Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 47, Issue 8, pp 2445–2454 | Cite as

The Association Between Fraternal Birth Order and Anal-Erotic Roles of Men Who Have Sex with Men

  • Charles H. Wampold
Original Paper


The fraternal birth order effect (FBOE) describes the phenomenon that homosexual men tend to have a greater number of older brothers than do heterosexual men. The FBOE is a marker for an innate, biological predisposition for androphilia in genotypic males. The FBOE has been studied since the 1930s and is the most consistent biodemographic correlate of sexual orientation in men. This study sought to determine whether the FBOE applies equally to all men who have sex with men (MSM), or disproportionately to MSM whose anal intercourse behavior is predominantly receptive (Bottoms). Participants included 243 North American adult MSM who responded to advertisements posted on a Web site and other electronic media associated with the GALA festival, a quadrennial gathering of gay and lesbian choruses. Each was asked whether his anal intercourse behavior during the preceding year was predominantly receptive, predominantly penetrative, or about equally receptive and penetrative. Those who indicated their behavior was predominantly receptive were coded “Bottoms”; all others were coded “Not-Bottoms.” Participants were also surveyed as to their sibship composition. Bottoms had a significantly greater mean number of older brothers than did Not-Bottoms. There was no significant difference with respect to older or younger sisters or younger brothers. Further, the older sibling sex ratio (OSSR) for the Bottom cohort, but not for the Not-Bottom cohort, was significantly higher than the expected OSSR for the general male population (OSSR = No. older brothers/No. older sisters × 100; expected OSSR for general population = 106). Thus, late fraternal birth order was correlated with receptive anal-erotic behavior among MSM.


Sexual orientation Fraternal birth order Erotic roles Anal intercourse Coital receptivity 



This article reports a portion of my dissertation research that I performed while a doctoral student at the Center for Human Sexuality Studies at Widener University. I thank my dissertation chair, Donald A. Dyson, Ph.D., and the rest of my committee, Patricia B. Koch, Ph.D. and Brooke E. Wells, Ph.D., for their excellent guidance. I also thank Betsy Crane, Ph.D., who was my academic advisor at Widener, and Nicholas A. Grosskopf, Ed.D., Associate Professor, York College, City University of New York. I was paired with Dr. Grosskopf through the mentorship program at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, and he has been a mentor par excellence. Finally, I thank Jerre M. Levy, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, University of Chicago, for her many helpful insights and unflagging support.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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.

Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Collaborative Research Group on Health Policy and Promotion + UrbanHealth LabYork College of the City University of New YorkJamaicaUSA
  2. 2.PrincetonUSA

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