Post 6: Homophobia

Recent public opinion survey shows a sizable portion of the population report feeling uncomfortable being around gays and lesbians. About 50% of males, and 30% of females report being uncomfortable around a gay man, and 35% of males, and over 40% of female respondents report being uncomfortable around lesbians (Herek, 2002). Puberty is not an easy time for most adolescence, however, for some this is even more complicated by their sexual orientation being different than the majority. Identical twin studies show that sexual orientation is mostly biological, however, at the same time, twins with varied orientations also indicate some unaccounted for possible environmental factors. Men report feeling attraction towards same sex at around age 8 and report that they have always been gay. Some women however, report being heterosexual, and become lesbian later in life. This fits with a fact that women’s sexuality is more plastic than men’s (Baumeister, 2004).

One of Freud’s Defense Mechanisms is Reaction Formation.  A revealing example of reaction formation was seen in research on men who reported having homophobia (Adam, Wright, & Lohr, 1996). A group of men who reported being nervous around homosexuals, and a group of non-homophobic men were shown videos of sexual activities that included gay males. Each man’s sexual arousal was then assessed by means of a device that measures penile tumescence. Homophobic men showed greater arousal to the male homosexual images than did men in the control group.

Are the recent reports of coming out of some very public figures who until recently were verbal in their anti gay opinions examples of Reaction Formation Defense Mechanism according to psychoanalytic interpretations?

Behzad Moaddeli

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~ by Behzad on November 14, 2009.

One Response to “Post 6: Homophobia”

  1. The bit about homophobic men being more aroused.. so interesting. Also like that you incorporated Freud.. I love a little Freud doctrine here and there. Good post!

    Kellie Gibson

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