Exotic becomes erotic: Interpreting the biological correlates of sexual orientation

Abstract

Although biological findings currently dominate the research literature on the de- terminants of sexual orientation, biological theorizing has not yet spelled out a developmental path by which any of the various biological correlates so far iden- tified might lead to a particular sexual orientation. The Exotic-Becomes-Erotic (EBE) theory of sexual orientation (Bem, 1996) attempts to do just that, by sug- gesting how biological variables might interact with experiential and sociocultural factors to influence an individual’s sexual orientation. Evidence for the theory is reviewed, and a path analysis of data from a large sample of twins is presented which yields preliminary support for the theory’s claim that correlations between genetic variables and sexual orientation are mediated by childhood gender non- conformity.

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