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Gender Differences in Early Development

Sexual Orientation as a Critical Issue

Gender development, which is based on social and genetic factors, is fundamental in explaining individuals’ behavior and sexual orientation. Related findings and insights are central to guiding contemporary society values into accepting the differences existing among individuals predisposed to influences or stimuli that make them gay. On this note, discrimination of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) groups is considered a major issue in society as it leads to violation of the minorities’ rights, as well as systemic discrimination. The conventional views concerning sexual orientation in societal are based on cultural and religious values. However, these cultural implications conflict with scientific findings, hence the need to examine sexual orientation in the light of scientifically based findings. The sexual orientation findings in favor of genetics and natural hormonal imbalances would suggest the need to embrace every individual orientation without questioning the issue’s morality or absurdity. Embracing persons who are different in terms of sexual orientation in society, as a result of understanding their limited role in choosing their behavior, would help fight LGBT-based discrimination.

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Psychoanalytic and Systems Theories Summaries and Comparison


On the one hand, Freud, who is the father of psychoanalytic theories, based his position regarding orientation on the postulation that all humans are bisexual. This position implies that every individual exhibits or incorporates features for both sexes. On the same note, the theory notes the five psychosexual stages, including genital, latency, phallic, anal, and oral (Fouché & Holz, 2015). These stages mark different sexual drives, as well as instincts on the various parts of the body. Supposedly, during the development stages, individuals develop not only their character but also sexual orientation.

Psychoanalytic, as well as Freud’s approaches, provide the possible explanations for same-gender sexual attraction. One of the first approaches related to the conflict exists between one and five years of life (Fouché & Holz, 2015). It stems from the realization that the mother does not have a penis; the child may suffer the consequences of worrying about the same fate. In such circumstances, the boy chooses men who are feminized while avoiding the possibility of lacking the male genitals or castration.

Freud also posits that another cause of homosexuality may be founded on a small boy’s efforts to attempt to maintain a close tie with the mother. In the related scenarios, the homosexual person seeks a man to love as loved by the mother, which is the unconscious representation of the mother’s love. The child may shift the father’s attention due to the latter’s adoration concerning sexual gratification (Fouché & Holz, 2015). These two theories are related to the attachment the child has to the mother. Both male and female parents are depicted to be involved in gender identity, as well as sexual orientation, especially where the mother is inappropriately close or overwhelming or when the father is distant and cold. In such cases, the father avoids interaction with the child seeking interaction.

Systems Perspectives

On the other hand, the systems theory suggests integration or conglomeration of the various inter-related elements affecting sexual orientation. The changes in one area of the physiological or psychosexual aspects can transform an individual’s functionality (Cook, 2020). The theory employs genetics, social surroundings, and non-social environment to deduce their relative influences on sexual orientation.

The systems approach considers several sources of variation in sexual orientation. Genetics is considered among the causes of sexual orientation. These insights have been deduced from the molecular genetic market and twin studies. According to the related, approximately 32% of homosexual people result from genetic factors, while 25 % of same-sex orientation is associated with the family environment (Cook, 2020). Even though these two factors account for a significant number of homosexuals, a specific environment account for roughly 43% (Cook, 2020). While genetics is not the principal cause of homosexuality, it accounts for substantial cases.

The systems approach also presents hormones as one of the major influences on sexual orientation. Notably, physical characteristics are associated with sexuality are linked to hormonal alterations, especially in early development stages. Some of the critical changes occurring in the development period are irreversible, resulting in permanent brain and subsequent sexual orientation (Cook, 2020). In essence, the implication is that exposure to testosterone leads to the development of characteristics associated with men, whereas their absence results in the development of female traits. Fundamentally, behavioral differences between males and females are associated with the generation of androgen.

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The non-social environment is another factor considered in the systems approach to account for sexual orientation. Fraternal birth order effect (FBOE) is one of the major concepts to explain the impacts of a non-social environment on sexual orientation (Cook, 2020). FBOE is the older brothers’ effect of increasing the probability of their younger siblings becoming homosexuals in the future (Cook, 2020). In this regard, most of the homosexual men are statistically established to have older brothers. However, this concept does not have similar associations with sisters or adoptive members of the family. Additionally, the social environment does not influence the outcomes of the FBOE. The explanation regarding the FBOE postulates that it is a result of the intrauterine environment, which affects the male fetus development.

Compared with a combination of non-social and genetic factors, the social environment accounts for an insignificant effect on sexuality. However, sexual orientation is based on the social learning theories, which, at times, are in contention with the scientific findings. In other words, it is believed that sexual orientation during adolescence and early childhood can be changed by socially supported principles on theological and moral grounds (Cook, 2020). While the systems approach considers the social impact on homosexuality or sexual orientation, it is evident that this factor is theologically or politically charged; hence it may not pass the ultimate scientific tests.

Position and Conclusion

The systems theory is more reliable than the systems approach as it answers major concerns concerning the former. Hormones have been known to influence the personality, whereas genetics form the basis for gene transformation, alterations, or patterns, with regard to the former. While the theory attempts to scientifically prove the role of social learning and psychoanalytic approaches in development, such deductions are incoherent due to moral and theological biases. The five stages provided in the psychoanalytical theory hardly account for the obvious transformations before birth. Based on the systems approach, non-environmental factors, such as the gestation period, influences the subjects’ future.

Therefore, it is plausible that human transformations as purported in the psychoanalytic theory cannot be explained only on the sexual aspects or stages. On the same note, it is imperative to note the instances where twins grow in the same environment and predisposition. However, due to other factors, including hormones, they exhibit different orientations. Understanding these implications in the light of LGBT is fundamental to accommodating these groups to the society, as well as explaining the varied circumstances influencing their orientation.


Cook, C. (2020). The causes of human sexual orientation. Theology & Sexuality, 1-19.

Fouché, P., & Holz, T. (2015). Roald Dahl: A psychosexual developmental trajectory study illustrated within psychobiography. Journal of Psychology In Africa, 25(5), 403-413.

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