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Born Gay: The Psychobiology of Sex Orientation

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Are people born gay, or does upbringing or even conscious personal choice play a part? The ongoing row between gay-rights activists and the conservative lobby over this burning question has now raged for many years. But the science that both groups employ in their arguments is not merely outmoded but often fallacious.

Since the ground-breaking work of Simon LeVay and Dean Hamer in the early 1990s into the biological causes of homosexuality, a tremendous amount of new research ...

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Overview

Are people born gay, or does upbringing or even conscious personal choice play a part? The ongoing row between gay-rights activists and the conservative lobby over this burning question has now raged for many years. But the science that both groups employ in their arguments is not merely outmoded but often fallacious.

Since the ground-breaking work of Simon LeVay and Dean Hamer in the early 1990s into the biological causes of homosexuality, a tremendous amount of new research has been carried out by scientists, who now understand a great deal more about the biology of sexual attraction.

But how much does the non-scientific community really know about this research or understand its far-reaching implications? Born Gay is the first book for the general reader to provide a summary of this new research, much of which has been undertaken by the authors, Glenn Wilson and Qazi Rahman. They provide compelling new evidence that sexual orientation is largely innate and demystify much of the confusion about such frequently misused terms as 'the gay brain' and 'the gay gene'. They show that attempts to find a sociological cause for homosexuality have little foundation and argue that popular efforts to 'blame' parents or teachers for a child's homosexuality are futile and unjust.

Combining their own findings with all the available quantifiable research, Wilson and Rahman have, with this study, provided an urgently needed addition to - and overview of - the major work that has been done in this field.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780720612233
  • Publisher: Owen, Peter Limited
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Glenn Wilson is a reader in personality at the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London and adjunct professor of Psychology at the University of Nevada at Reno. He is a pioneer in the field of evolutionary theories of sex differences, attractions, and love and is ranked within the 10 most cited British psychologists. He has published more than 100 scientific articles and 30 books on a range of topics.

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Table of Contents

Preface 9
Chapter 1 Where are gays found? 13
Who are you calling gay? 13
Either/or 16
The sexual lie detector 20
Homosexuality is not common, but it is stable 22
Chapter 2 The failure of psychosocial theories 29
Psychoanalytic ideas 30
Social learning theory 33
The seduction hypothesis 34
Child-rearing effects 36
Cross-cultural comparisons 38
Bem's alienation theory 38
Therapy for sexuality? 40
Chapter 3 Not all in the genes 43
Family connections 43
Genes versus environment 45
Which genes, where? 50
The mitochondrial DNA theory 53
Mechanism of the genetic effect 54
Chapter 4 Is homosexuality adaptive? 57
Kin selection 57
Parental manipulation 59
Balanced polymorphism 59
The value of same-sex bonding 61
How much can we learn from animal behaviour? 62
A new scenario 64
Chapter 5 Hormones in the womb 69
How hormones work 69
Middle-sex 72
Finger lengths 77
Fingerprints 80
Auditory mechanisms 82
Do gay men have bigger penises? 84
Physical growth 86
Onset of puberty 88
Maternal stress and substance use 89
Developmental instability 92
Chapter 6 The big brother effect 95
The 'fraternal birth order effect' 95
How many brothers does it take to make you gay? 98
Social environment and the big brother effect - is there a link? 100
The mother's immune system 102
The H-Y antigen 103
Chapter 7 The gay brain 107
The hypothalamus 107
Lesbianism and the limbic system 115
Cognitive abilities 116
Brain asymmetry 121
Handedness and sexual orientation 123
Conclusion 126
Chapter 8 Childhood indications 127
Feminine boys and masculine girls 127
CGN, learning and prenatal factors 130
Adult 'psychological gender' 132
CGN and psychological health 133
Chapter 9 Are there different types? 137
Perceptions 137
The research 138
Sex hormone comparisons 140
Finger-length ratios 142
Conclusions 143
Chapter 10 The science of sexual orientation and society 145
References 151
Index 171
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