Was homosexuality believed to be something innate before the late 20th century?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,703
SoCal
Was homosexuality believed to be something innate before the late 20th century? Or was it believed that homosexual attraction and homosexual temptations could be permanently gotten rid of with enough work and practice?
 
Feb 2019
345
California
I am pretty sure the answer to that is for the most part "no," though I could never for the life of me understand why (no amount of prison time or "mentoring" could ever cause me to find a male backside attractive---your mileage may vary).
 
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Feb 2019
831
Pennsylvania, US
I wonder if the word “homosexual” we use now (coined in the late 1800's by a German psychologist) had the same sort of meaning as “buggery”, etc. I feel like “homosexuality” the way we understand it encompasses a preferential gender (“lifestyle”), whereas I wonder if “buggery” was more about what was convenient, at hand, without the permanent switching of preferred genders.

I'm sure there were true homosexuals in the past, but I also wonder if there wasn't the same strong delineation between “straight” and “homosexual”, if only because the entire concept was deemed wrong by religion or society, and not open for discussion or reflection (so willing it out of your mind by suppression or not consciously acknowledging by repression). I mean Rome might be a good example, were is was perfectly okay to have a sexual relationship between two men as long as the Roman citizen was the “active” participant. They had their 'puer delicatis' (their handsome, youthful slave boy or male prostitute) and it was thought perfectly normal for a male to have an active role in sex with them... but was regarded as a sort of sick concept to be the passive one in that relationship... sort of an example held up for shame or ridicule... so was it truly homosexuality as we know it?

A friend of mine who was analyzing Victorian era literature and seemed to think Victorian sexuality was like right under the surface of everything, ready to boil over... and either to prove something to her or something to me, I started researching... and found a rather shocking thing during the Civil War... some men from a regiment (that shall remain unnamed here) dressed up as women and the rest of the soldiers danced with them and later had sex with them. One soldier was good enough to write home to his wife about it (I guess transparency is a good thing in a committed relationship....?!) and kept the event recorded for posterity. Were the soldiers “homosexual”?
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,703
SoCal
I wonder if the word “homosexual” we use now (coined in the late 1800's by a German psychologist) had the same sort of meaning as “buggery”, etc. I feel like “homosexuality” the way we understand it encompasses a preferential gender (“lifestyle”), whereas I wonder if “buggery” was more about what was convenient, at hand, without the permanent switching of preferred genders.

I'm sure there were true homosexuals in the past, but I also wonder if there wasn't the same strong delineation between “straight” and “homosexual”, if only because the entire concept was deemed wrong by religion or society, and not open for discussion or reflection (so willing it out of your mind by suppression or not consciously acknowledging by repression). I mean Rome might be a good example, were is was perfectly okay to have a sexual relationship between two men as long as the Roman citizen was the “active” participant. They had their 'puer delicatis' (their handsome, youthful slave boy or male prostitute) and it was thought perfectly normal for a male to have an active role in sex with them... but was regarded as a sort of sick concept to be the passive one in that relationship... sort of an example held up for shame or ridicule... so was it truly homosexuality as we know it?
Yeah, this sort of reminds me about the Muslim world--where topping is sometimes accepted but bottoming is much rarely accepted and is primarily reserved for young boys.

A friend of mine who was analyzing Victorian era literature and seemed to think Victorian sexuality was like right under the surface of everything, ready to boil over... and either to prove something to her or something to me, I started researching... and found a rather shocking thing during the Civil War... some men from a regiment (that shall remain unnamed here) dressed up as women and the rest of the soldiers danced with them and later had sex with them. One soldier was good enough to write home to his wife about it (I guess transparency is a good thing in a committed relationship....?!) and kept the event recorded for posterity. Were the soldiers “homosexual”?
I think that having sex with a cross-dresser is somewhere in the gray area between being gay and being straight. :)
 
Feb 2019
831
Pennsylvania, US
I think that having sex with a cross-dresser is somewhere in the gray area between being gay and being straight. :)
I totally agree - though in this specific situation they probably knew this “girl” as their male friend and would have had repore with him... I feel like that could push it towards a sexual / homosexual relationship?
 
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Feb 2019
345
California
In the San Francisco alternative newspapers there are permanently running ads: "Gay? Bi? Curious?" in re a gay escort service. To which my response is, "if you're curious, you're gay."

Point being, that while human sexuality apparently exists on a spectrum, for the truly heterosexual among us, it is not a matter of "buggery" or "training" or what is or is not socially acceptable. It's about what we're attracted to--and that ain't men---not then, not now, no way, no how.