Male Homosexual Behavior and the Effects of AIDS Education: A Study of Behavior and Safer Sex in New Zealand and South Australia

By B. R. Simon Rosser | Go to book overview

5
Personality, Emotional, and Mental Health Differences Between Homosexual and Heterosexual Men

I'm perfectly happy the way I am. If my mother was responsible for it, I am grateful.1

What is your typical Kiwi and Aussie homosexually active male like? Whether we have extensive experience of homosexually active men, are gay ourselves, or know about homosexuality only from occasional media reports, each of us has images and impressions of what homosexually active men are like. Whether these be stereotypical images, such as those provided by Hollywood,2 or impressions formed from knowing many gays, the validity of these images can only be verified from research.3 As we shall see, many current stereotypes still persisting today of homosexual men have been heavily influenced by, and at times owe their etiology to, the dominant emphases in medicine (for example, biological, genetic, psychiatric, neurological, and behavioral), which not only affected perceptions of homosexually active men, but were the dominant approach to many other areas of medicine as well.

Many of the stereotypes commonly held about homosexually active men find their basis in nineteenth-century conceptualizations of homosexuality.4 During that century, which marks the beginning of scientific inquiry into sexuality and was influenced heavily by theorists favoring a biological basis to human sexuality, homosexual men were variously characterized as being moral degenerates, effeminized men (or, to use Ulrich's biologism, a "feminised soul enclosed in a male body"), a third androgynous sex combining the

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