Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation (Google eBook)

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Oxford University Press, Sep 29, 2010 - Social Science - 432 pages
19 Reviews
What causes a child to grow up gay or straight? In this book, neuroscientist Simon LeVay summarizes a wealth of scientific evidence that points to one inescapable conclusion: Sexual orientation results primarily from an interaction between genes, sex hormones, and the cells of the developing body and brain. LeVay helped create this field in 1991 with a much-publicized study in Science, where he reported on a difference in the brain structure between gay and straight men. Since then, an entire scientific discipline has sprung up around the quest for a biological explanation of sexual orientation. In this book, LeVay provides a clear explanation of where the science stands today, taking the reader on a whirlwind tour of laboratories that specialize in genetics, endocrinology, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, and family demographics. He describes, for instance, how researchers have manipulated the sex hormone levels of animals during development, causing them to mate preferentially with animals of their own gender. LeVay also reports on the prevalence of homosexual behavior among wild animals, ranging from Graylag geese to the Bonobo chimpanzee. Although many details remain unresolved, the general conclusion is quite clear: A person's sexual orientation arises in large part from biological processes that are already underway before birth. LeVay also makes it clear that these lines of research have a lot of potential because--far from seeking to discover "what went wrong" in the lives of gay people, attempting to develop "cures" for homosexuality, or returning to traditional explanations that center on parent-child relationships, various forms of "training," or early sexual experiences--our modern scientists are increasingly seeing sexual variety as something to be valued, celebrated, and welcomed into society.
  

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Review: Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation

User Review  - Hlyan Htet Oo - Goodreads

A worth-reading book for those who want to understand the science of Sexual Orientation. Read full review

Review: Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation

User Review  - Zack Subin - Goodreads

Mix between literature review and pop science. Compelling explanation of the biological basis for homosexuality. Read full review

Contents

What Is Sexual Orientation?
1
Why We Need Biology
27
The Outline of a Theory
45
Childhood
73
Characteristics of Gay and Straight Adults
97
The Role of Sex Hormones
129
The Role of Genes
157
The Brain
191
The OlderBrother Effect
247
Conclusions
271
Glossary
297
Notes
309
Bibliography
331
Author Index
393
Subject Index
397
Copyright

The Body
221

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About the author (2010)

Simon LeVay is a British-born neuroscientist who has served on the faculties of Harvard Medical School and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He has written ten previous books, including the New York Times best-seller, When Science Goes Wrong.

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