Behavioral theories of homosexuality consider it a learned behavior, brought about by the rewarding or pleasant reinforcement of homosexual behaviors or the punishing or negative reinforcement of heterosexual behavior (Masters & Johnson, 1979). For example, a
person may have a same-sex encounter that is pleasurable, coupled with an encounter with the other sex that is frightening; in his or her fantasies, that person may focus on the same-sex encounter, reinforcing its pleasure with masturbation. Masters and Johnson (1979) believed that even in adulthood some men and women move toward same-sex behaviors if they have bad heterosexual encounters and pleasant homosexual ones.
It is interesting to point out, however, that in a society like ours that tends to view heterosexuality as the norm, it would seem that very few men and women would be societally reinforced for homosexual behavior, yet homosexuality exists even without this positive reinforcement from society.