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Dominant mothers and gay sons

  September 18, 2002  Times 2 - features


Despite the huge publicity accorded to them, studies purporting to prove that male homosexuality is caused by genes or brain abnormalities have turned out to be largely groundless.

Very recently published studies have found little or no genetic effect and there is a large body of evidence to suggest that homosexuality has a significant environmental component.

Gay men are twice as likely as heterosexuals to come from a distinctive family constellation, half painting the following picture of their boyhood: the mother is the centre of his attention and they are unusually close; she sees rough-and-tumble play as dangerous, and is excessively anxious about his health and safety; this inhibits his aggression, and he is clinging and anxious at being separated from her; in early adolescence she may be flirtatious with him, and is a dominant, powerful woman who is uncomfortable with masculinity emasculating even; she takes more family decisions than the father, and is the stronger personality; the father is rejecting or withdrawn or weak or absent emotionally, literally or a combination of these and the marital relationship is disharmonious.

Gay men tend to have had negative relationships with their fathers, half of them (compared with a quarter of heterosexuals) feeling anger, resentment and fear towards fathers whom they deem cold, hostile, detached or submissive.

They do not see their fathers as role models.

More than 70 per cent feel dissimilar to them while growing up (against a third of heterosexuals) and more similar to their mother. About half feel that their mothers did not want them to be like their fathers, and more than two thirds feel that their mothers dominated their fathers.