Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 103-114

First online:

Handedness, Sexual Orientation, and Gender-Related Personality Traits in Men and Women

  • Richard A. LippaAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, California State University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


This study assessed large numbers of heterosexual and homosexual men and women on handedness and gender-related personality traits. Initial analyses employed a dichotomous measure of handedness (right-handed vs. non–right-handed). For men and women combined, homosexual participants had 50% greater odds of being non–right-handed than heterosexual participants, a statistically significant difference. Homosexual men had 82% greater odds of being non–right-handed than heterosexual men, a statistically significant difference, whereas homosexual women had 22% greater odds of being non–right-handed than heterosexual women, a nonsignificant difference. When participants were classified into five graduated categories of handedness, both men and women showed significant homosexual–heterosexual differences in handedness distributions. Within groups, handedness showed a number of weak but statistically significant associations with sex-typed occupational preferences, self-ascribed masculinity, and self-ascribed femininity, but not with instrumentality or expressiveness. Rates of non–right-handedness were virtually identical for heterosexual men and women, suggesting that sex differences in handedness may result from higher rates of homosexuality in men.

handedness sexual orientation sex differences masculinity femininity