Ever Wonder Why Most of Us Are Straight?
by Lynnea Dally


Most people agree that the majority of human beings are attracted to the other sex and gender (gender is a social construct and sex is biological). According to most statistics, only few people are attracted to their own sex and gender, which leads some people to ask why homosexuality, bisexuality or other queer kinds of “deviant” sexuality exists. But the real question that should be asked is why heterosexuality exists at all.

People tend to choose partners with similar interests, values, economic backgrounds, social backgrounds, and religious beliefs. We especially tend to select partners that look similar to us: people with the same attractiveness, age, weight, style and, to an increasingly lesser extent, race (race is becoming less of a determining factor thanks to advancements in social logic). Think back to most of the people you’ve dated, hooked up with or hung out with; most likely they were similar to you. Study after study has shown that people choose similar partners, not opposites. So why is gender and sex the one selection exception? Why are the majority of us humans heterosexual? After all, gender is a type of similar
mentality and sex is a type of similar appearance.

While I’m not an expert on evolution, I think that it must be some sort of freak biological adaptation. Like those religious sects that abstain from sex, a species that was predominately attracted to its own sex would not procreate for very long. I imagine that some mutation programmed our distant evolutionary ancestors to enjoy having sex with the other sex. This adaptation must have stuck even as attraction to other kinds of similarities deepened. I’m also guessing that another mutation decreased attractiveness to the same gender, which enabled the species to not waste genetic material, energy or resources.

It could also be the way that humans socialize, although I’m less keen on this explanation. More and more we are finding that other mammals are not exclusively heterosexual. Dolphins, monkeys and giraffes among other animals have same-sex fun without much thought. Only humans seem to have social punishments for non-heterosexuality. Mating and having children was extremely important to ancient societies because they needed fresh soldiers and laborers. The authority to persecute those who prevented procreation was imbedded into religion and the ruling state. Perhaps our ancestors were trying to socialize out the gay that threatened their civilization’s future. Ironically enough, if non-heterosexuality is determined by genetic factors, they forced it to stay in the gene pool.

The historical gender (social) dichotomy between women and men created such a strange barrier between them that it’s a wonder men and women were attracted to each other at all. In the past, women and men have been kept in such strictly separated spheres than there was little chance for them to share common interests or activities, except for social class. Women were encouraged to act like proper ladies while men could enjoy whatever pleasures they fancied. It’s almost no wonder that in Victorian times, and much of history, heterosexual men didn’t enjoy sex with their wives as much as with whores.

Through the cracks, indications of same-gender sexual relationships seep out. Most heterosexual male-orientated porn today depicts the myth of the sexually willing females that draws on the male fantasy of a woman who is as sexually forward as a man would be. Many, many women enjoy sex, but most don’t do so in the same frenzied fashion often depicted in porn. They seem to behave much more like the stereotypical sex-crazed man would. And when describing how women act outside the bedroom, the leading man of the musical My Fair Lady laments, “why can’t a woman be more like a man?” Many of the traits that men want are those that would be more common of their own gender.

Similarly, the majority of the romance movies aimed at heterosexual females present men as sensitive, romantic, and gentle when they are needed. The viewer fails to realize that a woman who was socialized to be all those things would fulfill their wants more completely than a man. Then there’s the kind of male body that many women find attractive. Most women like men who are slightly more feminine (think Orlando Bloom). Very few women prefer the traditional manly man; I can’t think of one woman who actually finds Fabio attractive. Additionally, studies have shown that many women become aroused at porn that shows women. Many of the traits that women want are those that would be more common of their own gender.

All of this begs the big question: why do the majority of us find each other’s gender so physically attractive? Why do we get hot and bothered thinking about someone with these traits more different than similar? It’s all a bit queer.