3. Researching the origins and nature of sexual preference: Nature and nurture revisited.

 Kevin Franklin

Peer Reviewed Article

Counselling Australia, Journal of the Australian Counselling Association,

Volume 10  (No 1,  Autumn) 2010,  pps 18-24.


Order ─ and our healing of disorder ─ is poorly understood by community though vital to counsellors and psychotherapists. Following Newton’s science and natural history the medical model came to dominate community, scientific and religious understandings of health with its externalised physic (knowledge of nature). A psychological origin of healing & health with an internal referent is identified here in a cause & effect healing order. This uses a validated two-factor functional model of personality (see paper 2). This explains (a) sexual preference, (b) the action of freewill in healing, and (c) how spiritual development is blocked by pragmatic coping. This shows why spiritual development is moribund in Western culture, that is, why coping and dysfunction are instead common effects of absence of freewill. An enabling and unified solution is proposed to this socio-cultural malaise with its pre-empting assumptions and consequent harm.


For want of better definition health is commonly defined as freedom from disease. Using pre-digital photographic analogy this definition of health is like a negative-image of a consequent positive photograph. A photographic positive is real whereas its negative is unreal, virtual, and counterfeit.

A counsellor paraphrasing a client’s verbal expression is instance of mirroring. Developmentally prior to mirroring a parent is necessarily an infant’s double A. By doubling the parent establishes identity with the infant, this allowing the infant to bond in symbiotic relationship with the parent. Attachment theory and research shows the importance of this two-way connection. A child learns to be felt (doubled) in this psychosomatic first-stage of development and (usually) developing a sense of body inclusive of (immature) sexuality.

Counsellors, teachers, leaders etc, create rapport by accurately doubling their client (eg, individual or group), enacting their doubling role through listening, unconditionally, with genuineness and body posture. They are real, having presence to other; the client feeling felt and understood. Counsellors, psychotherapists, educators, trainers etc, promoting this two-way relationship can foster growth, identity formation and healing of disorder in individuals and groups.

Healing goes missing and living becomes morbid when freedom from (eg, dis-ease) is confused with freedom (ie, health). Clinically, clients experience this omissive angst-reality as psychological estrangement from self (dissociation) and social estrangement from others (disassociation). In their pervasive loss of confidence in self there also grows dissatisfaction with life as brutal, perhaps punishing. Where human freedom is wrongly equated by family, church, state and self with a reductionist freedom-from there might be liberation but that coping is without liberty. Coping, and not-happy, living can become obsessional-struggle. Struggling with too much journey and not enough destiny living becomes a worrisome problem: coping, even dysfunction. Begun early and readily internalised as though reality, coping ─ by going-with-people, going-against-people or going-away-from-people (Horney, 1945) ─ creates a virtual reality.

Liberation implies a former imprisoned, manacled or slave state; persecuted and persecutor, cowering and bullying: Role & counter-role. Liberation implies prior experience of not-free whereas freedom is freedom: a rose is a rose is a rose to quote Gertrude Stein. Liberty makes liberation possible: I have a vision said The Rev M L King. For many alive today liberty remains possible though improbable. Why are so many, often with so much, so unhappy?

Gay men and women have achieved, awakened by Stonewall in 1969, some of Gay Liberation’s social equality vision. Like other minorities living in the fight & flightB mood of Western culture some individuals remain on-guard for the next homophobic mob-mentality. Behind an adult’s coping-reaction likely lurks an earlier and deeply internalised learned dysfunction of (anacliticC) depression: an outer or public counter-role (eg, fear of fear) and an inner or private role (eg, depression).

Anaclitic here refers to loss of relationship with self: a pervasive loss of self-connection, estrangement, archaically fallenD like Adam or Eve from being’s unified presence. Adult gays were usually as children conditioned to be straight thus risking disconnection from their soul or psyche: losing-Eros for gay men. This primal-loss disposes children to grieving in (anaclitic) depression and coping that seems endogenous. Later, adult personality cannot fully emerge when self is manically denied its endogenous source. They live-out the disorder in dysfunction (psychosis) whereas in coping that loss & grief can normally be denied (neurosis). Disorder ─ the asocial and antisocial estrangement of the mentally disordered & the disorderly criminal ─ is effect: an objective expression of subjective estrangement.

Psychoanalyst Karen Horney MD (1885-1952) authored Our Inner Conflicts (1945). She proposed neurosisE consequent from learning to cope with Basic Anxiety. In other words children secondarily learn reactive or counterphobic coping identities & roles compensating their loss of felt-ness (double’s nurture of identity); an original sin-experience or Basic Anxiety. Horney regards these complexes as neurotic, learned not innate; not predestined like Freud’s instinctual and not fallen by our human nature per Catholic idiom.

Horney describes coping as a compensatory virtual-self countering experience such as absence of nurture (parental doubling); that is, losing-out creating grief (ie, existential angstF). A child ordained by nature to be gay can learn to (publicly) counter their negative social experience via coping whilst (privately) creating dissociative identity including asocial (flight) and antisocial (fight) roles. There, in coping, is the conditioned self and its virtual reality.

The closeted gay-man is a good example of coping. His counterphobic closeted-self (maniaG) arises precociously as coping-adaptation (maladaptation) to his despairing experiences (anaclitic depression) causing his Basic Anxiety (mania). The end-cost of coping is mortifying, parentificationH blocking learning, identity and destiny from psycho-spiritual fulfilment in adult-identity.

A relational way of living, and understanding human nature & humane nurture, is required in culture. Much of the psychological literature objectifies, externalising nature & nurture. This paper describes and clarifies healing in a new order. This could transform our understanding and practice of nature-nurture and culture’s current malaise.

Researching Order and Disorder

At our birth are we free? Are we entitled to freedom? Are we instead fallen, suffering by dint of nature and requiring an awakening liberation; a coming out before reaching freedom? Like a closeted gay-man (eg, bi-sexual) do we have need, can we come out from this stoic-suffering? At birth we are immature and, maladapting, we normally succumb to our problem-inducing culture. Its negative-nurture induces (mal-) adaptive coping and its reactive & reactionary mania, both mental (flight) and criminal (fight), for countering-disorder.

Without authoritative answer don’t know uncertainties can be replaced by authoritarian and colonizing certitude, albeit problematically. Catholic antigay sentiment and culture’s bully group-demand characteristics can parentify a child’s personality around fight and flight’s bully & cowering role-system. The child subjectively creates their own (private) living-role; and (mal-) adaptively a (public) counter-role or introjection mimicking their basic anxiety experience of loss via neglect-abuse. The closet-gay and bi-sexual are exemplars of this loss of identity (diffusion and foreclosure) in asocial and antisocial learning.

Without proper nurture the living spirit of the at-risk child (eg, sissy boy) can become further demonised by an imperialist and negating introjection of homophobic parentification. A child thus precociously loses their innocence (ie, estrangement or Lost Boy). Their immature personality is colonised by a counterphobic role to cope (eg, as closet-gay) with living the lie of the infantilised (depressed) self. Closet gays unwilling join the satanic cult of fearing fear.

Clinical experience shows that introjections are deeply unconscious, sometimes deeply troublesome. Socially constructed they create unconsciousness. Neglected and abused children can become neglectful and abusive parents and driving the intergenerational satanic cycle of neglect & abuse.

Gay men can as children internalise that they are heterosexual and that, somehow, they are female and/or feminine. Early wrong-learning and confusion ─ introjecting false social sex role ─ creates obsession and interfering with subsequent learning. In not coming out closet-gays instead cope with their socially induced error of heterosexualised parentification (mania) thus risking neurosis. Some transgender identity (ie, DSM transsexual) seems an attempt whilst risking psychosisI to play-out a double bind feminised parentification.

Order and disorder necessarily addresses freewill. This existential dilemma in Western culture was researched in the context of sexual preference (Franklin, 1988). What is this healing order valuing freewill and where conversely being lost & fallen in the Time DelusionJ causes unreality and disorder, dysfunction and coping? Does being gay arise freely in truth and consequent order? Is being gay of order and therefore indeed existentially lawful?

Men and women struggle with culturally induced duality (eg, sexism). In coming out gay men and women struggle with another culturally induced duality: what is & is not real? Is being-gay real? Internal and external: which theory is true? Which is deluding creating coping and psychosis? The research outcomes are summarised:

  • Sexual Identity:
    • A man’s social sex role including biological male identity, boyhood, masculinity and manhood is unrelated in cause & effect with his sexual preference.
    • A woman’s social sex role including biological female identity, girlhood, femininity and womanhood is unrelated to her sexual preference.
    • Genetics and social learning ─ conventional nature & nurture theories ─ do not explain sexual preference.


  • Gender Identity:
    • Being-male (psychical male gender-role; Eros) gay men and straight women have a consequent sexual preference for men.
    • Being-female (female gender-role; Psyche) straight men and presumably lesbians have a consequent sexual preference for women.
    • In preferred sexual relationship the other appears to double self in positive identity: this relationship of similarity is true of both straight and gay couples.

This explains sexual preference as originating internally. Which theory of reality explains sexual preference? A scientific test was devised.

1. It showed that sexual preference is existential, expressing nature’s male or female I am psychological identity. In innate freewill, and like a photographic-positive, sexual preference is positively explained as a subject-object operant in a unified theory of reality.

2. One theory of reality is true: real. The other is virtual: counterfeit. Being gay is innate, god-given; neither fallen nor counterfeit. This shows a first-principle of relationship: like attracts like. This natural law of the double ─ the parent’s ability to role reverse with the child and creating identity ─ is writ first on the philosopher’s stone. This explains that Eros (and Psyche) is prime to Logos: relatedness is prior to emergent difference, subject prime to object, double prime to mirror, chaotic-order prime to man-made mess. This subject-object order explains both heterosexuality and homosexuality: mythologically in the beginning is Eros (and Psyche). Now, scientifically in the beginning is subject, not object. Difference, like Aesop’s Hare (& Tortoise) and mirroring, is secondary. Developmentally, in the beginning the word (logos) is second. In right order space flows into time: reality is archaic before it becomes ancient; immature before mature.

3. Some gay and straight participants were fallen into disorder’s suffering. The second developmental factor ─ nurture ─ can lead to health. Or, in absence, to anaclitic disconnect and fall. Spiritually, health and suffering when expressed in religious idiom are heaven and hell.

This explains disorder as an induced loss-model. We become lost in original sin, a deluded, nether, lower-order, dark, anaclitic, hellish, isolate, coping, neurotic, even psychotic and virtual world of segregation. Mankind’s original sin and consequent suffering arises socio-culturally in the Time Delusion: a reversed, lower, and overly literal-order (physic paradigm) commonly used in science, education, health, politics, etc.

Societies, substituting that man-made, lower, brutal and satanic-order for a civilising and higher order (metaphysical paradigm) create instead a virtual reversed order: a profoundly confusing delusional-reality masking reality. Coping with that socially constructed and problematic world an unrelenting freedom from struggle may be highly valued. Language such as the war on drugs, the war on terror, the war on poverty, the war on … everything reflects an antagonistic culture in maniacal mood manufacturing for posterity its own mad-unreality.

Historically homosexuals have been seen as asocial and antisocial; deviants from social norms and breaking moral codes. However, this research shows that being gay expresses innate nature. Is instead its nurture deviant? Nurture was also put to scientific test. This developmental factor ─ spontaneity nurturing creativity ─ predicts order. And in loss of development or identity formation there, in Hell, grows grief.

Dual Consequences of Loss

The holistic and fallen worldviews were tested in the context of sexuality. The customary view of gay as fallen was shown to be not real. First because there is a lack of scientific evidence that was, again, shown here; secondly because gay is instead explained holistically. Notes 1-3 above summarise and demonstrate a new understanding of sexuality in this developmental order. Here is a healing order that is progressive, not reversed into disorder and not backwards-looking ─ not locked into Time ─ like Lot’s wife.

Disorder arises in a human propensity (eg, Humanism) to create singularity and delusional reality (eg, paternalism). Disorder’s duplicitous-offspring ─ the disordered & disorderly states of counterfeit consciousness ─ are socially-created, learned-socially and internalised (introjected) as though reality. The dual downsides of coping are:

1. Mental illness: loss of spontaneity internalised in relation with self.

2. Criminality: loss of spontaneity externalised in relation with others.

Coping 1: Mentally Disordered

Sexual preference expresses our male or female gender-nature. The contrary worldview that gay is deviant arises in a virtual reality. Karen Horney observed that in coping people normally live-out contrary worldviews. Closet-gays are here exemplar.

Whether gay is deviant was put to scientific test (Franklin, 1988). Firstly, it showed the innate male gender-identity of gay men. Secondly, that deviancy is created in socially constructed theory (eg, Humanism). In essence that theory, whether religious or scientific, aborts the psychosocial for the social paradigm. In other words the external paradigm comes to dominant the internal; collectivism denies the individual as Echo is denied by Narcissus.

Coping 2: Disorderly Criminal

Must fallen be perpetually manufactured by society as though acting on God’s behalf to test individual worth? That hubris of judge-mentalism creating suffering is mania worthy of Satan. It is however a man-made assault on spontaneity (eg, freewill), humankind creating the school of hard-knocks and other disorder-patterns institutionalising failure. Why for instance does institutionalised paternalism (eg, Catholic heterosexism) seek to block non-heterosexual human development? Why indeed does society act to create suffering? Were the Buddha, Christ, or Prophet alive today would they not ask this question they once addressed in person?

Criminality arises counter in a social context of abuse-neglect of power. Sexism and heterosexism are familiar outcomes of segregation creating (manic) power & (depressing) powerlessness. Other messy bipolarisations include racial, religious and ethnic divisiveness: socio-cultural segregations encouraging parentification in children who become in Time its exponent and its victim.

Humanism ─ containing a stoic-philosophy repressing and depressing individuation ─ arises socially in a cultural delusion defying innate order & consequent law. Without right-order a multitude of despotic-tyrannical singularities emerge. These are archetypically criminal and obsessionally one-factorial like Narcissus ignoring Echo.


Sexual preference is an operant of gender. I have described research identifying and testing two models of human existence: one is interactive, two-factorial and subject-object unified. The other is a singularity in the name of unity: a loss-model prophetically satanic causing confusion, division and dis-unity. In comparative test of these unified and unity models the former was validated and predicting the origin and nature of sexual preference.

The unity-model, often expressed in anti-gay sentiment promoting law & order, creates disorder because creativity without spontaneity and vice versa operationally defines disorder. At the macro-level this was similarly expressed in image by Einstein: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind (Isaacson, p390). In other words the Rule of Law is first-based on right order.

Developmentally, difference is important in human individuation. However integrated difference emerging developmentally from (eg, growing manly from boyish) should not be confused with socially-created difference created between (eg, segregated masculinity & femininity). Relationship includes sameness (positive identity) and difference (negative identity): men who also are gay or straight. Counsellors, most notably in couples counselling, should not confuse individualism (eg, segregation) with individuation (eg, integration).

Like children confusing parental doubling and mirroring, societal confounding of eternal and chrononological time (ie, Time Delusion) causes confusion and subsequent disorder. Newton’s clockwork-universe mirrors his Englishman’s StoicK-philosophy that sent colonial-roots deep throughout the world. In summary:

1. Psychological disorder has a known cause. Loss, through neglect or abuse, is experienced as existential angst (eg, Lost-boy and Loner identities) and its countering via coping (eg, Closet-gay counter-role) creates anxiety, depression and psychosis. Coming out from this spiritual death is a modern-day version of Christian resurrection into Life. Why does Catholicism reject this?

2. Induction of madness (mania) is socio-cultural. In its Time Delusion society criminally substitutes chronological time (physic paradigm) over eternal time (metaphysic paradigm). This creates a reversed law & order mind-set, an anti-progressive system of attitudes and beliefs (eg, neurosis; psychosis). That difference-mentality opposes innate order underpinning personality, human development and individuation. Anti-learning attitude helps explain why human & humane psycho-spiritual development remains generally moribund.

3. An enabling solution is implicit: reform society. This means spontaneity nurturing creativity and so redefining nature-nurture debate to developing human nature & humane nurture. Initially this means that instead of single-minded intellectual development we would highly value holistic identity formation across the lifespan.

Western culture requires renewal. This implies for instance allowing a collaborative culture of order & law to emerge and develop. Imagine a collaborative instead of competitive world where the $X-trillion dollars spent by the USA on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan instead could have been invested in education & health. Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other groups espouse their future fulfilment in a just & fair society. As creativity is to wild-human (ie, nature) so spontaneity is to humane (ie, nurture). Spontaneity is a freeing and civilising factor making that unified vision of a peaceful human & humane destiny possible and probable.

From a perspective of professional development what can a psychologist, counsellor or psychotherapist take from this trilogy? Here are three that might assist our challenging clients to move from being impersonal to becoming personal. First is developing a companionable role of double to the client, a reprieve from normal adversarial systems passing as social. Second is an ability to enter into the client’s world with humility (eg, under-standing). Third is an ability to move spontaneously between subjective and objective states, unifying and healing religious & scientific realities.


NoteA double (Oxford Dictionary)

2a  a counterpart of a person or thing; a person who looks exactly like another. b an understudy.

5 intr. (usu. foll. by as) play a twofold role.

NoteB fight & flight

Wilfred Bion (in Rioch, 1970) identified three basic assumptions in groups including fight-flight. This (pre-emptive) assumption can set a prejudicial mood to avoid the real work of the group and is expressed through individuals as counter-role (eg, mania) and role (eg, depression).

NoteC anaclitic

Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, 2nd Edition (2004): The impairment of an infant’s physical, social, and intellectual development following separation from its mother or primary caregiver.

AlleyDog.com: This is a type of depression that occurs primarily in infants who have been separated from or lost their mothers or primary caretakers. If a child suffers from anaclitic depression there is a high risk of serious developmental problems both intellectually and physically. Although anaclitic depression has been reserved almost exclusively for infants, psychologists have found it in adults and even monkeys.

NoteD fallen (author)

1. Implies a fall from heaven or grace and hence fallen by birth from initial unity. This loss-model, and hence atonement and redemption, is the usual meaning of fallen.

2. In Christian mythology God is incarnate in Jesus on earth. Jesus, including his gender-identity, is differentiated from a neuter-matrix which includes male and female as undifferentiated principles. Differentiating from neuter via identity formation this innate and now male or female creativity-principle taking human-form and nurture is a developmental model.

NoteE 1. neurosis (singular; Oxford Dictionary)

a relatively mild mental illness involving symptoms of stress (eg, depression, anxiety, obsessive behaviour) without loss of contact with reality, and not caused by organic disease.

2. neuroses (plural; Free Dictionary)

Any of various mental or emotional disorders … arising from no apparent organic lesion or change and involving symptoms such as insecurity, anxiety, depression, and irrational fears, but without psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. No longer in scientific use.

NoteF angst (Oxford Dictionary)

1 anxiety.

2 a feeling of guilt or remorse.


NoteG mania (Oxford Dictionary)

1 Psychol. mental illness marked by periods of great excitement and violence.

2 (often foll. by for) excessive enthusiasm; an obsession (has a mania for jogging).

[from Greek, = madness, from mainomai ‘be mad’: related to mind]

NoteH parentification (author)

Social-learning process whereby children and others adopt-roles before they are emotionally or developmentally prepared; gay men who are not able to live-role without turning into a pillar of salt. Disavowed, the infantilized inner-child, psyche or soul becomes an emotional orphan (eg, anaclitic depression) socially defended to survive in a noxious environment by precociously developing parent-like coping skills (eg, counterphobic mania). See also Megalomania normalis in Sourcing Human Madness (Franklin, 2008).

NoteI psychosis (Oxford Dictionary)

a severe mental derangement, esp. when resulting in delusions and loss of contact with external reality. [Greek psukhosis from psukhoo ‘give life to’]

Author note: A person (eg, closet-gay) in the Time Delusion of virtual reality stoically giving their life to further culture’s reversed-order.

NoteJ Time Delusion

Confounding of eternal and chronological time confusing philosophy; physic paradigm usurping metaphysical paradigm. This object-subject reversal causes socio-cultural delusion, personal & interpersonal confusion, and potential order becomes disorder.

NoteK stoic (Free Dictionary)

1. One who is seemingly indifferent to or unaffected by joy, grief, pleasure, or pain.

2. A member of an originally Greek school of philosophy, founded by Zeno about 308 bc, believing that God determined everything for the best and that virtue is sufficient for happiness. Its later Roman form advocated the calm acceptance of all occurrences as the unavoidable result of divine will or of the natural order. (Emphasis added).


Franklin, K.T. (1988). Gender identity in the homosexual male: Identifying and testing two theories of object relations in the personality. Doctoral dissertation, University of Tasmania, Hobart.

Franklin, K.T. (2008). Sourcing human madness: psychodrama, sexuality and a new order. Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Psychodrama Association Inc, 17, 62-69.

(Also at www.kevinfranklin.com.au).

Horney, K. (1945; 1992). Our inner conflicts: a constructive theory of neurosis. New York: Norton.

Isaacson, W. (2007). Einstein: His life and universe. London: Simon & Schuster.

Rioch, M.J. (1970). The work of Wilfred Bion on group. Psychiatry, 33 (1), 56-66.