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Is Sexual Orientation Hardwired In Our Brain?

Louann Brizendine On How Sexual Preference Is Determined

When it comes to sexual orientation, many people are still asking the question of whether homosexuality is a choice that is made at some point in life, or if there is something hardwired in the brain that definitively determines a person’s sexual preference.

Rich Simon poses this question to Louann Brizendine—a neurobiologist who specializes in studying the differences between the male and female brain—during her session in our webcast series, Why Neuroscience Matters.

Louann says that while there are still studies being conducted, it is believed that everyone is born with either a gay or straight brain. She goes on to explain how the developmental stages that occur during puberty will naturally bring out a person’s innate sexual orientation. Watch the video below to hear her full response.

This is just one of the many areas of psychotherapy-related neuroscience that are examined in this series.

Want To Learn More About Brain Science And How It Relates To Your Practice?

Here’s a look at what’s covered in this 6-session series:

Dan Siegel on Interpersonal Neurobiology in the Consulting Room
Enhance your effectiveness by applying neurobiological principles to your work with clients.

Rick Hanson on How to Take in the Good: Overcoming the Brain’s Negativity Bias
Apply the insights of Positive Psychology and help clients reshape their brains.

Louann Brizendine on The Myth of the Unisex Brain
Increase your ability to attune to both male and female clients.

Michael Gelb on Brain Power: Improve Your Mind as You Age
Increase your sense of personal and clinical possibilities.

Norman Doidge on The Brain that Changes Itself: Neuroplasticity in Clinical Practice
Explore new and challenging perspectives on the brain as a flexible muscle.

Stephen Porges on Understanding Polyvagal Theory: Emotion, Attachment, and Self-Regulation
Enhance your ability to create safety and work with traumatized clients.


Join Us For This Profound Series and Learn Why and
How Neuroscience Matters to Therapy

Get course details here

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5 Responses to Is Sexual Orientation Hardwired In Our Brain?

  1. Matt Botwin, LCSW says:

    This may be least informative 3 minutes and 29 seconds of video ever assembled. Her answer is that the old studies were thrown out and the most innovative current studies conclude that straight men are attracted to women and gay men are attracted to other men. Wow. Really?

  2. Around 1980, Gunter Doerner in Germany did fascinating experiments with dogs and puppies regarding biologicly genetic male or female puppies and sexual behavior after birth. Knowing that placental cells may produce an amniotic bath in the uterus that is either androgen or estrogen biased, he injected androgen hormones into the uteri of some pregnant females and estrogens into the uteri of another group of pregnant dogs. He then followed the puppies from both sets of litters as they developed after birth. He found that genetic males which developed in an estrogenic amniotic bath showed feminine behaviors such a squatting to urinate and desiring to be mounted during mating. Conversely, genetic females raised in an androgenizing amniotic fluid bath exhibited male behaviors after birth. These genetically female puppies lifted their legs to urinate and preferred to mount rather than be mounted during mating.
    What happened to this research and what is the current scientific view of its validity?

  3. Theodore A Hoppe says:

    “The thinking currently is…” Who’s thinking?

  4. Betti Schleyer, Ph.D. says:

    A recent meta survey found that bisexuals are the largest group in the sexual minority population:

    This is despite that fact that the intense stigma against bisexuals:

    Herek, G.M. (2002). Heterosexuals’ attitudes toward bisexual men and women in the United States. Journal of Sex Research, 39 (4), 264-274.

    makes a lot of people who actually are sexually or romantically attracted to more than one gender identify as ABB (anything but bisexual). And then there are many people who are neither gay nor straight who find different labels besides bisexual more accurate.

    When videos such as the one above completely erase bisexuals, that is a microaggression, which contributes to negative health outcomes in bisexuals. This is no small thing, as was shown in the Bisexual Invisibility report:

    There are more sexual minorities than one. Please include the rest.

    I realize this was a short video, and bi and trans brains may be discussed later on, but the statement “it is believed that everyone is born with either a gay or straight brain” erases bisexuals, transgender people, intersex people, asexuals, demisexuals, etc, and is pretty offensive to other sexual minorities.

  5. Chris Lyte says:

    What about the twin studies? All identical twins would both be either be gay or straight according to this model, but gayness only seems to be as heritable as smoking according to the research.

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