Friday, March 2, 2007

Finally: Research on attachment, affectional bonds, and sexual orientation

Alright I've been looking for this type of research and researcher for years. And I'm not joking. As soon as I started learning about attachment and starting thinking about the muli-dimensionality of development. I just finished reading this paper which Warren Throckmorton pointed out in this comment. Then I googled the author being the curious googling sort of person I am. And I am intrigued. I wanted to yell "It's about time!"

Lisa M. Diamond is a professor of Psychology at the University of Utah. You know my dream psychology lecture right now would be to hear her and Daniel Siegel (see post here) in some kind of dialogical lecture. And it's not that I think their research is straight from God it's just that I am pretty sure this is the direction that some research is needed!

The paper I read of hers was Diamond, L. M. (2003). What does sexual orientation orient? A biobehavioral model distinguishing romantic love and sexual desire. Psychological Review, 110,173-192.

Just to give you an idea of the kind of content here are three quotes from the article I found most though provoking.
  1. Research on lesbian and bisexual women further supports a link between love and desire: Lesbian and bisexual women frequently report feeling emotional same-gender attractions before physical same-gender attractions, and physical attractions often first develop in the context of an existing emotional bond (Blumstein & Schwartz, 1993; Gramick, 1984; Rose & Zand, 2000; Rose, Zand, & Cimi, 1993; Vetere, 1982; Whisman, 1996). Women are also more likely than men to say that they become attracted to—or fall in love with—the person and not the gender (Blumstein & Schwartz, 1993; Golden, 1987; Savin-Williams,1998

  2. Perhaps the most notable implication of the present model concerns gender differences in the development and expression of same-gender sexuality, which has received increasing attention in recent years (Baumeister, 2000; Diamond & Savin-Williams, 2000; Peplau & Garnets, 2000; Peplau, Spalding, Conley, & Veniegas, 1999; Savin-Williams & Diamond, 2000). For example, women show greater variability than men in the age at which they first become aware of same-gender attractions, the age at which they consciously question their sexuality, and the age at which they pursue their first same-gender sexual contact (Bell & Weinberg, 1978; D’Augelli & Hershberger, 1993; Fox, 1995; Herdt & Boxer, 1993; Sears, 1989; Weinberg et al., 1994). Many women experience these three “milestones” of sexual identity development simultaneously, late in life, in the context of an unexpected same-gender affair (Cassingham & O’Neil, 1993; Kitzinger & Wilkinson, 1995). Also, women place less emphasis on the sexual component of their lesbian or bisexual identification, both during and after the questioning process (Blumstein & Schwartz, 1993; Cass, 1990; Esterberg, 1994; Nichols, 1990; Whisman, 1996), and are more likely to report that their sexuality is fluid and chosen versus fixed and biologically given (Esterberg, 1994; Golden, 1987, 1996; Rosenbluth, 1997; Whisman, 1996).

  3. Whereas previous investigations of the nature and origin of same-gender sexuality have tended to view affectional bonds as the environmental wrapping around a core of biologically mediated sexual desire, it is now abundantly clear that affectional bonds, too, are biologically mediated phenomena that are as much a part of the evolved system of human mating as libido. The next generation of research on sexual orientation must take this into account. Greater attention to processes of affectional bonding may significantly advance our understanding of how and why individuals show such diverse patterns of desire, infatuation, and love for same-gender and other-gender partners over their lifetimes.

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