, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 123-127

Differences in Finger Length Ratios Between Self-Identified “Butch” and “Femme” Lesbians

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Abstract

There is indirect evidence that heightened exposure to early androgen may increase the probability that a girl will develop a homosexual orientation in adulthood. One such putative marker of early androgen exposure is the ratio of the length of the index finger (2D) to the ring finger (4D), which is smaller in male humans than in females, and is smaller in lesbians than in heterosexual women. Yet there is also evidence that women may have different sexual orientations at different times in their lives, which suggests that other influences on female sexual orientation, presumably social, are at work as well. We surveyed individuals from a gay pride street fair and found that lesbians who identified themselves as “butch” had a significantly smaller 2D:4D than did those who identified themselves as “femme.” We conclude that increased early androgen exposure plays a role in only some cases of female homosexuality, and that the sexual orientation of “femme” lesbians is unlikely to have been influenced by early androgens.