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Chemical influences sexual behaviour in mice

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  1. this is horrible news! while it does show biological relationsion to horrible news, it will probably spark some stupid ways in which to make ex-gays, potentially even classifying homosexuality as a mental deviance again WTF!!!! THIS IS ASSHOLERIFIC


  3. This article is bound to be used by socially conservative groups to support the position that homosexuality is merely a chemical imbalance and can therefore be “cured”.

    Where is the line going to be drawn between understanding sexual behavior and “correcting” for so-called non-normative behavior?

    I predict that the medicalization of sexuality will have some very drastic and dire consequences for our demographic in the future.

    1. Yeah well I cant wait until the day they try and cure me

      1. @James!

        I suspect you wouldnt be their first choice of patient/victim lol

  4. I hate this kind of news. It’s fascinating in mice, but then the conservative bigots will jump on the band wagon and immediately assume it’ll be the same for humans too, sparking the whole “curing homosexuality” BS.
    I fail to see how different levels of serotonin could alter a human’s sexual orientation. I’ve taken a certain type of anti-depressant which affects serotonin levels in the body and I was gay before, gay then and gay after! Though my biological knowledge is certainly limited, I think it’s enough to keep the “correcting” people at bay.

    1. Dr Robin Guthrie 24 Mar 2011, 11:52am

      Me Too.

      Gay before, during and after 5 years on Citalopram, which is a Selective Serotonin re-uptake Inhibitor (SSRI ).

      This was for depression, and in my 45 years I am yet to find a depressed mouse.

      1. This is somewhat pedantic I suppose but seeing as it’s a selective antagonist, it wont cause an overall decrease in the effects of serotonin and possibly not in the right cells to have this effect if there was such an effect.

        Though I did think a similar sort of thought when I red this.

    2. Jock S. Trap 24 Mar 2011, 12:58pm

      Serotonin affects libido not sexual orientation.

      Libido have never been a problem for most men.

  5. Hmm. That might MIMIC the effect of being gay, but I don’t think it’s the cause. Certainly not in human beings anyway.

  6. So unhorny mice express no preference – why ever would they? Interesting. But not very.

  7. I think the comment of the reports co-author is clear here, treat with caution …

    Even if, in the wildest dreams of the most socially conservative there was some indisputable proof that homosexuality is a chemical imbalance, then there would be at least two further arguments. Firstly, is the treatment of this chemical imbalance a clinical priority and the desire of the individual. Secondly, is interfering with nature which led to the original chemical imbalance an appropriate act to undertake in this instance.

    Regardless of such weird arguments that may be established by those who perceive gay people to be abnormal – the reality is that science has already demonstrated – prior to this unclear study – that sexual orientation – gay, bisexual or heterosexual is a characteristic that one is born with … that, as much as many would prefer it not to be, is thankfully irrefutable

    1. Christine Beckett 24 Mar 2011, 12:39pm

      Hear, hear….

  8. To the author, I would be interested in reading the original paper, as a gay neurobiology & biochemistry student it kinda links three of my major fields!

    I wonder could you give a link/doi to the original paper or pre-release article?

  9. Interesting that made some het mice exhibit active gay role. Why not the passive ” female ” role, that would more convincing as a supposed change in orientation.

  10. de Villiers 24 Mar 2011, 11:53am

    Even if one is not born into a sexual orientation genetically but is, somehow, orientated due to social factors, I cannot see why this leads to a negative value of either homosexuality or heterosexuality.

    Surely both are as valid as each other in the same was as language, accent or hair colour.

    1. Your french and have slagged us commentators off as being ignorant so why do you keep posting crap here? When you say social factors you come across like that muslim bloke who says all gay men were raped when they were kids

      1. Actually he’s talking sense he’s saying even if u can change why should gays and straights are like different coloured eyes….. Atleast I think that’s what he’s sayin

        1. well I havent got a fcuking clue what you’re on about

          1. @James! In the words of Lincoln (and others) better to stay silent and look a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt. Please keep reading Villers comment until you understand what a good point it is, then get back to your clowning Tourette’s

          2. youre right please explain the social factors?

          3. @James!

            I am just guessing … but …

            I think he is saying that some people can change their orientation due to environmental situations. So, for example, if a straight guy moved into a house share with a number of other gays and over a period of time conversation etc might lead them to becoming inquisitive and gay-curious etc

            Not sure whether I agree with it (if that is what is meant) … I mean, I think most (if not all) of us are born gay (or straight or bi) but I guess there might be the exception that makes the rule that can change due to external influences ….

          4. de Villiers 24 Mar 2011, 6:41pm

            The focus on the gender as the end of desire is at the expense of sexual activity such as sodomy, bondage, master/slave, oral. It may be that people have an erotic desire for a particular sexual activity over that of a particular gender. To concentrate on sexuality as gender is to reduce it to a matter of male/female rather than the full panoply of sexual activity in which the gender of the participants is less relevant than the activity in which they are engaged.

            In ancient Western society, the desire for sodomy arose generally (think of the Greeks). That did not impose a sexuality on the participants. The desire was for sodomy. It is only in modern times that we categorise this as “homosexual” and create the homosexual identity. In non-Western society, there are tribes where male sodomy is widely practiced and socially conditioned such that its incidence is far higher than in the West.

          5. de Villiers 24 Mar 2011, 6:45pm

            The act of ‘coming out’ can be seen as a response of those who prefer a particular sexual act as being forced into a ‘confession’ and forced to fit into yet another social definition – that of homosexuality.

            If there is no moral difference between sexual acts, it is difficult to see a moral difference between constructed notions of homosexuality or heterosexuality.

            So even if homosexuality is socially conditioning or inherent preference, it should have as much moral value as an accent – unchosen but socially constructed or one’s language – unchosen but socially learned.

          6. de Villiers 24 Mar 2011, 6:49pm

            > Actually he’s talking sense he’s saying even if u can change why should gays and straights are like different coloured eyes….. Atleast I think that’s what he’s saying

            >I think he is saying that some people can change their orientation due to environmental situations.

            That is exactly what I am saying. Even if you have a preference between the two or become socially conditioned to prefer one over another or even socially conditioned to enjoy the activity regardless of preference, there is no good reason for “homosexuality” or rather what is considered to be “homosexual activity” to be considered inferior.

          7. What you have there is an opinion, nothing more.

            You should back it up with some science if you want anyone to take you seriously.

          8. De villers

            You think all gay men do is sodomize each other?

            There are some gay men who think anal sex is nothing to do with loving another man and find it abhorrent.

            That was an appalling comment

          9. Stu
            So, for example, if a straight guy moved into a house share with a number of other gays and over a period of time conversation etc might lead them to becoming inquisitive and gay-curious etc

            Seriously stupid comment what next gay people adopt straight kids and turn them gay

          10. @James!

            If you read my comment in fulll rather than taking one segment of it, in, you will clearly see that I am not making a comment about what I believe but trying to second guess what someone else was trying to say – partly in response to your comment that you didnt understand what they were saying …

            So calling my comment stupid – well its plain ignorant

          11. de Villiers 25 Mar 2011, 12:06pm

            > You think all gay men do is sodomize each other? There are some gay men who think anal sex is nothing to do with loving another man and find it abhorrent. That was an appalling comment

            You have completely missed the point – perhaps deliberately.

          12. @de Villiers

            Neither you, nor myself in my discussion of your comments made any suggestion that gay men were purely to do with sodomy (as James! puts it)

            Whilst sex is clearly an aspect of sexuality – they is clearly significantly more to do with gay relationships than sex. Any respectable and balanced persons (gay or not) would recognise that … the suggestion otherwise is odd to say the least.

          13. That’s because you’re a thick, self-hating fag.

          14. @LULU2

            “That’s because you are a thick, self hating fag.”

            Really … Clearly, you are so intelligent that offensive language is all you are capable of …

            You know nothing of me. The reality is I am a happy gay man. I am well adjusted, have lots of friends – gay and not. Have achieved well in my career, have a family who accept and respect me … but you’re not interested in any of that are you … you instead fling comments that you think sound clever but speak more of your ignorance than anything you (don’t) know about the person you are speaking about …

            You probably haven’t even read the entire thread of conversation – thats if you are able to read it all …

          15. de Villiers 27 Mar 2011, 7:10pm

            > That’s because you’re a thick, self-hating fag.


  11. You thought the religious were bad to us – wait to see what the scientists have in store for us.

    1. Not like it hasn’t happened before, It’s Eugenics all over again…

    2. Except; especially in the biosciences there are quite a few of us, guiding opinion.

      Besides the measures to get into the academic / scientific community involves a lot of intelligence, dedication and a long period as a student. Students are some of the most liberal and accepting demographics.

      Unlike with the extreme religious scientists are unlikely to have been enculturated to dislike anything not the norm, are smart enough to think for themselves and accept other’s views. Obviously this only applies to the extreme religious, not those who are smart enough to take their religion with a pinch of salt and formulate opinions themselves, these people usually don’t have a problem with us.

      Really science drives the world forward. Not back!

      1. Really? Tell that to those who suffered at the hands of the n4zi scientists. It’s just naive of you to think that scienctists are all ‘good’. Trust me, when the homophobes get hold of science – it will not be theology which tries to explain us away, it will be genetics which will biologically make us go away.

        And if you think it was intelligent of the scientific community to invent the atom bomb or biological warfare agents, you’re obivously not as ‘intelligent’ as you think you are.

      2. @Jacob and Edward

        I think science can be used to drive the world forward

        I think the intention of science is often to benefit humanity either in terms of well being, economics or in other ways

        However, the problem with science is not usually what is designed and invented or discovered by the scientists but the misuse of their creations/discoveries by others – scientists can not control that …

        1. So the scientists didn’t know what they were ‘inventing’ when they developed the A bomb? Scientists didn’t know what they were ‘inventing’ when they developed germ warfare. Scientists didn’t know what they were ‘inventing’ when they developed GM crops that can not be replanted – hence having to buy new seeds every season. Your opinion just further shows, like on other comments how naive you are.

          1. @Edward

            Firstly, whilst I have confidence in the majority of scientists and that their motivation is (at least in part) to benefit humanity that does not preclude that there are some whose ethics are questionable and nothing I stated in my earlier post is inconsistent with this

            Lets deal with all of those issues one by one ..

            In terms of the atomic bomb – the intial technology and work by andrei sakharov was developed from nuclear fission to develop energy for large scale power production

            In terms of germ warfare – these originated in a variety of forms principally following peaceful research to find either vaccines or better (or any) treatment regimes for infectious diseases.

            I know little about GM crops – I suspect that at least some of the scientists may have genuinely believed the outcome would have been different but concede some may have at least suspected the potential for the outcome

            In at least the first two – the initial scientists intentions were good and honourable..

          2. … Far from naive as you describe me – I am fully aware of the whole range of horrendous actions that humans can inflict on each other, and having experienced many of them at first hand in my careers as a police officer and paramedic – I also recognise the amazinf fortitude that humans have and their tremendous ability to support and help each other in times of need. I believe that makes me optimistic and a person who seeks the best, whilst remembering some of the horrific things that humans do, if that makes me naive – then I am proud to be – I dont think I fit the definition

    3. You make a critical fallacy in comparing science to a religion. Science is not a belief structure, not is it “good or bad”. These are out moded and irrelevant term to apply to moralistic religions.

      Science is the exploration of truth using established methodologies. How science is used can be interpreted as “good or bad” if you are that way inclined, but it is not a moral entitl in its own right.

      You are alive more then likely in a large part due to science, medicine and the comforts that technology has brought into your life.

      The fact that an atomic bomb was born form the research is hardly indicative of “evil science”, it is the machine of war, very much a human invention, that used the bomb on its fellow man, not science. That paranoid nonsense is born of ignorance.

      1. @will

        No I didnt, go and re-read what I said

        At no point did I compare science to anything

        What I commented on was the motivation of the scientists – I never commented on the morality of the science itself, and indeed it is the use of science that can be morally evaluated.

        If you prefer to live in a moral vacuum and not have ethics thats a matter for you – I prefer to have standards of right and wrong that cross over every aspect of life – including the actions of scientists – thats why I believe in human rights and justice.

        I wholeheartedly agree science and techonology has brought many benefits and improvements both in terms of comfort and clinical advances – and nothing I have said suggests otherwise.

        Absolutely it is human use of science that is the result of “bad things happening” to that technology etc.

        At no point have I castigated science, merely either those scientists who make decisions to utilise discoveries against humans etc or those non-scientists who do the same

        1. My comment was directed to Edwards comment “You thought the religious were bad to us – wait to see what the scientists have in store for us”, not you.

          But your line “including the actions of scientists” is precisely my point. Science is not a cognitive moralistic entity, it is the application of reason. Reason is not a moral entity. The results of scientific research can be used in any way, to harm or benefit. This can be said about ALL research.

          1. @Will

            Firstly, thank you for confirming you weren’t commenting on my discussion – and apologies for jumping to that conclusion.

            However, I think you will see that I agree that it is the use of science that can be good or bad, not the science per se – if you read my comments.

            However, it is naive and disingenuous to suggest that those who carry out research and deal in reason and evidence are not subject to morality. Science is subject to ethics. Any contention otherwise is not evidenced by fact.

      2. So you think that science will not be used against LGBT people in the future?

        1. To be fair, Will hasnt said that …

          But I do think he tries to put up a faux defence of science failing to acknowledge that scientists have a conscience and morality … science itself doesnt but the scientists do

          I fear some immoral scientists possible spurred on by others will use some scientific discoveries against the LGBT communities at some point

          1. So you think science exists without human activity? How weird. Science is human activity – just like religion. But, anyway, it seems you now agree with my first point. So why even bother try and argue otherwise?

            btw, religion doesn’t have the capacity to wipe out 150,000 people in 10 seconds like scientific invention can. Religion cannot pollute the sea with radioactive waste like science does. And religion has not been able to wipe LGBT out of existence, like science will be able to – that is if we are ‘born this way’.

          2. @Edward

            At no point have I said that science and human activity are isolated from each other

            What I am saying is that many of the “evil” uses of science have come from research which was aimed at and having a hypothesis which would have benefit of humanity.

            It is as preposterous to argue that scientists don’t have ethics (which is the logical extension of Wills argument) as it is to say that science can take place without any human interaction.

            However, it is the scientists not the science which is wrong. Or those that use the science

            In many cases it is not the faith that is wrong in religion (although thats more difficult to get a factual basis for) but the manipulation of it by humans.

            You seem to suggest that science is wrong – far from it Edward, it has been used to a great extent to benefit us – the technology I am using to communicate with you now and the pain killers I took earlier being two examples

            It is how science is used (good or bad) that gives it a moral side

          3. I don’t think science is ‘wrong’. I love science. I know many of the greatest scientists alive very well. But I think science will be used to control LGBT just like religion/politics or any other ‘human invention’ has. The thing about science though is that it has the ability to do much more harm than religion or any other ‘human invention’. Theological writing only exists in the mind – it has tried to wipe us out – but it cannot. If we are ‘born this way’ (which I’m not sure of, as there is no proof yet, and I have a rational mind) then scientific writing will try to wipe us out. The difference with science is that it might just be able to. That is my point. And why I say “You thought the religious were bad to us – wait to see what the scientists have in store for us.”

          4. @Edward

            Well it seems we agree on more than we disagree.

            Whilst I know a great many more clinicians, social scientists and psychologists than I do of those involved in the more pure sciences – I do value a lot of what I have seen and experienced that is (at least in part) due to scientists use of science.

            I do agree wholeheartedly that there is a risk that science could be used against the LGBT communities. I think it is irrelevant whether we are born this way or formulate a choice – whichever it is there will be someone, somewhere who seeks to damage the LGBT communities and link it to science and/or social science.

            Just because something is only seen as “existing in the mind” does not make it invalid – some science was seen as fantasy until it was proven. I keep an open rationale mind where there is no proof in either direction regardless of subject.

          5. “So you think science exists without human activity? How weird. Science is human activity – just like religion.”

            This is nonsense, and I’m sorry, but it shows you lack of understanding of what science is.

            Science is a study of the universe. Without man, the universe will still there. Religion is a belief structure, Without humanity, there still would be no god. Humans understand the universe through science. Its the rationale by which we understand reality. Religion is nothing to do with reality.

            “But I think science will be used to control LGBT”

            You seriously need some proof of this before making statements that are more correctly classified as acute paranoia.

  12. Christine Beckett 24 Mar 2011, 12:37pm

    But mice use smell for mating, to a far, far greater degree than humans do. It may well be that the lack of serotonin is simply effecting and confusing their sense of smell.

    Won’t stop the feckwits out there saying that we should all get injected and “cured”, though.


  13. I dont like the idea of chemical imbalance. It should rather be a chemical difference, we are different, with different body structures, this should not be used to call some of us abnormal

    1. Guglielmo Marinaro 24 Mar 2011, 1:12pm

      Absolutely right, Scott. To describe a chemical difference, IF any were found in humans, as a “chemical imbalance” would be begging the question, since it would be ASSUMING that there is something wrong with being gay, an assumption that there is no reason whatever to make.

      1. Well said, Scott.

        1. Absolutely, happy to be different – always have been …

          Imbalanced, well … not constantly anyway … no thank you!

  14. Jock S. Trap 24 Mar 2011, 12:53pm

    What this does is add to the arguement we are born what we are.

    Of course what it also does is show that the LGBT community will always be something of a circus act. Is anyone looking into what makes straight people straight. Probably not because we’re all told thats the way it should be.

    I strongly believe mother natural has other ideas. She knows best therefore we are as natural as the next person.

    Man though will always fight Mother Nature but to be on the winning side against Mother Natural would most definitely be the wrong side!

    1. It does add to the argument that we were born what we are, providing the findings in mice can be extrapolated into humans.

      Not sure I agree that the LGBT communities will always be a circus act, we currently are to an extent – but less so than 30 years ago – and I would like to think there will be more progress over the next 30. Incidentally, I dont have knowledge of LGBT life for the last 30 years (some of it is from reading and social commentary!)

      I do think mother nature knows best and there is clear evidence of LGBT activity across most species.

  15. Even if Serotonin is involved, it may have something to do with the mothers emotional situation during part of pregnanacy which acts on certain genes at that particular moment. It’s been speculated that sexuality is determined by several genetic factors in the brain during pregnanacy so maybe this is one of them.
    However, I wonder which chemical(s) determine the majority hetereosexuality factors – there appears once again to be little in the way of research on that as usual.

    Besides which humans are decended from tree shrews,as a recent genetic lineage review pointed out, not mice !

    Beyond that I still suspect that sexuality may be linked back to life’s mainly amphibian phases.(500 miill years ago) Many frog societies can switch genders in one sex predominates. -though maybe that’s the origins of transgender?
    But overall sexuality and lgb may be more linked to a form of natural birth control to take a certain amount of genes out of reproduction so helping limiting numbers

    1. The most commonly put forward theory for why some people are transgendered is due to the balance of hormones during a critical phase within pregnancy. It’s generally accepted that most of us do not “switch genders” but that transitioning affirms our genders. From what I understand of the science of both gender identity disorder and sexuality we’re wired the way that we’re wired and it’s pretty pointless trying to change that.

      1. You may think that it is pointless trying to chemically or biologically engineer the sexuality of an individual. You may be scientifically and ethically correct. I may even agree with you – it does not mean that there will not be some with suspect motives who seek to manipulate and change sexuality by such engineering. If able to do so, and successful, it could be the LGBT equivalent of the holocaust.

  16. Hasn’t this topic come up before: Lesbian mice. Biology is’nt my branch of science but just because something works with mice does not mean it works for humans.

  17. “The experiment has not looked at the effects of serotonin in female mice.”

    That seems to me like quite a large oversight by the “scientists in China”.

  18. As as the well know recreational drug Ecstasy boots seretonin no end in the human brain. So if there’s loads of gay guys taking it perhaps they can educate the rest of us if it has changed their sexual behavior. By the same token SSRIs seretonin re uptake inhibitors do the same thing. Has anyone found their sexual orientation has been changed because of these drugs? No. Didn’t think so. I strongly suspect observer bias in these results. Plus wanting to find some super new drug that will take the market by storm to ‘cure’ the perceived undesirable . Animal behavior is notoriously difficult to quantify without observer bias influencing the result. Ask any animal behaviorist about homosexual behavior in animal studies and you will find that ‘that kind of embarrassing result’ is swept under the proverbial carpet. Ignore it. It’s junk science. And Nature should have known better.

  19. How come my comments aren’t posting?

    1. Mine werent for a while yesterday and couldnt quite work out why

  20. musclelad23 24 Mar 2011, 3:10pm

    I don’t understand how this could apply to humans. I have taken MDMA (ecstacy) multiple times – which causes your brain to become absolutely flooded with serotonin, I have low libido on it but I never once felt attracted or thought about having sex with a woman – infact wholly the opposite when combined withsildenafil (viagra) and from the look of it … all the other lads at circuit parties are the same…

    This might be completely ignorant to say but it might be some kind of chinese propaganda. The government is notoriously anti gay and maybe just finding something to medicate homosexuals with is how they can deal with it.

    1. Jock S. Trap 24 Mar 2011, 3:12pm

      Yet I do think this experiment is a bit of a lost cause. It kinda proves nothing. Mind you I bet it’ll prove some idiots who try to use it against us.

  21. Does anyone remember some experiments years ago which led to claims that loud disco music turned mice gay? I think it was tried with other animals which just went deaf. You really have to wonder what all this nonsense is about.

  22. This experiment means nothing unless “Chinese scientists” take some straight human men and turn them gay by reducing their seratonin.

    1. Can we choose the men we want them to make gay?

      Ok, maybe not …

  23. Leave the poor bloody mice alone! This “research” is worthless.

    1. At face value it is worthless …

      It may be useful in the future combined with other research but I wonder how

  24. This sounds……just awful

  25. I don’t think something liek this is to be taken likely I’m sure there are gonna be human tests

  26. I really hope they find a cure.

    1. Don’t worry LULU2, when the scientists really find out what causes homosexuality, some vile hateful bigoted scientist somewhere will be looking for it. Some conspiracy theorists might even say that AIDS was meant to be the cure that you yearn for.

      However I’d like the scientists to work out how to ‘cure’ idiots like you. But I suppose that’s what a labotomy is.

      1. @Edward

        I fear you are right

        and dont you think LU has a spookily imaginative new name?

      2. Jock S. Trap 26 Mar 2011, 8:26am

        But they assume that it’s only being heterosexual is natural? Yet no proof.

        Lets hope they find a ‘cure’ for religious Nutjobs.

    2. Jock S. Trap 26 Mar 2011, 8:25am

      Oh Dear LU is back after being flushed and bitter than ever. Curious though that they must insist on coming back to us.

      Sure signs of a deep seated closet case if ever I saw.

    3. For your madness, LU? I hope so too, you’re awfully boring.

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