Sex, folks, is real. So are Sexuality and Gender. But these are not always related as people might expect them to be. So let’s have a look at them.
In all sexually dimorphic species there are two morphs, which are directly linked to reproduction; that, after all, why sexual dimorphism exists. One of these produces large, relatively static cells called gametes, which contain half the DNA needed to make a new individual. The other produces small, highly motile gametes, which contain the other half. The former are called ova and the latter spermatozoa or sperm.
The ‘nature versus nurture’ debate has been central to the discussion of sexuality for over two hundred years. In brief, the nature school believes that human behaviour is largely inherited, while nurturists believe it is the result of experiences in childhood, particularly in our interactions with our parents and siblings.
This argument, ostensibly over sexuality, spreads out into other areas of thought. So let’s examine it.
The nature school is sometimes called ‘Essentialist’. It is fundamental to the Biblical concept of Original Sin, which insists that we are not sinners by choice or because of our background, but because we are human. Our nature is that of sinner and Christ came to absolve us of this. That it why is possible for a newborn infant to be a sinner, in the eyes of Christians, even if she has done nothing other than suck her mother’s tit; sin is innate to being human. However, human nature, so hated by the Constructionists, is not seen as a flaw by the nature school but rather the source of our strength. It is what binds us together and makes us human, for better or worse.
Nurturism is sometimes called the ‘blank slate’ or tabula rasa. It was present in the thinking of Rousseau, an eighteenth-century philosopher whose thinking gave rise to many of the social movements we know today. In many ways it is a natural development of the idea of individual autonomy, which informed the cultural revolution of the era and gave us the Enlightenment. Nothing is written and we are all able to shape every detail of our lives independently of the past. Today it is commonly known as ‘Constructionism’.