HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR: A Modern Reappraisal by
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HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR: A Modern Reappraisal

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An engrossing, balanced collection of articles--complementary if not always like-minded--exploring the multiple roots and manifestations of homosexuality. Marmor began this exploration in Sexual Inversion (1965); drawing on the important research since then, this much-needed reappraisal reflects significant changes in attitude among scholars and clinicians as well as the general public. Ovesey and Woods, reviewing the pseudohomosexuality syndrome, examine aspects of the behavior of adult homosexual and heterosexual men, behavior which they maintain originates in pre-oedipal and oedipal conflicts; in contrast, others (including the much-in-the-news John Money) lean toward the theory that prenatal hormone levels create a predisposition for homosexuality, but they don't comment on the subsequent psychodynamics. Bruce Voeller, an articulate gay activist discussing the movement's gains, mentions famous historical figures who were gay--though, in an earlier chapter, historian Arno Karlen has indicated how scanty the evidence is for, say, da Vinci's homosexuality, and anthropologist J. M. Carrier demonstrates why what appears as homosexual behavior must be examined in context. Several contributors acknowledge that lesbianism, long neglected as a research topic, is a separate phenomenon; behaviorally, lesbians more closely resemble heterosexual women that homosexual men. More thorough and exacting research should yield a fuller profile. Editor Marmot, citing clinical aspects of male homosexuality, challenges the traditional stereotype and, in another chapter, brings up-to-date the homosexuality/mental illness issue. Others consider ambisexuality in animals, aging in homosexuals, psychotherapeutic techniques (for improving self-esteem, not changing sexual orientation), and revised attitudes and policies: Anita Bryant notwithstanding, HUD now grants public housing to stable homosexual couples. Like Bell and Weinberg's Homosexualities (1978), this finds homosexuals as diverse as heterosexuals; like Sexual Inversion, it provides responsible exponents for each point of view.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1980
Publisher: Basic Books