Gorski, Swaab, & LeVay (gay biology)

James Woodson jwoodson at ucla.edu
Tue Jul 8 18:55:42 EST 1997

 RA-Gorski at UCLA has done a lot of
>work in this area in rats, and is good place to start. The infamous
>Simon LeVay(sp?), an admitted homosexual and neuroscientist, has
>looked at this issue in humans, and found that the human brain
>structures comparable to the MPOA in rats are feminized in human males
>(albeit his subjects have mostly been patients who died due to
>complications of AIDS). LeVay's work is supported by studies in the
>lab of Gorski and the Dutch neuroscientist D-Swaab.

You are correct that Dr. Gorski has done an enormous amount of work on the
subject, though largely in rats.  This area of the brain and behavior is my
chosen field as well, although I am at a far earlier stage in my career.  A
few comments:  Swaab's findings do NOT support LeVay's (see Swaab &
Hoffman, 1990, Brain Research, Vol. 537.). As a member of the Gorski lab,
I'd like to note that homology between INAH3 (LeVay's SDN) and the SDN-POA
in rats is questionable at best.  The two nuclei may not even be analogous.
Our findings provide very little support for LeVay's work.  If anything,
they call into question the claim that INAH3 is the human SDN.  In rats,
the SDN is a copulatory center.  Rats with a large SDN exhibit male-typical
consummatory sexual behavior (mounting, thrusting, etc.).  If homosexual
males have small SDNs, they should not exhibit male typical copulatory
behavior.  The mechanics of gay sex (except for receptivity, which might be
heightened, given a small SDN) are the same as the mechanics of
heterosexual sex.  Therefore, there should be no human sexual-orientation
difference in the actual SDN.  This concurs with Swaab's findings of no
difference between hetero and homosexual males in the nucleus he calls the

James C. Woodson* - Behavioral Neuroscience
U.C.L.A. Dept. of Psychology, Franz Hall
405 Hilgard Ave.
Los Angeles, CA  90095

"To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient
solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection."  - Jules Henri

* Research in mechanisms and loci of sexual differentiation of the brain,
motivated responding, developmental interactions between nerve growth
factors and endogenous gonadal steroids, evolutionary psychology, & learned
helplessness.  All opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not reflect
those of the University of California, Los Angeles.

P.S. You may be able to find out more about me by visiting my web site, at 

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