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Being heterosexual is WEIRD

Steven Holmes' brilliant article begins...

A woman (Christian) I know told me a few weeks ago that she objected to being asked to tick a box on equal opportunities forms that said ‘heterosexual’. Married for over twenty years, she felt that ticking that box implied that she had erotic desires for people other than her husband, people defined by a particular characteristic (being male); this was not her experience of her own sexuality, and she resented being forced to suggest that it was.
In the culture I live in this self-narration is deeply counter-cultural; but the culture I live in is weird, or better WEIRD, and that is extraordinarily important.
The ‘WEIRD’ acronym was coined by psychologists who realised, rather late in the day some of us might feel, that performing psychological experiments on sample groups who all shared a particular characteristic might distort the results quite badly. Many psychology sample groups are only students, or only people in contact with universities (I receive at least one invitation a week to take part in a psychology study via the university email list); more pointedly, a huge majority (95%+?) of psychological studies have been carried out by Western universities on Western people. Something like 12% of the current population of the planet lives in a classic Western society: Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, and Democratic’ (‘WEIRD’); 88% are not WEIRD, and so are normal. Historically, of course, the situation is even more lopsided: until the nineteenth century, no-one was WEIRD.

Read the whole thing


For more articles on the subject, from me...

I choose not to be straight

Why we should go after “straight Christians

Podcast: Why we must be sexual sinners and shouldn’t be straight

The idolatries lurking within some conservative Christian world-views

And from others...

The novelty of our modern views of sexuality

Against heterosexuality

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