Weird Science

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com August 11 2011 1:45 AM ET

With groups like the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association and their solid positions that sexual orientation is innate, it's no secret that science is on the side of gay people. Admittedly, though, a remarkable statistic or an incredibly in-depth scientific study on something that seems ridiculous tends to catch our eyes. After Republicans raised a furor over a recent government study regarding penis size and the sexual tendencies of gay men, we decided to take a look at some of the most provocative, shocking, and not-so-shocking studies reported on Advocate.com.
 

 

Fruit fly study could prove genetic origin of sexual orientation 
2005: It doesn't scientifically prove that gay men and lesbians are "hard-wired" with their sexual orientation before birth, but a study on the genes and sexual behavior of fruit flies is rocking the scientific community. Researchers at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna genetically altered a female fruit fly. When it was released into an observation chamber it took on the sexual personality of a male. The female tapped another female fruit fly on the leg, played her a mating song with its wings, and then licked her.

WEIRD SCIENCE FRUIT FLIES X390 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COM  Increasing numbers of straight men admit having gay sex, study finds
2006: A recent study of more than 4,000 New York City men found that nearly 10% of participants who identified as straight admitted to having gay sex in the past year. This group, 70% of whom were married, were less likely to have been tested for HIV infection or to have used a condom during their last sexual encounter with a man. There are serious ramifications for these findings, Preeti Pathela, lead author of the study, said in a statement.WEIRD SCIENCE MEN SEX X390 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COM Brain response to hormones differs between lesbians and straight women
2007: Swedish researchers found that lesbians' and heterosexual men's brains reacted similarly when stimulated with certain hormone. In contrast, the brains of lesbians and heterosexual women react differently to sex hormones, adding to the argument that homosexuality is an innate trait rather than learned behavior.WEIRD SCIENCE WOMAN BRAIN X390 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COM  Study: Caged koalas prefer lesbian romps
2007: Caged female koalas enjoy lesbian romps, rejecting male suitors and attempting to mate with each other, sometimes up to five at a time, according to researchers. The cute, eucalyptus-eating wombat-like creatures seem to develop this tendency for gay orgies when they are in captivity. In the wild, they appear to remain heterosexual. Scientists monitoring the marsupials with digital cameras counted three gay interactions for every straight one.WEIRD SCIENCE KOALAS2 X390 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COM  Lavender and tea tree oils may cause breast growth in boys
2007: While it might not be the preferred scent for most prepubescent boys, researches found out that enlarged breast tissue in young boys may be caused by repeated, topical use of products containing lavender oil or tea tree oil.WEIRD SCIENCE LAVENDER X390 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COM  Study: People have sex because it feels good
2007: How's this for shocking? After exhaustively compiling a list of the 237 reasons people have sex, researchers found that young men and women get intimate for mostly the same motivations. It's more about lust in the body than a love connection in the heart. College-age men and women agree on their top reasons for having sex: They were attracted to the person, they wanted to experience physical pleasure, and ''it feels good,'' according to a peer-reviewed study in the August edition of Archives of Sexual Behavior. Twenty of the top 25 reasons given for having sex were the same for men and women. Expressing love and showing affection were in the top 10 for both men and women, but they did take a backseat to the clear number 1: ''I was attracted to the person.''WEIRD SCIENCE LESBIAN SEX X390 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COM Scientists: Mercury Turns Birds “Gay”
2010: Scientists in Florida and Sri Lanka have found that male birds in wetland habitats respond to mercury contamination by mating with other male birds. The in researching why breeding white ibises was down, scientists revealed that mercury in the diet depresses the testosterone levels of the birds.

A related study a few months earlier showed that sexual fluidity is rampant among birds. Geoff MacFarlane, a researcher from Australia’s University of Newcastle, has discovered the gender of avian that spends less time raising baby birds is also more likely to indulge homosexual desires.WhiteIbisx390 (Photos.com) | Advocate.com "Gay" Caveman Likely a Media Myth

2011: Early reports excited us when archeologists unearthed a 5,000 year-old caveman skeleton outside of Prague that was being described as "the gay caveman." A couple of days later, however, historians and archaeologists expressed concern that media reports referring to the caveman may have been exaggerated. The remains are of a man lying on his left side and facing west, which is how many women of the time were laid to rest. The man also has items associated with females lying near him. But experts say there is no way to prove this man was gay; it would be speculation to even consider him transgender. He may be a "third gender," but, "in anthropology, you can't equate third gender with homosexuality," University of Wisconsin-Madison professor John Hawks was quoted as saying. GayCavemanx390 (Flintstone) | Advocate.com Gays in Antigay States Prone to Depression
2010: Unsurprisingly, LGBT people who live in antigay states tend to be depressed about it. Gays and lesbians who live in states that ban same-sex marriage like Mississippi are more likely to suffer from alcoholism, mood disorders, or anxiety, according to a study by the American Public Health Association. The antigay policies do not seem to affect heterosexual people, the researchers noted.

 A related study the following year said that people who are victims of homophobia tend to suffer from hormonal disruptions that may lead to increased suicide attempts, memory loss, cardiovascular problems, and bone density depletion.DOCTORS DIAGNOSIS FEAR DENTIST NURSE 390x (PHOTOS.COM) ADVOCATE.COM Study: Gay Men Compete to Be Thin
2010: Competition and not personal desires are what drive straight women and gay men to lose weight, according to a study published in the Journal of Evolution and Human Behavior. The study found a natural competitive instinct among individuals of both groups to compare themselves to others who are seen as more successful. The study did not find the same results among lesbians or heterosexual men.WEIRD SCIENCE SKINNY GUYS  X390 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COM  Small Penis? You May Be a Bottom
2011: In a survey of 1,065 gay men, titled “The Association between Penis Size and Sexual Health Among Men Who Have Sex With Men,” gay men who felt they had small or inadequate penis sizes were more likely to become “bottoms,” or anal-receptive, while gay men with larger penises were more likely to identify themselves as “tops,” or anal-insertive.  WEIRD SCIENCE MEASURING TAPES X390 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COM  Study: Lesbian and Bi Women Enjoy Anal Sex
2011: According to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48% of lesbian and bisexual women reported having anal sex with a man, compared to 33% of heterosexual women. Additionally, bisexual women report having more vaginal sex with men than women who say they are completely straight.
 WEIRD SCIENCE LESBIAN SEX 2 X390 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COM  Researchers Discover Sex-Change Gene
2011: Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School and College of Biological Sciences have discovered a gene that is required to maintain male sex throughout life. However, they found that removing an important male development gene, called Dmrt1, causes male cells in mouse testes to become female cells.