Sexual Orientation, Sexual Arousal, and Finger Length Ratios in Women

Article


Holmes, L., Watts-Overall, T., Slettevold, E., Gruia, D. C., Raines, J. and Rieger, G. 2021. Sexual Orientation, Sexual Arousal, and Finger Length Ratios in Women. Archives of Sexual Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-021-02095-5
AuthorsHolmes, L., Watts-Overall, T., Slettevold, E., Gruia, D. C., Raines, J. and Rieger, G.
Abstract

In general, women show physiological sexual arousal to both sexes. However, compared with heterosexual women, homosexual women are more aroused to their preferred sex, a pattern typically found in men. We hypothesized that homosexual women’s male-typical arousal is due to their sex-atypical masculinization during prenatal development. We measured the sexual responses of 199 women (including 67 homosexual women) via their genital arousal and pupil dilation to female and male sexual stimuli. Our main marker of masculinization was the ratio of the index to ring finger, which we expected to be lower (a masculine pattern) in homosexual women due to increased levels of prenatal androgens. We further measured observer- and self-ratings of psychological masculinity–femininity as possible proxies of prenatal androgenization. Homosexual women responded more strongly to female stimuli than male stimuli and therefore had more male-typical sexual responses than heterosexual women. However, they did not have more male-typical digit ratios, even though this difference became stronger if analyses were restricted to white participants. Still, variation in women's digit ratios did not account for the link between their sexual orientation and their male-typical sexual responses. Furthermore, homosexual women reported and displayed more masculinity than heterosexual women, but their masculinity was not associated with their male-typical sexual arousal. Thus, women’s sexual and behavioral traits, and potential anatomical traits, are possibly masculinized at different stages of gestation.

JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
ISSN1573-2800
Year2021
PublisherSpringer
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Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-021-02095-5
Publication dates
Online23 Jul 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted25 Jun 2021
Deposited27 Jul 2021
FunderAmerican Institute of Bisexuality
University of Essex
Copyright holder© 2021 The Authors
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