Can We Really Control Sexual Preference?

Homosexuality is a serious issue for Christians, especially since America and other nations around the world have become more accepting of gays and lesbians. They worry of this because they believe that homosexuality is a sin (by the way, I’m a Christian, too, and I actually advocate for sexual equality, so I am referring to Christians in general). But what defines a sin? God wants us to get rid of sin, so if he is asking us to do this, then it must be reasonable to assume that sin is something that we can control and get rid of. For instance, sexual lust is a sin, because it is something that we know not only is bad, but also can control. But what about gayness? Say it is morally bad. But can you control it?

Nobody knows the answer for sure, but recent experiments have been pointing to the fact that maybe it can’t be controlled. In China and Korea, scientists have identified a gene-related chemical called serotonin that are commonly found in many animals. It is thought to be related to the mood of happiness. But things have been indicating otherwise.

In the lab, scientists took a group of lab mice. When females were put with males, the females mated with the males. When females were put with only females, the females still preferred to mate with the males and thus, didn’t mate at all. Overall, this was how a normal female mouse was supposed to react.

Then, scientists genetically engineered the female mice’s gene by taking the serotonin gene out, and put the mice once again in the same conditions. When the female mice were grouped with only the female mice, they started and attempted to sexually mount other females- mice of the same gender. Even when put with males, too, the female mice simply ignored the males and tried to mount the females.

Two male fruit flies

We see this not only with mice, but also fruit flies. In this case, it is not serotonin that seemingly controls sexual preference, but a master sex gene known as fru. A normal male fly will act like this when beginning to mate: It pursues a waiting virgin female. It gently taps the girl with its leg, played her a song (using wings as instruments) and, only then, dared to lick her – all part of standard fruit fly seduction. Yet, scientists were surprised when they saw a female fly doing this to another female fly- after giving the female suitor a male-type fru. Similarly, when males were given a female-type fru, they became more passive in their sexual behavior.

Overall, we see that genes is the cause of sexual preference for two animals- fruit flies and mice. But could we not extend this possibility to humans? Perhaps there is a gene, not identified yet, that is linked to human sexual preference? In other words, the only reason why gays and lesbians are homosexual is maybe because they were born with it- they lacked the gene necessary for heterosexuality.

If this is the case, then this is big controversy, scientifically and morally. You can’t now blame a gay for being gay, because it wasn’t his choice. And if homosexuality is just an inherited gene thing, then it must not be a sin, for in order for it to be a sin, they have to be able to control it. But they cannot. It’s just like a boy not being able to control the fact he is a boy or a human not being able to control the fact he’s human. They were born with it.

Again, this is only if humans do have a gene for sexual preference. If we do,  then I think it is time for the church to embrace them- heterosexual people should not superimpose their own values on homosexual people. We should embrace this difference, just like we embrace differences in race, gender, and ethnicity. Pretty much, if sexual preference is determined by genes, then homosexuality is not a sin.


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