Different Minds for Different Kinds: Neurologic Differences in Sexuality

Human sexuality has varied from traditional heterosexuality for thousands of years. I’d like to take this time to explain the scientific perspective on variation in sexual preference.

Human sexuality has varied from traditional heterosexuality for thousands of years. Greek and Roman history, art, and literature are filled with descriptions same-sex relationships, and “anti-gay” sentiments are a more recent social creation (Pickett, 2020). I’d like to take this time to explain the scientific perspective on variation in sexual preference.

The scientific consensus is that both gender identity and sexual orientation becomes defined during “fetal and neonatal development” (Swaab, 2008). This can be seen in both anatomical and functional differences in the brain. Homosexual men and women show altered patterns of activaion in their hypothalamus, a brain region responsible for many bodily functions, including reproductive drives. In addition, there is significant data showing differences in activation of the amygdala, a brain region involved in processing emotional information (Swaab, 2008; Baxter & Croxson, 2012).

As you can see, in the pursuit of empirical data, the scientific community has come to the conclusion that sexual preference has significant biological correlates. Scientists agree that homosexuality is not a choice, but rather a natural variation in human biology. So the next time you hear someone refer to sexual orientation as a choice, you can open up a meaningful diaologue to educate them on the scientific foundations of same-sex preference.

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https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/homosexuality/#Bib
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