Chapter

The Hormonal Control of Sexual Behavior

Jacques Balthazart

in The Biology of Homosexuality

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199838820
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919512 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199838820.003.0014
The Hormonal Control of Sexual Behavior

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This chapter presents a brief review of a mass of data widely accepted in the scientific world concerning the neuroendocrinology of behavior. Although a dense array of technical points is presented, nonscientists are encouraged to concentrate on general principles rather than on trying to understand every single term. In this context it is less important to know exactly what 17β-estradiol and 5α-dihydrotestosterone are and more important to know what they do. The chapter begins by describing what is known concerning the endocrine control of copulatory behavior in males and females. The elements of hormonal control of these behaviors need not be the same as those of sexual orientation, but recent research has shown that they frequently do overlap. Since much more research has been done concerning copulatory behavior itself, it is clearly useful first to review this huge corpus of data. The chapter then considers what is known specifically about the control of sexual orientation in animals.

Keywords: homosexuality; neuroendocrinology; copulatory behavior; endocrine control; sexual orientation; animals; hormones

Chapter.  7127 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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