First of all, anyone who argues that homosexuality isn’t “natural,” and that being gay is just a strange human perversion, is clearly wrong. As I wrote in my article on Joan Roughgarden:
Having homosexual sex is the biological equivalent of apple pie: Everybody likes it. At last count, over 450 different vertebrate species could be beheaded in Saudi Arabia. You name it, there’s a vertebrate out there that does it.
But a crucial distinction has to be made, at least from a biological perspective, between homosexual behavior and homosexual identity. There is very little evidence of gay animals only engaging in gay sex. For the most part, the homosexual behavior observed by scientists in the wild is done in addition to heterosexual sex. When bonobos penis fence, or big horn sheep engage in anal licking, or dolphins have all-male orgies, it’s just a little extra-curriciular activity.
What does this mean? That being bi-sexual is the most “natural” sexual orientation of all. Here is Roughgarden:
“In our culture, we assume that there is a straight-gay binary, and that you are either one or the other. But if you look at vertebrates, that just isn’t the case. You will almost never find animals or primates that are exclusively gay. Other human cultures show the same thing.” Since Roughgarden believes that the hetero/homo distinction is a purely cultural creation, and not a fact of biology, she thinks it is only a matter of time before we return to the standard primate model. “I’m convinced that in 50 years, the gay-straight dichotomy will dissolve. I think it just takes too much social energy to preserve. All this campy, flamboyant behavior: It’s just such hard work.”
Obviously, that’s a controversial statement, and I’m not convinced that the sexual habits of sheep have any bearing on human sexual identity. But if we are going to discuss the biology of homosexuality, it’s important that we get the biology right. In that case, both of our modern sexual orientations – being strictly hetero or homo – are not very natural.