Gays and Older Brothers

A recent study on gays being more likely to have older brothers than straight men received a lot of attention.(1)  This find is hardly new, but for some reason it was all over the news.  More interestingly, the mainstream media, eager to publicize a presumably biological correlate of homosexuality, did not address some of the politically incorrect implications of this find.

So what are these politically incorrect implications?

  • Firstly, it has been shown that male homosexual/bisexual pedophiles are also more likely to have older brothers than male heterosexual pedophiles.  Therefore, it appears that some developmental events are common to male sexual interest in adult men and male sexual interest in pre-pubescent boys, i.e., unlike some who would insist that pedophilia and homosexuality are completely unrelated, the evidence speaks otherwise.
  • In general samples of rapists, men who are sexually aroused by violence(2, 3) as well as sex-offending men(4) are more likely to have older brothers than controls.
  • Men with mental retardation(5-7) and boys who wish to be girls(8) are also more likely than men with normal IQs and men comfortable with being male, respectively, to have older brothers. 
  • Men with older brothers manifest elevated fluctuating asymmetry, and the number of older sisters, younger sisters, and younger brothers is not related to fluctuating asymmetry.(9)  Fluctuating asymmetry is the random component of asymmetry, and its elevation implies disturbed development. 

In summary, it appears that the factors behind gays being more likely to have older brothers than straight men, termed the high fraternal birth order effect, a well-replicated find, are associated with abnormal development.  The question is whether these factors are psychosocial, biological or a combination of these variables?

The new study by Anthony Bogaert shows that the high fraternal birth order effect is shown for older biological brothers but not older adopted brothers, even if the older biological brothers are raised separately, and the find is unrelated to time spent with older brothers,(1) which adds to prior evidence that the relevant factors are of a biological nature related to prenatal development.  Since women with first-born children tend to be younger than women with multiple births, studies documenting the high fraternal birth order effect have generally shown an older maternal age when male homosexuals were born, but this is an artifact of women with multiple births being more likely to be older since in this new study the sampling resulted in the mothers of homosexual men being younger than the mothers of heterosexual men. 

Previously published evidence suggesting that the high fraternal birth order effect is accounted for by biological factors is summarized below.

  • In an examination of the effect of older siblings on the behavior of 3-year-old children, having an older brother was associated with more masculine and less feminine behavior in both boys and girls, whereas having an older sister was associated with more feminine but not less masculine behavior among boys, and less masculine but not more feminine behavior among girls.(10)
  • In a comparison between 686 homosexual men and 337 heterosexual men, no interaction between sex-typing (childhood sex-typical/sex-atypical behavior) and having older brothers was found.(11)
  • The high fraternal birth order effect on male homosexuality cannot be explained in terms of sexual interaction with older brothers.(12, 13)
  • In an examination of the middle-aged male siblings of homosexual and heterosexual men, never-married men were more likely to be the brothers of the homosexuals, and these men also had more older brothers, on average; i.e., a disproportionate number of the brothers of homosexual men were likely homosexual, too.(14)  Family membership and the high fraternal birth order effect represented separate influences on male homosexuality in this sample.(14)     
  • In two probability samples, high fraternal birth order increased the odds of same-sex attraction independent of sexual behavior, including early homosexual behaviors.(15)
  • In a sample of heterosexual and homosexual men closely matched on demographics, men most likely to be homosexual were individuals with more older brothers and shorter height. (16)
  • Boys with older brothers weigh less at birth than boys with older sisters.(17-19)  In a sample of 3,229 adults who weighed at least 2,500 gm at birth, male homosexuals with older brothers weighed 170 gm less at birth than male heterosexuals with older brothers.(17)  In a comparison of 250 feminine boys referred to a child psychiatry service for extremely feminine behavior and 739 control boys referred to the same service for reasons unrelated to homosexuality or sex-atypical behavior, the feminine boys with 2 or more older brothers weighed 385 gm less at birth than control boys with 2 or more older brothers.(18)  The reported differences are statistically significant.

Therefore, what are the biological factors behind the high fraternal birth order effect?  The best argument in this regard has been proposed by Blanchard and Klassen, namely that women become progressively immunized to antigens produced by male fetuses, and then launch an antibody response when they encounter subsequent male pregnancies, which disturbs the development of the male fetus, thereby increasing the likelihood of a nonheterosexual outcome (as well as other abnormal outcomes).(20, 21)  In his new paper, Bogaert noted that “A mother’s body may have a memory for male (but not female) fetuses because she herself is female, and thus, her immune system may interpret and remember male (but not female) fetuses as foreign.”(1)  This is incorrect.  Female fetuses are not clones of the women they are growing in and produce plenty of antigens that are alien to the mother’s body.     

Maternal immune response as the biological factor behind the high fraternal birth order effect has not been proven, and one problem with this notion is that a number of studies have correlated male homosexuality with high birth order in general.  In my book, whereas I did cite some studies showing both high birth order and high fraternal birth order as correlates of male homosexuality, I went along with the argument that what matters is older brothers, not older sisters since the older brother factor is well-replicated but only some studies have shown that older sisters are relevant also (e.g., a study by King et al. (2005) that was published after my book was released), but this conclusion may need to be revised.  It appears that male homosexuals tend to be later born, especially with respect to sons, but the fraternal birth order effect is more powerful, and a number of studies have not had enough of a sample size to show that older sisters are relevant, too.     

Therefore, one possible account of the biological factors leading to male homosexuals being later born, especially with respect to sons, is that childbirth being physically taxing for women, multiple births may wear down the bodies of women such that they offer a more hostile prenatal environment for subsequent fetuses, increasing the odds of developmentally disturbing the fetus, and this is especially true for male births since it is well-known that male pregnancies have worse health effects on women than female pregnancies.  If part of the greater risk associated with male fetuses is accounted for by the higher output of testosterone of the feto-placental unit, then the high fraternal birth order correlate of male homosexuality will tie in with other correlates of homosexuality, documented elsewhere, that non-intuitively suggest excess prenatal exposure of testosterone to be a correlate of male homosexuality.

It should be noted that the birth order effect for male homosexuals at best accounts for a fourth of male homosexual outcomes.(22)  Therefore, any criticism of this correlate in terms of the argument that there are plenty of gays who are first-born is unfounded.  Besides, it could very well be that gays who are first-born were preceded by one or more fetuses that miscarried or were aborted.  Another issue is that the male children born to a woman after she produces several boys, the youngest of whom is a homosexual, are not necessarily homosexual,(23) but then the factors involved increase the odds of a homosexual outcome rather than guarantee one.  Each male birth appears to increase the odds of a homosexual outcome in subsequent sons by about 38%.(15)  Therefore, if the probability of a first-born son being gay is 2%, then this probability for a second-born son is 2.76%, for a third-born son is 3.81%, for a fourth-born son is 5.26%, and so on.  In other words, most women that have given birth to multiple male children will not have any child that grows up gay.

It will be interesting to see how this line of research develops further.  


  1. Bogaert, A. F., From the Cover: Biological versus nonbiological older brothers and men's sexual orientation, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 103, 10771 (2006).
  2. Côté, K., Earls, C. M., and Lalumière, M. L., Birth order, birth interval, and deviant sexual preferences among sex offenders, Sex Abuse, 14, 67 (2002).
  3. Lalumière, M. L., Harris, G. T., Quinsey, V. L., and Rice, M. E., Sexual deviance and number of older brothers among sexual offenders, Sex Abuse, 10, 5 (1998).
  4. MacCulloch, S. I., Gray, N. S., Phillips, H. K., Taylor, J., and MacCulloch, M. J., Birth order in sex-offending and aggressive-offending men, Arch Sex Behav, 33, 467 (2004).
  5. Ackerman, P. T., Goolsby, C. M., and Paal, N. P., A test of the immunoreactive theory of selective male affliction, J Pediatr Psychol, 13, 49 (1988).
  6. Lord, C., Birth order effects on nonverbal IQ in families with multiple incidence of autism or pervasive developmental disorder, J Autism Dev Disord, 22, 663 (1992).
  7. Flannery, K. A., and Liederman, J., A test of the immunoreactive theory of the origin of neurodevelopmental disorders: Is there an antecedent brother effect?, Dev Neuropsychol, 10, 481 (1994).
  8. Zucker, K. J., Green, R., Coates, S., Zuger, B., Cohen-Kettenis, P. T., Zecca, G. M., Lertora, V., Money, J., Hahn-Burke, S., Bradley, S. J., and Blanchard, R., Sibling sex ratio of boys with gender identity disorder, J Child Psychol Psychiatry, 38, 543 (1997).
  9. Lalumiere, M. L., Harris, G. T., and Rice, M. E., Birth order and fluctuating asymmetry: a first look, Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 266, 2351 (1999).
  10. Rust, J., Golombok, S., Hines, M., Johnston, K., and Golding, J., The role of brothers and sisters in the gender development of preschool children, J Exp Child Psychol, 77, 292 (2000).
  11. Bogaert, A. F., Interaction of older brothers and sex-typing in the prediction of sexual orientation in men, Arch Sex Behav, 32, 129 (2003).
  12. Blanchard, R., Birth order and sibling sex ratio in homosexual versus heterosexual males and females., Ann Rev Sex Res, 8, 27 (1997).
  13. Dawood, K., Pillard, R. C., Horvath, C., Revelle, W., and Bailey, J. M., Familial aspects of male homosexuality, Arch Sex Behav, 29, 155 (2000).
  14. Blanchard, R., and Bogaert, A. F., Additive effects of older brothers and homosexual brothers in the prediction of marriage and cohabitation, Behav Genet, 27, 45 (1997).
  15. Bogaert, A. F., Number of older brothers and sexual orientation: new tests and the attraction/behavior distinction in two national probability samples, J Pers Soc Psychol, 84, 644 (2003).
  16. Bogaert, A. F., The interaction of fraternal birth order and body size in male sexual orientation, Behav Neurosci, 117, 381 (2003).
  17. Blanchard, R., and Ellis, L., Birth weight, sexual orientation and the sex of preceding siblings, J Biosoc Sci, 33, 451 (2001).
  18. Blanchard, R., Zucker, K. J., Cavacas, A., Allin, S., Bradley, S. J., and Schachter, D. C., Fraternal birth order and birth weight in probably prehomosexual feminine boys, Horm Behav, 41, 321 (2002).
  19. Cote, K., Blanchard, R., and Lalumiere, M. L., The influence of birth order on birth weight: does the sex of preceding siblings matter?, J Biosoc Sci, 35, 455 (2003).
  20. Blanchard, R., Quantitative and theoretical analyses of the relation between older brothers and homosexuality in men, J Theor Biol, 230, 173 (2004).
  21. Blanchard, R., and Klassen, P., H-Y antigen and homosexuality in men, J Theor Biol, 185, 373 (1997).
  22. Blanchard, R., and Bogaert, A. F., Proportion of homosexual men who owe their sexual orientation to fraternal birth order: An estimate based on two national probability samples, Am J Hum Biol, 16, 151 (2004).
  23. Green, R., Birth order and ratio of brothers to sisters in transsexuals, Psychol Med, 30, 789 (2000).

Posted by Admin on Saturday, July 15, 2006 in Biological correlates
(23) CommentsNotify othersPermalink


It will be fairly uninteresting to see how this research develops further, because it’s ultimate fate should be fairly obvious. Bogaert’s maternal immune theory is just one more of the far-fetched pieces of speculation that clutter the field of sexual orientation research, and we won’t be hearing much about it five or ten years from now.

Posted by Raot on November 17, 2006 at 07:20 PM | #

Raot: The maternal immune response hypothesis was originally proposed by Blanchard and Klassen, not Bogaert, and it is not mere speculation.  Regardless of whether it is correct, the fraternal birth order effect needs to be explained and you will be hearing interesting news about it in the future.

Posted by Erik on November 18, 2006 at 04:57 PM | #

The maternal immune response hypothesis is more tripe from people who think that gays are born that way, a theory which is absurd, for reasons which have already been pointed out by others and which I wouldn’t disdain to repeat.

Posted by Raot on November 18, 2006 at 06:29 PM | #

Oh dear, it seems to be a big typing error day for me. I mean, I would disdain to repeat the reasons.

Posted by Raot on November 18, 2006 at 06:30 PM | #

Raot: As per the cited evidence, the fraternal birth order effect is not explicable in terms of psychosocial factors.  The answer doesn’t have to be the immune response, but it will be biological nevertheless.  You may be interested in upcoming research evidence documenting a higher prevalence of atopy among homosexuals and their heterosexual relatives.  Atopy refers to a variety of autonomic nervous system/immunologic abnormalities manifesting in asthma, eczema and a variety of allergies.  The author documenting this find will be proposing an alternative explanation of the fraternal birth order effect.

Posted by Erik on November 19, 2006 at 02:42 PM | #

ilove mi dady

Posted by sami_sam on January 10, 2007 at 10:01 AM | #

This has got to be the most ridiculous randomization of facts I have ever seen.  You can always show evidence in your favor if you pull enough peices from here, and there, and over there to make your case.  If you feel so strongly about this, why in the world has NONE of this evidence ever been considered in mainstream science, JAMA, etc… How long did it take for you to pull all that information together anyway?

Posted by Robert Williamson on March 07, 2007 at 09:24 PM | #

Robert: How would a randomization of facts lend itself to a coherent argument?  What do you mean “why in the world has NONE of this evidence ever been considered in mainstream science, JAMA, etc.”?  Did you not note the citations?  All 23 of them are from peer-reviewed science journals.

Posted by Erik on May 09, 2007 at 12:19 PM | #

“ dont state a continual summary consistent with all your studies, you merely state the conclusions from individual studies as facts throughout.”

What is this?  The salient finds are mentioned because they are relevant to understanding the birth order phenomenon.  Anyway, go to Pubmed and look up the full names of the journals.

Posted by Erik on May 11, 2007 at 12:00 AM | #

Your wrong, what your doing is taking a point from this study, a point from that study, and a point from another study and “gluing” them together for validation.  Your not taking the context as a whole, but as a part. 

I can make an argument that all white american males are naturally smarter than any other males and all females; however when I take a singular point from multiple studies to validate my argument I’m not taking the context as a whole in the referenced material.  All this causes is the ability for my findings to be refuted for inconsistent and faliable research methods.

Read your conclusion of the article above:  I am the eldest son, my mother reports no miscarriages or other aborted pregnancies that she is aware of.  I am gay.  I have 2 younger brothers, they are both heterosexual.  There are no male children.  I was born at a much smaller birth weight than my younger brothers. 

I find the facts of your report to be completly opposite to my situation.

Also, my partner has all male siblings.  He is next to the youngest. 

In regards to both myself and my partner both being from all male siblings, I find this is an interesting argument against your statement of “In other words, most women that have given birth to multiple male children will not have any child that grows up gay.”

Also, I find it interesting that you immediately try to knock out any argument about there being plenty of first born males with the thought that there must be some previous prgnancy that did not develope a child.  In essence making the assumption (without information) that the only reason your gay and the eldest is because your mother had a prior male pregnancy that was either miscarried or aborted.  I find this “assumption” to be ludicrous!

Posted by Robert Williamson on May 11, 2007 at 03:18 PM | #

These implications are interesting; however, they are no excuse for treating homosexuals as a group in a negative light, any more than higher IQs for Ashkenazi Jews are an excuse for negative treatment of non-Jews.

I myself buck each one of these trends. I’m the oldest child of five, experience no paedophilic tendencies, abhor violence, am perfectly happy with my masculinity, have an extremely high IQ ("very superior” in most sub-scales, as measured on the WAIS-III UK) and am pretty symmetrical, if I do say so myself. My partner is similar in each of these regards. Finally, most of the other gay people I know have not evidenced many of the traits you list, so I am forced to conclude that they remain quite uncommon in the majority of the gay population.

So, you see, it would be unfair and entirely incorrect to attempt to draw a single conclusion about any gay person based solely on this data. Of course, these are aggregate statistics, and only indicate slight trends in a population as opposed to necessary characteristics of each individual; but I am still left to wonder: what do you hope I will take away from them? What would you like me to learn from this data?

I ask this with an attitude of open, honest curiosity.

Posted by Jordan on June 09, 2007 at 04:34 PM | #

>>Therefore, it appears that some developmental events are common to male sexual interest in adult men and male sexual interest in pre-pubescent boys, i.e., unlike some who would insist that pedophilia and homosexuality are completely unrelated, the evidence speaks otherwise<<

The “unrelatedness” between teleiophilic homosexuality and pedophilia defended by gay activists and many scientists in the field of sexuality (among whom Ray Blanchard, one of the leading researchers on pedophilia, homosexuality and their etyology) implies that normal homosexuality doesn’t overlap more with pedophilia than normal heterosexuality; it says nothing about etyological factors. For example, the fact that, according to Blanchard, pedophiles (both homosexual and heterosexual) and ordinary heterosexuals reach puberty AFTER ordinary homosexuals suggests that there are common etyological factors in the development of teleiophilic heterosexuality and both homo- and heterosexual pedophilia, but not that there’s overlapping between one and the others.

The same way left-handedness correlates somewhat with both intellectual giftedness and sexual deviancy in general doesn’t mean that intellectual giftedness and sexual deviancy are correlated as well.

Posted by Clovis on November 09, 2007 at 06:22 PM | #

"Therefore, it appears that some developmental events are common to male sexual interest in adult men and male sexual interest in pre-pubescent boys, i.e., unlike some who would insist that pedophilia and homosexuality are completely unrelated, the evidence speaks otherwise”

I commented on this quote more than one month ago, and here I am again.

This quote by Holland just shows that knowledge doesn’t replace reasoning skills. After reading Holland’s comments on some serious scientific researches and studies, I got the impression that he is either not very intelligent, or he purposefully distorts (and thus weakens) the proper reading of the studies in order to malign gay people.

Let’s analyze his point:

Having older brothers (A) is positively correlated with having a homosexual orientation to adults(B). And having older brothers (A) is also positively correlated with having a homosexual orientation to children(C). Therefore, having a homosexual orientation to adults correlates with a homosexual orientation to children.

Thus, Holland implies that, because A is linked to B, and A is also linked to C, B is also linked to C.

Very flawed syllogism.

Let’s see: being a male correlates with holding more secular views. And holding secular views correlates with holding liberal views. However, being male doesn’t correlate with holding liberal stances. Thus, the fact that A correlated with B and C doesn’t prove B and C also correlated.

Also, as Holland himself has noted, at least one study has shown that having more older brothers is correlated with a broad range of sexual orientation that deviates from the statistical norm (i.e. preference for heterosexual consensual activities with adult women and pubertal girls).

Thus, it’s been demonstrated, at least once, that rapists who prey on adult women have more older brothers than ordinary heterosexual men. As the speculation goes, when a woman is pregnant of a male fetus, her immunological system reacts to the hormones that act specifically on the male fetus. Such a process predisposes male fetuses the woman might be later pregnant of from receiving the standard intensity of the hormonal masculinization process. This hormonal masculinization apparently has a great impact on some aspects of personality, including sexual orientation. However, the range of sexual orientations influenced by this prenatal process is very large, and includes groups that are mutually exclusive:

The following groups, among others, have been shown to have more older brothers than males of the general population:

- Male homosexuals;
- Male-to-female transexuals;
- Rapists against physically mature women.

What now? Is being a homosexual correlated with raping women?! Is being a biologically male transexual (who is considered to be the most feminine biological male) correlated with raping women (under some models, rapists are considered hypermasculine males)?!

I believe not even Holland would suggest so.

Because of that, if Holland wants to imply that homoerotic feelings to adults are correlated with homoerotic feelings to children, he must do more than showing that both of these feelings might share some etiological similarities, since mutually exclusive feelings (homosexual attraction to adults and preference for coercive sex with women) also share some etiological similarities.

But obviously being sexually attracted to adult men correlates with being sexually attracted to boy children, for the same reason being sexually attracted to adult women correlates with being sexually attracted to girl children. Phallometric studies have shown that even normal heterosexual men display some response to sexual stimuli depicting female children, and that 20%-30% of samples of normal heterosexual men are equally or more arouse by depiction of underage females compared to adult females. Thus, I would not be surprise if it was shown that there’s a similar pattern amongst homosexual men when analyzing their responses to male stimuli.

However, the truth remains that pedophilic interests, as far as has been proven, are no more elevated in homosexual men than in heterosexual men, as has been shown by Kurt Freund.

And more importanly, evidence derived from samples of offenders against male children also argue AGAINST Holland’s belief that homosexual attraction to children correlates with homosexual attraction to adults.

In “SEXUAL OFFENDERS AGAINST MALE CHILDREN: SEXUAL PREFERENCES”, of the 21 offenders against boys, 14 (66%) were shown to be clearly more attracted to sexual depictions of adult females than to that of adult males.

In “The Discriminative Validity of a Phallometric Test for Pedophilic Interests Among Adolescent Sex Offenders Against Children”, a study Holland knows and quotes, the 14 adolescent molesters who preyed on male children only were on average more responsive to depictions of adult females than to adult males. Eight of those teenage boys were gynephiles (i.e., they have a preference for adult females), and only one was an androphile (i.e., he had a preference for adult males). The 31 young adult offenders afainst boy children also reacted, on average, more to adult females than to adult males. Only 10 of such boy molesters were teleiophiles, 9 of them were gynephiles. Again, only one was an androphile. Those young adult offenders against children were also, on average, more aroused by depictions of any sex-age category stimuli than to adult male stimuli.

And in “Differential Sexual Responding Among Four Groups of Sexual Offenders Against Children”, the twelve homosexual pedophiles analyzed were, on average, depending on the kind of stimulus used (visual or audiotaped) 2.4 to 4 times more attracted to sexual stimuli depicting underage males than to those depicting adult males. On average, their sexual arousal by images of adult men didn’t even reach the moderate range (20% of full erection).

Thus the evidence, at least the evidence I know of, does suggest that homosexual teleiophiles and homosexual pedophiles are quite different in their preferences for males, in contrast to what Holland suggests using comparison of etiological factors.

Posted by Clovis on December 30, 2007 at 05:24 PM | #

I wasn’t able to work on the site for quite some time, but have begun catching up to previous comments.  So here are some replies.

Robert Williamson: You shouldn’t be bothering with this site.  Don’t accuse me of not taking the context into account.  I didn’t state a rule that all homosexual men are born later with respect to sons.  The find is that there is a tendency among homosexual men to be later born, especially with respect to sons, compared to heterosexual men.  This means that there will be plenty of homosexual men with no older brothers or no older siblings, just as there will be plenty of heterosexual men with many older brothers, but the group difference in tendency stands. 

Jordan: The evidence cited in the article is one of several correlates of homosexuality linking it to anomalous/abnormal developmental factors.  The typical such correlate is characteristic of a minority of homosexual men, not by itself of much use to understanding homosexuality, and certainly having no implications for drawing inferences about a gay individual picked at random, but put together many such correlates and the picture becomes clearer.  Based on my readings, I have come to the conclusion that homosexual/bisexual outcomes result from prenatal developmental disturbances.  Such disturbances introduce an element of randomness into a developing organism, increasing the likelihood of multiple anomalous outcomes due to the randomness.  The genetic background of individuals experiencing prenatal developmental disturbances will protect them from or increase susceptibility to developing various specific anomalous outcomes.  Therefore, if there is a condition that is suspected to result from prenatal developmental disturbances, then the point is to ask whether this condition is accompanied by a higher incidence of a wide variety of anomalies, especially those known to result from developmental disturbances, rather that dismiss the higher incidence of a specific anomaly associated with the condition because it does not characterize the majority of individuals with the condition.  This is the point I want you to get.

Clovis: The issue of an overlap isn’t completely divorced from having etiologic factors in common.  Regarding your point about a correlation between left-handedness and intellectual giftedness and also sexual deviancy, you forgot to add that it is also correlated with sub-normal IQ/mental retardation.  Of course, whereas one shouldn’t assume from these correlations that there is any statistical correlation between intelligence and sexual deviancy, one should certainly investigate whether there is one, and it turns out that there is an association between sexual deviancy and sub-normal IQ/mental retardation.  When one comes across such a correlation, it is natural to ask whether one variable increases the likelihood of the other or whether a third variable increases the likelihood of both variables.  Prenatal developmental disturbances are associated with an increased likelihood of left-handedness, as well as reduced IQ and deviant sexual interests.  So there is a plausible link in the form of shared etiologic factors.  Deviant sexual interests are also more common among people with high socioeconomic status and thereby people who are more intelligent, and there is a plausible explanation for this association.  Deviant sexual interests are more common in men, and excess androgen-induced developmental disturbances are suspected in their genesis.  Men with higher testosterone levels tend to be more dominant and disproportionately end up acquiring higher status.  These men will pass on their genetics of higher androgen levels to their offspring.  So it is not difficult to see why there can be an association between higher socioeconomic status and a greater likelihood of paraphilic interests.

When it comes to a statistical correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia and whether there are common etiologic factors, I am not just relying on a simple correlation here and there.  You can read the section, much improved since you first commented, on homosexuality and pedophilia, and observe that my argument is based on multiple lines of evidence.

The puberty find is not useful since evidence from representative samples have not confirmed earlier puberty among homosexual men attracted to adult men compared to male heterosexuals attracted to adult women.

Next I will comment on your allegation of poor reasoning skills and purposefully distorting studies to malign homosexuals on my part.

You make a case for a flawed syllogism on my part, whereas I have made no such argument.  Consider the following syllogism:

All dogs are cats.  A Doberman is a dog.  Therefore a Doberman is a cat.

This syllogism is logically correct, but factually wrong.  The argument that I am making simply cannot be made by syllogisms, and I am not using them.  Again, read the page on homosexuality and pedophilia and note the multiple lines of evidence.  When you have multiple correlations and they all lead to the same conclusions, then you cannot dismiss the argument like you have.

Regarding the association of fraternal birth order with various deviant erotic orientations, one should investigate what is the nature of the association, and whether homosexuality is a deviant/abnormal orientation, too, notwithstanding what gay activists and many professional organizations say.  I have examined these topics and come to the conclusion of a common underlying variable, namely prenatal developmental disturbances behind homosexuality and various other abnormal erotic orientations.  I have only presented part of my arguments online; most of them are in a book.  Don’t criticize my arguments unless you read it all.

You mentioned “mutually exclusive feelings” such as “homosexual attraction to adults and preference for coercive sex with women.” Haven’t your heard of bisexuals?  And again, my argument is not a syllogism.

Regarding phallometric studies, they have poor specificity and sensitivity as well as unimpressive test-retest reliability, and circumferential penile plethysmography is of questionable validity.  The utility of volumetric penile plethysmography lies in distinguishing groups, not individuals, with respect to sexual orientation.  Thus, what proportion of heterosexual men or homosexual men respond to stimuli depicting underage individuals isn’t of much relevance if you consider the limitations of penile plethysmography, but what matters is how these proportions compare to each other.  When Freund analyzed child molesters, he found that a much greater proportion of men who had molested boys qualified as pedophiles compared to the proportion of men who had molested girls, and this came on top of the much greater proportion of homosexuals in the sex offending group compared to the general population.  Freund performed two adjustments on the data, that I critiqued, and still ended up with a statistical association between same-sex attraction and pedophilia, but you have ignored my criticism and pointed out that Freund has shown no relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia (which could be true if you adopt definitions of homosexuality that automatically make it impossible for homosexuals to be pedophiles).

You said that some of the studies on phallometric studies that I cited actually argue against my argument.  Firstly, penile plethysmography is a poor diagnostic tool.  Secondly, consider the distribution of same- and opposite-sex attraction.  Most self-identified homosexuals have either experienced opposite-sex attraction or heterosexual sex at some point of their lives.  Lifetime-exclusive homosexuals are rare.  The vast majority of people with same-sex attraction or homosexual behavior are predominantly heterosexual in adulthood.  So finding that lots of male child molesters of boys are attracted toward women or even have majority attraction toward women shouldn’t be surprising.  Given the rarity of lifetime-exclusive homosexuals, what are the odds of coming across many such individuals who happen to be sexually interested in both adults and children, keeping in mind that they will not volunteer for research and end up as a research statistic after being arrested for child molestation or possession of child pornography?  You also fail to place the discussion in the context of the larger issue, a tendency for anomalous/abnormal sexual interests to cluster, which is seen among child molesters.  The unarguable fact is that there is a clear and strong correlation between same-sex attraction and sexual interest in children.  There is also plenty of evidence that either factors increasing the likelihood of same-sex attraction increase the likelihood of sexual interest in children or vice versa.

Posted by Erik on January 05, 2008 at 11:48 PM | #

Holland, I know there’s a high rate of comorbidity when it comes to psychological/behavioral statistical abnormalities, whether or not they have a sexual character, but that is not true all of the time. For example, primary psychopaths, who are much more likely to be diagnosed as antisocial or narcissistic personalities than non-psychopathic criminals and non-criminals, are no more likely to be diagnosed as depressive than individuals from the general population.

Since we are discussing the link between different types of sexuality, let me use an example from the paraphilic population: heterosexual rapists against adult women. According to phallometric data, compared to “normal” heterosexual men, rapists, on average, respond more to some kinds of deviant stimuli, such as those depicting coercive or even sadistic sexual interactions with females. However, rapists, again compared to normal heterosexuals, respond no more to pedophilic stimuli.

Many studies (usually conducted altogether with phallometric assessments) of normal heterosexual volunteers indicate that a not very small minority of them have significant pedophilic interests, that is, some, but not the majority, of non-criminal male heterosexuals report indulging pedophilic fantasies and/or respond equally or more to prepubertal female stimulus than to adult female stimulus. For example, in “Sexual Arousal and Arousability to Pedophilic Stimuli in a Community Sample of Normal Men”, 32.5% of the 80 men analyzed were phallometrically diagnosed as pedophilic. The authors referenced to a number of studies which came to similar results, that is, that a signifcant minority (usually 15-30%) of random samples of heterosexual men are shown to have a high degree of pedophilic arousability.

In “Assessment of the Sensitivity and Speficity of a Phallometric Test: An Update of Phallometric Diagnosis of Pedophilia”, Freund compared samples of men who molested underage females, underage males, or both, to two control samples: “normal”, presumably non-criminal, heterosexual men, and rapists against adult women. Wrote Freund in the introduction:

The specificity and sensitivity of the phallometric test of an erotic preference for minors was assessed. The specificity was determined to be 96.9% if using a group of sex offenders against female adults and 80.6% if using a group of paid volunteers.

That is, 19.4% of normal heterosexuals would be diagnosed as pedophilic (which is consistent with other results obtained from this population via phallometric tests), compared to only 3.1% of rapists. “A Brief Screening Scale to Identify Pedophilic Interests Among Child Molesters” also compared different samples of child molesters to control groups - volunteer non-criminal men and heterosexual rapists - and showed there were no differences between the two control samples in their reaction to child stimuli. The same was found in “The Discriminative Validity of a Phallometric Test for Pedophilic Interests Among Adolescent Sex Offenders Against Children.” In “The Sexual Prefences of Incest Offenders”, the two control samples—one made up by non-criminal heterosexuals, the other by rapists against adult women—were compared to child molester samples. “Normal” heterosexuals were twice more likely to be phallometrically diagnosed as pedophilic than rapists, although both groups had very small proportions of “pedophiles” (less than 10%).

Certainly, the lack of distinction in responsiveness between those groups - one a “normal” group, the other a paraphilic group - to one kind of deviant stimulus cannot be blamed on the unreliability of phallometric assessments, since such tests show consistent and great differences when comparing heterosexuals and homosexuals, rapists and non-rapists, child molesters and non-child molesters, etc. Also, Phallometric diagnosis of deviant interests appear to have a practical utility, in that results indicating a deviant preference correlate with recidivism in child molesters (See: “Prediction of Recidivism in Exhibitionists: Psychological, Phallometric, and Offense Factors”, and “Discriminant and Predictive Validity of Phallometrically Measured Sexual Age and Gender Preference"). According to Michael Seto, in “A Brief Screening Scale to Identify Pedophilic Interests Among Child Molesters”:

Studies consistently find that groups of child molesters can be distinguished from groups of nonchild molesters by their relatively greater responses to children (e.g., Freund & Watson, 1991; Marshall, Barbaree, & Christophe, 1986; Quinsey, Steinman, Bergersen, & Holmes, 1975; Seto, Lalumi`ere, & Kuban, 1999). A recent meta-analysis of sex offender followup studies concluded that relative sexual interest in children was the single best predictor of sexual recidivism (Hanson & Bussi`ere, 1998).

The Screening Scale for Pedophilic Interests, created by M. Seto, which was constructed based on the phallometric responses of a very large sample of child molesters to pedophilic and teleiophilic stimuli, also has some reliability in predicting recidivism. Certainly, phallometric assessments are not perfect, since subjects can and, sometimes, do control, exaggerate, or supress their sexual arousal (an ability you seemed to deny on another thread), but no psychological assessment test is perfect either. Objective and subjective personality tests, such as the MMPI, the MCMI, and the Rorschach, are all subjected to faking by testees, specially when they might have some motivation to consciously skew their results (for example, when a testee sample is made up of clinical or criminal populations).

You can reference to studies which question the reliability of phallometric assessments, just as I can mention others that contradict your contention ("On the validity and reliability of the phalloplethysmographic diagnosis of some sexual deviations"). I can quote studies that show gay men are psychologically and behaviorally much more effeminate than heterosexual men ("Sexual orientation and cognitive abilities”, Tuttle and Pillard, 1991), but one can do the same with studies showing the opposite ("Sex, sexual orientation, and cognition”, Halpern and Crothers, 1997). Some studies show gay men to be less like men and more like women in being more empathetic and cognitively emotion-focused and less cognitively systematic, while in others they turn out to be even more masculine than heterosexual men in being more systematic and less emotional ("Empathizing and systemizing: What are they, and what do they contribute to our understanding of psychological sex differences?"). There are studies and researches arguing for or against every kind of perspective in a very large number of subjects. It is very naïve from you to think that the finding that gay men usually experience the onset of puberty earlier can be dismissed by citing only one study, since many other have corroborated that thesis. Blanchard quoted twelve studies which found gay men reported having experienced first orgasm or ejaculation, masturbation, age at onset of sexual feelings, fantasies, and arousal, age at voice change, onset of adolescence estimated from multiple physical developments, and beginning of puberty according to their own interpretation, earlier than straight men.

What I meant to do when I brought the comparison of the reactions of rapists and non-rapists to pedophilic stimulus was to simply put some perspective into the argument that abnormalities usually cluster. While, on average, rapists have a greater preference for some kind of statistically abnormal interactions and deviant stimuli (e.g. those involving violent sexual encounters with females) than non-rapists, that doesn’t mean they react more to other kinds of deviant stimuli as well (on average, rapists and non-rapists don’t differ in their reactions to female child stimulus). Likewise, just because gay men have a preference that, compared to that of the majority of males, is statistically abnormal (a preference for other adult males), that doesn’t mean they are more likely to develop other abnormal interests, such as pedophilic attraction. As I commented previously, in more than one study Freund compared normal homosexuals’ and heterosexuals’ (androphiles and gynephiles) responses to underage stimuli, and he always came to the conclusion that the two groups are indistinguishable.

I should note, however, that, even though you question the validity of phallometric devices, you nonetheless mention uncritically Freund’s discovery that there’s a higher percentage of true pedophiles amongst sexual offenders against male children than those against female children, as proof positive that there’s a correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia—however, Freund came to that conclusion by comparing phallometric test results of those two kinds of offenders. You question the validity of the penile plethysmograph only when it is convenient to do so, but then uncritically cites a study based on phallometric devices when it is possible to spin its results to support your broader argument. Interesting.

Holland wrote: “The utility of volumetric penile plethysmography lies in distinguishing groups, not individuals, with respect to sexual orientation”

That is obvious. Much of research involving sexual offenders and controls focuses efforts in finding characteristics that predict deviant interest.

Holland wrote: “Thus, what proportion of heterosexual men or homosexual men respond to stimuli depicting underage individuals isn’t of much relevance if you consider the limitations of penile plethysmography, but what matters is how these proportions compare to each other”

It is relevant, because, if non-criminal androphiles and gynephiles are shown to react about equally to underage stimuli, than it can be argued, based on the test results, that one group isn’t more likely to offend against children than the other. As I’ve argued before, the PPG can very well distinguish the child molesting population from the non-child molesting.

Holland wrote: “When Freund analyzed child molesters, he found that a much greater proportion of men who had molested boys qualified as pedophiles compared to the proportion of men who had molested girls, and this came on top of the much greater proportion of homosexuals in the sex offending group compared to the general population”

Let’s again put some perspective into the above distortion. There’s an interesting article on Freund’s career and scientific views, written ten years after his death ( Let me quote a bit of it:

I would be remiss if I did not exploit this opportunity to publicly correct oft-misquoted research on which I collaborated with Dr. Freund. In 1989, we (along with Doug Rienzo) published “Heterosexuality, Homosexuality, and Erotic Age Preference” (The Journal of Sex Research, 26, 107-117) and, in 1992, we published “The Proportions of Heterosexual and Homosexual Pedophiles Among Sex Offenders Against Children” (Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 18, 34-43). These articles have frequently been cited by fundamentalist lobbyists as proof-positive that homosexuals are more inclined to molest children. This was not a finding of our research, period. What we found was that, among men with a sexual preference for children, there was an over-representation of men with a same-sex preference. To reiterate, among men with a sexual preference for children, as diagnosed using Dr. Freund’s phallometric test, there was a higher relative incidence of homosexuality. In all other research we conducted, we never found that androphilic (i.e., a preference for male adults) men had any greater relative erotic interest in children than did their gynephilic (i.e., a preference for female adults) peers. Dr. Freund was and would continue to be greatly distressed that any of his research would contribute to the persecution of any group of people.

That is to say, (1) the proportion of men who prefer boys among child molesters is greater than the proportion of men who prefer men among the general population, which isn’t to say (2) that men who prefer men are more likely to molest children. The difference between assertions (1) and (2) is so obvious, it would take an illiterate not to understand the distinction. Freund himself repeatedly raised this distinction. He wrote in “Heterosexuality, homosexuality, and the erotic age preference”:

These studies show that only rarely are sex offenders against male children diagnosed as androphiles and that phallometric diagnosis of gynophilic and androphilic volunteers almost always corresponds to their claimed erotic preference.

Likewise, in “The proportions of heterosexual and homosexual pedophiles among sex offenders against children”, even though Freund repeated his previous finding that, on average, men who molest boys are much more pedophilic than men who molest girls, in the introduction to the article he warned that this finding should not be distorted to mean that androphiles are more likely to molest children than gynephiles.

That’s because androphiles and homosexual pedophiles are distinct groups. Just because the latter molest children, it doesn’t mean the former do too (again, I believe it would take an illiterate not to understand that). The sexual preferences of both homosexual groups are very much distinct, as Freund found.

Below, you can see the graphics of the standardized sexual responses of, respectively, androphiles and homosexual pedophiles to stimuli depicting, respectively, adult women, teenage girls, prepubertal girls, very young girls, very young boys, prepubertal boys, teenage boys and adult men (acquired from “Heterosexual Interest in Homosexual Males, by Freund):

What both groups have in common is a weak response to females of any age, and a moderately high response to teenage males. However, the androphilic subjects responded little to prepubertal or very young boys stimuli, and homosexual pedophiles responded little to adult male stimuli.

Preference for sexual interactions with children aren’t usually followed by androphilic interest, as the above figure shows, and as do the following, extracted from “The Discriminative Validity of a Phallometric Test for Pedophilic Interests Among Adolescent Sex Offenders Against Children”, “Pedophiles: Mental Retardation, Maternal Age, and Sexual Orientation”, and “IDENTIFYING SEXUAL PREFERENCES IN INTRAFAMILIAL AND EXTRAFAMILIAL CHILD SEXUAL ABUSERS”:

Just an adendum: I do not distort the definition of the word ‘homosexual’ for it to mean only persons who are attracted to adults of the same sex. If a man or a woman is attracted exclusively, or primarily, to children of the same sex, the label homosexual still fits his/her sexual orientation. When I say homosexuals are not more likely to abuse children, what I mean to say, as do Freund, Blanchard, Ron Langevin, etc., is that androphilic subjects are not more likely to molest children than their gynephilic counterparts.

Even though, in your pedophilia article and your blog posts, you accuse “homosexual apologists” (what an impartial language you adopt, heh?) of altering the meaning of the word homosexual in order to make impossible for a child molester to be labeled homosexual, it’s you who’s playing with semantics in order to conflate different entities.

You say: Self-identifying homosexuals make up 2-3.5% of the adult population; but they comprise 20-40% of all child molesters. Therefore, homosexuals are much more likely to molest children. And then you come to cite figures obtained from, for example, Freund, Blanchard, etc. I’ve already explained why this reasoning is incorrect. These 2-5% of the adult population which prefer the same-sex adults have very different sexual preferences from those 20-40% of child molesters who molest same-sex children (again, take a look at the above figures). Therefore, there’s no space to argue these 2-5% are more inclined to abuse children than the 95-98% of the adult population, at least based on the figures you cite. You take advantage of the fact that diferent orientations are labeled homosexual in order to imply the opposite of what argued, for example, Kurt Freund, Raymond Blanchard, and many others.

Holland wrote: “Most self-identified homosexuals have either experienced opposite-sex attraction or heterosexual sex at some point of their lives”

The fact that many, or even most, male homosexuals, as adults, engaged in heterosexual intercourse might be merely an artifact of their attempt to fit the heterosexual model, not a manifestation of sexual attraction per se. The same might be said of heterosexual fantasy. And opposite-sex attraction in homosexuals, as well as same-sex attraction in heterosexuals, are temporary, not long-term attraction and interests. The fact remains that, according to phallometric tests, at least those performed by Kurt Freund, gay men’s reactions to adult male stimulus are much higher than their reaction to adult female stimulus. In his two studies comparing gender differentiation between teleiophiles and pedophiles, the difference in z-scores of androphile’s responses to adult male and female stimuli varied from 1.77 to 2.01, which is close to gynephilic rapists’ and gynephilic volunteers’ difference in response between adult female and adult male stimuli, which varied, respectively, from 1.92 to 2.17 and 1.97 to 2.31. Your assertion that heterosexual interest in male homosexuals is elevated is not supported by phallometric data from either exclusive homosexuals or bisexuals. Teleiophilic bisexuals, again according to phallometric data, do not differ from exclusive homosexuals in their preference for adult males over adult females.

And is your assertion that gay men are predominantly heterosexual in their adult sex lives a general finding of sex researches, or are you again cherry-pucking studies that fit your argumentation? The General Social Survey doesn’t ask its respondents about their self-reported sexual orientation, but instead the sex of their partners. Amongst males, the number of those who report having only same-sex partners surpasses the number of those who behave bisexually. This matches most sexual orientation demographic studies, which usually find that there are more gay men than self-identified bisexuals. The study I previously cited found that 3.7% of male adults self-identified as gay, as opposed to only 1.2% who labeled themselves bisexual. And curiously, the proportion of gay men who behaved heterosexually was smaller than the proportion of straight men who behave homosexually: 3.9% of gay men had only females as recent sex partners, compared to 7.5% of straight men who had only male partners. Sexual preferences among male teleiophiles (including gay teleiophiles) are heavily fixed when it comes to the sex of their partners, as compared to female teleiophiles. In “Sexual Orientation Differences in Cerebral Asymmetry and in the Performance of Sexually Dimorphic Cognitive and Motor Tasks”, samples of gay men, straight men, and straight women (plus two lesbians) had their cognitive skills compared in a number of female- and male-biased tasks.

Posted by Clovis on February 11, 2008 at 02:19 AM | #

They also completed a scale which quantified their reported homo- and hetero-erotic interests. The scores of all the three groups were consistent with their reported sexual attraction, however, there were differences:
- Heterosexual men were the least likely to report interest that was not consistent with their sexual orientation.
- Females were the most likely to not completly abide to their reported sexual orientation (even after ignoring the scores of lesbians).
- Gay men stood in-between the two above groups.
(All the differences were small.)

Interestingly, those results resemble those obtained via laboratory tests of sexual arousal (i.e phallometric tests for men and equivalent tests for females):

- Both heterosexual and homosexual men respond little to stimuli of their non-preferred sex, however, heterosexual men’s aversion to male stimuli is greater than gay men’s aversion to female stimuli.
- While heterosexual and gay men respond almost exclusively to stimuli depicting persons of their preferred sex, women become aroused to a wider set of stimuli, including those depicting persons of their non-preferred gender engaging in sexual activities.

Posted by Clovis on February 11, 2008 at 02:20 AM | #

I’m not finished with the answer. I’m going to post the rest of the text soon.

Posted by Clovis on February 11, 2008 at 02:24 AM | #

Clovis, what’s your email? There’s a number of things I’d like to discuss with you.

Posted by hfhgfghf on February 16, 2008 at 10:37 AM | #

I honestly don’t get the aim of this site- are you trying to prove homosexuality behavior in and of itself is wrong, or that homosexuals are supposedly more likely to have all of these paraphilias and mental disturbances?

Posted by gfhhfgfgh on February 16, 2008 at 09:21 PM | #

Unless it’s in the book
What do you think of the ‘gay mens women relatives have higher fertility theory’ or its antithesis virus causation theory

Bryan Sykes in Adams Curse: A Future Without Men claimed that a study of gay mens family trees ( it might have been on the older brothers theory) showed an extreme excess of female births, about 250 girls out of 500 total births when he analysed it. This may support the fetal stress line.

Posted by Och on July 24, 2008 at 03:31 PM | #

Should read “about 350 girls out of 500 total births”

I see this as further support for fetal stress

Posted by Och on July 24, 2008 at 04:20 PM | #

Erik in Jan 5th reply to Clovis

“Men with higher testosterone levels tend to be more dominant and disproportionatly end up acquiring higher status… so it is not dificult to see how there can be an association between higher socioeconomic status and a greater likelihood of paraphilic interests”.

The finger ratio evidence is clear; the lower the status the lower the finger ratio and testosteronisation. Testosterone levels might well be higher among self made multi-millionare salesmen and stand up comedians while lower in farmers, but for higher socio economic status generaly testosterone is not higher. Testosterone increases dominance but dominance has costs, the risk acceptance and lack of conscientousness that it brings are not recipes for success (except in a reproductive sense).

Posted by Och on July 25, 2008 at 06:28 AM | #

Another Correction 2nd para should read “lower the finger ratio and greater the testosteronisation”

Lower socioeconomic status people tend to have significantly lower 2f:4f. This means testosteronisation is less in higher socioeconomic status people. They may have some traits influenced by prenatal androgens but the low testosteronisation and testosterone levels in high SES are well established, there is every reason to expect low dominance.

Why postulate such a simplistic mechanism - that they have androgen induced developemental disturbance due to too much T - you state elsewere that it is not dose dependant in all tissues. Perhaps you weren’t entirely serious.

In any event here is a better bet; oestrogenisation (as proposed by the finger ratio expert John T. Manning in The Finger Book ). Easy to see why it would interfere with male orientation , it it has bearing on the effects of T it could be tied in via developmental disturbance disrupting testosterone/oestrogenisation balance.

Posted by Och on July 25, 2008 at 12:24 PM | #

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