Brain differentiation and preferred partner characteristics in heterosexual and homosexual men and women
OBJECTIVES: The current study examined and compared the preferred partner characteristics of heterosexual and homosexual men and women in relation to speculated patterns of brain differentiation underlying the preferences. Further, the study compared the preferences of butch versus femme homosexual women. METHODS: Two hundred twelve heterosexual and homosexual men and women completed questionnaires on which they rated themselves and their idealized sexual partners on various morphological and behavioral characteristics. RESULTS: Results of within-subjects multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVAs) showed that the pattern of preferred partner characteristics of heterosexual women is most consistent with the theorized brain differentiation underlying those preferences. There was varying support for the theory as it applies to the other three groups. Between-subjects MANOVAs provided evidence to support some of the predictions generated by theory on the differences in brain differentiation between heterosexual and homosexual men and women and between homosexual women categorized as butch and femme. CONCLUSION: The overall pattern of preferred partner characteristics among and between heterosexual and homosexual men and women does not support theory that holds that underlying brain differentiation between the groups is discrete and categorical. Rather, it supports theory that holds that differentiation manifests itself on a continuum leading to a variety of patterns of sexual orientation, and by extension, preferred partner characteristics.