Nasality in Homosexual Men: A Comparison with Heterosexual Men and Women

Abstract

Several studies reported that pitch and articulation may vary according to a person’s sexual orientation. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether homosexual males also demonstrate differences in nasal resonance compared to heterosexual males. Speech samples of 30 self-identified homosexual males, 35 heterosexual males, and 34 heterosexual females were compared both instrumentally and perceptually. Nasalance scores were calculated for the sounds /a/, /i/, /u/, and /m/ and for an oronasal, oral, and nasal text. In addition, the Nasality Severity Index was determined. Spontaneous speech samples were used for a perceptual evaluation of nasal resonance. Neither the nasalance scores nor the Nasality Severity Index were significantly different between the homosexual and heterosexual males. Heterosexual females, on the other hand, showed significantly higher nasalance values for the oronasal and oral text and a significantly lower Nasality Severity Index than both the homosexual and the heterosexual males. The perceptual judgment revealed no significant differences between the three groups. The results of this study suggest that, in contrast to pitch and articulation, nasality does not tend to vary with sexual orientation.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Abou-Elsaad, T., Quriba, A., Baz, H., & Elkassaby, R. (2012). Standardization of nasometry for normal Egyptian Arabic speakers. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, 64, 271–277. https://doi.org/10.1159/000343999.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Baeck, H., Corthals, P., & Van Borsel, J. (2011). Pitch characteristics of homosexual males. Journal of Voice, 25, e211–e214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2010.10.019.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Bailey, J. M., & Zucker, K. J. (1995). Childhood sex-typed behavior and sexual orientation: A conceptual analysis and quantitative review. Developmental Psychology, 31, 43–55. https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.31.1.43.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bettens, K., Van Lierde, K., Corthals, P., Luyten, A., & Wuyts, F. (2016a). The Nasality Severity Index 2.0: Revision of an objective multiparametric approach to hypernasality. Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, 53, e60–e70. https://doi.org/10.1597/14-247.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Bettens, K., Wuyts, F. L., D’haeseleer, E., Luyten, A., Meerschman, I., Van Crayelynghe, C., & Van Lierde, K. M. (2016b). Short-term and long-term test–retest reliability of the Nasality Severity Index 2.0. Journal of Communication Disorders, 62, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcomdis.2016.05.001.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Boersma, P., & Weenink, D. (2015). PRAAT: Doing phonetics by computer (Version 5.4.21) [Computersoftware]. http://www.praat.org/. Accessed 30 Sept 2015.

  7. Bowen, C. (2002). Beyond lisping: Code switching and gay speech styles. http://www.speech-language-therapy.com/codemix.htm. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.

  8. Brunnegård, K., & van Doorn, J. (2009). Normative data on nasalance scores for Swedish as measured on the Nasometer: Influence of dialect, gender, and age. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 23, 58–69. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699200802491074.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Crist, S. (1997). Duration of onset consonants in gay male stereotyped speech. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 4, 53–70.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Curry, T. (2013, January 10, Updated 2017, December 6). Re: The strength in being a feminine gay man [Web log message]. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/tyler-curry/the-strength-in-being-a-feminine-gay-man_b_3896302.html.

  11. D’haeseleer, E., Depypere, H., Claeys, S., & Van Lierde, K. M. (2011). Nasal resonance in middle-aged women: A multiparameter approach. Annals of Otology Rhinology and Laryngology, 120, 575–580. https://doi.org/10.1177/000348941112000904.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Fairbanks, G. (1960). Voice and articulation drillbook. New York: Harper & Row.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Fasoli, F., Maass, A., Paladino, M. P., & Sulpizio, S. (2017). Gay- and lesbian sounding auditory cues elicit stereotyping and discrimination. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46, 1261–1277. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-017-0962-0.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  14. Fletcher, S. G., & Bishop, M. E. (1970). Measurement of nasality with tonar. Cleft Palate Journal, 10, 610–621.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Gaudio, R. P. (1994). Sounding gay: Pitch properties in the speech of gay and straight men. American Speech, 69, 30–57.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Gerther, H., Thorpe, D. (Producer) & Thorpe, D. (Producer and Director) (2014). Do I sound gay? [Motion picture]. United States: IFC Films.

  17. Ha, S., & Cho, S. (2015). Nasalance scores for normal Korean-speaking adults and children: Effects of age, vowel context, and stimulus length. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 79, 1235–1239. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijporl.2015.05.019.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Hardin, M. A., Van Demark, D. R., Morris, H. L., & Payne, M. M. (1992). Correspondence between nasalance scores and listener judgments of hypernasality and hyponasality. Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, 29, 346–351. https://doi.org/10.1597/1545-1569_1992_029_0346_cbnsal_2.3.co_2.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Hayes, J. (2005). Ook kinderen hebben een lichaam: Kinderen leren omgaan met seksualiteit [Also children have a body. Learning children how to deal with sexuality]. Tielt, Belgium: Uitgeverij Lannoo.

  20. Hutchinson, J. M., Robinson, K. L., & Nerbonne, M. A. (1978). Patterns of nasalance in a sample of normal gerontologic subjects. Journal of Communication Disorders, 11, 469–481.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Lee, G. S., Yang, C. C. H., & Kuo, T. B. J. (2003). Voice low tone to high tone ratio: A new index for nasal airway assessment. Chinese Journal of Physiology, 46, 123–127.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Linville, S. E. (1998). Acoustic correlates of perceived versus actual sexual orientation in men’s speech. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, 50, 35–48. https://doi.org/10.1159/000021447.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Mack, S. (2010). Perception and identity: Stereotypes of speech and sexual orientation in Puerto Rican Spanish. In C. Borgonovo, M. Español-Echevarría, & P. Prévost (Eds.), Selected proceedings of the 12th hispanic linguistics symposium (pp. 136–147). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

  24. McKerns, D., & Bzoch, K. R. (1970). Variations in velopharyngeal valving: The factor of sex. Cleft Palate Journal, 7, 652–662.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Mishima, K., Sugii, A., Yamada, T., Imura, H., & Sugahara, T. (2008). Dialectal and gender differences in nasalance scores in a Japanese population. Journal of Cranio-maxillofacial Surgery, 36, 8–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcms.2007.07.008.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Munson, B., Crocker, L., Pierrehumbert, J. B., Owen-Anderson, A., & Zucker, K. J. (2015). Gender typicality in children’s speech: A comparison of boys with and without gender identity disorder. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 137, 1995–2003. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4916202.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Munson, B., McDonald, E. C., Deboe, N. L., & White, A. R. (2006). The acoustic and perceptual bases of judgments of women and men’s sexual orientation from read speech. Journal of Phonetics, 34, 202–240. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2005.05.003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Park, M., Baek, W. S., Lee, E., Koh, K. S., Kim, B. K., & Baek, R. (2014). Nasalance scores for normal Korean-speaking adults and children. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, 67, 173–177. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjps.2013.10.035.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Pierrehumbert, J. B., Bent, T., Munson, B., Bradlow, A. R., & Bailey, J. M. (2004). The influence of sexual orientation on vowel production. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 116, 1905–1908.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Rendall, D., Vasey, P. L., & McKenzie, J. (2008). The Queen’s English: An alternative, biosocial hypothesis for the distinctive features of “gay speech”. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37, 188–204. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-007-9269-x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Rieger, G., Linsenmeier, J. A., Gygax, L., Garcia, S., & Bailey, J. M. (2010). Dissecting “gaydar”: Accuracy and the role of masculinity–femininity. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 124–140. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-008-9405-2.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Rochet, A. P., Rochet, B. L., Sovis, E. A., & Mielke, D. L. (1998). Characteristics of nasalance in speakers of Western Canadian English and French. Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, 22, 94–103.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Rogers, H., & Smyth, R. (2003, August). Phonetic differences between gay- and straight-sounding male speakers of North American English. Paper presented at the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Barcelona, Spain.

  34. Smyth, R., Jacobs, G., & Rogers, H. (2003). Male voices and perceived sexual orientation: An experimental and theoretical approach. Language in Society, 32, 329–350. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404503323024.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Sweeney, T., & Sell, D. (2008). Relationship between perceptual ratings of nasality and nasometry in children/adolescents with cleft palate and/or velopharyngeal dysfunction. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 43, 265–282. https://doi.org/10.1080/13682820701438177.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. Sylva, D., Rieger, G., Linsenmeier, J. A., & Bailey, J. M. (2010). Concealment of sexual orientation. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 141–152. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-008-9466-2.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Tracy, E. C., Bainter, S. A., & Satariano, N. P. (2015). Judgments of self-identified gay and heterosexual male speakers: Which phonemes are most salient in determining sexual orientation? Journal of Phonetics, 52, 13–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2015.04.001.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  38. Tsai, Y. J., Wang, C. P., & Lee, G. S. (2012). Voice low tone to high tone ratio, nasalance, and nasality ratings in connected speech of native mandarin speakers: a pilot study. Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, 49, 437–446. https://doi.org/10.1597/10-183.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. Valentova, J. V., & Havlicek, J. (2013). Perceived sexual orientation based on vocal and facial stimuli is linked to self-rated sexual orientation in Czech men. PLoS ONE, 8, e82417. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0082417.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  40. Van Borsel, J., De Bruyn, E., Lefebvre, E., Sokoloff, A., De Ley, S., & Baudonck, N. (2009). The prevalence of lisping in gay men. Journal of Communication Disorders, 42, 100–106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcomdis.2008.08.004.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  41. Van de Weijer, J. C., & Slis, I. H. (1991). Nasaliteitsmetingen met de nasometer [Measuring nasality with the nasometer]. Logopedie en Foniatrie, 63, 97–101.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Van Lierde, K. M., Wuyts, F. L., Bonte, K., & Van Cauwenberge, P. (2007). The Nasality Severity Index: An objective measure of hypernasality based on a multiparameter approach: A pilot study. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, 59, 31–38. https://doi.org/10.1159/000096548.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Van Lierde, K. M., Wuyts, F. L., De Bodt, M., & Van Cauwenberge, P. (2003). Age-related patterns of nasal resonance in normal Flemish children and young adults. Scandinavian Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Hand Surgery, 37, 344–350.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to John Van Borsel.

Ethics declarations

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 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the Commission for Medical Ethics of the Ghent University Hospital (project number: EC/2015/1226). All participants signed an informed consent form.

Appendix (Translated from Dutch)

Appendix (Translated from Dutch)

This questionnaire was originally developed for young people who are in doubt about their sexual orientation. Not every question has the same value. The relative value of a question is indicated by the number of plusses between brackets (ranging from 1 to 3). A positive score yields the maximum number of plusses; a negative score yields no plus.

  • Did you ever experience feelings of affectional attraction for someone of the opposite sex? (+++)

  • yes/no

  • Did you ever develop erotic fantasies about someone of the opposite sex? (+++)

  • yes/no

  • Have you ever felt uncomfortable or even felt aversion for the sexual body or the sexuality of someone of the opposite sex? (+++)

  • yes/no

  • Did you ever experience a tender and enduring longing for a peer of your own gender? (+++)

  • yes/no

  • Did you already intuitively know at a very young age that you thoroughly differed from your friends and girlfriends? (++)

  • yes/no

  • Did you ever have enduring physical erotic longings and fantasies of a male–male nature but without a sensation of being in love? (+)

  • yes/no

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Vanpoucke, B., Cosyns, M., Bettens, K. et al. Nasality in Homosexual Men: A Comparison with Heterosexual Men and Women. Arch Sex Behav 48, 1443–1449 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1306-4

Download citation

Keywords

  • Sexual orientation
  • Nasality
  • Homosexual
  • Speech