BiolOgical Perspectives On Sexual Orientation

J. Michael Bailey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


One of the most frequently debated issues when it comes to sexual orientation is this: "Is homosexuality biological? Or is it freely chosen?" This chapter aims to account for the different views and responses in this debate. Researchers have made attempts to identify whether homosexuality is innate, already in human genes, or acquired, dependent on psychological influences. Another approach would be to make a comparison between essentialism, which supports the existence of specific people whom we can identify as homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual, and social constructionism, which argues for the existence of cultural variation in the occurrence of homosexual behavior. The neuroendocrine approach, broadly discussed in this chapter, states that there is commonality in the brain structure of gay males, heterosexual females, lesbians, and heterosexual males. This is considered as the most influential etiological theory tackling issues and concepts in sexual orientation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identities over the Lifespan
Subtitle of host publicationPsychological Perspectives
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199848577
ISBN (Print)9780195082319
StatePublished - Mar 22 2012


  • Biological perspectives
  • Brain structure
  • Essentialism
  • Homosexuality
  • Innate
  • Neuroendocrine
  • Social constructionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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