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#231625 - 06/18/08 01:41 PM Choices in sexual partners
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
Society's attitudes have little impact on choice of sexual partner
[PRESS RELEASE, 16 June 2008] A unique new study from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institute (KI) suggests that the attitude of families and the public have little impact on if adults decide to have sex with persons of the same or the opposite sex. Instead, hereditary factors and the individual's unique experiences have the strongest influence on our choice of sexual partners.

The study is the largest in the world so far and was performed in collaboration with the Queen Mary University of London. More than 7,600 Swedish twins (men and women) aged 20-47 years responded to a 2005 - 2006 survey of health, behaviour, and sexuality. Seven percent of the twins had ever had a same-sex sexual partner.

"The results show, that familial and public attitudes might be less important for our sexual behaviour than previously suggested", says Associate Professor Niklas Långström, one of the involved researchers. "Instead, genetic factors and the individual's unique biological and social environments play the biggest role. Studies like this are needed to improve our basic understanding of sexuality and to inform the public debate."

The conclusions apply equally well to why people only have sex with persons of the opposite sex as to why we have sex with same-sex partners. However, the conclusions are more difficult to transfer to countries where non-heterosexual behaviour remains prohibited.

Overall, the environment shared by twins (including familial and societal attitudes) explained 0-17% of the choice of sexual partner, genetic factors 18-39% and the unique environment 61-66%. The individual's unique environment includes, for example, circumstances during pregnancy and childbirth, physical and psychological trauma (e.g., accidents, violence, and disease), peer groups, and sexual experiences.

Publication: Niklas Långström, Qazi Rahman, Eva Carlström, Paul Lichtenstein, "Genetic and Environmental Effects on Same-sex Sexual Behaviour: A Population Study of Twins in Sweden", Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 7 June 2008, doi 10.1007/s10508-008-9386-1

For further information, please contact:

Associate Professor Niklas Långström
Centre for Violence Prevention
Phone: +46(0)8-517 70560
Mobile: +46(0)70-425 4133

Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#231637 - 06/18/08 03:11 PM Re: Choices in sexual partners [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
king tut Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 2488
Loc: UK
I didn't check it out, but it was in the newspaper and my friend said he also read about it in the new scientist, it has some claim about, well, i can't remember exactly, but about how they have done studies on homosexual people and heterosexual people and have apparently found that there is a pattern, something like homosexual people have both sides of the brain about the same size and heterosexual people have the right side of the brain bigger than the left, or the other way round i didn't pay much attention, and this was put in comparison such as females who fancy females will have a similar brain matter distribution as men who fancy females and men who fancy men will have a similar distribution as females who fancy men. Something like that anyway, i think lots of it is just bull, but i think it is in this weeks new scientist if anybody cares to find out exactly what the study said. These kind of studies are very limited and i think there is always some pressure to come to some headline grabbing story when under financial restraints and under pressure to prove your doing something. Biological factors, ok, can not really deny that, and yes scientists know lots about the brain, but really nothing about self, so really they have no place in trying to put a jigsaw together as if it was 2D when really it is more likely in te region of 27D (my favourite number lol).

I do find it annoying lots of the time, lets say your watching the news and then you will get a news bulletin, some guy will go on about some amazing new development in the arena of science, how something has just been discovered or some threat has just been realised, well half of the time they are simply digging into the archives or catching up to things that had been released months ago, just presenting it as something new, i guess you can't trust te news. (nothing to do with your story Ken just felt like making that general statement because the news seem to think they can get away with anything these days, it was only the other week they were caught out for showing pictures of the recent earthquake, which were actually pictures from an earthquake like 20 years ago. tut tut tut, people do get lazy)

#231826 - 06/19/08 02:09 PM Re: Choices in sexual partners [Re: king tut]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Two things I notice immediately are that the study includes only twins, which is of course not the social or emotional experience of most people, and that the study is based in Sweden, one of the most liberal countries in the world where sexuality is concerned. The second factor is acknowledged in the article but the first is not; in any case, I think it would be perilous to imagine that these results should be "typical" even of West European society, much Western society as a whole or humanity in general. It's point of reference would seen to be "Scandinavian twins" and not much more.

I have to say that what troubles me is the underlying moral (if that's the right word) need our society feels to explore this issue in the first place. It's as if, when faced with social intolerance and religious literalism, the basic human rights of one sector of society need science to come to their aid in order to sustain their case. The whole question of nature v. nurture is important, sure, but surely that debate can never weaken the rights that all of us have to our own sexual identity, whatever that identity may be.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)


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