Biological Foundations of Sexual Orientation

Alexander K. Hill, Khytam Dawood, David A. Puts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Psychology and Sexual Orientation
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199979585
ISBN (Print)9780199765218
StatePublished - Jan 24 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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