Sociological Aspects of Homosexuality: A Comparative Study of Three Types of Homosexuals

By Michael Schofield | Go to book overview

8 HOMOSEXUALS IN TROUBLE

A. FOUR CONFUSIONS

Discussions on the subject of homosexuality have been hindered by four basic confusions. The first of these is the failure to distinguish between homosexual acts and the homosexual condition. The second is the obscurity caused by assuming that homosexuality and paedophilia is the same condition, whereas these two quite separate phenomena probably have different aetiologies and certainly have different social consequences. The third confusion is caused by the effects of the law; those who are arrested for homosexual offences do not appear to be representative of all homosexuals, and the legal differences between different kinds of homosexual offences add to the confusion because they arbitrarily make distinctions that do not exist in reality. The fourth confusion is the tendency to see homosexuality only in medical terms, as a sickness or as a mental disorder, whilst ignoring the more important social aspects.

These four confusions are discussed in greater detail in the following sections of this chapter. But most homosexuals are neither in prison, nor under treatment, and it is important to examine more closely the homosexuals who keep clear of trouble. These men and their tendency to gravitate into minority groups are described in the next chapter. The sociological aspects are dealt with in Chapter 10, and the vexed question of law reform is discussed in Chapter 11.

So Chapters 8-11 are a discussion of the results detailed in Chapters 2-7 in order to clear the ground for the formulation of a theory of homosexuality in Chapter 12.


B. THE HOMOSEXUAL CONDITION AND HOMOSEXUAL ACTS

The first confusion can be dealt with quickly. Homosexuality is not a type of conduct; it is a condition characterized by a psychosexual propensity towards others of the same sex. Some homosexuals do not commit homosexual acts because they exercise a rigorous control over their physical urges, just as some heterosexuals exercise careful control over their physical impulses. It follows that the homosexual condition is morally neutral. It is only when he expresses his inclinations in a sexual act that the homosexual becomes subject to moral judgement. But a man may engage in homosexual practices without being a homosexual. He may do so casually, from motives of curiosity or in exceptional circumstances; he may merely be

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Sociological Aspects of Homosexuality: A Comparative Study of Three Types of Homosexuals
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Also by Michael Schofield The Sexual Behaviour of Young People ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Author's Note ix
  • Part 1 - Results of the Research 1
  • 1: Introduction 3
  • 2 - HC Group (Homosexuals/Convicted) 7
  • 4 - HP Group (Homosexuals/Patients) 68
  • 5 - NP Group (Non-Homosexual/Patients) 85
  • 6 - HO Group (Homosexuals/Others) 101
  • 7 - NO Group (Non-Homosexuals/Others) 129
  • Part II - Discussion of the Results 145
  • 8 - Homosexuals in Trouble 147
  • 9 - The Other Homosexuals 173
  • 10 - Sociological Aspects 185
  • II - Law Reform 193
  • 12 - Towards a Theory of Homosexuality 203
  • Appendix: Research Plan 214
  • Subject Index 241
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