Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Med Hypotheses. 2011 Mar;76(3):384-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2010.10.048. Epub 2010 Nov 20.

The roots of sexual arousal and sexual orientation.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physics and Astronomy, Howard University, 2235 6th Street NW, Washington, DC 20059, USA.


Unlike members of other species that are genetically wired to be attracted to their sexual partners, humans learn the cues that guide them in choosing their sexual partners and that trigger sexual arousal. Genetically wired mechanisms must be directing the acquisition of those cues and organizing them in information structures that underlie human sexual behavior. Individual sexuality is a combination of the genetic mechanisms and information learned through personal experiences. This article focuses on the roots of human sexuality - on genetically embedded mechanisms, common to all humans, around which the wide variety of sexual behaviors is built. It proposes a model that defines the basic mechanisms and their role in developing individual sexuality. It is suggested that three brain areas host the roots of human sexuality: the auditory area, which provides stimuli that serve as cues for the identification of a mate; an emotional area, which provides cues for emotional arousal; and a corporal area, which controls the physiological expressions of arousal. The amygdala is a main candidate for the emotional area, and the hypothalamus for the corporal area, but other areas may also provide those inputs. Experimental observations that support this model are discussed, and an outline of additional experiments for validating the model is proposed. If validated, the model would provide knowledge that fills a gap in the understanding of human sexuality - knowledge that would benefit individuals, the medical profession, and society as a whole.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center