2. Researching the origin and nature of sexual preference: Does gender of soul or gender of body’s sex determine sexual preference.

Kevin Franklin

Peer Reviewed Article

Counselling Australia, Journal of the Australian Counselling Association,

Volume 9 (No 4, Summer) 2009, pps 103-106.


Does sexual identity with its external frame of reference (bio-sociological) or does gender identity with its internal frame of reference (psycho-social) explain sexual preference? This paper describes experimental research demonstrating a two-way cause and effect relationship between psychological gender and sexual preference. Also a test was devised to correctly name that subjective male or female gender in men and women. It shows a person’s gender identity is subjective precursor, that sexual preference is its operant and objective expression. This research answers the nature-nurture question what makes a man or woman straight or gay?


Sex and gender research is confounded and confused: it has not explained sexual preference. Literature specific to this research project is now summarised.

1. Sex Literature

Sex researchers measure sexual identity in anatomical males or females. Male and female sex role scales have been developed for instance Bem’s Sex Role Inventory (1974) and the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (Spence et al, 1975). I used an Australian scale (Antill et al, 1981).

Project results are congruent with prior research (Heilbrun and Thompson, 1977; Bernard and Epstein, 1978; Hooberman, 1979; Carlson and Baxter, 1984; Boyden et al, 1984). Typically, whether gay or straight, men score high in male identity and masculinity whereas women score high in female identity and femininity. To Deaux (1985) masculine persons are dominant and self-assertive; feminine persons are nurturant and interpersonally warm. To Bakan (1966) these are agency and communion. These terms name with positive-spin the stereotypes of masculine-feminine segregation (ie, mania). What is the effect on boys & men when women are believed to monopolise nurturance? On girls & women?

Sexual identity is generally understood to include or predict sexual preference. Research evidence shows this presumption lacks credibility.

2. Gender Literature

Does psychological gender of person determine sexual preference? There was some prior correlation evidence for this gender-identity hypothesis of innate psychological cause (Bell et al, 1981; Harry, 1983; Hooberman, 1979; Whitam, 1980).

In this research project with participating gay and straight men I used the pen and paper objective test of gender identity for males developed by Freund et al (1977). With participant straight women I used a parallel scale (Blanchard and Freund, 1983). The gender identities of the three participant groups could then be identified, compared and tested for causal relationship with sexual preference.

This research design could show whether sexual identity or gender identity predicts sexual preference and vice versa in a two-way (causal) relationship. Freund et al name gender identity in gay men as female, this following Ulrichs that gay men are somehow female.

Research Design

Three participant groups of gay men, straight men and straight women were compared using the following variables.

1. Measures for each research participant

A. Independent variables of anatomical sex and sexual preference.

B. Dependent variables of gender identity and sexual identity.

2. Showing for each research group that gender correlates with sexual preference and sexual identity does not.

3. Replicating those results.

4. Showing reversal in a two-way statistical relationship. Cross validation showed gender identity also predicts sexual preference in the research groups; analogously, showing a causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer.

5. Devising a test identifying the male or female nature of gender identity in gay men. This test is now described.

A Test of Subjective Gender

Male and female sexual identity is referenced in physique, genitalia and other objective expressions or handles generally allowing perceptual recognition of men and women. This research sought to do two main things: (a) showing that gender- and not sexual-identity causes sexual preference; and (b), identifying that male- or female-gender nature which appears to have no other objective expression. How to identify male or female gender?

Gender identity has an internal frame of reference in subjectivity. Predictions from Theory of Person are shown in Table 1. Natural Law uses an external frame of reference, sexual identity for instance. Predictions from Natural Law are shown in Table 2. These archaic and ancient theories, respectively real and virtual theories of reality, invoke contrary subject-object orders. Confusion ─ disorder of reality ─ becomes apparent and is measurable. Psychological disorder can be objectively measured by psychological distress questionnaires (eg, SCL-90-R, Derogatis, 1983).

Table 1.

Sexual Preference According to Theory of Person.

Gender Identity  Sexual Partner Nature of Relationship 
Straight men  female female same double
Straight women    male male same double
Gay men male male same double

Table 1 shows the nature of sexual relationship and the implicit gender identity of each research group. It shows a unified theory of sexual preference based on relationship of sameness (positive identity).  This theory predicts that gays and straights should per se show similar levels of psychological disorder.

Table 2.

Sexual Preference According to Theory of Natural Law.

Sexual Identity:  Nature of Relationship


Straight men    male female opposite normal
Straight women   female male opposite normal
Gay men male male same deviant

Table 2 shows the nature of relationship according to Natural Law. Sexual identities are identified. This bio-sociological theory defines same-sex relationship as deviant (eg, nonheterosexuality). This should be measurable in gay men as higher psychological distress.

Which theory correctly predicts disorder in participants? Theories of Person and of Natural Law are contrary. That theory identifying reality will also identify, when tested, the correct male- or female-gender of participants.

Step one is a between-groups comparison of the three participant groups on measures of psychological disorder. Natural Law predicts gay deviancy. If the participant groups are instead comparable that is prima facie evidence supporting the Theory of Person. A more compelling test is required.

Step two is a within-group comparison. Gay participants with more and less gay identity formation were compared for their level of psychological disorder. This out-ness was measured by the Cass (1984) scale of Homosexual Identity Formation (HIF). Natural Law presumes gay men are disordered; closeted-in should be ordered and more-out disordered. Is that Natural Law assumption-of-order true? Or does Theory of Person predict order and therefore gender? This discerning test of order predicting gender was used in Study 3.


Description of Studies

Study 1 Adult participants, gay men (35), straight men (41) and straight women (37) were assessed using 22 scales. One scale measured gender identity and 21 measured sexual identity. Groups were compared statistically.

Study 2 Gay men (124), straight men (34) and straight women (33) were assessed using 28 scales. Some scales from Study 1 including gender identity were repeated to replicate results. Additional scales challenged the robustness of this finding.

Forty-two scales were used overall, one measuring gender identity and 41 of sexual identity. These 41 included sex-differences, sexual attitudes and behaviours, social attitudes, and various measures of psychological disorder.

Additionally, a statistical cross-validation technique was used to test for a two-way gender and preference relationship. The purpose of this test was to show that preference is an operant of gender identity and is not an operant of sexual identity.

Study 3 The purpose of Study 3 was to discern the male or female gender-nature of the gay-men participants. First was a between-groups comparison of these three groups on psychological disorder. The SCL-90-R (Derogatis, 1983) was used to measure disorder. Homophobia was measured by the Index of Homophobia (Hudson & Ricketts, 1980).

Second was a within-group comparison of the gay-men. They were assorted into high, medium and low HIF (Cass, 1984). HIF here measures freedom of relationship in self (spontaneity) between gender (subject) and preference (object). In other words HIF operationalises spontaneity in these groups. These were statistically compared for level of psychological disorder.


Study 1 Analysis showed that gay & straight men are similar in sexual identity and different in gender identity. Gay men & straight women are similar in gender identity and different in sexual identity. This result is consistent with the research literature.

Study 2 The results of Study 1 were replicated by Study 2. Sexual identity and sexual preference do not correlate: sexual preference is not an operant of sexual identity.

Gender identity and sexual preference correlate. Cross-validation also showed this statistical correlation to be two-way: each predicts the other. Statistically, the contrary gender identities of gay and straight men predict contrary homosexual and heterosexual preferences and vice versa. Similarly, contrary gender identities of straight men and women predict their different preferences. Sexual preference is an operant of gender identity and not of sexual identity.

Study 3 Gay men were not disordered compared with straight men or women. The straight-groups were more homophobic. This result does not support the theory of Natural Law that gays are deviant (disordered). It does support Theory of Person where all three groups are similarly fallen into disorder. In other words being gay is per se not fallen. This is prima facie evidence supporting Theory of Person.

Compelling results of within-group comparisons of gays are shown in Table 3. Visually there is a strong pattern of out-ness (spontaneity) associated with less disorder measured as psychological distress. Statistical analyses showed that lack of HIF (ie absence of spontaneity) is statistically and significantly associated with anxiety, depression and psychosis. Absence of freewill (eg, of spontaneity) predicts disorder.

Table 3.

Homosexual Identity Formation and Psychological Distress.

Level of HIF/spontaneity
Variable Low     (n=20) Middle(n=65) High(n=39)
Raw Scores of Psychological Distress M M M
Global Severity Index (SCL-90-R) 83 57 41

1. Somatization

65 43 38

2. Obsessive-Compulsive

85 82 59

3. Interpersonal Sensitivity

106 76 53

4. Depression

109 73 58


83 50 30

6. Hostility

53 41 30

7. Phobic Anxiety

52 17 7

8. Paranoid Ideation

80 66 50

9. Psychoticism A

78 41 21
Homophobia (IHP) 59 45 42

Difference between the three gay-groups is marked, as predicted by Theory of Person. Lesser development of gay identity is generally predictive of psychological disorder in gay men. Statistically, it is especially predictive of anxiety, depression and psychoticism. People, gay and straight, are equally fallen into disorder. Not because of sexual preference but because of personal disorder induced by society’s wrong order: culture’s usage of Natural Law and its philosophy-in-use of Stoicism.

Results shown in Table 3 are predicted by Theory of Person, not by Natural Law. This outcome identifies gay men and straight women as gender-male whilst straight men are gender-female.


This research demonstrated that gender identity, and not sexual identity, causes sexual preference. There is prior evidence in the literature, albeit confused, supporting this conclusion. Outcomes are noteworthy for additional reasons:

1. It identified and tested two implicit theories and paradigms confounded in culture and the research literature.

2. It demonstrates a cause & effect relationship: sexual preference is an operant of gender identity. Where there is rejection instead of freedom of sexual preference there also is disorder. This means that disorder arises in that absence of spontaneity. In order, but not in disorder, (a) sexual preference is an operant of subjective-self and (b) freewill is its objective exemplar.

3. A test of male or female gender identity was devised. The gay man is psychically male like the straight woman; both have the same sexual preference. Gay and straight men are the same except for their gender identity and sexual preference. In other words Ulrichs was incorrect; rather, the straight man is externally male & internally female.

This research compared theories of reality: the internal paradigm identified with subjectivity & religion was compared with the external paradigm identified with objectification & science. One theory predicts order, the other contrary-order. The question of which theory is real and which virtual has an answer.

Person is an expression of order and a unified field in psychology. Natural Law, and its stoic point of view exemplified in Newton’s mechanical universe, gave a pragmatic but not-practical view of reality. This research shows it is that ancient theory of Natural Law itself, its physic-paradigm and its implicit rejection of spontaneity that causes confounding, confusion and disorder. In spontaneous expression of innate soul, indeed ─ in life itself ─ gay sexual preference expresses innate order. While Albert Einstein et al ushered in an age of uncertainty the new order identified here speaks to an absolute. Being gay is existentially lawful a priori B to secular law denying this human-humane right. In other words being gay is indeed ethical. Sexual diversity is congruent with a just and fair society espoused by unified religion & science.


Note A psychoticism (SCL-90-R analogue dimensional definitions) 

… a continuum going from a mildly alien life style at one extreme to floridly psychotic status at the other. Indications of a schizoid, unusual, alienated style of life will score a person at one end of the continuum, while dramatic symptoms of psychosis – hallucinations, delusions, etc – will place him at the other.

Note B a priori (Oxford Dictionary)

1 (of reasoning) deductive; proceeding from causes to effects (opp. a posteriori).

2 (of concepts, knowledge, etc.) logically independent of experience; not derived from experience (opp. empirical).

3 not submitted to critical investigation (an a priori conjecture).

[Latin, = from what is before]


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