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Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why

The Science of Sexual Orientation

Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why by Simon LeVay
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What causes a child to grow up gay or straight? In this book, neuroscientist Simon LeVay summarizes a wealth of scientific evidence that points to one inescapable conclusion: Sexual orientation results primarily from an interaction between genes, sex hormones, and the cells of the developing body and brain.LeVay helped create this field in 1991 with a much-publicized study in Science, where he reported on a difference in the brain structure between gay and straight men. Since then, an entire scientific discipline has sprung up around the quest for a biological explanation of sexual orientation. In this book, LeVay provides a clear explanation of where the science stands today, taking the reader on a whirlwind tour of laboratories that specialize in genetics, endocrinology, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, and family demographics. He describes, for instance, how researchers have manipulated the sex hormone levels of animals during development, causing them to mate preferentially with animals of their own gender. LeVay also reports on the prevalence of homosexual behavior among wild animals, ranging from Graylag geese to the Bonobo chimpanzee.Although many details remain unresolved, the general conclusion is quite clear: A person's sexual orientation arises in large part from biological processes that are already underway before birth. LeVay also makes it clear that these lines of research have a lot of potential because--far from seeking to discover "what went wrong" in the lives of gay people, attempting to develop "cures" for homosexuality, or returning to traditional explanations that center on parent-child relationships, various forms of "training," or early sexual experiences--our modern scientists are increasingly seeing sexual variety as something to be valued, celebrated, and welcomed into society.
Oxford University Press; Read online
Title: Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why
Author: Simon LeVay
  • News
Can the biology of being gay combat bigotry? - New Scientist (blog)
Tue, 02 Nov 2010 10:48:21 -0700
New Scientist (blog)Can the biology of being gay combat bigotry?New Scientist (blog)Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why is the ...
Sexual orientation doesn't need to be cured - CNN
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 08:25:13 -0700
Sexual orientation doesn't need to be curedCNNApril Dawn Breeden, left, and longtime partner Crystal Peairs are married by ...
Science and the “Me Test” - OUPblog (blog)
Mon, 28 Jun 2010 05:30:05 -0700
OUPblog (blog)Science and the “Me Test”OUPblog (blog)Neuroscientist Simon LeVay has served on the faculties of Harvard Medical ...

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