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  1. #1
    Senior Member NewEra's Avatar
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    Default Brains of gay men similar to heterosexual women

    Link: Brains of gay men show similarities to those of heterosexual women, study reports - Los Angeles Times

    Brains of gay men show similarities to those of heterosexual women, study reports

    The study, being published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests a basic biological link between sexual orientation and a range of brain functions.

    By Denise Gellene, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    June 17, 2008

    The brains of gay men resemble those of straight women, according to research being published Tuesday that provides more evidence of the role of biology in sexual orientation.

    Using brain scanning equipment, researchers said they discovered similarities in the brain circuits that deal with language, perhaps explaining why homosexual men tend to outperform straight men on verbal skills tests -- as do heterosexual women.

    The area of the brain that processes emotions also looked very much the same in gay men and straight women -- and both groups have higher rates of depressive disorders than heterosexual men, researchers said.

    The study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, however, found the brain similarities were not as close in the case of gay women and straight men.

    Previous studies have found evidence that sexual orientation is hard-wired. More than a decade ago, neurobiologist Simon LeVay reported that a key area of the hypothalamus, a brain structure linked to sexual behavior, was smaller in homosexual men compared to heterosexual men.

    The latest study, led by Ivanka Savic of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, was significant in that it looked at areas of the brain that have nothing to do with sexual behavior, suggesting there was a basic biological link between sexual orientation and a range of brain functions.

    "The question is -- how far does it go?" said Dr. Eric Vilain, who studies human sexual development at UCLA and was not involved in the study. "In gay men, the brain is feminized. Is that limited to particular areas or is the entire brain female-like?"

    Vilain said his hunch was the entire brain was not feminized because "gay men have a number of masculine traits that are not present in women."

    Savic and colleagues used magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain volumes of two groups, each divided evenly between men and women: 50 heterosexuals and 40 homosexuals. They knew going into the study that in men the right cerebral hemisphere is largest but in women the left and right hemispheres are of equal size.

    The results showed that gay men had symmetrical brains like those of straight women, and homosexual women had slightly asymmetrical brains like those of heterosexual men. Language circuits are thought to be more symmetrical in straight women than in heterosexual men, the report said.
    Interesting article.

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    I'd imagine so. Even in the MBTI sense. Gay males tend more toward the Feeling preference in my experience.

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    Definitely. Most of the studies I had seen dealt more with the BST structure in the brain, which had been checked for het men and women, gay men (and women?), and transpeople, so it's nice to see the broader hemisphere comparisons going on.

    This sort of study has been continuing from pre/early 90's through the current day. There's also seeming evidence that transpeople have brain structures more resembling target gender aside from the influence of ingested hormones over the long term. One series of notes.

    Along more clinical research lines, 75% of the boys who express Childhood Gender Dysphoria and do not gradually drop back into a heterosexual birth-gendered personality as they age actually do not move on to express Adult Gender Dysphoria... instead they identify as gay males.

    Quote Originally Posted by greed View Post
    I'd imagine so. Even in the MBTI sense. Gay males tend more toward the Feeling preference in my experience.
    Well... they're definitely less abashed about expressing it, at least.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    hmm interesting, maybe this is why the friends I tend to make more often are with gay men. Not to say I don't have any straight female friends,because I do, I probably have the least amount of straight male friends. I do have a few, but mostly because a friend dated them. I guess with straight females I feel a bit of unnesary competetion with them, but with gay men their is no competition because though we both like men,it's different since I'll end up with heterosexual men and them homosexual men, and if I dated someone who decided they were gay, it would suck, but they were probably never straight to begin with . I don't know many lesbians, I probably do, but I guess they never really ran into my circle of friends, but if I did I wouldn't feel unesery competetion and can see no reason to feel threatened. Why should I?
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

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    Senior Member avolkiteshvara's Avatar
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    Thanks TCO. So I have an A-Symetric Hypothalamus. Wonder why it isn't the reverse for lesbians/straight guys.

    This makes me have other questions though:

    -What if someone had multiple personality disorder and one the personalities was straight and the other was gay. Would we see changes in the brain. I've heard of broken bones being fixed with the each change.

    -What about dudes in prison that end up fucking each other. Do their brains change?

    -What about bi-sexual men. Whats up with their brains.

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    Quote Originally Posted by avolkiteshvara View Post
    -What if someone had multiple personality disorder and one the personalities was straight and the other was gay. Would we see changes in the brain. I've heard of broken bones being fixed with the each change.
    That last bit would just be television.

    I've actually heard of Dissociative Disorder cases where there was a "gay" or bi personality. not sure why it would change brain structure, though. that seems basically fixed in whatever state it's in.

    -What about dudes in prison that end up fucking each other. Do their brains change?
    They're not really "gay" in orientation, they're just responding to environmental variables (e.g., the utter lack of female partners coupled with a strong sex drive, the need to exploit the available power structure in the prison culture to get the survival resources they need, etc.)

    -What about bi-sexual men. Whats up with their brains.
    It's hard to tell what bi is. We know with same-sex attraction, the attraction is just wired opposite of other-sex attraction. How do we define "bi" exactly, and how socially driven is it versus an instinctive drive?
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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    Quote Originally Posted by avolkiteshvara View Post
    Thanks TCO. So I have an A-Symetric Hypothalamus. Wonder why it isn't the reverse for lesbians/straight guys.

    This makes me have other questions though:

    -What if someone had multiple personality disorder and one the personalities was straight and the other was gay. Would we see changes in the brain. I've heard of broken bones being fixed with the each change.

    -What about dudes in prison that end up fucking each other. Do their brains change?

    -What about bi-sexual men. Whats up with their brains.

    These questions are precisely why we should have reservations about the "findings" of this study. Gay and straight are not narrowly defined. Both men and women generally find themselves falling somewhere in the gray on the continuum of homo/hetero so saying that gay male brains resemble female brains is a bit suspect. Additionally, "straight" and "gay", do not necessarily tell us anything about gender roles, comfort level within those roles, or the influence of culture on sexual preference. If one is going to take a study like this at all seriously, it must be with a number of caveats (see above) in mind. The sample that was used most likely involved effeminate gay males who have always identified themselves as homosexual. It's highly unlikely that "butch" gay males will be found to have brains that are demonstrably different, structurally, from hetero males.

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    Senior Member avolkiteshvara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    They're not really "gay" in orientation, they're just responding to environmental variables (e.g., the utter lack of female partners coupled with a strong sex drive, the need to exploit the available power structure in the prison culture to get the survival resources they need, etc.)
    Well maybe the butch men.

    But the submissive bitches, I am pretty sure their testosterone levels plunge once they take that role on. I've read about testosterone level dropping just in everyday life when a more dominant/masculine male is in the presence of the other. Wonder what other physical changes occur.

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    Quote Originally Posted by juggernaut View Post
    These questions are precisely why we should have reservations about the "findings" of this study. Gay and straight are not narrowly defined. Both men and women generally find themselves falling somewhere in the gray on the continuum of homo/hetero so saying that gay male brains resemble female brains is a bit suspect.
    Males tend to have a much stronger definition as far as sexual attraction goes, or at the very least, as far as arousal goes. Women tend to have more of a gradient of attraction/arousal. As far as that goes, the study is likely as strong as is needs to be - I'd say that despite that, it's probably true. Self-identification with homo/hetero that correlates strongly to a measured biological state is going to be strong on its own (assuming the study is solid, naturally).

    It's highly unlikely that "butch" gay males will be found to have brains that are demonstrably different, structurally, from hetero males.
    Why would that be? You are assuming a causation effect in here (I presume having to do with the development cycle of males vs females), and marginalizing the study by calling their sample effeminate. If you can show that is the case, that's one thing, but I doubt it is. If you read the article, the correlation runs both ways in males and females.

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    Quote Originally Posted by avolkiteshvara View Post
    Well maybe the butch men.

    But the submissive bitches, I am pretty sure their testosterone levels plunge once they take that role on. I've read about testosterone level dropping just in everyday life when a more dominant/masculine male is in the presence of the other. Wonder what other physical changes occur.

    I'm not sure, but I will note again that -- in the stuff I posted -- brain changes were not correlated to the application of hormones later in life, they occurred before hormones were administered.

    Your point also raises this: if you castrate a man, does his brain become more feminine over time? Does he "go gay or fem?" And when a woman goes through menopause, does her brain change towards a more masculine configuration? Women certainly don't seem to become "male" in terms of identity... and these changes are probably more significant than the one you describe, they are the actual removal (or extreme lessening) of hormones in the system, versus just a drop based on environmental influence.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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