Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 87–93 | Cite as

A Comparison of the Reproductive Output Among the Relatives of Samoan Androphilic Fa’afafine and Gynephilic Men

  • Scott W. SemenynaEmail author
  • Lanna J. Petterson
  • Doug P. VanderLaan
  • Paul L. Vasey
Special Section: The Puzzle of Sexual Orientation


The sexually antagonistic gene hypothesis (SAGH) for male androphilia posits that genes associated with androphilia (i.e., sexual attraction to adult males) will result in lowered reproduction when present in males, but increased reproduction when present in females. Findings derived from some Western European samples furnish support for the SAGH; however, results from studies conducted in other regions of the world have been more equivocal. Our previous research in Samoa indicated that the mothers as well as the maternal and paternal grandmothers of androphilic males (known locally as fa’afafine) exhibit elevated reproductive output when compared to the relatives of gynephilic men (i.e., males that are sexually attracted to adult females). The present replication study tested the SAGH in Samoa using a sample that was 122 % larger than the one previously studied by our group (VanderLaan, Forrester, Petterson, & Vasey, 2012). In line with the predictions of the SAGH, we hypothesized that the grandmothers, aunts, and mothers of fa’afafine would show elevated reproductive output compared to those of Samoan gynephilic men. Data were collected from 191 fa’afafine and 191 gynephilic men on the reproductive output of their paternal and maternal biological relatives (i.e., mothers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles). The mothers and maternal grandmothers of fa’afafine showed elevated reproductive output compared to those of gynephilic men. The paternal grandmother effect was not replicated. Although these results are consistent with the SAGH, a lack of difference in the reproductive output of aunts renders support for the SAGH in Samoa equivocal.


Sexual antagonism Male androphilia Samoa Fa’afafine Sexual orientation 



SWS and LJP were funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) CGS–Masters Scholarships. DPV was funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Doctoral Award. PLV was funded by the University of Lethbridge, a Canadian Institute of Health Research Catalyst Grant, an NSERC Discovery Grant, and an Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions Grant. All authors declare that no conflicts of interest exist that would impact or impede the publication of this research. This research was presented at the Puzzle of Sexual Orientation Conference, which was held during July 20–23, 2015, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. An institutional human subjects research ethics committee reviewed and approved this research.

Informed Consent

Participants were required to provide informed written consent prior to taking part in the study.


  1. Alanko, K., Santtila, P., Harlaar, N., Witting, K., Varjoen, M., Jern, P., … Sandnabba, N. K. (2010). Common genetic effects of gender atypical behavior in childhood and sexual orientation in adulthood: A study of Finnish twins. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 81–92.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bailey, J. M., Dunne, M. P., & Martin, N. G. (2000). Genetics and environmental influences on sexual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 524–536.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Blanchard, R., & Lippa, R. A. (2007). Birth order, sibling sex ratio, handedness, and sexual orientation of male and female participants in a BBC Internet research project. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 163–176.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Camperio-Ciani, A., Corna, F., & Capiluppi, C. (2004). Evidence for maternally inherited factors favoring male homosexuality and promoting female fecundity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences B, 271, 2217–2221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Camperio-Ciani, A., & Pellazzarai, E. (2012). Fecundity of paternal and maternal non-parental female relatives of homosexual and heterosexual men. PLoS ONE, 7, e51088.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Central Intelligence Agency. (2011). The World Factbook. Retrieved from
  7. Central Intelligence Agency. (2015), The World Factbook. Retrieved from
  8. Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A.-G., & Buchner, A. (2007). G*Power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 175–191.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Gavrilets, S., & Rice, W. R. (2006). Genetic models of homosexuality: Generating testable predictions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 273, 3031–3038.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Gibson, J. R., Chippindale, A. K., & Rice, W. R. (2002). The X chromosome is a hot spot for sexually antagonistic fitness variation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 269, 499–505.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. Hamer, D. H., Hu, S., Magnuson, V. L., Hu, N., & Pattatucci, A. M. L. (1993). A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation. Science, 261, 321–327.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Hamilton, W. D. (1964). The genetical evolution of social behaviour I. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 7, 1–16.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Hu, S., Pattatucci, A. M. L., Patterson, C., Li, L., Fulker, D. W., Cherny, S. S., … Hamer, D. H. (1995). Linkage between sexual orientation and chromosome Xq28 in males but not in females. Nature Genetics, 11, 248–256.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Iemmola, F., & Camperio-Ciani, A. (2009). New evidence of genetic factors influencing sexual orientation in men: Female fecundity increase in the maternal line. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 393–399.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Kelker, N. L., & Bruhns, K. O. (2009). Faking ancient Mesoamerica. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.Google Scholar
  16. Kendler, K. S., Thronton, L. M., Gilman, S. E., & Kessler, R. C. (2000). Sexual orientation in a US national sample of twin and non-twin sibling pairs. American Journal of Psychiatry, 157, 1843–1846.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. King, M., Green, J., Osborn, D. P., Arkell, J., Hetherton, J., & Pereira, E. (2005). Family size in white gay and heterosexual men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34, 117–122.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., & Martin, C. E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.Google Scholar
  19. Långström, N., Rahman, Q., Calström, E., & Lichtenstein, P. (2010). Genetic and environmental effects on same sex-sexual behavior: A population study of twins in Sweden. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 75–80.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Murray, S. O. (2000). Homosexualities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  21. Mustanski, B. S., Dupree, M. G., Nievergelt, C. M., Bocklandt, S., Schork, N. J., & Hamer, D. H. (2005). A genomewide scan of male sexual orientation. Human Genetics, 116, 272–278.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Rahman, Q., Collins, A., Morrison, M., Orrells, J. C., Cadinouche, K., Greenfield, S., & Begum, S. (2008). Maternal inheritance and familial fecundity factors in male homosexuality. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37, 962–969.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Reiger, G., Blanchard, R., Schwartz, G., Bailey, J. M., & Sanders, A. R. (2012). Further data concerning Blanchard’s (2011) “Fertility in the mothers of firstborn homosexual and heterosexual men.” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 529–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sanders, A. R., Martin, E. R., Beecham, G. W., Guo, S., Dawood, K., Rieger, G., … Bailey, J. M. (2015). Genome-wide scan demonstrates significant linkage for male sexual orientation. Psychological Medicine, 45, 1379–1388.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Schwartz, G., Kim, R. M., Kolundziji, A. B., Rieger, G., & Sanders, A. R. (2010). Biodemographic and physical correlates of sexual orientation in men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 93–109.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. VanderLaan, D. P., Forrester, D. L., Petterson, L. J., & Vasey, P. L. (2012). Offspring production among the extended relatives of Samoan men and fa’afafine. PLoS One, 7, e36088.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. VanderLaan, D. P., Forrester, D. L., Petterson, L. J., & Vasey, P. L. (2013a). The prevalence of fa’afafine relatives among Samoan gynephilic men and fa’afafine. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42, 353–359.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. VanderLaan, D. P., Garfield, Z. H., Garfield, M. J., Leca, J.-B., Vasey, P. L., & Hames, R. B. (2014). The “female fertility-social stratification-hypergyny” hypothesis of male homosexual preference: Factual, conceptual and methodological errors in Barthes et al. Evolution and Human Behavior, 35, 445–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. VanderLaan, D. P., & Vasey, P. L. (2011). Male sexual orientation in Independent Samoa: Evidence for the fraternal birth order and maternal fecundity effects. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 495–503.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. VanderLaan, D. P., & Vasey, P. L. (2012). Relationship status and elevated avuncularity in Samoan fa’afafine. Personal Relationships, 19, 326–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. VanderLaan, D. P., & Vasey, P. L. (2014). Evidence of enhanced cognitive biases for maximizing indirect fitness in Samoan fa’afafine. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43, 1009–1022.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. VanderLaan, D. P., Vokey, J. R., & Vasey, P. L. (2013b). Is male androphilia familial in non-Western cultures? The case of a Samoan village. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42, 361–370.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Vasey, P. L., Parker, J. L., & VanderLaan, D. P. (2014). Comparative reproductive output of androphilic and gynephilic males in Samoa. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43, 363–367.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Vasey, P. L., & VanderLaan, D. P. (2007). Birth order and male androphilia in Samoan fa’afafine. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 274, 1437–1442.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. Vasey, P. L., & VanderLaan, D. P. (2009). Materteral and avuncular tendencies in Samoa: A comparative study of women, men, and fa’afafine. Human Nature, 20, 269–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Vasey, P. L., & VanderLaan, D. P. (2010a). Monetary exchanges with nieces and nephews: A comparison of Samoan men, women, and fa’afafine. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31, 373–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Vasey, P. L., & VanderLaan, D. P. (2010b). An adaptive cognitive dissociation between willingness to help kin and non-kin in Samoan fa’afafine. Psychological Science, 21, 292–297.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Vasey, P. L., & VanderLaan, D. P. (2014). Evolving research on the evolution of male androphilia. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 23, 137–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Whitam, F. L. (1983). Culturally invariable properties of male homosexuality: Tentative conclusions from cross-cultural research. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 12, 207–226.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Zucker, K. J., Blanchard, R., Kim, T. S., Pae, C. U., & Lee, C. (2007). Birth order and sibling sex ratio in homosexual transsexual South Korean men: Effects of the male-preference stopping rule. Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 61, 529–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott W. Semenyna
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lanna J. Petterson
    • 1
  • Doug P. VanderLaan
    • 2
    • 3
  • Paul L. Vasey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Toronto MississaugaMississaugaCanada
  3. 3.Underserved Populations Research Program, Child, Youth and Family DivisionCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations