13 responses

  1. Lij
    December 14, 2006

    It could be that it is nearly always genetic for gay men; and here I envision the expresssion of genes from the X-chromosome in the first tri-mester. What we may be observing outwardly, that is handedness, finger-length ratios, birth-order, gay men whose mothers are from families with excess female over male children (gay men with more maternal aunts than uncles), the twin effect, etc… are traits which point towards the cause of or avenues/modes by which activation of gene expression from the X-chromosome. Or they may point to a degree to which that expession took place. Alternatively, one or more may be associated with a hormonal effect. Whether genetic (gene expression of the X-chromosome) or hormonal the result may be that the brain is effected in some same way during fetal development.

    You say that:

    “Twin studies suggest that for some people their sexuality is genetic or congenital. But since there are examples where one identical twin is gay and another is straight, then this can’t be true for all gay twins.”

    This is not necessarily true. Gene expression may occur in one twin and not the other.

    I find it interesting that the second trend noted:

    “Left-handed gay men were the opposite. They were much more likely to have fewer older brothers and more older sisters than the general population. Gay lefties were also more likely to have older siblings regardless of gender than anyone else, included gay men who are right handed.”

    Follows closely that other observation that “gay men whose mothers are from families with excess female over male children (gay men with more maternal aunts than uncles).” Except that the excess females are in that gay man’s own family. I wonder what the results would have been if they had known about the siblings of their gay men’s mothers.

  2. Jim Burroway
    December 14, 2006

    Re: You say that:

    “Twin studies suggest that for some people their sexuality is genetic or congenital. But since there are examples where one identical twin is gay and another is straight, then this can’t be true for all gay twins.”

    This is not necessarily true. Gene expression may occur in one twin and not the other.

    Lij, you’re right. My response is here.

  3. Ray Foster
    December 14, 2006

    This is all very interesting but I don’t know what to make of it other than that the association between having an older male sibling and being left handed seems to be what’s going on in my experience. I’m dominant left-hander for fine motor skills like writing and controlling a screwdriver, but a right-handed athlete (basketball and baseball) and need the strength of my right hand to push a screwdriver. I have to use both and when I’m using a screwdriver. Also, I’m deaf and I tend to switch dominant hands when I’m signing. I have an older sister and I have a brother that is almost exactly one year older than I. My father was stern but I would never call him distant. And my mother was loving but had too many kids to be smothering. I was undoubtedly a gender non-conforming child, so all this research on birth order and handiness seems to apply to me. I certainly didn’t choose homosexuality and was pretty distressed by it when I realized that was what I was dealing with. I’m the only gay one in my family, but I have a two cousins, both on my mother’s side, that are gay. I’ve never met either of them.

  4. quo
    June 1, 2007

    But the fact that there are gay men and women who do not report a smothering mother/distant father is evidence that this can’t explain homosexuality for everyone either.’

    What a way to point out the obvious. At least you’re not claiming that this shows that the above scenario cannot have anything to do with causing homosexuality in any case – this is a common argument, albeit a total non-sequitur.

  5. David
    February 10, 2008

    What I want to know is, what causes HETEROsexuality?

  6. William
    February 11, 2008

    Well, David, we still don’t know, but my guess would be that heterosexuality and homosexuality are caused by variations of the same process – whatever that process may be – just as right- and left-handedness presumably are.

    All we can say for certain is that, just as heterosexuality continues to breed more heterosexuals, it also continues to breed homosexuals. Vive l’hétérosexualité!

  7. David
    February 15, 2008

    Good way of looking it. But then again, as we well know, one does not need heterosexuals to breed homosexuals or heterosexuals! Homosexuals can do that too! Homosexuality seems to have the best of both worlds:)

  8. John
    February 15, 2008

    what about people who can use both hands equally? are they supposed to be bisexual?

  9. Ostelek
    February 16, 2008

    Isn’t this sort of research kind of heteronormative? It just seems to me that it is treating homosexuality as a pathology.

    Instead of asking the question: “What causes different sexual orientations?”, it assumes that heterosexuality is the correct orientation and attempts to answer the question “What causes people to deviate from heterosexuality?”

  10. Dave
    February 18, 2008

    My point exactly. Wondering what “causes” homosexuality really implies another question: “How then do we cure/prevent it?” Otherwise why should anyone worry about this sort of thing?

  11. John
    February 18, 2008

    “Left-Handedness, and Gay Men”.
    It makes me think of the silly belief that existed for some time on some regions. It was believed red-haired people were conceived when their moms were menstruated. Or some other silly things like trying to guess the size of the penis trough the size of other bodily parts. Talk about science of the middle ages!

  12. Dave
    February 21, 2008

    Exactly – or the idea that one will get hairy palms if one…

  13. Mike
    October 13, 2013

    You are completely wrong that you a statistical anomaly. Left-handed firstborn sons are the most likely to have a homosexual orientation. In fact, younger brothers are MORE likely to be gay ONLY if they are right-handed.

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