 (1996): 281-284. ↩︎
  111. D. Greenberg, The Construction of Homosexuality, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), 68. ↩︎
  112. Daniel Rossides, D., Social Theory: Its Origins and Contemporary Relevance, (Lanham, MA: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998), 19. ↩︎
  113. John Nunn, Ancient Egyptian Medicine, (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002). ↩︎
  114. Barry Kemp, Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation, (London: Routledge, 2007). ↩︎
  115. Toby Wilkinson, The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt, (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013). ↩︎
  116. See Edward Dutton and Dimitri Van der Linden, “Why is Intelligence Negatively Associated with Religiousness?” Evolutionary Psychological Science, 3 (2017): 392-403. ↩︎
  117. Bernadette Brooten, Love Between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 257. ↩︎
  118. Gerhard Meisenberg, In God’s Image: The Natural History of Intelligence and Ethics (Kibworth, Leicestershire: Book Guild Publishing, 2007). ↩︎
  119. E. Ansell, Admissions to Peterhouse (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1939), 133. ↩︎
  120. J. D. Unwin, Sex and Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1934). ↩︎
  121. Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen, Intelligence: A Unifying Construct for the Social Sciences (London: Ulster Institute for Social Research, 2012). ↩︎
  122. Robert Putnam, “E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and community in the twenty-first century: The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize lecture,” Scandinavian Political Studies, 30 (2007):
    137–174. ↩︎
  123. D.H. Lawrence, “Liberty’s Old Old Story” (1922), in The Complete Poems (New York: Penguin Books, 1993). ↩︎
  124. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (London: Penguin, 2002). ↩︎
  125. Emily Kim, Veronika Zeppenfeld and Dov Cohen, “Sublimation, Culture and Creativity,” Journal of Personal and Social Psychology, 105 (2013), 640. ↩︎
  126. Sigmund Freud, On Creativity and the Unconscious, (New York: Harper, 1958). ↩︎
  127. Emily Kim et al., “Sublimation, Culture and Creativity,” op cit. ↩︎
  128. Ibid. ↩︎
  129. “BBC to Replay Clip of Lord Mandelson Being ‘Outed,’” BBC News, August 14, 2010, (April 15, 2020). ↩︎
  130. Jamie Wilson, “BBC Eases Privacy Edict,” The Guardian, August 21, 2000, (accessed April 15, 2020). ↩︎