The aim of this essay is to establish whether sexuality is an innate biological process that occurs as a result of our genetic makeup or whether it is a result of our cultural background and environment. These two theories are known as the nature/nurture debate, with nature representing the biological theory for our sexuality and nurture representing environmental influences on our behavior. The first part of the essay will focus on the biological side of our sexuality and will present theories by Barnard, Hamer, and Young, who argue that our sexuality is established during the fetal stage of development. It is during this early stage of life that genes carry specific information about who we are.
Genes are units of heredity that establish our sexuality and determine an individual’s biological characteristics, both physically and mentally. This essay will provide evidence that our sexuality is biologically driven by describing the hormonal transitions that trigger changes in our bodies during puberty. Hormones are chemical messengers that send signals from glands throughout the body, triggering responses in other parts of our anatomy. The essay will demonstrate that hormones are a biological indicator of our innate sexuality.
The second part of the essay will argue that sexuality is greatly influenced by environmental factors, such as rearing styles and differing cultural practices. It will look at different societies and the way in which they perceive sexuality. The essay will argue that sexuality is learned through a combination of expected social norms and observational learning, providing evidence from Bandura, Mead, and Money. Finally, the essay will summarize the evidence that has been presented and draw a conclusion. From the point of conception, human beings are made up of 46 chromosomes, 23 male and 23 female. After insemination, paternal and maternal chromosomes fuse, determining the sex of the child.
The amalgamation of two X chromosomes creates a female child, while the combination of X and Y chromosomes leads to the development of a male offspring. Each chromosome contains thousands of genes, and each gene contains specific information about how a part of the body will be formed. Genes are responsible for almost every aspect of the human body, from hair color to the development of our organs, such as the brain. The brain is where the biggest changes take place when our bodies undergo their sexual metamorphosis during sexual maturation. When we reach sexual maturity, we have our first insight into our sexuality, which is genetically programmed into our consciousness through our DNA. This theory is supported by the work of Hamer et al. (1993), who conducted a study of male sexual orientation. Hamer examined 40 pairs of gay brothers and 22 genetic markers distributed across the X chromosome to see if brothers concordant for homosexuality were also concordant for the markers.
He found that the chromosomal region of Xq28, at the tip of the long arm of the X chromosome, 33 of the 40 pairs of brothers shared all the markers. This was statistically different from the expected rate (20 out of 40), suggesting that the gene influencing male sexual orientation lies within that chromosomal region.
In this study, Hamer, along with many other fellow geneticists, claims to have found the gene that dictates our sexual orientation. Therefore, genes are a precursor to our sexuality, and our sexuality is decided at an anatomical level in the womb. While in the womb, it seems that our sexuality is being preprogrammed by our genes, but there are other biological developments taking place, namely the formation of our hormones. These hormones will lie dormant until the onset of puberty. The hypothalamus, an important coordinating center in the brain, signals the onset of puberty. The hypothalamus stimulates a gland just below it, the pituitary, to secrete hormones (chemical messengers carried in the blood).
These hormones are carried to other glands that secrete hormones. These hormones, in turn, regulate physical growth and development (Dr. Christian Barnard, 1981). The two main hormones released at sexual maturity are testosterone for males and estrogen for females. When testosterone is distributed throughout the sexually maturing male, his testes will enlarge and begin producing sperm. His body will begin to…