Chinese researchers show gay men react to male sex pheromones

In the latest research to suggest sexuality is hardwired in the brain, Chinese researchers have shown that gay men and women react to the pheromones that other men release when aroused

Chinese researchers show gay men react to male sex pheromones
02 May 2014

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have released the latest research suggesting that sexuality is hardwired in the human brain by showing that gay men and women react to male sex pheromones while heterosexual men ignore them.

The scientists set up an experiment in which they exposed men and women to the pheromones androstadienone (found in male sweat and semen) and estratetraenol (found in female urine).

They then showed them a video animation of a person walking made up of dots marking the various joints of the body and asked to guess it was a man walking or a woman.

Heterosexual women and gay men who had been exposed to androstadienone were more likely to guess that the figure was a man, while exposure to the hormone had no effect on how heterosexual men guessed about the figure.

Heterosexual men who were exposed to estratetraenol were more likely to guess the walking figure to be female while heterosexual women were not effected by exposure to the hormone.

Bisexual and lesbian women were also more likely to guess the figure was a woman but the results were not as pronounced as for the gay men in the study.

The researchers, Wen Zhou, Xiaoying Yang, Kepu Chen, Peng Cai, Sheng He and Yi Jiang, published their results in the journal Cell yesterday.

‘Homosexual males exhibit a response pattern akin to that of heterosexual females, whereas bisexual or homosexual females fall in between heterosexual males and females,’ the researchers wrote in a summary of their findings.

‘These effects are obtained despite that the olfactory stimuli are not explicitly discriminable. The results provide the first direct evidence that the two human steroids communicate opposite gender information that is differentially effective to the two sex groups based on their sexual orientation.

‘Moreover, they demonstrate that human visual gender perception draws on subconscious chemosensory biological cues, an effect that has been hitherto unsuspected.’

Previous research by Sweden’s Karolinska Institute had shown that the hypothalamus region of the brain lights up in gay men and lesbians when they are exposed to sex pheromones of their same sex.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Australia: Gay man beaten to death with pole after he was caught having sex in park toilet

Prosecutor says the murder was a 'vigilante attack' to rid the area of gay men
No thumbnail available

Brian Epstein honoured in Liverpool

Liverpool theatre renamed Epstein Theatre in honour of The Beatles’ Manager
No thumbnail available

What every gay needs to know about Eurovision 2012

GSN outlines the history, our favorite traditions, and this year's betting odds of the international pop contest
No thumbnail available

Vietnamese intersex woman 'deeply shocked' at decision to revoke gender recognition

Pham Le Quynh Tram says she will appeal authorities' decision to revoke legal recognition of her female gender
Ellen DeGeneres to crowd at Teen Choice Awards: Be proud of being different

Ellen DeGeneres to crowd at Teen Choice Awards: Be proud of being different

'I wanna make sure that everyone knows that what makes you different right now makes you stand out later in life'
No thumbnail available

Actor begins role as closeted pro baseball player on Days of Our Lives

Christopher Sean's character could come between daytime soap's newlywed gay couple
Kids reacting to gay marriage will warm your heart

Kids reacting to gay marriage will warm your heart

Children between the ages of five and 13 were sat down to watch two gay couples get engaged, and you will love the results
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Jessie J responds to backlash over no longer being bisexual

British pop star has claimed in a lengthy response on Twitter that she never lied about her sexuality
No thumbnail available

New online LGBT magazine launched

Clusion magazine aims to dispel the stereotype of 'sex mad' LGBT people