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Handbook of Psychology and Sexual Orientation$
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Charlotte J. Patterson and Anthony R. D'Augelli

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199765218

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199765218.001.0001

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Biological Foundations of Sexual Orientation

Biological Foundations of Sexual Orientation

Chapter:
(p.55) 5 Biological Foundations of Sexual Orientation
Source:
Handbook of Psychology and Sexual Orientation
Author(s):

Alexander K. Hill

Khytam Dawood

David A. Puts

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199765218.003.0005

This chapter explores possible causes of sexual orientation. In recent decades there has been a profusion of research into both proximate and ultimate causes underlying variation in sexual orientation. The latter line of inquiry is built upon evidence suggesting that there are genes predisposing individuals to homosexuality, and it seeks to explain how such genes might be maintained despite fitness costs associated with homosexuality in terms of reproductive success. Multiple hypotheses have been proposed, with modest supporting evidence. Research into proximate causation has identified neuroanatomical differences between gay and heterosexual individuals, effects of prenatal hormonal signaling on sexual orientation, and associations between the number of older brothers men have and their sexual orientation. The chapter seeks to illuminate both proximate factors influencing the spectrum of sexual orientations and ultimate causes maintaining this variation during the evolutionary history of our species.

Keywords:   homosexuality, sexual behavior, genetic predisposition, reproductive success, gays, heterosexuals, neuroanatomical differences, prenatal hormonal signaling

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