Female sexual orientation and pubertal onset

Wendy N. Tenhula, Michael Bailey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Both sexual orientation and pubertal onset are sexually dimorphic. Biologic theories of sexual orientation emphasize the role of early androgens in sexual differentiation of partner preference. If homosexual individuals have been subject to atypical androgenizing influences, such influences may also affect other sexually dimorphic traits, such as pubertal timing. Based on this rationale as well as promising evidence from a prior twin study, we examined the onset of puberty in lesbians. We hypothesized that lesbians would have a later (i.e., more masculine) age of pubertal onset compared to heterosexual women. We investigated this hypothesis in a sample of community volunteers and a second sample of discordant twins. Contrary to our hypothesis, we found no significant differences in pubertal onset between homosexual and heterosexual women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-383
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental Neuropsychology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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