Exotic becomes erotic: A developmental theory of sexual orientation

Exotic becomes erotic: A developmental theory of sexual orientation,10.1037//0033-295X.103.2.320,Psychological Review,Daryl J. Bern

Exotic becomes erotic: A developmental theory of sexual orientation   (Citations: 11)
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A developmental theory of erotic/romantic attraction is presented that provides the same basic account for opposite-sex and same-sex desire in both men and women. It proposes that biological variables, such as genes, prenatal hormones, and brain neuroanatomy, do not code for sexual orien- tation per se but for childhood temperaments that influence a child's preferences for sex-typical or sex-atypical activities and peers. These preferences lead children to feel different from opposite- or same-sex peers--to perceive them as dissimilar, unfamiliar, and exotic. This, in turn, produces heightened nonspecific autonomic arousal that subsequently gets eroticized to that same class of dissimilar peers: Exotic becomes erotic. Specific mechanisms for effeeting this transformation are proposed. The theory claims to accommodate both the empirical evidence of the biological essen- tialists and the cultural relativism of the social constructionists.
Journal: Psychological Review - PSYCHOL REV , vol. 103, no. 2, pp. 320-335, 1996
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    • ...The causes of sexual orientation have provoked intense scientific interest, inspiring both empirical work and theory (Bell, Weinberg, & Hammersmith, 1981; Bern, 1996a; Ellis & Ames, 1987; Hamer & Copeland, 1994; LeVay, 1996)...
    • ...The association between childhood gender nonconformity and adult sexual orientation has been so well-document ed and is so strong that Bern (1996a) remarked: "It is difficult to think of other individual differences (besides IQ or sex itself) that so reliably and so strongly predict socially significant outcomes across the life span, and for both sexes, too...

    J. Michael Baileyet al. Genetic and environmental influences on sexual orientation and its cor...

    • ...Numbers of theorists (e.g., Storms, 1978, 1980; D. J. Bern, 1996) have noted that, conceptually at least, same-sex and opposite-sex desire constitute two independent dimensions...

    Richard Lippaet al. The Structure of Sexual Orientation and its Relation to Masculinity, F...

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