There is More to Human Sexuality than XX and XY

As children we are all taught that humans come in two forms, male and female. What could be simpler? As we become more educated, we learn that male and female are defined by possession of a specific combination of chromosomes, XX making a person female and XY making a person male. Whether a baby is male or female, depends on which sperm reaches the egg, as half of the sperm produced by males contain an X chromosome and half contain a Y chromosome. For those who have studied a bit of human biology it is also well known that Y chromosome bearing sperm swim faster and more energetically than X chromosome bearing sperm, or at least that is what I was taught. It turns out that this is a myth, as more sophisticated methods for distinguishing Y-bearing from X-bearing sperm have not found any differences in sperm motility,[i] and this is not the only myth about human sexuality. When it comes to sexuality, the more we learn, it seems, the less we know for certain. Even the simple male/female dichotomy, and all the gender/sexuality assumptions around this apparent simple distinction break down under scrutiny.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

A paper giving readers information that is especially pertinent at this time. Well argued. Than you, Bryan.


Thank you, Bryan, for showing the four-component process of how a person’s identity and orientation are formed. And thank you for especially emphasizing that mutation and variance do not carry moral implications, nor do they have to automatically doom a person carrying these mutations to a miserable life. For those of us who will recognize it, God’s beauty is enhanced and expanded by these diverse expressions of divine creativity.

The responsibility is upon us–church leaders, educators, pastors, members–to lean in to love by welcoming, including and relationally-supporting our loved ones who bear the unmistakeable image of God.


There is an additional, but little known factor, that comes to us from forensic science: Some individuals are born with organs whose cells have a XY configuration AND also with organs that have a XX configuration.

Outside of forensic issues, little is known as to how this affects individual sexuality.


Pastor Todd –
Thanks for your input.
You have a great church program.


Having a mix of karyotype like XX/XY and other combinations known as mosaicism. In some individuals XX/XY mosaics results in sexual organs or structures being mixed. It’s quite rare, but is a variation in human sexual development.


Thank you, Bryan Ness. In this age of misinformation, we can use more articles like this. It’s sad that a church which prides itself and invests so much in medical science is so reluctant to examine and embrace the science on other pertinent issues like human sexuality, biological change (evolution, however shallow or deep), and eological degradation.


Thank-you for this, Bryan…so much information and so many great insights.


Thanks Bryan for creating this article. It does a great job of using BOTH science and the Scriptures to examine a complex topic. It should be a positive prospect to be able to approach the LGBTQ+ issue without having to compromise on what the Bible says. Using a quote I heard this past weekend, we don’t need to change how Scripture reads, but we need to use a new lens to read it correctly. I think you provided us with the tools and insight to be able to read the usual texts with a new lens that allows us to be loving and compassionate. We can love the Sinner (all of us) without having to look for and hate the Sin.
Can we make this article required reading for all General Conference Delegates and current church leaders? How about Andrews University adopting it for their MDiv students?


Thank you Dr Ness, for this exhaustive and extensive exposé and analysis of the transgender / same sex orientation issues that consume and confront our church body.

i especially thank you for your arguments in favor of monogamous same sex marriage.

Many happily married heterosexuals will concede that although sexual intimacy is important in their marriage, it is overwhelmed by the companionship, love, validation, support, affirmation, camaraderie and sharing that wedlock affords.

It is this loneliness and longing for companionship that propels many heterosexual widowers to remarry within a year of the demise of their wives.

Thank you for affirming that our NAD Is now recognizing that same sex attraction is not a matter of choice, but is an inherent, innate condition that “ conversion therapy “ has been unable to successfully alter.

Since same sex individuals have zero personal input into their inherent condition, denying them the companionship and the other validating elements of marriage, shows an extreme lack of compassion,
particularly when they have not erred in choosing their orientation.

Large elements of the North American United Methodist Church are currently breaking away from the main denominational body, so that they can not only approve of same sex marriage for their LGBT offspring, but allow the performance the same sex marriage ceremonies in their sanctuaries.

Life long loneliness is an horrific penalty to impose on innocent gays / lesbians who had zero personal input into their sexual orientation.

The latest statements by the NAD about same sex attractions, are a huge advance over their previous caustic, condemnatory categorical attitudes . However, their inability to allow for monogamous same sex marriage is troubling, since it condemns a significant minority, through no fault of their own, to a life of loneliness and celibacy.


Thank you Bryan @bness for your great contribution to the enrichment of the knowledge of those who are open minded and willing to learn. (I can’t wait for Allen’s @ajshep response to it…).

(Based on precedence…, I wonder, … should I write a (very) short review so that @Cliff can write a “review of the review” without having to read the whole article of yours? It would save him some time… … :innocent: :innocent: :rofl::rofl: )


I appreciate much of the breakdown here.

As there has been much important detail given to the biological side, I think there needs to be a lot more detail given to the choice side to be more properly informative. Too often “choice” is seen as a simple or trivial thing. Choice is a very complex thing.

For instance, a person who has been sexually touched, pleased and enjoyed since childhood by one or more close member(s) of the family or community and shown this as a demonstration of love, acceptance, and affection is going to naturally gravitate towards relationships later on where sexual intimacy is openly engaged in from the beginning - perhaps as a qualifying component, rather than something that comes later. (Some may find disgust in this idea, calling it child abuse flat out, but there are many children who’ve been groomed into this with what they experience as positive, healthy, and pleasurable interactions, thereby compelling them to continue choosing it. Not all “abusers” are “purely selfish” - many think they are liberating the other person, perhaps as they were. This is a natural expression of their relationship development process.) When this person comes into the church, he/she feels as unaccepted, rejected, out of place, etc as any LGBTQ+ person does for these naturally sexually inviting behaviors that would evoke strong objection from the average church member or leader. But why is he/she choosing it? Because there was a positive association made at an early and impressionable age, and elements of reinforcement along the way. There may also have been many instances of rejection or adverse experiences associated to this, but if the positive ones are more highly embraced or valued, they drive the choices and behaviors. When will we talk in more depth about nurture, impression, and factors that lead to what we summarize as “choice” so that people understand that choice is not trivial? That changing one’s “choice” doesn’t happen as simply as saying “I liked what I learned about Jesus, therefor I will choose to follow Jesus.” It doesn’t happen by force, coercion, demand, or expectation and it doesn’t happen by simply mustering up will power to choose. All humans are groomed into the choices we make from the time of conception.

The author goes on to state:

" Someone who is gay is attracted to someone of their own sex by nature , not by choice. Thus, the desire to develop an intimate, committed relationship with someone of the same sex is natural for someone who is gay. Same-sex marriage would therefore be a natural and acceptable accommodation of this biological reality. Just as for heterosexuals, sexual relations outside of marriage violate God’s law, but within a monogamous marriage relationship, sexual relations are a normal outgrowth of a healthy, intimate relationship. It is time for the church to recognize that same-sex marriage, rather than violating God’s law, can play the same role as marriage does for heterosexuals, providing life-long companionship and a context in which to remain sexually pure."

I have a sibling who is openly bisexual, polyamorous, and lives in a committed polyamorous family. Many men in the bible had multiple wives and God did not condemn them for it. Her and her husband have invited other women into their marriage and home and are raising children together in this committed, life long multi-person marriage. She is/they are seeking to invite another man into the committed life long intimate family relationship setting as well. The sexual intimacy is a natural extension of their love and commitment to each other and service to each other.

Is there room to interpret the bible teachings such that they can also feel the warm embrace and beneficial teachings and path of the Church and perhaps some day have a leadership position as well? This is a hard question. I do not expect an easy answer.

I have a strong LGBTQ+ community. I have personally struggled with my own sexual identity and whether or not I fit in the church. There are few places I feel I can safely discuss these matters in the SDA community I have chosen to embrace. Sabbath is a blessing and a truth I have come to embrace. I believe Jesus will come again and I want to spend eternity in heaven. I want my family there too. Is there room for them as they are?

I’ve followed Spectrum long enough to consider that perhaps this is a place these hard questions can be discussed sincerely and without having to share my identity and complicate my relationships with both progressives and conservatives.


Conversion therapy, aka charlatanism!


Religion without science is blind and science without religion is lame. The author of this article has clearly shown how people are blind. Love has not sex orientation. Faithfulness in any relationship is very important. Discriminating homosexuals and Lesbianism in any activity be it in church or in public is form of total ignorance. All of us regardless of our sex orientation are children of God and we deserve the same love and grace. Whether Seventh day church accepts same sex marriage or not does not make sinful those same sex marriages for the church is not God or knows what it is right or wrong.


I’m not sure what sexual abuse has to do with sexual orientation. It sounds like a tired trope.


LOL, at least the read is a wee bit shorter than a WHOLE book, although I can recommend some fine books on the topic. :wink:

It is apparent from a number of comments on the Spectrum Facebook page that some don’t feel a need to read what I wrote to know I am wrong. A few short verses in Leviticus and Romans seem to be enough for them to explore the topic no further for fear that learning something from science might contaminate them.


Washington State normalizing pedophilia.
might be a topic to research for Spectrum.

You seem to be alluding to the idea suggested by some that same-sex attraction is more a function of nurture than nature, and that a child who is sexually abused by a same-sex adult may develop same-sex attraction as a consequence. This theory has been investigated quite thoroughly at this point, and the consensus of the psychological community is that unless the child already has an inborn same-sex attraction (or is possibly bisexual, again by nature), being sexually abused will not typically result in development of same-sex attraction. It could result in that child becoming a sex addict, however, and sex addicts may see the sexual attraction dynamics as irrelevant, as long as they can indulge their addiction with whomever is available.

This is also one area where I can speak from personal experience. I was sexually abused by an older adult male from the age of 8 throughout adolescence. I never developed any same-sex attraction as a result, and in fact, it actually further cemented my inborn attraction to the opposite sex. Although my body often responded to his abuse, my brain continually rebelled against what he was doing to my body. I am fairly certain that my perpetrator was not gay himself, but rather was just a sex addict and pedophile, since he also molested my sister.

Sex addiction and pedophilia both muddy the picture, but it is clear that from a moral standpoint acting out in both sex addiction and pedophilia are morally wrong, since both involve taking advantage of other individuals for one’s own sexual gratification. Objectification of the other in a sexual relationship robs the objectified person of human value and makes a mockery of the rich meaning of sexual intimacy. Pedophilia goes one step further and takes advantage of someone who is too young to even consent to be involved in the sexual relationship. That pedophiles often believe they love the child and are doing it for the child’s sake does not change the damaging aspects of such a relationship. My perpetrator always communicated to me that he loved me deeply and was doing the things he did to me because he loved me. He was deeply deluded, as are many pedophiles.

I have seen the argument that because polygamy was practiced in the Bible than polyamory today should also be morally permissible. My response to that is to apply the same moral framework I suggest in the article to polyamory. Although some may disagree, I see moral harms inherent in polyamorous systems. Even the Biblical recounting of polygamous family systems, where we get any amount of detail, reveals moral harms occurring in the ways that relationships are strained and rivalries develop in these systems. I would argue that the main reason that polygamous marriages were largely dispensed with by NT times was because later Judaism and Early Christianity both began to recognize these moral harms.

It would be very difficult to make the same argument about polyamory that can be made about same-sex marriage. For all the differences of opinion in modern culture, there remains a strong sense among most psychologists that most people are psychologically set up to expect monogamy in their sexual relationships. Breaking the bond of monogamy, which essentially happens continuously in polyamorous systems, seems to cause psychological distress, a clear sign of moral harm. Thus the reason that marriage between just two individuals remains the standard in Western society


Ignorance is often more attractive than knowledge. Ignorance is a fatal attraction because it keeps people dead.

But, one does not have to be a Senator to refuse seeing facts, witnesses, and documents… As you are seeing, many people declare your information as wrong without even reading it.

But, again, thanks for sharing all that knowledge and educating us in a proper and solid way. Truly appreciated.

PS - Sorry I misspelled your name on a prior post. It’s been corrected.


Human psychology is fascinating. We are all ignorant in some spheres, and yet most of us likely believe we know all we need to know about certain spheres, when in fact, we are deeply ignorant. I see the common Christian stance toward same-sex marriage to be a wonderful case in point. It is exasperating to those of us who are educators, but humans will human. I just consider myself as planting seeds. Some people may not change their views right away, but at least they have been tweaked a little. I hope it becomes a nagging sensation of wanting to learn more.

Oh, and one of the most annoying things to me is the tendency many seem to have of making everything a contest between science and scripture, and whenever the two don’t seem to agree, always trust their interpretation of scripture and assume science is just plain wrong, regardless the amount of evidence. Nature is God’s second book as I recall, why don’t we treat it as such?

Finally! LOL So many people misspell my name I have given up even saying anything. I just make a voodoo doll of each person who misspells my name and have fun poking needles in them. Have you noticed any strange pains lately?