Let’s Debate: Nature Versus Nurture—Validity

Let’s Debate: Nature Versus Nurture—Validity

In my debates, I will often post without a solid opinion on either side. today is not one of those days. I have an opinion, and I’ll state it before opening the floor to y’all.

Because I see this opinion rarely getting airplay.

Like it’s just assumed that the opposite opinion is right and just, and need never even be discussed.

Nature Versus Nurture

It’s often asked.

  • Is sexual orientation a choice or inborn?
  • Is being a trans person a decision or a biological imperative?
  • Is dominance/submission nurture or nature?

I wonder when we got to the point of thinking that a person’s choice doesn’t matter as much as not-having-a-choice.

What is the reasoning? Don’t humans have the right to make that choice and still be validated?

When I was younger, I lied about something incredibly stupid. I said I was allergic to something in pepperoni, because I didn’t like pepperoni, but if I simply said that, people would argue with me, try to talk me into liking it, trying it, or eating it to fit in.

When I mentioned an allergy, everyone was kind and easily shifted at least one pizza (or one half) to sausage or something, anything else.

And that is just a pizza topping.

And this:

I have long argued that Meatloaf had it wrong. I’ll want you. I love you. But there ain’t no way I’m ever going to need you…

THAT was right to me. I don’t want to be needed. I want to be desired.

Ester Perel said:

“There is no neediness in desire. Caretaking is mightily loving, it’s a powerful anti-aphrodisiac.”

And I agree with this as well (although I did make a point for need here.)

I want to be someone’s CHOICE—their best choice—not something they cannot survive without. Partly the foundation on which I build my polyamorous philosophy.

That said, my personal examples pale next to what’s going on in the world.

Because nature is given FAR more weight in an argument.

Like somehow, being gay is more valid if people are born that way, for example.

I’ll tell you, I know people who say they were born gay. I also know people who say it was something that happened to them. And some who say it is a choice.

What makes any of those reasons more or less valid than others?

Don’t we value the variety of humanity and our ability to make choices?

Even if we are religious, Christian, for example, weren’t we given both free will and a directive to love one another? What more validity could we ask for when it comes to making a choice?

Or, just pausing for a moment and thinking of the choices we have made in our lives.

Some that we fought for that went horribly, horribly wrong.

Some that went wonderfully right.

Some the jury of life is still out on.

Didn’t we value our autonomy to make these decisions? And value those who love us and support us, and above all, accept us as who we are and our rights to choose, our validity as people who deserve to be seen, to be loved, FOR our choices as much as for those things about ourselves we were born with?

And if something is NOT our nature, but a choice, doesn’t that in some ways actually create validity?

I was born with a lack of empathy. I was awkward and didn’t understand the world for many years. Closeness? I didn’t get it. Friendships? I had no real clue.

When I was diagnosed, I made a choice.

A choice to be different.

To try to change.

And just over ten years later, I have. In amazing ways. I’ve grown. I’ve made amazing friends (in fact, just had my 11-year anniversary at Christmas dinner with the first people I added to my life after that understanding came.)

That was a CHOICE.

I chose to learn how to interact with people in new ways that were not in my nature.

I’ve also chosen in my life to be celibate, to be a slut, to be bisexual, and to be heteroflexible. I’ve chosen to fall in love, and I’ve chosen to not fall in love. I’ve also fallen when I had absolutely no clue—something I could not help—and I don’t regret it.

Nature Versus Nurture: Is one inherently more valid than the other?

Do you have an opinion you’re willing share? Examples?

  • Would you rather be needed, or be a choice?
  • Would you rather need someone or choose them?
  • Is there a life choice you’ve made that others invalidated through arguments of nature?
  • Do you believe nature must always be given greater weight? If so, what is your reasoning?
  • If nature is given greater weight, who is the arbiter of what is natural? You? Or the people who throughout history have made short shrift of others’ natures to hold them back or hold them down?

Just a few thought exercises during this end-of-year-not-quite-next morning.


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