Tag Archives: gender

Gender and sexuality in Asia today

The rapid economic change in Asia challenges the traditional division of labour between women working in the private, family domain and men in commerce and politics. Greater participation by women in politics, while uneven in different countries across the region, has reshaped agendas for social change. The dynamism that we observe in contemporary Asia, among other things, has a deep gender dimension.

 

But it’s not only the roles of men and women that are being redefined. The seemingly immutable images of masculinity and femininity are also in flux, accelerated by the commercialisation of popular culture and the new technologies that have made its spread unstoppable. Although the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is still struggling to gain wider acceptance in most countries, it too has made strides in challenging the hegemonic status of heterosexuality.

In the area of body politics, where state and religious groups still exert enormous influence, women have been resisting and even appropriating the debate to put forward their own agenda. The search for employment or new life opportunities has also driven thousands of women to migrate, legally or illegally, within Asia as brides, labourers, traders or sex workers, bringing about a cross-cultural exchange of gender role norms

In the midst of this change, there have been encouraging legal reforms that recognise the rights of women, exemplified in the abolition of various patriarchal laws such as South Korea’s family-head system,  the enactment of equal opportunity laws and the lifting of bans on women in the military. The recent amendment to Japan’s civil code, allowing women to remarry immediately after divorcing, marks another move from a major player in the region to ensure equal rights for women under the law. Yet old discriminatory norms and practices persist and are further complicated by regional political and economic developments.

The latest issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly, edited by Hyaeweol Choi and Tessa Morris-Suzuki, brings together prominent scholars of gender studies from various countries and disciplines to explore the diversity and complexity of issues of gender and sexuality in contemporary Asia. The essays touch on major developments that have caused shifts in gender relations. They illustrate the tensions between structural violence against women and women’s own agency in negotiating male-dominated social arrangements.

The main message is that gender politics do not merely reflect societal shifts. They drive the political, economic and cultural changes that are shaping the Asian region today.

Katharine Moon, in her lead essay on women and East Asian politics this week, reckons that there is no coherent pattern to boast or model to export. Economic development is not the silver bullet for women’s political empowerment.

‘East Asians are known for creating wealth nationally and personally but this does not necessarily produce women’s political empowerment or participation’, she observes. ‘One of the poorest countries in the world, Rwanda, sits atop the very wealthy Nordic states, the United States and newly rich Asia with the highest female representation in national politics worldwide’.

In East Asia, the Philippines has the highest representation of women in political institutions, she says. Nearly 30 per cent of the seats in Philippines’ lower house are held by women, with another 25 per cent held in the upper house. In local politics, women also fare well, with 17 out of 80 provinces having voted for female governors in 2013. Since 2010, women have also made up 40–45 per cent of the highest civil service positions.

Of all East Asian societies, the Philippines is also the most advanced in integrating women’s rights and development through legal codes and administrative practices. The Local Government Code of 1991 deepened democratisation by decentralising power and by requiring all local and provincial governments to include women, and other underrepresented groups, in governance.

By contrast, Japan, the wealthiest country in the region, falls far behind, with women holding only 11.5 per cent of nationally elected offices as of April 2016 and a mere 3 per cent of the senior-level positions in central government ministries and agencies as of early 2014, Moon reports. Yet in the last two national elections (2013 and 2014), women made up about 53 per cent of the voters.

It’s not that women aren’t choosing to pursue careers, sometimes at the expense of  family, in ever increasing numbers. The low fertility rate in Japan is primary evidence of that. But they are not choosing political careers and their position in the upper hierarchies of the workplace has not improved significantly despite the rhetoric onwomenomics.  While there is now a broad acceptance that Japan’s economy needs women in the workforce, institutional models and social norms still need to catch up.

There are enormous barriers to women’s making it to the top in Japan in any career, and especially in politics. Childcare remains a sticky issue  in a country in which social norms still dictate that women are the primary child carers. So does the ‘one -size-fits-all’ structure and entrenched culture of overtime and social networking in the Japanese workplace. Workplaces that accommodate the diverse needs of their female, and indeed their male, employers such as at Rakuten or Suntory, for example, are the refreshing rarity not yet the norm. This workplace culture is entrenched in the political world which is entered commonly only as a second career move. Academia and entertainment are perhaps the most likely apprenticeships to a political career given the weakness in institutional and cultural support for female participation in the workplace in other careers.

Quotas or targets for women in politics in Asia are rare, although South Korea, as Moon points out, does now have an electoral quota system which requires political parties to include at least 30 per cent of female candidates in their district nominations and 50 per cent of appointed proportional representatives. South Korea’s National Assembly election of April 2016 yielded 49 female members, or 17 per cent of available elected seats — a record high. In China, where the ideology has supported workplace and political participation, the record has become worse. Women form small minorities at all levels of the political system: 21 per cent of the Chinese Communist Party and 23 per cent of national civil service jobs.

As Moon concludes, ‘East Asia, with China at the centre, may be on the rise, [but] it still lags behind in terms of women’s rights and political representation’. And yet the forces for change are ever more powerful, in Japan, South Korea and perhaps soon in China, not because these countries have grown great and rich but because they have grown old and can no longer afford to throw away the untapped productive capacities of the female half of their working population to work through the demographic challenges they face.

New interactive resource to bridge gap between faith, gender and sexuality

Across the globe, religion plays a critical role in shaping attitudes about gender norms and sexuality, which in turn have a profound effect on people’s everyday lives. A new Faith, Gender & Sexuality Toolkit launched today seeks to build knowledge and provide crucial support for faith communities and leaders working to promote social justice in relation to gender and sexuality.

Developed by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sonke Gender Justice and the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies (WICDS) together with communities and leaders from a range of faiths, the free interactive Toolkit debunks dangerous myths and encourages exploration and reflection on different ways to think about sexuality and gender diversity.

Crucially, the Toolkit highlights how faith leaders and communities can be effective allies in advancing human rights. It demonstrates how some religious and cultural practices enhance human life and how some are misused to deny rights, and that culture and tradition are not static but open to re-interpretation, reinvention and re-imagining.

“Increasing knowledge about the links between sexuality, gender and faith is a vital step in tackling the social injustices that affect millions of people globally, and faith leaders have a critical role to play in influencing attitudes, culture and policy. We hope the Toolkit supports faith leaders and communities doing vital work to promote the wellbeing of gender and sexuality minorities. As a collectively created resource, we invite your feedback. Our aim is for the Toolkit to be agile, evolving into a collectively owned resource with global reach” said IDS’s Elizabeth Mills who led the development of the Toolkit.

Comprised of six modules and drawing from faith-based case studies, the Toolkit helps to broaden understandings of key issues such as gender-based violence; sexual diversity; sexual and reproductive health rights; and women, gender and power. Designed for use with all faith-based groups, including those of mixed faith, the Toolkit provides useful information and practical exercises that can be used to promote human rights and gender equality from the perspective of faith, and includes a wide range of further resources and information produced by leading research and faith-based organisations.

Understanding linkages between gender and sexuality is crucial for addressing inequality

Marginalisation and discrimination are too frequently used to ‘punish’ people who do not conform to social norms around gender and sexuality. The Toolkit explores how marginalisation is fuelled by social norms, limiting women’s access to leadership positions or to sexual and reproductive health services, for example. It also offers resources, including practical activities, that can be used by faith leaders and communities to discuss complex topics in an open and constructive way, encouraging dialogue as a means to promote respect and equality for people of all genders and sexualities.

Sexual diversity: a human right that affects everyone

IDS research has shown that having a sexual orientation or gender identity that does not conform to the majority norm can affect one’s ability to earn a livelihood and gain employment, access education and healthcare, form the family and personal relationships that you desire, live free from violence and harassment, and seek justice through the law.

Sexual rights embrace human rights that are already recognised in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus documents. Like heterosexual people, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are entitled to the same rights as those of other human beings.

Generating inclusive strategies to address inequality for all population groups, including people who identify as queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, is not only about taking human rights seriously, but very much about recognising that this has positive social and economic outcomes for countries that take poverty alleviation seriously for everyone.

7 Words To Know When Talking About Gender and Sexuality

As the world becomes more aware of issues surrounding gender and sexuality, it’s important also to be aware of the vocabulary that’s commonly used in relation to these issues — and, perhaps more importantly, how to correctly use those words when talking about gender and sexuality. We’ve covered this topic before on Bustle; different vocabulary words have risen to the fore in the intervening years in different ways, though, so it’s necessary to keep your arsenal of jargon updated in order to have well-informed conversations about issues that are gaining in much-needed visibility.

Many peoples’ understanding of gender and sexuality are limited to the L, G, B, and T letters that make up the LGBT acronym (and some people might still be a little iffy on the T). But there’s so much more when it comes to talking about these issues, and even the acronym LGBT is starting to become outdated and replaced by LGBTQIA (the Q, I, and A representing queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual). It’s important to call people’s attention to these vocabulary words not only for the purpose of shedding some light on them, but to also correct the ways people have been using the words. The incorrect use of words related to gender and sexuality can be very harmful to certain groups of people, and we all deserve the respect of these words being used correctly.

So without further ado, here are seven words to know and refresh yourself on when talking about gender and sexuality.

1. Androgynous

After a lot of research, I found that the Agnes Scott College Queer Theory blog has probably the clearest definition of androgyny: That is, “having the characteristics or nature of both male and female; neither specifically feminine nor masculine; suitable to or for either sex.” The word androgyny can apply to someone’s aesthetic, gender presentation, or gender identity, and doesn’t have to be limited to the binary. Though the word has a flexible definition, it’s worth avoiding it as a way to describe a “gender swap.” For example, just because a woman is masculine doesn’t necessarily mean she’s androgynous — and just because someone’s androgynous doesn’t mean they necessarily adopt the qualities of the opposite sex. Androgyny is it’s own identity. Ruby Rose is an example of a pop culture icon who has androgynous fashion.

2. Asexual

At its core, asexuality means “someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction.” But, like any other identity, there are nuances that are important to acknowledge. The website whatisasexuality.org clarifies some of these nuances and sheds light on some misconceptions. Asexuality, for example, doesn’t necessarily mean celibacy or abstinence, even though there are celibate and abstinent asexual people. Asexuality is also not, in and of itself, a fear of sex or relationships or a mental disorder. Most importantly, asexual people do have romantic relationships with other people.

3. “Assigned At Birth”

When talking about trans or gender nonconforming people, news outlets (and people) will often make the mistake of saying that someone was “born a woman” or “born male.” The more accurate way to talk about that topic, however, is to say, “[person] was assigned [male/female] at birth.” Even that wording can sometimes be tricky, though; saying someone was “assigned to be a woman” at birth isn’t as accurate as “assigned the female sex,” because “male” and “female” are used to describe biological sex, while “woman” and “man” are used to talk about gender. Conflating sex with gender identity is simply inaccurate.

4. Cisgender

A cisgender person is someone whose assigned-at-birth sex corresponds with their gender identity; or, as GLAAD puts it, a non-transgender person or someone who is not transgender, with its roots in the Latin prefix “cis” or “on the same side as.” This is a really important word to know, especially when understanding things like cis privilege.

5. Gender Binary

Imagine a scale, with “man” on one end and “woman” on the other. Many people think you can only be one end or the other — that is, they think of gender as a binary, or an either/or situation — but the slider on that scale can actually fall on any of the points between those two ends, or leave the scale entirely and fall somewhere outside of it. The gender binary erases the existence of trans, gender non-conforming, agender, or genderqueer identities. But gender isn’t a binary, and it’s dangerous to treat it like it is.

6. Heteronormative

This word can be a little tricky, so bear with me. Everyday Feminism describes heteronormativity as a “system that works to normalize behaviors and societal expectations that are tied to the presumption of heterosexuality and an adherence to a strict gender binary.” That’s a lot of words, but it’s easier to boil it down to a real-life scenario: In my experience, whenever I tell people I’m a lesbian or introduce my girlfriend, they’re likely to ask, “Who’s the man in the relationship?” Of course, no one is the man in my lesbian relationship; however, the script of the heteronormative world we live in tries to shoehorn a lesbian couple into traditionally male and female roles. When one or more people don’t adhere to those roles… well, you can see how it gets really problematic, really quickly.

7. Ze/Hir

These are perhaps the simplest vocab words on this list to define: Ze and hir are simply alternate, non-gendered pronouns that take the place of he/his/him or she/her/hers. Some gender nonconforming people prefer to use non-gendered pronouns like these ones, although some also use they/their/theirs or other alternatives. The important thing to note here is always to use the pronouns each individual prefers, rather than to misgender them by using pronouns with which they don’t identify.

 

By Maya M

Why We Still Need Ethnic Studies and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Recently someone wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper criticizing our university’s Ethnic Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies programs for being divisive by their focus on “tiny subgroups” (African Americans, Chicanos, Asian Americans, LGBTQ people, women) rather than the larger human population.

In other words, this writer believes we don’t need Ethnic Studies (ES) and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) because we should be teaching about our common humanity rather than our different identities, experiences, and cultures.

He could not be more wrong.

First of all, human beings do experience themselves as people who have gender, race, sexuality, and culture. And those differences lead to different experiences in the world. If we are to broaden and deepen our understanding of human experience, we have to examine it in all of its diversity and understand the difference difference makes. Ignoring social differences in human experience in academic study would make as much sense as ignoring differences in fish or stars or flowers. Commonalities don’t negate differences.

Second, those “tiny subgroups” are actually the majority of the human population, and, yet, those subgroups are still mostly ignored or marginalized in much of the curriculum of higher education. Ethnic Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies ensure that students have an opportunity to develop skills to understand how race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of difference work in the world.

Third, research shows that taking Ethnic Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies classes is good for students and helps achieve the goals of higher education.

Many Ethnic Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies students are members of the groups studied in these courses, and they are attracted to courses that focus on their communities, identities, and histories because they do not find their experiences and concerns centered in many other classes throughout the university. Research shows that ES and WGSS courses have positive impacts on these students. Taking these courses improves students’ sense of empowerment and their sense of self-worth and enhances student engagement and academic achievement.

ES and WGSS courses also have positive impact on all students, especially heterosexual white men. White students who take Ethnic Studies courses experience reduction in prejudice and bias, and they become more democratic in their orientation. Students in ES and WGSS classes become more empathetic and more accepting of diversity.

Additionally, students who take ES and WGSS courses develop greater cognitive complexity and higher levels of thinking because of their exposure to diverse experiences and ideas.

And on campuses with strong attention to diversity, students across all groups report that they are more satisfied with their college experience than students who do not engage diversity in college.

Finally, ES and WGSS faculty contribute essential scholarship to local and global communities. Here at Oregon State University my ES and WGSS colleagues are involved with research on motherhood, immigration, minority health, student success, and transnational adoption, to name a few topics. One just returned from supporting a medical team working with refugees in southern Iraq. Another works with Latino/a communities in Oregon. One was nationally recognized last year for work on behalf of transgender people. Another was recently honored by our local community on MLK Day for his work with students and other people of color on campus and in the community.

Ethnic Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies bring unique analytical lenses to academic study that help us understand how race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of difference shape individual and group experiences. They help us examine social institutions and the roles these institutions play in maintaining social inequality. And these academic disciplines also help us think about how people can work to bring about changes in the world that create more inclusive, equitable, and just workplaces, families, schools, churches, and other social organizations.

We still need Ethnic Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies because race, gender, and sexuality are still important facets of human experience that give shape to the ways we are in the world. We need ES and WGSS because people from those “tiny subgroups” need an academic home to explore their concerns. We need ES and WGSS because all students benefit from exposure to diverse people and ideas. And we need ES and WGSS because the world still needs academics who can help us see things in a new way and develop skills to create a world that is life-affirming for us all.

 

By Susan W Shaw

4 Fascinating Facts About The Fluidity Of Female Sexuality From A New CDC Survey

As certain marginalized sexual identities gain greater visibility in the media,the state of the American sexualityhas slowly begun to shift. Countless high profile celebrities are out and proud, and figures like Miley Cyrus — however you personally feel about her — are making an impact by introducing thousands of people to concepts like pansexuality, attraction to a person regardless of gender. It’s not that these celebrities are making us all queer (or are they?!) but that more and more people have the freedom to explore and publicly discuss their sexuality than ever before.

Last week, the CDC released a national survey about sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual orientation amongst adults aged 18-44. The data was collected between 2011 and 2013 using computer-assisted self-interviewing, where respondents entered their answers digitally without having to respond to an actual person. This part definitely makes a difference, because honesty about sensitive subjects such as sexuality is a bit easier when you know you’re not being judged. Interestingly, the main thrust of the results suggest that women are more sexually fluid than men, which is really no big surprise. Whether that is socially constructed or has a biological component, however, is yet to be fully studied.

Here are four fascinating facts about the state of American sexuality from the CDC’s report on their findings:

 

1. Women Have More Same-Sex Contact Than Men Do

Unsurprisingly, women are almost three times as likely to experience some kind of same sex contact as men are, given that it’s generally more socially acceptable for women to experiment sexually with other women. In the CDC survey, 17.4 percent of women reported same-sex contact in their lifetime compared with 6.2 percent of men.

 

2. Men Have More Opposite-Sex Attraction Than Women Do

92.1 percent of men said they were “only attracted to the opposite sex,” while only 81.0 percent of women said the same, which confirms previous research that women are more likely to be bisexual than men.

 

3. More Women Identify As Bisexual

Continuing the trend of female sexual fluidity, 5.5 percent of women versus 2 percent of men identified as bisexual. And while we’re on the topic, here are a few ignorant things those bisexual women are probably sick of hearing….

 

4. More Men Identify As Straight

92.3 percent of women and 95.1 of men surveyed said they were “heterosexual or straight,” which again puts women on the less-than-straight end of the spectrum. Only time will tell tell what this means for female sexuality, but it’s fascinating to see the results unfold.

 

By Kristen Sollee

Shue Yan University bans free condoms campaign, saying it encourages sexual behaviour

The Hong Kong Shue Yan University stopped its student union from giving out free condoms at a sex education event in December, saying that it encouraged sexual behaviour.

The student union said in a statement on Facebook last Wednesday that they had wanted to put together a sex/gender festival since the early days of their term. An organising committee was set up in October, and the event took place December 1 to December 11, 2015. During the event, the students gave out free condoms, which were provided by AIDS Concern through Sticky Love Rice, an online sex education platform.

“We knew that we would face a lot of obstacles, trying to bring up the topic of sexuality and gender in a conservative campus. As predicted, the first day we started handing out condoms, the school tried to stop us… During the process, the school administration confirmed with us several times that there were no elements that would ‘encourage sexual behaviour’ in our activities before approving our venue applications,” the university’s student union.

The student union said that the school did not approve of them handing out the condoms and said that it would encourage and make it more convenient for students to engage in sexual intercourse. The school also said that it did not support students having sex before marriage and threatened to withdraw the venue application approvals granted for the festival’s other events if the students continued to give condoms out. The union tried to reason with the school by arguing that they were promoting safe sex, but the school reiterated its arguments. 

sex condom Shue Yan

 

“If we don’t give out condoms, does that mean that students will no longer engage in sexual intercourse?” the student body asked. “The school almost seems afraid of condoms and sexual behaviour… there is a rule in the dormitories, which say that when two people of the opposite sex are in the same room, they must keep the door open.”

“We want to confront this taboo with our event… not talking about sex is not going to make it disappear. Since sex is an unavoidable part of life, we should learn about it and understand it.”

Jim Hoe, Programme Manager of AIDS Concern said, “Prohibiting giving out free condoms only reinforces the taboo on sex. From our experience, the taboo makes youths embarrassed about buying condoms, which in turn leads to more unprotected sex and makes combating HIV and other sexually transmitted infections more difficult.”

“A lot of schools only focus on shocking and shaming students in sex education class with video footage of abortion operations and pictures symptoms of sexually transmitted infections. The taboo only deters them from bringing up the topic of safer sex with their partner and preparing for sex… This kind of sexuality education therefore leads to more unprotected sex and the rapid rise in the number of HIV infections.”

The NGO called for more efforts to promote protected sex to youth, citing figures released by the Department of Heath, which said that there had been 541 new infections in all age groups in the first three quarters of 2015, with the annual number of new infections in 2015 likely to hit a record high since records began in 1984.

 

By Karen Cheung

Sex – Is It All In the Brain?

There is no doubt that our sexual behavior is controlled by our brain. The brains of males and females are different and work differently when it comes to sex. But what exactly determines the difference in sexual behavior and traits between the genders?
Sigmund Freud believed that sex drive is the most powerful motivating force in our lives. Freud theorized that procreation of the species is an overriding priority for any organism. Human beings are driven to higher levels of growth and development due to sensual and sexual development. But where does our sex drive, which is such a powerful motivator of behavior, actually come from?
Sexual drive and desire is the result of an orchestration between our sensory systems (vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch), the endocrine/hormonal system, and the autonomic nervous system, which is divided into two branches. The sympathetic system increases our physiological activity in response to an emergency and the parasympathetic system restores our physiological activity to normal level after an emergency has passed. Executive decision making processes are regulated by the right frontal lobe, the part of the brain behind the right side of the forehead.
Sex in regions of the brain
Sexual behavior is regulated in various part of the brain, including the hypothalamus. This structure is in our emotional control center which also regulates hunger, appetite, thirst, and body temperature. Basically, the hypothalamus is responsible for the short-term and long-term survival of our bodies, and thus the viability of the species. Without food or water, or without the ability to regulate our body temperature, we would not survive long. Without sex, there would be no procreation of our species. This area of the brain is associated with sexual desire.
The amygdala is near the hypothalamus, and is responsible for alerting us to changes in our environment detected by our senses. This part of the brain is also associated with sexual arousal. During sexual arousal, our bodies show the same signs as they would in a life-threatening emergency: muscle tension, increased heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration, perspiring, pupillary dilation, and tunnel vision.
The nucleus accumbens is the pleasure center of the brain. Anything that is pleasurable will activate the nucleus accumbens. Dopamine, a neurochemical messenger associated with pleasure, reward, and reinforcement, flows into this area, and gives this message: that was fun/ felt good/tasted good/smelled good, don’t forget, do it again. A similar mechanism has been found even in organisms as simple as nematodes, which will choose food over sex, and demonstrate the ability to remember past sexual encounters.
An individual can be sexually aroused by a variety of sensory input, such as seeing a beautiful member of opposite sex, the taste of their lover’s skin, the sound of their lover’s voice, a light touch, the smell of perfume, or experiencing these stimuli in one’s own imagination.
The sexual response cycle
The sexual response cycle is divided into four phases which correspond to various neurological processes:
Desire starts with sensory input or cognitive processes.
Excitement ensues, increasing activation of the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system.
Orgasm involves a peak activation of the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system
Resolution is activation of the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system.
In the desire phase, the amygdala has selected incoming sensory information as very critical and worth noticing. This leads to sympathetic nervous system activation, which peaks during orgasm. After orgasm, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, and slows us down to normal again. Throughout this process, the nucleus accumbens is receiving dopamine, and sending the message that this is great, keep going, and don’t forget how much fun this was. This provides reinforcement to repeat the behavior. If sex was not so reinforcing, we would not be so motivated to do it, and again, there would be no procreation, and also less bonding and attachment between couples.
Differences between the genders
It is apparent, sometimes painfully so, that men and women perceive the world differently, process information differently, and have very different emotional responses to the same stimuli. Part of the reason for this is the difference in the male brain and female brain, particularly in the hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus is composed of dense neural centers, or nuclei. Several hypothalamic nuclei are sexually dimorphic, meaning there are apparent differences in their structure and function between genders. Most of the differences are in the neural connections, and neurotransmitter and hormonal sensitivity in particular areas. These structural and functional differences are manifested behaviorally by differences in sexual behaviors in men and women.
Men prefer the scent and appearance of women over other men, which is the start of male desire and initiating sexual behavior. If the sexually dimorphic nucleus is damaged, this sexual preference for females by men is reduced.
Researchers found an association between sexual orientation in males and a part of the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The suprachiasmatic nucleus in homosexual men is larger than in heterosexual men. Hypertrophied or enlarged SCN resulted in bisexual behavior in male rats as well. The part of the sexually dimorphic nucleus (SDN) known as the Third Interstitial Nucleus of the Anterior Hypothalamus (INAH 3) is nearly two times larger in heterosexual men than in homosexual men and heterosexual women.
Using Positron Emission Tomography (PET), scientists observed how hypothalamus responds to the scent of the hormone testosterone in male sweat, and the scent of the hormone estrogen in female urine. These studies showed that the hypothalamus of heterosexual men and homosexual women both activated in response to estrogen, while the hypothalamus of both homosexual men and heterosexual women activate in response to testosterone.
Sexual behaviors do not originate in the genitals or other erogenous parts. The signals that lead to arousal start there, but their destination is the brain.The male and female brains have small but critical differences in structure and function, which determine our individual sexuality.

 

by Viatcheslav Wlassof, PhD