Sexual Orientation


Sexual orientation describes what is erotically attractive to an individual and is usually consistent with sexual identity, which refers to an individual's labelling of self as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual; both are typically not consolidated until adolescence or later.

Keywords: sexual orientation; gender role behaviour; birth order; family and twin studies; linkage studies

Further Reading

American Psychiatric Association (2000) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM‐IV‐TR (Text Revision). Washington DC: American Psychiatric Press.

Bailey JM and Zucker KJ (1995) Childhood sex‐typed behavior and sexual orientation: A conceptual analysis and quantitative review. Developmental Psychology 31: 43–55.

Bailey JM, Dunne MP and Martin NG (2000) Genetic and environmental influences on sexual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 78: 524–536.

Blanchard R (1997) Birth order and sibling sex ratio in homosexual versus heterosexual males and females. Annual Review of Sex Research 8: 27–67.

Dawood K and Bailey JM (2000) The genetics of human sexual orientation. In: Rodgers JL, Rowe DCand Miller WB (eds) Genetic Influences on Human Fertility and Sexuality – Theoretical and Empirical Contributions from the Biological and Behavioral Sciences, 237–252. Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Hamer DH (1999) Genetics and male sexual orientation. Science 285: 803a.

Kendler KS, Thornton LM, Gilman SE and Kessler RC (2000) Sexual orientation in a US national sample of twin and nontwin sibling pairs. American Journal of Psychiatry 157: 1843–1846.

Laumann EO, Gagnon JH, Michael RT and Michaels S (1994) The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Macke JP, Hu N, Hu S et al. (1993) Sequence variation in the androgen receptor gene is not a common determinant of male sexual orientation. American Journal of Human Genetics 53: 844–852.

McFadden D and Pasanen EG (1998) Comparison of the auditory systems of heterosexuals and homosexuals: click‐evoked otoacoustic emissions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 95: 2709–2713.

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Sanders, Alan R, and Dawood, Khytam(Jul 2003) Sexual Orientation. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001480]