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New Research Indicates Gay And Straight Men Have Different Face Shapes

A team of scientists from the Center for Theoretical Study at Charles University in Prague and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic have released new research that suggests subtle face shape differences between some homosexual and heterosexual men.

But there's a twist.

"Gay Face" may be entirely inaccurate, according to the new scientific evidence. 

The report, published by the National Institutes of Health, indicates that gay men, on average, have wider and shorter faces, smaller and shorter noses, as well as massive and well-rounded jaws. In other words, gay men, according to scientists, boast "a mosaic of both feminine and masculine features." 

But don't let that fool you.

In part two of the study, anonymous volunteers were tasked with looking at simple headshots of men before guessing whether the guys in the pictures are gay or straight. Participants also had to rate whether or not the man pictured looked "masculine," without being privy to the expressed sexual orientation of the person pictured. Results indicate that the faces of homosexual men were rated more "masculine" by viewers, defying the stereotype that gay men "look feminine."

The abstract of the thought-provoking research is as follows:

Previous studies have shown that homosexual men differ from heterosexual men in several somatic traits and lay people accurately attribute sexual orientation based on facial images. Thus, we may predict that morphological differences between faces of homosexual and heterosexual individuals can cue to sexual orientation. The main aim of this study was to test for possible differences in facial shape between heterosexual and homosexual men. Further, we tested whether self-reported sexual orientation correlated with sexual orientation and masculinity-femininity attributed from facial images by independent raters. In Study 1, we used geometric morphometrics to test for differences in facial shape between homosexual and heterosexual men. The analysis revealed significant shape differences in faces of heterosexual and homosexual men. Homosexual men showed relatively wider and shorter faces, smaller and shorter noses, and rather massive and more rounded jaws, resulting in a mosaic of both feminine and masculine features. In Study 2, we tested the accuracy of sexual orientation judgment from standardized facial photos which were assessed by 80 independent raters. Binary logistic regression showed no effect of attributed sexual orientation on self-reported sexual orientation. However, homosexual men were rated as more masculine than heterosexual men, which may explain the misjudgment of sexual orientation. Thus, our results showed that differences in facial morphology of homosexual and heterosexual men do not simply mirror variation in femininity, and the stereotypic association of feminine looking men as homosexual may confound judgments of sexual orientation.

 

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Homosexuality is an issue that has often been mishandled by therapists due to misinformation on the topic. Although not supported by the research, many therapists believe that homosexuality is solely biological in nature, and therefore unchangeable. Yet despite ongoing efforts, researchers have not discovered a biological basis for same-sex attractions. In fact, many researchers hypothesize that a homosexual orientation stems from a combination of biological and environmental factors. For example, when asked if homosexuality was rooted solely in biology, gay gene researcher, Dean Hamer, replied, "Absolutely not. From twin studies, we already know that half or more of the variability in sexual orientation is not inherited. Our studies try to pinpoint the genetic factors...not negate the psychosocial factors" (Anastasia, 1995, p. 43). In addition, brain researcher Simon LeVay has acknowledged that multiple factors may contribute to a homosexual orientation (LeVay, 1996).

What, then, are the causes of homosexual attractions? These feelings typically stem from a combination of temperamental factors and environmental factors that occur in a child's life. According to Whitehead and Whitehead (1999), "Human behavior is determined by both nature and nurture. Without genes, you can't act in the environment at all. But without the environment your genes have nothing on which to act" (p. 10). One way of understanding this combination might be expressed in the following equation:

Genes + Brain Wiring + Prenatal Hormonal Environment = Temperament
Parents + Peers + Experiences = Environment
Temperament + Environment = Homosexual Orientation

While environmental factors may include experiences of sexual abuse or other traumatic events, a common contributor to same-sex attractions is a disruption in the development of gender identity. Gender identity refers to a person's view of his or her own gender; that is, his or her sense of masculinity or femininity. Gender identity is formed through the relationships that a child has with the same-sex parent and same-sex peers.

The process of gender identification begins approximately between age two and a half and four. For boys, it is during this phase that they begin to move from their primary attachment with the mother to seeking out a deeper attachment with the father. For males, the relationship between a boy and his father is the initial source of developing a secure gender identity. It is through the father-son relationship that a boy discovers what he needs to know about being male, including who he is as a boy, how boys walk, how they talk, how they act, and so forth. As the father spends time with the son, shows interest in the son, and gives the son affirmation and affection, the father imparts to the son a sense of masculinity. The boy begins to develop a sense of his own gender by understanding himself in relation to his father.

When the child reaches the age of five, he begins to face another task, that is, to begin to attach to same-sex peers. At this age, he starts school and begins to look to the other boys to answer the same questions that his dad has been answering. He looks to the other boys to discover how they walk, how they talk, how they play, and how he measures up in relation to them. He seeks to be included, accepted, and acknowledged. Through the relationships he forms with other boys, he continues to gain a sense of masculinity, discovering more about others boys and therefore more about himself as a boy.

During the early years of elementary school, children are not usually very interested in playing with members of the opposite sex. They desire to spend time with members of the same sex. This is a very necessary stage of development, because a person cannot be interested in the opposite sex or in others, until he or she first understands himself or herself.

Eventually, after many years of bonding with members of the same sex, the boy enters puberty. At this time he begins to turn his attention to the opposite sex. He becomes curious about the gender which is different from his own, the female gender. With the simultaneous emergence of puberty, this curiosity becomes a sexual interest and a desire for romantic connection with the opposite sex.

Conversely, for the child who will develop a homosexual orientation, this process does not happen. So, what happens in the development of gender identity that would lead a child to have same-sex attractions? Typically, for this child, there is something that prevents him from attaching to the father. Either he doesn't have a father or a father figure, or he doesn't have a father who he perceives as safe and/or welcoming. Of course, there are many children who grow up without fathers and yet do not develop a homosexual orientation. In addition, there are many children who have loving fathers, yet still become homosexually oriented. This is due to the fact that there are various factors that contribute to a homosexual orientation. Human development is very complex and includes events, as well as perceptions about the events.

Perceptions are very important. Perceptions are more powerful than what actually happens, because perceptions become that person's reality. Perceptions are influenced by temperament. For example, a child with a more sensitive temperament might perceive rejection even when rejection is not intended. Temperament is the biological contributor; however, temperament alone is not enough to create a homosexual orientation. The temperament type must be met with the right environmental factors in order to produce same-sex attractions. Typically the child who will later develop same-sex attractions is naturally sensitive, observant, intelligent, and is sometimes more artistic than athletic. This child often tends to personalize and internalize experiences and observations.

So, if a child perceives that his father does not want a relationship with him, that child might try a few times to connect with his father, but will eventually retract in self-protection. This is called defensive detachment. Upon sensing rejection, the boy chooses to reject the father in return. He detaches from the father and even what the father represents, which is masculinity (Nicolosi & Nicolosi, 2001). Typically at this point, he will stay connected to the mother and will instead soak in femininity. Usually he is also surrounded by other female figures, such as, a sister, an aunt, or a grandmother. So at a time when he is craving masculine input and seeking to understand himself in terms of his male identity, he instead receives feminine input and begins to develop a sense of the feminine.

By the time this child enters school, he often has a difficult time relating with other boys. Either he is just more comfortable with the girls, who are more familiar to him, or he is intimidated by the boys. Often this child sees himself as different from the other boys. So he may hold back from bonding with them. If he has developed any feminine mannerisms, he might also be rejected by the other boys and quite possibly even ridiculed. He is craving acceptance from the other boys and continues to need this acceptance, though the need goes unmet. The boy watches the other boys from afar, he longs to be noticed by them, and included by them, yet he remains with the girls, further gaining a sense of the feminine while deeply craving the masculine.

This child typically spends his elementary school years learning about femininity while craving to understand masculinity. Specifically, he desires to understand himself in terms of his own masculine identity. Yet, he does not assimilate with the same-sex parent or same-sex peers, so he does not acquire a masculine identity. He associates with the feminine, which is his primary source of input. He does not develop a secure gender identity. So by the time this child reaches puberty, the craving for male input has grown and intensified. At this time in his life he is not curious about or interested in the opposite sex. He already knows all about the opposite sex-- they are quite familiar to him. What he is craving to know about is his own gender. He still deeply longs to know about boys. He longs to experience connections with males. This emotional need, the need for same-sex love, which has gone unmet, now begins to take on a sexual form. His unsatisfied cravings for male love become romantic cravings with the emergence of puberty. (Satinover, 1996).

To this child, it feels very natural that he longs for male love. In fact, he typically thinks that he was born that way, having craved male love for as long as he can remember. Indeed, he has craved this love most of his life. However, initially it was not a sexual craving. Instead, it was an emotional craving, a legitimate need for non-sexual love, an emotional need that has become sexualized.

Sexual abuse is another factor that can contribute to a homosexual orientation. In these cases men are seen as unsafe, and lesbianism becomes a way of protecting against further hurt from a male.  For others, same-sex attractions may not initially be present, but may later develop as a result of entering into a non-sexual friendship which becomes emotionally dependant. An emotionally dependent relationship is one in which two people seek to have their needs met by one another. It is a relationship in which healthy boundaries are not in place. The absence of appropriate emotional boundaries can then lead to a violation of physical boundaries.

For any of these reasons listed above, and in combination with other factors, same-sex attractions may develop. To the one who has these feelings, they are very real and very strong. There are many people who find themselves attracted to members of the same sex and yet do not want those attractions. For those who are dissatisfied with their sexual orientation, it should be noted that change is indeed possible. Research studies have revealed that change of sexual orientation does take place (see Spitzer, 2003; Byrd & Nicolosi, 2002). It is not a quick or easy process, but as with any other therapeutic issue, varying degrees of change are achievable through therapy and other means.

The inaccurate concept that homosexuality is solely biological is extremely misleading. Many therapists tell their clients that homosexuality is biological and therefore unchangeable. These therapists encourage their clients to embrace a gay identity, even when such clients are seeking change for their orientation. In doing so, therapists negate clients' rights to self-determination. Clients have the right to choose their own goals for therapy and should be allowed to pursue the path they desire. Clients should not be discouraged from pursuing change when change is what they seek. In order for clients to have the options made available to them, it is vital that therapists as well as clients become better educated on this issue.

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Such a simple process... If what you find is a hot guy that hits on you or tries to pick you up, you can rest assure that he into you. That's how I know, also.. if a guy consistently looks at you and he's not laughing his head off.. chances are good he wants to get to know you in more ways than one, well hopefully more than just one way. Stereotypes suck, they're ineffective and mostly childish and foundationless. Just take the chance by saying hello, and he's into you, he'll keep conversing and if not, you've saved a lot of time. When he is in to you however, just think how much better off you'll be.
 

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the main thing is masculine gay men can "pass" as straight.

 therefore by default femminine gay men became the "stereotype" it,s as simple as that. i have slept with too many straight appearing and acting men for this to make any sense to me. effeminate gay men take the spotlight in media and in studies of this sort. but in my opinion, effeminate gay men do NOT outnumber masculine looking or masculine appearing gay men....have u checked the faces and mannerisms of some hetero men, especially in europe?  it,s ridiculous and is bogus this study...

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Clearly you did not read the article, because the findings were exactly what you pointed out... That gay men were rated as having more masculine faces.

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"...our results showed that differences in facial morphology of homosexual and heterosexual men do not simply mirror variation in femininity, and the stereotypic association of feminine looking men as homosexual may confound judgments of sexual orientation."

Aside from the obvious flaws in social "science" (code for junk science or science in service of political agendas), there is a possible major goof in the researcher's interpretation of the results. It maybe that it is not sexual orientation per se the face viewers were reacting to, but rather the safety-ness of the shape of the face and the corresponding feelings safety-ness elicits. More feminine faces, like animal faces that remind people of babies' faces, are less threatening and therefore interpreted as "gay" because gay men are less threatening to people generally. The less sexually aggressive, the less "straight" these faces will appear. Since the media represents  gay people as passive, adolescent, youth-obsessed, pseudo and hyper sexual, silly and shallow, it is no wonder many straight people don't like them.

If the media really wants to bridge the divide between gay and straight people, they might want to stop perpetuating the stereotype that gays are consumed with nothing but their genitalia and their politics (screwing and whining) and present them in a more grown-up manner. (A good representation of gay men was delivered in The General's Daughter where two career Army men are in relationship and doing their jobs well, for example.)

It's not the  private bedroom behavior that disturbs straight America---it's the outlandish and promiscuous public displays that make gay people obnoxious to adults---even though straight males are oftentimes just as adolescent, youth-obsessed, hyper-sexual, silly and shallow as gay men! They just don't act that way in parades, "tail-gating" parties not withstanding. :)

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Looks to me like you're just trying to bash people for being themselves instead of accepting factual research. No human being in this world should take on a false archetype to coddle a closed mind. You're also a hypocrite because in posting this comment, you're engaging in the same complaining that you claim gays do even though there's no truth to anything you've said. Most legitimate straight people are cool with us existing. It's the lesser enlightened and closeted bisexual and homosexual people in our society who are the problem. Even still, it's not our fault that anyone is uneducated or afraid of their own sexuality so they can fuck off. If I want to put on a pair of purple glitter heels, wear a purse, makeup and skip down the street to "borderline", that's my business and in America I am free to do that.

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Huh, sounds like someone has a problem with other people expressing their opinions, and calling the hypocritical kettle black. The previous response is EXACTLY what the writer was talking about. It is a lack of judgment and respect for others, that a very small number of gay people practice, that give our community a bad rep. No mature adult wants to see ANYONE flaunting sexuality in the street, be it gay or hetero. THAT is what most people object to. As for the "bash"ing and research - rational people will not see this piece at all offensive. I am openly gay and find no bashing, only someone's observation. And while I may not agree with all of it, I do find it interesting. Also, the writer's comments are sociologically and psychologically spot on (some of us have actually done "factual" research). Also, just because someone doesn't agree or accept your opinion, doesn't make them ignorant, uneducated, or even prejudice...that type of logic makes you, and me by association, look like an ass. I am not ashamed of who I am, my sexuality is part of who I am, but it is not All of there is to me. I had to respond to this because I am so very tired of this mentality in our community. Sure, we may be "free" to do whatever we want in America...but that does mean we should, or that all of our actions are right or appropriate to display in public, or that there won't be consequences. Respect will only be given when it is mutual. And if you want to be the center of attention by strutting your stuff down main street sweetheart, have at it! But don't be offended when people tell you to grow -up.

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This is scrapping the bottom of the barrel for article subject matter....to say the least!!!!

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The study leaves out that a majority of people around the world fall within the bisexual/fluid spectrum for their sexual histories. How many men are in the study? It doesn't say in the main parts. It's only Czech men, which won't work for faces everywhere. Most people think gay identifying men look feminine, which this study says isn't the case. Most of these studies don't use a large enough group to be accurate.

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Good study , The degree of "gay" is based on genetics like testosterone or even of the child was raised by a single parent.

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This is a social science study, which is not hard science. Social science is where judgement and perception are not universal as biology. Take it with a grain of salt.

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We'll, I've got a small nose and big jaw line. My face is wide too. There might be some true to this only in that difference in hormones may subtly affect the shape of your face, but is not to say hormones or facial shapes determine sexuality.

 I dislike all this gay straight bi transgender classifications. we are just human and our sexuality varies but it all comes from the same place. Kind of like races. However, we don't put blacks in their own class of human beings do we? Not anymore, because we realized something.

 Out religions and gods, our differences in race and culture, and our sexuality, too, all comes from the same place. Our humanity. It is but a light fragmented into all the colors of a rainbow.

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Lol I can look at gay guys and see the sparkle in their eyes and that annoying fairy look lol then the purse flies out of the mouth then oh you got a gay lol im gay curious i just need more testosterone i can look "gay" or straight and i refuse to die without sleeping w a girl women are beautiful creatures too

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nonsensical stereotypes.  gay men include some of the most femme-phobic people i have known

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Pure genius expressed with incoherent babbling.

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Wut.

None of that made sense.

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I don't look feminine at all, this study is bullshit.

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Yeah the only commonality between gay men is that they are gay.

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I love this study I believe it has to do with testosterone and estrogen levels as well 

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This study is crap. They are searching for a commonality when none exists.

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