Physical Development and Sexual Orientation in Men and Women: An Analysis of NATSAL-2000
- 819 Downloads
In the present study, three physical development characteristics—weight, height, and age of menarche—were examined for their relation to sexual orientation. Participants were men and women comprising the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles-2000 (N > 11,000). Participants completed self-report measures of sexual orientation, height, weight, and, for women, age of menarche. Results indicated that gay/bisexual men were significantly shorter and lighter than heterosexual men. There were no significant differences between lesbians and heterosexual women in height, weight, and age of puberty. The results add to literature suggesting that, relative to heterosexual men, gay/bisexual men may have different patterns of growth and development because of early biological influences (e.g., exposure to atypical levels of androgens prenatally). However, the present results do not support a number of studies suggesting that lesbian/bisexual women are taller and heavier than heterosexual women.
KeywordsSexual orientation Physical development Height Weight Menarche
I thank Luanne K. Jamieson for comments on a previous draft of this article. I also thank the investigators at the National Centre for Social Research for making these data accessible to researchers. Finally, I thank three anonymous reviewers and the Editor for helpful comments.
- Arnold, A. P. (2002). Concepts of genetic and hormonal induction of vertebrate sexual differentiation in the twentieth century, with special reference to the brain. In D. W. Pfaff, A. P. Arnold, A. Etgen, S. Fahrbach, & R. Rubin (Eds.), Hormones, brain, and behavior (pp. 105–135). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Erens, B., McManus, S., Field, J., Korovessis, C., Johnson, A., Fenton, K., & Wellings, K. (2001). National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles II: Technical Report. London: National Centre for Social Research.Google Scholar
- Giles, E., & Hutchinson, D. L. (1991). Stature and age related bias in self-reported stature. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 36, 760–780.Google Scholar
- Grumbach, M. M., & Styne, D. M. (1992). Puberty: Ontogeny, neuroendocrinology, physiology, and disorders. In J. D. Wilson & D. W. Foster (Eds.), Williams textbook of endocrinology (8th ed., pp. 1139–1221). Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.Google Scholar
- Mueller, W. H. (1976). Parent-child correlations for stature and weight among school aged children: A review of 24 studies. Human Biology, 48, 379–397.Google Scholar
- Underwood, L. E., & Van Wyk, J. J. (1992). Normal and aberrant growth. In J. D. Wilson & D. W. Foster (Eds.), Williams textbook of endocrinology (8th ed., pp. 1079–1138). Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.Google Scholar
- Wilson, G., & Rahman, Q. (2005). Born gay: The biology of sex orientation. London: Peter Owen Publishers.Google Scholar