Skip to main content

Biodemographic comparisons of homosexual and heterosexual men in the kinsey interview data

Abstract

Relations between sexual orientation and several biodemographic variables previously reported to differentiate between homosexual and heterosexual men were examined. Subjects were 4948 white, postpubertal males, who were never reared in foster homes, orphanages, or other institutions, and were never arrested or convicted on criminal charges. These were dichotomously classified as homosexual (n=844) or heterosexual (n=4104). Data came from survey interviews conducted by staff members of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction from 1938 to 1963. Results extended previous findings that, compared with heterosexual controls, homosexual men have a later birth order, an earlier onset of puberty, and a lower body weight. Sexual orientation was weakly related or unrelated to height, paternal age, and sibling sex ratio. A more detailed analysis of the late birth order of the homosexual group showed that homosexual men have a greater number of older brothers than do heterosexual men, but they do not have a greater number of older sisters, once their number of older brothers has been taken into account.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Abe, K., and Moran, P. A. P. (1969). Parental age of homosexuals.Br. J. Psychiat., 115: 313–317.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Allen, L. S., and Gorski, R. A. (1992). Sexual orientation and the size of the anterior commissure in the human brain.Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S. 89: 7199–7202.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bailey, J. M., and Zucker, K. J. (1995). Childhood sex-typed behavior and sexual orientation: A conceptual analysis and quantitative review.Dev. Psychol. 31: 43–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Belsky, J., Steinberg, L., and Draper, P. (1991). Childhood experience, interpersonal development, and reproductive strategy: An evolutionary theory of socialization.Child Dev. 62: 647–670.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bieber, I., Dain, H. J., Dince, P. R., Drellich, M. G., Grand, H. G., Gundlach, R. H., Kremer, M. W., Rifkin, A. H., Wilbur, C. B., and Bieber, T. B. (1962).Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study, Basic Books, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Blanchard, R. (1985). Typology of male-to-female transsexualism.Arch. Sex. Behav. 14: 247–261.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Blanchard, R. (1988). Nonhomosexual gender dysphoria.J. Sex Res. 24: 188–193.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Blanchard, R. (1989a). The classification and labeling of nonhomosexual gender dysphorias.Arch. Sex. Behav. 18: 315–334.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Blanchard, R. (1989b). The concept of autogynephilia and the typology of male gender dysphoria.J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 177: 616–623.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Blanchard, R. (1993a). The she-male phenomenon and the concept of partial autogynephilia.J. Sex Marital Ther. 19: 69–76.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Blanchard, R. (1993b). Partial versus complete autogynephilia and gender dysphoria.J. Sex Marital Ther. 19: 301–307.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Blanchard, R., and Bogaert, A. F. (1996). Homosexuality in men and number of older brothers.Am. J. Psychiat. 153: 27–31.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Blanchard, R., Dickey, R., and Jones, C. L. (1995a). Comparison of height and weight in homosexual versus nonhomosexual male gender dysphorics.Arch. Sex. Behav. 24: 543–554.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Blanchard, R., and Sheridan, P. M. (1992). Sibship size, sibling sex ratio, birth order, and parental age in homosexual and nonhomosexual gender dysphorics.J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 180: 40–47.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Blanchard, R., and Zucker, K. J. (1994). Reanalysis of Bell, Weinberg, and Hammersmith's data on birth order, sibling sex ratio, and parental age in homosexual men.Am. J. Psychiat. 151: 1375–1376.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Blanchard, R., Zucker, K. J., Bradley, S. J., and Hume, C. S. (1995b). Birth order and sibling sex ratio in homosexual male adolescents and probably prehomosexual feminine boys.Dev. Psychol. 31: 22–30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Blanchard, R., Zucker, K. J., Cohen-Kettenis, P. T., Gooren, L. J. G., and Bailey, J. M. (1996). Birth order and sibling sex ratio in two samples of Dutch gender-dysphoric homosexual males.Arch. Sex. Behav. 25: 489–508.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Chahnazarian, A. (1988). Determinants of the sex ratio at birth: Review of recent literature.Soc. Biol. 35: 214–235.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Cole, M. M. (1983). The developmental antecedents of sexual preference among males. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, North Carolina State University.

  20. Dann, T. C., and Roberts, D. F. (1984). Menarcheal age in University of Warwick students.J. Biosoc. Sci. 16: 511–519.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Ellis, L., and Ames, M. A. (1987). Neurohormonal functioning and sexual orientation: A theory of homosexuality-heterosexuality.Psychol. Bull. 101: 233–258.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Evans, R. B. (1972). Physical and biochemical characteristics of homosexual men.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 39: 140–147.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Fichter, M. M., and Daser, C. (1987). Symptomatology, psychosexual development and gender identity in 42 anorexic males.Psychol. Med. 17: 409–418.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. Gebhard, P. H., and Johnson, A. B. (1979).The Kinsey Data: Marginal Tabulations of the 1938–1963 Interviews Conducted by the Institute for Sex Research, W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Gettelman, T. E., and Thompson, J. K. (1993). Actual differences and stereotypical perceptions in body image and eating disturbance: A comparison of male and female heterosexual and homosexual samples.Sex Roles 29: 545–562.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Green, R. (1987).The “Sissy Boy Syndrome” and the Development of Homosexuality, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Grumbach, M. M., and Styne, D. M. (1992). Puberty: Ontogeny, neuroendocrinology, physiology, and disorders. In Wilson, J. D., and Foster, D. W. (eds.),Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, 8th ed., W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia, pp. 1139–1221.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Gualtieri, T. and Hicks, R. E. (1985). An immunoreactive theory of selective male affliction.Beh. Brain Sci. 8: 427–441.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Hamer, D. H., Hu, S., Magnuson, V. L., Hu, N., and Pattatucci, A. M. L. (1993). A linkage between DNA markers on the X-chromosome and male sexual orientation.Science 261: 321–327.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Hare, E. H., and Moran, P. A. P. (1979). Parental age and birth order in homosexual patients: A replication of Slater's study.Br. J. Psychiat. 134: 178–182.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Hare, E. H., and Price, J. S. (1969). Birth order and family size: Bias caused by changes in birth rate.Br. J. Psychiat. 115: 647–657.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Hare, E. H., and Price, J. S. (1974). Birth order and birth rate bias: Findings in a representative sample of the adult population of Great Britain.J. Biosoc. Sci. 6: 139–150.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Harry, J. (1983). Parasuicide, gender, and gender deviance.J. Health Soc. Behav. 24: 350–361.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Herzog, D. B., Newman, K. L., and Warshaw, M. (1991). Body image dissatisfaction in homosexual and heterosexual males.J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 179: 356–359.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. Herzog, D. B., Norman, D. K., Gordon, C., and Pepose, M. (1984). Sexual conflict and eating disorders in 27 males.Am. J. Psychiat. 141: 989–990.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. James, W. H. (1987). The human sex ratio. Part 1: A review of the literature.Hum. Biol. 59: 721–752.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Jensch, K. (1941). Weiterer Beitrag zur Genealogie der Homosexualität [A further contribution to the genealogical study of homosexuality].Arch. Psychiat. Nervenkr. 112: 679–696.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Kallmann, F. J. (1952). Twin and sibship study of overt male homosexuality.Am. J. Hum. Genet. 4: 136–146.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. (1985).Kinsey Interview Kit, KIRSGR, Bloomington, IN.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. (1991).Kinsey Interview Kit: Code Book, KIRSGR, Bloomington, IN.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., and Martin, C. E. (1948).Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Lang, T. (1960). Die Homosexualität als genetisches Problem [Homosexuality as a genetic problem].Acta Genet. Med. Gemellol. 9: 370–381.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Le Vay, S. (1991). A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual and homosexual men.Science 253: 1034–1037.

    Google Scholar 

  44. MacCulloch, M. J., and Waddington, J. L. (1981). Neuroendocrine mechanisms and the aetiology of male and female homosexuality.Br. J. Psychiat. 139: 341–345.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Manosevitz, M. (1970). Early sexual behaviors in adult homosexual and heterosexual males.J. Abn. Psychol. 76: 396–402.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Manosevitz, M. (1972). The development of male homosexuality.J. Sex Res. 8: 31–40.

    Google Scholar 

  47. McCormick, C. M. (1990). A neuropsychological study of sexual orientation: Neurobiological implications. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Meulenberg, P. M. M., and Hofman, J. A. (1991). Maternal testosterone and fetal sex.J.Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. 39: 51–54.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Money, J. (1970). Sexual dimorphism and homosexual gender identity.Psychol. Bull. 74: 425–440.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Money, J., and Lamacz, M. (1984). Gynemimesis and gynemimetophilia: Individual and cross-cultural manifestations of a gender-coping strategy hitherto unnamed.Comprehen. Psychiat. 25: 392–403.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Nash, J., and Hayes, F. (1965). The parental relationships of male homosexuals: Some theoretical issues and a pilot study.Aust. J. Psychol. 17: 35–43.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Nedoma, K., and Freund, K. (1961). Somatosexuální nálezy u homosexuálních mužů [Somatosexual findings in homosexual men].Cesk. Psychiatr. 57: 100–103. (FromExcerpta Medica, 1961,14 [VIII], Abstract No. 6319)

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  53. Price, J. S., and Hare, E. H. (1969). Birth order studies: Some sources of bias.Br. J. Psychiat. 115: 633–646.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Raschka, L. B. (1995). On older fathers [Letter to the editor].Am. J. Psychiat. 152: 1404.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  55. Rindfuss, R. R., Bumpass, L., and St. John, C. (1980). Education and fertility: Implications for the roles women occupy.Am. Sociol. Rev. 45: 431–447.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Roberts, D. F., and Dann, T. C. (1975). A 12-year study of menarcheal age.Br. J. Prevent. Soc. Med. 29: 31–39.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Robertson, G. (1972). Parent-child relationships and homosexuality.Br. J. Psychiat. 121: 525–528.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Robinson, P. H., and Holden, N. L. (1986). Bulimia nervosa in the male: A report of nine cases.Psychol. Med. 16: 795–803.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Rushton, J. P., and Bogaert, A. F. (1988). Race versus social class differences in sexual behavior: A follow-up test of ther/K dimension.J. Res. Pers. 22: 259–272.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Ryder, N. B. (1980). Components of temporal variations in American fertility. In Hiorns, R. W. (ed.),Demographic Patterns in Developed Societies, Taylor & Francis, London, pp. 15–54.

    Google Scholar 

  61. Saghir, M. T., and Robins, E. (1973).Male and Female Homosexuality: A Comprehensive Investigation, Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD.

    Google Scholar 

  62. Sanders, R. M., Bain, J., and Langevin, R. (1985). Peripheral sex hormones, homosexuality, and gender identity. In Langevin, R. (ed.),Erotic Preference, Gender Identity, and Aggression in Men: New Research Studies, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, pp. 227–247.

    Google Scholar 

  63. Schneider, J. A., and Agras, W. S. (1987). Bulimia in males: A matched comparison with females.Int. J. Eating Disorders 6: 235–242.

    Google Scholar 

  64. Siever, M. D. (1994). Sexual orientation and gender as factors in socioculturally acquired vulnerability to body dissatisfaction and eating disorders.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 62: 252–260.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Silberstein, L. R., Mishkind, M. E., Striegel-Moore, R. H., Timko, C., and Rodin, J. (1989). Men and their bodies: A comparison of homosexual and heterosexual men.Psychosom. Med. 51: 337–346.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  66. Sinclair, D. (1989).Human Growth After Birth, 5th ed., Oxford University Press, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  67. Slater, E. (1958). The sibs and children of homosexuals. In Smith, D. R., and Davidson, W. M. (eds.),Symposium on Nuclear Sex, Heinemann, London, pp. 79–83.

    Google Scholar 

  68. Slater, E. (1962). Birth order and maternal age of homosexuals.Lancet 1: 69–71.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Stephan, W. G. (1973). Parental relationships and early social experiences of activist male homosexuals and male heterosexuals.J. Abn. Psychol. 82: 506–513.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Storms, M. D. (1981). A theory of erotic orientation development.Psychol. Rev. 88: 340–353.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  71. Suarez, B. K., and Przybeck, T. R. (1980). Sibling sex ratio and male homosexuality.Arch. Sex. Behav. 9: 1–12.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Surbey, M. K. (1990). Family composition, stress, and the timing of human menarche. In Ziegler, T. E., and Bercovitch, F. B. (eds.),Socioendocrinology of Primate Reproduction, Wiley-Liss, New York, pp. 11–32.

    Google Scholar 

  73. Tanner, J. M. (1962).Growth at Adolescence, 2nd ed., Blackwell, Oxford, England.

    Google Scholar 

  74. Terman, L. M., and Miles, C. C. (1936).Sex and Personality: Studies in Masculinity and Femininity, McGraw-Hill, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  75. Tourney, G., Petrilli, A. J., and Hatfield, L. M. (1975). Hormonal relationships in homosexual men.Am. J. Psychiat. 132: 288–290.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  76. Tripp, C. A. (1982). Tripp's answer to Bell, Weinberg & Hammersmith's objections to his review of their “Sexual preference: Its development in men and women”.J. Sex Res. 18: 366–368.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  77. Underwood, L. E., and Van Wyk, J. J. (1992). Normal and aberrant growth. In Wilson, J. D., and Foster, D. W. (eds.),Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, 8th ed., W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia, pp. 1079–1138.

    Google Scholar 

  78. Weil, W. B., Jr. (1984). Demographic determinants of obesity. In Kallen, D. J., and Sussman, M. B. (eds.),Obesity and the Family, Haworth, New York, pp. 21–32.

    Google Scholar 

  79. Wierson, M., Long, P. J., and Forehand, R. L. (1993). Toward a new understanding of early menarche: The role of environmental stress in pubertal timing.Adolescence 28: 913–924.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  80. Yager, J., Kurtzman, F., Landsverk, J., and Wiesmeier, E. (1988). Behaviors and attitudes related to eating disorders in homosexual male college students.Am. J. Psychiat. 145: 495–497.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  81. Zucker, K. J., and Blanchard, R. (1994). Reanalysis of Bieber et al.'s 1962 data on sibling sex ratio and birth order in male homosexuals.J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 182: 528–530.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Additional information

The second author was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada during the preparation of this article.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Blanchard, R., Bogaert, A.F. Biodemographic comparisons of homosexual and heterosexual men in the kinsey interview data. Arch Sex Behav 25, 551–579 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02437839

Download citation

Key words

  • birth order
  • body weight
  • homosexuality
  • parental age
  • puberty
  • sex ratio
  • sexual orientation
  • stature