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Exposure to Mother's Pregnancy and Lactation in Infancy is Associated with Sexual Attraction to Pregnancy and Lactation in Adulthood
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution.
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2011 (English)In: Journal of Sexual Medicine, ISSN 1743-6095, E-ISSN 1743-6109, Vol. 8, no 1, 140-147 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Introduction.  Several theories, including psychodynamic theories, sexual imprinting and early conditioning have been formulated to explain sexual development. Empirical data, however, remain insufficient for a thorough evaluation of these theories.

Aim.  In this study, we test the hypothesis that a critical period exists for the acquisition of sexual preferences, as suggested by empirical findings in birds and mammals (sexual imprinting).

Methods.  An Internet questionnaire was used.

Main Outcome Measures.  We gather data from individuals with a sexual preference for pregnant and/or lactating women, under the hypothesis that pregnancy or lactation may become sexually attractive in adulthood following an exposure to pregnant or lactating women in infancy.

Results.  We find that these preferences are more common in older siblings, i.e., in individuals who have been exposed to more maternal pregnancy and lactation. This result is independent of respondent and sibling sex. In addition, only maternal pregnancies and lactations experienced between 1.5 and 5 years of age are associated with the preferences.

Conclusions.  We discuss our findings in relation to theories of sexual development and to earlier reports of birth order effects on sexual behavior. We suggest that this age range may constitute a sensitive period for the acquisition of sexual preferences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 8, no 1, 140-147 p.
Keyword [en]
Sexual Imprinting, Sexual Development, Sexual Stimuli, Paraphilia, Fetishism, Birth Order, Exposure to Pregnancy and Lactation
National Category
Developmental Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54454DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.02065.xISI: 000285892000014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-54454DiVA: diva2:394390
Available from: 2011-02-02 Created: 2011-02-02 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. On Sexual Imprinting in Humans
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On Sexual Imprinting in Humans
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis I investigate whether human sexual preferences develop through sexual imprinting. Sexual imprinting is the acquisition of sexual preferences through non-rewarded experiences with parents and siblings during an early sensitive period and it is known to exist in many other animals. Learning is often sex specific so that males, for instance, learn to prefer as sexual partners individuals that look like their mother, and avoid individuals that look like their father. First, sexual imprinting in animals and humans is reviewed and compared to prevailing evolutionary views presupposing genetically determined sexual preferences. Further, by means of web surveys, I have explored the relationship between childhood exposure to parents with certain natural and cultural traits and sexual attraction to these traits in a partner. Cultural traits were included because it is unlikely that preferences for them are genetically determined adaptations. Parental effects varied between traits. For instance, in heterosexual males, a positive effect of mother was found on attraction to smoking, but not glasses, while a negative paternal effect was found on attraction to glasses, but not smoking. However, when maternal and paternal effects were investigated for a large number of artificial and natural traits, including smoking and glasses, an overall positive effect of opposite sex parent emerged in both heterosexual males and females. Additionally, in the last study we explored a sexual preference for pregnant and lactating women. Results suggest that exposure to a pregnant and lactating mother had an effect if it occurred when the respondent was between 1,5 and 5 years old. In conclusion, these results suggest that human sexual preferences are the result of sex specific learning during a sensitive period. Sexual imprinting should therefore be recognised as a plausible explanation to human sexual preferences that deserves further scientific investigation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2011. 30 p.
Keyword
Sexual Imprinting, Paraphilia, Fetishism, Sexual Preferences, Partner Preferences, Sexual Development
National Category
Ecology Natural Sciences
Research subject
Ethology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-57270 (URN)978-91-7447-308-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-06-10, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
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Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript. Available from: 2011-05-12 Created: 2011-05-05 Last updated: 2011-05-09Bibliographically approved

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Enquist, MagnusAronsson, HannaGhirlanda, Stefano
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