The Biology of Homosexuality

ISBN : 9780199838820

Jacques Balthazart
208 Pages
162 x 238 mm
Pub date
Dec 2011
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In this fascinating book, Jacques Balthazart presents a simple description of the biological mechanisms that are involved in the determination of sexual orientation in animals and also presumably in humans. Using scientific studies published over the last few decades, he argues that sexual orientation, both homosexual and heterosexual, is under the control of embryonic endocrine and genetic phenomena in which there is little room for individual choice. The author begins with animal studies of the hormonal and neural mechanisms that control the so-called instinctive behaviors and analyzes how this animal work may potentially apply to humans. The book does not focus exclusively on homosexuality, however. Instead, the book acts as a broader guide to the biological basis of sexual orientation, and also discusses important gender differences that may influence sexual orientation. While firmly grounded in the scientific literature, this text is developed for a broader audience and will be of interest to psychologists, researchers, students, and anyone interested in the biological factors that determine our sexuality.


Introduction: Why this book?
1. Sexuality 101: The Basics
2. Sexuality and sexual orientation: learning or biology?
3. The hormonal control of sexual behavior
4. Biological determinism of sexual orientation in animals
5. Gender differences in humans
6. The effects of sex steroids in humans: organizing effects
7. The effects of sex steroids in humans: activating effects
8. Sex differences suggest that homosexuality is an endocrine phenomenon
9. Sexual orientation in clinical cases
10. A genetic or immunological mechanism underlying homosexuality
11. General Conclusions

About the author: 

Jacques Balthazart is Associate Professor of Neuroendocrinology in GIGA Neurosciences at University of Liege in Belgium. He is former President of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology and is co-editor of the Oxford series on Behavioral Neuroendocrinology.

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