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Lisping and Male Homosexuality


The present study examined the popular stereotype that gay men lisp by evaluating to what extent listeners associated dental or frontal articulation/lisping with gayness. Fifteen heterosexual males and 15 heterosexual females listened to 275 samples of read speech and judged the sexual orientation of the speakers. A total of 175 of the samples were of homosexual men, 74 (42.3 %) of which had been identified with lisping in a previous study; 100 were of heterosexual men, 18 (18 %) of which had been identified with lisping previously. Based on the ratings of the listeners of the present study, lisping speakers were significantly more often judged to be homosexual. This was true for the group as a whole as well as for the subgroup of homosexual and heterosexual men separately. Furthermore, there was no significant gender difference with respect to associating lisping with gayness. Male and female judges associated lisping with gayness to a similar degree. Additional analysis showed that overall 56.2 % of the time the judges were correct in their judgment of the speakers’ sexual orientation. The results of this study confirmed previous preliminary findings that suggested that frontal or dental articulation/lisping is a feature that listeners associate with gayness. The reason for this association remains to be clarified.

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Correspondence to John Van Borsel.

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Van Borsel, J., Van de Putte, A. Lisping and Male Homosexuality. Arch Sex Behav 43, 1159–1163 (2014).

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  • Lisping
  • Gay
  • Homosexuality
  • Stereotypes
  • Sexual orientation