The science is still fuzzy, and the topic remains as controversial as ever, but according to Louann, our brains determine our sexual preferences from the moment they begin to develop. There’s no single part of the brain that spells out sexual orientation, she says, but by puberty, our brains are marinating in hormones that guide behavior, gradually revealing our true attractions and desires.
“Attraction unfolds at the normal developmental stage during puberty,” says Louann in this brief video clip. “It’s not some moral decision you make at a certain point. It unfolds naturally, and in the same kind of way between those interested in the opposite sex or same sex.”
What’s for certain, says Louann, is that we can tell when someone is sexually attracted by looking at the brain. In a recent Swedish study she cites, the brains of homosexual and heterosexual males were scanned after they smelled pheromones from other men and women. The pleasure centers of the brain lit up when gay men smelled male pheromones, and when straight men smelled female pheromones.
In our Webcast series Why Brain Science Matters, Louann describes the stages of sexualized behavior, including why and how it emerges the way it does, and provides an enlightening look at the role hormones play even in the infant brain.
Why Brain Science Matters:
Concrete Strategies for Your Practice
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