Sexual Orientation, Sexual Identity, and Sex-Dimorphic Behaviors in Male Twins

Behav Genet. 1991 Jan;21(1):75-96. doi: 10.1007/BF01067668.


Sexual orientation, sexual identity, and sex-dimorphic behaviors were assessed concurrently and retrospectively, for childhood, in 95 pairs of male monozygotic (MZ) twins and 63 pairs of dizygotic (DZ) twins. There was a significantly higher rate of adult homosexuality among the MZ than among DZ twins. We employed a model-fitting approach using LISREL to test for genetic and environmental influences on variation for each trait singly and on the covariation among all six traits (three for childhood and three for adulthood). Univariate analyses confirmed the presence of familial factors for five of the six variables but were generally unable to distinguish shared environmental from genetic influences. Hierarchical tests of multivariate models supported the existence of an additive genetic factor contributing to the covariance among the variables. More restrictive multivariate models yielded a significant genetic influence on sexual orientation. Because of the different rates of orientation by zygosity and because of the restrictive nature of some of the multivariate models, our results are best considered tentative but do suggest that further biometrically oriented studies of sexual orientation and its correlates would be worthwhile.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Gender Identity*
  • Homosexuality / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Genetic
  • Psychosexual Development*
  • Twins, Dizygotic / genetics*
  • Twins, Dizygotic / psychology
  • Twins, Monozygotic / genetics*
  • Twins, Monozygotic / psychology