Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 962–969 | Cite as

Maternal Inheritance and Familial Fecundity Factors in Male Homosexuality

  • Qazi RahmanEmail author
  • Anthony Collins
  • Martine Morrison
  • Jennifer Claire Orrells
  • Khatija Cadinouche
  • Sherene Greenfield
  • Sabina Begum
Original Paper


This study, following Camperio-Ciani, Corna, and Capiluppi [(2004), Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences, 271, 2217–2221] aimed to examine the familial history of male homosexuality, and test the so-called “fertile female” hypothesis for this trait in a contemporary British sample. Using a comparative survey design, we found that white (comprising those of Anglo-European descent) and non-white (comprising ethnic “Blacks, “South Asians,” “East Asians,” “Hispanics,” and “Others”) homosexual men (n = 147) had a significant excess of maternal but not paternal line male homosexual relatives compared to heterosexual men (n = 155). We also found significantly elevated fecundity of maternal aunts of white homosexual men compared to white heterosexual men, whereas non-white heterosexual men showed elevated fecundities of almost every class of relative compared to non-white homosexual men. No significant excess of older brothers was found in homosexual compared to heterosexual men, irrespective of ethnic grouping. These data were discussed in relation to possible population-related factors in evolutionary explanations for human male homosexuality.


Male homosexuality Ethnicity Family history Fecundity Liability threshold Model Evolution 


  1. Bailey, J. M., Dunne, M. P., & Martin, N. G. (2000). Genetic and environmental influences on sexual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 524–536.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bailey, J. M., Pillard, R. C., Dawood, K., Miller, M. B., Farrer, L. A., Trivedi, S., et al. (1999). A family history study of male sexual orientation using three independent samples. Behavior Genetics, 29, 79–86.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bell, A. P., & Weinberg, M. S. (1978). Homosexualities: A study of diversity among men and women. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  4. Blanchard, R. (2004). Quantitative and theoretical analyses of the relation between older brothers and homosexuality in men. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 230, 173–187.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bobrow, D., & Bailey, J. M. (2001). Is male homosexuality maintained via kin selection? Evolution and Human Behavior, 22, 361–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Camperio-Ciani, A., Corna, F., & Capiluppi, C. (2004). Evidence for maternally inherited factors favouring male homosexuality and promoting female fecundity. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences, 271, 2217–2221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Coleman, D. A. (1994). Trends in fertility and intermarriage among immigrant populations in Western Europe as measures of integration. Journal of Biosocial Science, 26, 107–136.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coleman, D. A., & Salt, J. (1992). The British population: Patterns, trends, and processes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Hamer, D., & Copeland, P. (1994). The science of desire: The search for the gay gene and the biology of behavior. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  10. 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.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hu, S., Pattatucci, A. M. L., Patterson, C., Li, L., Fulker, D. W., Cherny, S. S., et al. (1995). Linkage between sexual orientation and chromosome Xq28 in males but not in females. Nature Genetics, 11, 248–256.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. King, M., Green, J., Osborn, D. P. J., Arkell, J., Hetherton, J., & Pereira, E. (2005). Family size in white gay and heterosexual men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34, 117–122.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., & Martin, C. E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Philadelphia: Saunders.Google Scholar
  14. Kirk, K. M., Bailey, J. M., & Martin, N. G. (1999). How accurate is the family history method for assessing siblings’ sexual orientation? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 28, 129–138.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. McKnight, J. (1997). Straight science? Homosexuality, evolution and adaptation. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. McKnight, J., & Malcolm, J. (2000). Is male homosexuality maternally linked? Psychology, Evolution & Gender, 2, 229–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Miller, E. M. (2000). Homosexuality, birth order and evolution: Toward an equilibrium reproductive economics of homosexuality. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 29, 1–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 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.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Office for National Statistics. (2000). Standard occupational classification. London: The Stationary Office.Google Scholar
  20. Rahman, Q., & Hull, M. S. (2005). An empirical test of the kin selection hypothesis for male homosexuality. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34, 461–467.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rice, G., Anderson, C., Risch, N., & Ebers, G. (1999). Male homosexuality: Absence of linkage to microsatellite markers at Xq28. Science, 284, 665–667.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Turner, W. J. (1995). Homosexuality, type 1: An Xq28 phenomenon. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 24, 109–134.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Widmayer, A., & Ellis, L. (2005, August). Sexual orientation and family fertility. Poster presented at the 3rd International Behavioral Development Symposium on the Biological Basis of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Sex-Typical Behavior, Minot, ND.Google Scholar
  24. Wilson, E. O. (1975). Sociobiology: The new synthesis. Cambridge, MA: Belknap.Google Scholar
  25. Wilson, E. O. (1978). On human nature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Wilson, G. D., & Rahman, Q. (2005). Born gay? The psychobiology of sex orientation. London: Peter Owen Press.Google Scholar
  27. Zeh, J. A., & Zeh, D. W. (2005). Maternal inheritance, sexual conflict and the maladapted male. Trends in Genetics, 21, 281–286.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qazi Rahman
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Anthony Collins
    • 1
  • Martine Morrison
    • 1
  • Jennifer Claire Orrells
    • 1
  • Khatija Cadinouche
    • 1
  • Sherene Greenfield
    • 1
  • Sabina Begum
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of East LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute of Psychiatry, Kings CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations