Sunday, March 01, 2009

Do fertile women produce gay sons? Let's do a test of the "Beautiful Wives/Gay Sons" theory. According to Dienekes, sexual orientation is a combination of masculinity/femininity genetic factors inherited from parents. Gay men thus have more feminine parents, and for their mothers this means greater attractiveness and fertility. If this is true, homosexuals should come from larger than average families. Here are the mean number of siblings by gender and sexual orientation (GSS data).

Mean number of siblings

Straight 3.47 (N = 8,106)
Bisexual 4.93 (N = 54)
Gay 3.61 (N = 261)

Straight 3.71 (N = 9,314)
Bisexual 3.93 (N = 61)
Lesbian 3.43 (N = 187)

Gay and especially bisexual men come from larger families. While bisexual women also come from larger families, lesbians come from smaller families. More masculine mothers?

Normally with this kind of survey question, there is concern that traditional folks are underreporting their homosexuality, but here we see that more people from large and presumably more conservative families are admitting homosexual behavior (except for the lesbians).

One puzzle is that all the means seem too high. But keep in mind that this question has been asked since 1972 of people of all ages, so many folks come from families formed several decades ago. Plus, respondents are asked to include stepsiblings and adopted children. I checked and the means are skewed by the top few percent reporting huge family sizes, but even if they are removed, the pattern of the results stays the same.


  1. There is another theory that the more sons a woman has the more antigens her womb develops or something and that this results in having gay younger brothers.

  2. Can one be sure about the direction of causality here? Hypothesis: Parents recognize, perhaps unconsciously, that their first son is not what they expected, so they are specially motivated to try their luck again with more sons.

    Of course, this hypothesis is not easily reconciled with the hypothesis cited by TGGP.

  3. TGGP once posed an interesting theory on his blog.

    He said that if you break intelligence down into its verbal and analytic components, that for a given IQ, people who have a higher verbal component than analytic component would tend to be leftist and the reverse would be rightist. E.g. lawyers and journalists are leftist. Engineers tend to be more conservative.

    Can you check this out?

  4. Are people on the left more likely to have gay relatives?

    I can believe that having gay relatives can make you see gay issues in a certain way and so you may tend left on the matter of gay rights.

    But is it possible that it's the other way around? That people who tend to be leftist are also slightly predisposed to be gay?


    One thing I sometimes hear when liberals protest against anti-gay marriage initiatives is "I have a relative who is gay" or "you're saying my sister and her lesbian partner shouldn't be able to marry."

    I'm pretty sure I have zero gay relatives. Also, there isn't like anyone in my social circle who is gay.

    I'm a girl, and I've never been interested in having gay friends.
    I've always found them a bit too narcissistic and rather off putting to be frank.

  5. Jeremy8:45 PM

    as, get a life. You never met a gay person yet you know exactly how they are. Typical heterosexual. Believing you are better than someone because they are gay and therefore their judge, get out.

    I can't believe this data because there are a lot of gay people that haven't come out and women have sexualities. Look up the research of Meredith Chivers. She found that women who claimed to be heterosexual actually had a bisexual arousal pattern.


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