Haemodynamic Brain Response to Visual Sexual Stimuli is Different between Homosexual and Heterosexual Men

Department of Mental Health, First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.
The Journal of international medical research (Impact Factor: 1.44). 02/2011; 39(1):199-211. DOI: 10.1177/147323001103900121
Source: PubMed


The underlying neurobiological factors involved in sexual orientation are largely unknown. This study investigated whether neural circuits or different cognitive processes accounted for differences in brain activation in 14 heterosexual and 14 homosexual males. Brain scans were undertaken in each subject using functional magnetic resonance imaging while they viewed different sexual stimuli, i.e. heterosexual couple stimuli (HCS), gay couple stimuli (GCS), lesbian couple stimuli (LCS) and neutral stimuli (NS). Ratings of sexual attractiveness of the stimuli were assessed. Subjective sexual arousal was induced by HCS and GCS in heterosexual and homosexual men, respectively. Sexual disgust was induced by GCS and LCS in heterosexual and homosexual men, respectively. Compared with viewing NS, viewing sexual stimuli induced significantly different brain activations, most of which had the characteristics of cognitive processes. These observations suggest that different cognitive patterns may be the major cause of different subjective responses to sexual stimuli between heterosexual and homosexual men.

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    • "relatively imprecise . The stimuli used in sexual research most often included the depictions of opposite - sex intercourse or interactions , as well as male and female nudes ( Stoléru et al . , 2012 ) . Limited number of studies used same - sex intercourse or interactions as sexual stimuli ( e . g . , Safron et al . , 2007 ; Paul et al . , 2008 ; Hu et al . , 2008 , 2011 ; Zhang et al . , 2011 ; Sylva et al . , 2013 ) . Usually the stimuli were preselected to elicit comparable levels of perceived sexual arousal or sexual attractiveness ( Stoléru et al . , 2012 ) . Other subjective measures controlled for included : emotional valence and emotional arousal ( e . g . , Ponseti et al . , 2006 ; Jacob et al ."
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