Chapter

Sexual Orientation in Clinical Cases

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/9780199838820.003.0049
Sexual Orientation in Clinical Cases

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This chapter reviews a number of medical conditions that are all related, at least in part, to sexual orientation at odds with the genetic sex of the affected subjects. In several of these conditions, a sexual orientation was finally adopted that was in opposition to the sex assigned at birth, but was consistent with the type of presumed hormonal exposure during intrauterine life (attraction to men given absence of androgens and to women given presence of androgens during embryogenesis). These include the effects of prenatal stress, women with adrenal hyperplasia, treatment of pregnant mothers with diethylstilboestrol, deficiency in 5α-reductase, and cloacal exstrophy. Taken together, these data suggest that embryonic hormones could, in humans as in animals, play a significant role in determining sexual orientation. This conclusion is consistent with results indicating that homosexual orientation is often associated with a change in physical, functional, or behavioral traits supposed to differentiate themselves under the influence of prenatal sex steroids.

Keywords: sexual orientation; medical conditions; prenatal sex steroids; homosexuality

Chapter.  4296 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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