I absolutely agree with you that we need introspection and that we need to work hard to eliminate our internal biases.

Adding to the conversation, though, I could point out human development experts posit that during puberty, most humans develop strong sexual attractions to particular traits — say blond hair, natural African hair, or particular facial shapes.

The idea is that exposure to these traits at a critical moment in sexual development, or at a series of such moments, can strongly imprint attraction patterns in the brain.

The process is sometimes called sexual imprinting by biologists.

That imprinting may explain my own strong attraction to slim men with blond hair and green eyes.

Of course, and very critically, it can’t explain the choices I make. None of us are slaves to our biology. Even if I accept the imprinting theory, I can still date men who fall outside my strongest unconscious attraction zone.

In fact, of my two (serially long-term) partners, neither has been a slim blond man with green eyes.

I might still do a double take if I see my perfect “type” walk by, my neural circuits might still buzz with recognition, but higher parts of my brain understand that falling in love is different from buzzing.

I know from deep experience that coming to know and love a whole person can make superficial attraction just not matter very much.

I hope I’m making sense.


Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com