The current perception among feminists is that all the characteristics of human sexuality such as the desire of men to initiate with women or the desire of women to beautify, are nothing more than cultural construction in which men built “molds” of two sexes and a sexuality between them, only for the purpose of subordinating women, and therefore it is compulsory to reprogram sexuality. But since there are two sexes with a sexuality between them, and it is not an invention of men to subordinate anyone, an attempt to culturally reprogram human sexuality is itself, oppression. To show this, basic empirical information about human brains must be explained.
Feminism’s vision is to use cultural influence to make men’s sexuality and women’s sexuality identical. To understand whether society and culture can influence the activity of the specific brain regions in which sexuality takes place, it is necessary to understand how communication within the brain operates.
What is the relationship between the cortex, which is the thinking and aware brain, where culture resides, and the deep nuclei, where the impulses are formed? The answer is: Suppression.
The brain roughly consists of two levels of behavioral control. One is the nuclei located deep at the center of the brain. A brain nucleus is a group of several million neurons connected by neural connections. There is a nucleus where the feeling of hunger is created and ends; a nucleus where thirst sensation originates and ends; a nucleus in which the feeling of fear is created and ends, and more. The nuclei at the center of the brain are primitive areas that humans share with other animals, including reptiles. Hence they are sometimes referred to as the “reptilian brain.” They prevailed in the course of evolution, so we, too, have a human version of them. The second level of behavioral control occurs in a different area – the cortex. The cortex is a thin, folded tissue, organized around the deep nuclei like a paper is wrapped around an orange. The cortex is a modern area, which does not exist in reptiles, for example, and is more developed in humans than in any other mammal.
In the primitive deep nuclei, rest the impulses. This is the conclusion of a great deal of research that unraveled the functioning of different brain areas. The impulses found in the nuclei at the core of the brain are thirst, hunger, fear, aggression, and, sexual urges. These are not general assumptions. Each such nucleus is investigated and mapped, structurally and functionally, sometimes cell by cell, and sometimes molecule by molecule, including the structure of a molecule and of molecules that it activates or inhibits. In terms of late 19-century psychology, it can be said that neuroscience has deciphered Freud’s hypothesis about the existence of an Id – it found the sites that produce animalistic impulses within us. In contrast, in the outer layer of the brain, the cortex, there are other functions – understanding and expressing language, conscious learning, abstract thinking, memory of experiences, planning, and countless so-called executive functions. Simply put, the outer layer of the brain is our cultured and learning humanity – where culture takes place; and the nuclei at the center of the brain are our animalistic humanity – where most of our impulses reside, including most aspects of sexuality.
Neural branches travel outside a nucleus to various nervous system areas and drive other activities and behavior. For example, if the hunger nucleus is activated by the smell of an appetizing food, the activation of the nucleus can drive a specific behavior according to what is encoded in this nucleus – eating. But it’s activation will not cause, say, having sex with the food (normally). That is, each primitive nucleus, when activated, is able to activate only specific sets of actions, according to what is encoded in it, innately. And what is the relationship between the cortex, which is the thinking and aware brain, where culture resides, and the deep nuclei, where the impulses are formed?
The answer is: Suppression. The cortex is capable of suppressing the nuclei or, to release the nuclei from suppression. In other words – thinking, can suppress impulses. Here is an example of how a thought from the cortex suppresses an urge created in a deep nucleus: I sit in a restaurant desperate to eat. I see a tempting dish on another person’s table. I think, “If I take the food, I might get yelled at, and it will be regarded unacceptable. I should wait until the waiter brings my order, although I can almost see my hand reaching out, just one bite!” The suppression demonstrated here is not abstract. It’s physical. There are physical brain regions in the cortex where the thoughts are perceived, and they have extensions (called axons) that end in the nucleus where the hunger impulse is activated (or in areas the nucleus would have activated), where the extensions release a chemical (called a neurotransmitter) that inhibits the activity in the neurons and hence the execution of the impulse. Such a reduction in activity is called suppression, or inhibition. In a wild animal, a fox for example, this ability is almost non-existent. It has the same nuclei in their fox version, but not the human cortex. If it smells food in a restaurant, the urge will be executed immediately, and the animal will stretch out on two legs and snatch the food. It doesn’t have the neural architecture that allows suppression of the urge through complex, cortical thinking. In humans, the cortex can remove the suppression from the impulsive nucleus, and what is encoded in it will be carried out, or, keep the nucleus under suppression, and thus what is encoded in it will be silenced. And now, we can consider the question of how the culture of a society, interacts with impulses: Can the cortex, where culture lies, teach the nuclei new impulses? Can the feminist vision of reprograming sexuality be achieved?
Sexuality, physically, cannot be reprogrammed. This is a crucial point for understanding the error in the feminist belief that with culture, feminism could rewrite the innate sexuality
After all, the cortex itself is a learning organ. In many ways, learning is the purpose of its existence. The cortex has a certain architecture that allows the neural connections within it to change, and the change in the neural connections is learning – the acquisition of new ideas and behaviors. Does the cortex, then, have the physical ability to reprogram the impulses encoded in the impulse nuclei? The answer is: No. The wiring inside the nuclei is determined during embryonic development according to genetic programming. Since then, it remains roughly unchanged, except for changes due to the action of hormones in adolescence, and a small degree of change under abnormal conditions (for example, in some nuclei, trauma is imprinted. In fact, these areas’ inability to learn is why it is so difficult to reverse PTSD after it was imprinted under extreme conditions).
The impulsive nucleus does not learn. It does not change out of any conscious learning. It does not have the physical components that will enable this. It is an evolutionary relic from a time when evolution itself was what goes through learning, by trial and error: Changes in primitive brains were formed during the formation of a generation out of a generation, through the appearance of random mutations in fertilization, and less so within the same creature. The advent of the cortex, is among other things, the advent of the ability to learn – to change behavior within the same creature without having to wait for a genetic change in a subsequent generation. Unlike the newly-designed learning cortex, the regions of the ancient reptilian brain do not have the biological properties that facilitate the learning that the cortex is capable of (nuclei that control systematic complex movement, such as cycling or playing the piano, a sequence of mechanical movements, are an exception).
In humans, the cortical region that regulates the regions of sexuality by suppressing and releasing them from suppression is located in an area called the prefrontal cortex (abbreviated PFC). The chemical secreted by the axon tips that extend from the prefrontal cortex to the sexual regions, and causes their suppression, is serotonin. For this reason, antidepressants which are based on elevating serotonin levels throughout the brain, increase serotonin levels also around the axon tips in sexual areas, creating the familiar side effect of these drugs – decreased libido. This is all that our cortex can do to our sexual impulsive areas: Suppress them, or release them from suppression. It cannot teach them to do anything else – they are not learning regions. Sexuality, physically, cannot be reprogrammed.
This is a crucial point for understanding the error in the feminist belief that with culture, feminism could rewrite the innate sexuality: Whoever will decide to strive for changing sexuality and urges, or their specific expressions such as the desire of men to initiate with women or the desire of women to beautify, can only achieve this: Suppression of human beings. When suppression is forced collectively by society, it is called: Oppression. Sexuality is far more specific than denoting merely “to whom one is attracted”, rather, in each sex, sexuality is a set of specific innate drives, some shared by both sexes and some unique to each sex, forming two sets of drives that complement each other (for example, the sexuality brain circuit responds in straight men to female nudity and in straight women to male nudity, that is, it is activated in straight men and women by different stimuli, it is neurobiologically different in them, and, in men of any orientation who identify as any sex, it responds to nudity 3.5 stronger than in women, yet another difference in drives, one of many), to create a complex two-sexes sexuality between men and women. When it comes to homosexuality, the members of the group designated in the book Lovism as the Gender Church, do not question that attempting to reprogram sexuality through culture and society is oppression. It appears that they must be reminded that the heterosexual set of drives the two sexes have is no different in that it is innate and unchangeable, and that attempts to “reprogram” it through culture cannot change it, only oppress it.
Continue reading in Lovism: A Humanist Alternative to Feminism, available on amazon.