The evolution of female same-sex attractions: The weak selection pressures hypothesis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Divergence from exclusive heterosexual orientation is commonly observed in women. Understanding this phenomenon requires exploring it from an evolutionary perspective, which in turn entails knowledge of human evolutionary history, particularly with respect to mating patterns. The anthropological and historical records indicate that during most of the human evolutionary time, mate choice was regulated, with parental and social control being directed predominantly toward women. Strong control over mating, along with less emphasis placed on intimacy, male-male competition, and male tolerance toward female same-sex attractions, result in weak selection pressures exercised on alleles that predispose for deviations from exclusive heterosexual orientation. These pressures are weak over small deviations, but become increasingly stronger when such deviations tend toward exclusive homosexual orientation. As a consequence, a distribution of sexual orientation arises with many women having nonexclusive heterosexual orientation, and few women having bisexual and homosexual orientation. Further predictions are derived from this hypothesis, which are matched to available evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-283
Number of pages14
JournalEvolutionary Behavioral Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Bisexuality
  • Female sexual orientation
  • Homosexuality
  • Parental choice
  • Sexual fluidity


Dive into the research topics of 'The evolution of female same-sex attractions: The weak selection pressures hypothesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this