January 3, 2003
NEL HOME, Newsletter
AIM & SCOPE
BOARD OF EDITORS
INSTRUCTIONS
Z.KLEIN AWARD for Human Ethology
NEL SUPPLEMENTS
CONTENTS Vol.23 No.4 Aug 2002
VOL.22, 2001
VOL.21, 2000
VOL.20, 1999
VOL.19, 1998
VOL.18, 1997
PRESS ROOM
CONTACT
SUBSCRIBE order

NEUROENDOCRINOLOGY LETTERS
including Psychoneuroimmunology, Neuro
psychopharmacology,
Reproductive Medicine, Chronobiology
and Human Ethology
ISSN 0172–780X

NEL Vol.23 No.4, August 2002

ORIGINAL RESEARCH PAPER
Preferred Partner Characteristics

2002; 23:299302
pii: NEL230402A01
PMID: 12195230

Free full text online pdf [91 kb]
Buy PDF Now
Check Out


Preferred partner characteristics in homosexual men in relation to speculated patterns of brain differentiation
Frank Muscarella

Department of Psychology, Barry University, Miami Shores, FL, USA.

Key words:
sexual orientation; homosexual mate selection; partner preferences; neurohormonal theory

Submitted: June 5, 2002
Accepted: June 7, 2002

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The current study was designed to test a neurohormonally based theory of sexual orientation and preferred partner characteristics in homosexual men. The theory holds that the brains of homosexual men are masculinized and feminized directing attraction to targets younger and more masculine than self, and the brains of homosexual adolescents are incompletely masculinized and feminized directing attraction to targets older and more masculine than self.

METHODS
: Ninety-six homosexual men completed questionnaires that asked them to rate morphological and behavioral characteristics associated with ethologically relevant indicators of masculinity. The participants made ratings for themselves as adolescents and adults, their current partners and idealized partners as adults, and their idealized partners as adolescents.
RESULTS: Results of within-subjects multivariate analyses of variance supported most of the hypotheses. Participants as adults rated their idealized partners as more masculine than themselves and their real partners on five measures: height, weight, muscle development, facial hair, and sexuality. As adolescents they indicated a preference for males older and more masculine than self. The participants in adulthood did not show the predicted preference for partners younger than themselves.

CONCLUSION
: The increased ratings of sexuality for self from adolescence to adulthood support the contention that some additional masculinization of the brain may occur with aging. The increased ratings of body size for the idealized target from adolescence to adulthood keeps the target more masculine then self across developmental periods. This phenomenon is consistent with the speculated feminization of the brain at both periods and its effects on partner preferences.

Introduction

Theorists have proposed a neurohormonal model of sexual orientation development. These theories hold that prenatal hormones [1, 2], and perhaps some postnatal hormones [2], affect the brain structures which contribute to the development of sexual orientation. Using this model, Feierman [3] attempts to link specific psychosexual responses to particular patterns of brain differentiation. He argues that a masculinized brain directs attention to targets who are younger than self and an unmasculinized brain directs attention to targets older (defined as same age as or older) than self. A feminized brain directs attention to targets who are more masculine than self while a defeminized brain directs attention to targets more feminine than self. Feierman argues that the brains of heterosexual men are masculinzed and defeminized directing attraction to targets who are younger and more feminine than self. He speculates that the brains of homosexual men are masculinized and feminized directing attraction to targets who are younger and more masculine than self. Feierman argues that the brains of heterosexual adolescents are incompletely masculinized (unmasculinized) and defeminized directing attraction to targets who are older than self and more feminine than self. He argues that the brains of homosexual adolescents are incompletely masculinized (unmasculinized) and feminized directing attraction to targets older and more masculine than self. Feierman speculates that as they move into adulthood both heterosexual and homosexual adolescents experience increased masculinization of the brain. It has been speculated that this may represent increased activation of prenatally masculinized brain structures under the influence of postpubertal hormones or actual postnatal masculinization due to the effects of testosterone in puberty [2].
Psychological research has shown that the mate preferences of heterosexual adolescent and adult males are consistent with the model [4]. Also, there is evidence that younger heterosexual men are more attracted to women slightly older than they are while older heterosexual men prefer women younger than themselves [5, 6]. Homosexual men put much emphasis on physical and sexual attractiveness in partner choice [7, 8, 9], and Mealey [10] suggests that homosexual men prefer masculine looking partners. However, there is limited evidence that homosexual men actually prefer partners more masculine than themselves. Homosexual men, like heterosexual men, seem to demonstrate a preference for younger partners [5, 6, 11, 12]. Although, younger homosexual men show less interest in the youthfulness of partners than do older homosexual men [5, 6]. Some homosexual adolescent males show a strong interest in older partners [13], but it is unclear if this is representative of all homosexual adolescent males. Past studies of partner preference characteristics have assessed global descriptors such as "attractiveness" or "masculinity", thus, the individual characteristics which contribute to the perception of masculinity are unclear. The current study was designed to test Feierman's theory of brain differentiation and preferred partner characteristics in homosexual men across developmental periods using specific morphological and behavioral characteristics consistent with ethological conceptualizations of masculinity.

... ...

__________________________________________________________
Copyright  Neuroendocrinology Letters 2002
All rights reserved. No part may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or ortherwise, without prior written permission from the Editor-in-Chief.