The Origins and Role of Same-Sex Relations in Human Societies


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About the Book

This groundbreaking work draws on a vast range of research into human sexuality to demonstrate that homosexuality is not a phenomenon limited to a small minority of society, but is an aspect of a complex sexual harmony that the human race inherited from its animal ancestors. Through a survey of the patterns of sexual expression found among animals and among societies around the world, and an examination of the functional role homosexual behavior has played among animal species and human societies alike, the author arrives at some provocative conclusions: that a homosexual or bisexual phase is a normal part of sexual development, that same-sex relations play an important balancing role in regulating human reproduction, that many societies have institutionalized homosexual traditions in the past, and that the harsh condemnation of homosexuality in Western society is a relatively recent phenomenon, unique among world societies throughout history.
This well researched and meticulously documented book is the first that integrates into a coherent picture the startling revelations about human sexuality coming from the recent work of sexual researchers, psychologists, anthropologists and historians. The view that emerges, of an ambisexual human species whose complex sexual harmony is being thwarted by the imposition of an artificial understanding of nature, represents a new way of thinking about sex.

About the Author(s)

Independent writer James Neill has spent 12 years researching the role of homosexuality in society and in nature. A consultant in the information services industry, he worked previously in news and public affairs in Washington, D.C. as a writer and editor.

Bibliographic Details

James Neill
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 478
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2009]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6926-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5247-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Preface      1

Introduction: The Heterosexual Myth      5


1. Against Nature? Homosexual Behavior in the Animal World      13

2. The Nature People: Same-Sex Behavior Among Indigenous Peoples      26

3. The Inheritance of Nature: The Ambisexual Harmony of Human Sexuality      57


4. Same-Sex Behavior at the Dawn of Civilization      81

5. Love Between Warriors: Homosexual Customs of the Early Indo-Europeans      115

6. Greek Homosexuality: The Age of Heroes—Love-Inspired Valor      130

7. Greek Homosexuality: Educational Homosexuality in Classical Greece      144

8. Ambisexuality in Ancient Rome: Homosexual Customs in the Republic and Early Empire      186

9. Ambisexuality in Ancient Rome: The Christianized Empire and the Foundations of Western Homophobia      209

10. A Regal Love: The Ancient Traditions of Same-Sex Love in China      234

11. Monks and Warriors: A Thousand Years of Noble Love in Japan      269

12. Homosexual Love in the World of Islam      298


13. Medieval Europe: Sexual Tolerance in the Age of Chivalry      321

14. Medieval Europe: The Propagation of Neurosis      359

15. Authoritarian Religion versus Human Ambisexuality      389

16. Nature Out of Balance: Sexual Neurosis in Modern Society      426

Chapter Notes      439

Bibliography      457

Index      465

Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended”—Choice; “presents an exhaustive review of the acceptance of gay and lesbian behavior in indigenous cultures, the ancient world, and medieval society”—C&RL News.