Evidence that perinatal ovarian hormones promote women's sexual attraction to men

Talia N. Shirazi, Heather Self, Khytam Dawood, Lisa L.M. Welling, Rodrigo Cárdenas, Kevin A. Rosenfield, J. Michael Bailey, Ravikumar Balasubramanian, Angela Delaney, S. Marc Breedlove, David A. Puts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Ovarian estrogens may influence the development of the human brain and behavior, but there are few opportunities to test this possibility. Isolated GnRH deficiency (IGD) is a rare endocrine disorder that could provide evidence for the role of estrogens in organizing sexually differentiated phenotypes: Unlike typical development, development in individuals with IGD is characterized by low or absent gonadal hormone production after the first trimester of gestation. Because external genitalia develop in the first trimester, external appearance is nevertheless concordant with gonadal sex in people with IGD. We therefore investigated the effects of gonadal hormones on sexual orientation by comparing participants with IGD (n = 97) to controls (n = 1670). Women with IGD reported lower male-attraction compared with typically developing women. In contrast, no consistent sexuality differences between IGD and typically developing men were evident. Ovarian hormones after the first trimester appear to influence female-typical dimensions of sexual orientation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105431
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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