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April 1985

Theories of Origins of Male Homosexuality: A Cross-cultural Look

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine (Dr Stoller), and the Department of Anthropology, Stanford (Calif) University (Dr Herdt).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1985;42(4):399-404. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1985.01790270089010

• In this report, we use data from an isolated Eastern Highlands New Guinea tribe to test psychoanalytic and learning theory explanations for origins of homoerotic behavior. Despite heavy reinforcing of unlimited fellatio in prepubertal boys and youths and powerful teaching that female bodies are poisonously dangerous, Sambia men are almost always heterosexual. We present the history of the one who is not. It shows that, as analytic theory predicts, he is homosexual. In the childhood of all the other boys are the kinds of preoedipal and oedipal experiences that analytic theory proposes for a heterosexual outcome.