Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Do Gay Men Have a Poor Sense of Direction?

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 17th June, 2008

Scientific research rarely makes me laugh out loud, but the findings from work done by Ivanca Savic and Per Linstrom of the Stockholm Brain Institute in Sweden (published yesterday in the American journal, ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’) have led to the conclusion that heterosexual women and gay men have symmeticral brains, whereas heterosexual men and lesbians have asymmetrical ones. I have long beeen persuaded by the argument that sexual orientation is largely a matter of nature rather than nurture, i.e. determined by biology (including neurology) rather than psychology, let alone being a matter of ‘choice’. But this new research gives signifcant added weight to the theory previously propounded by Qazi Rahman at Queen Mary, University of London, just up the road from where I live, that differential brain structures make heterosexual women and gay men worse a having a sense of direction than their heterosexual male or lesbian counterparts. The first time I heard that argument, as Nancy Mitford would say, I shrieked, but now it seems at last that not only can husbands and wives find valid reasons for ‘her indoors’ being crap at map-reading, but it gives a whole new dimension to the old Lily Savage jibes about ‘dizzy queens’.


7 Responses to “Do Gay Men Have a Poor Sense of Direction?”

  1. Anonymous said

    Again one of those “scientific” researches. I’m a gay man and I have a better sense of direction than anybody else I know. Therefore my friends (gay or straight) usually trust on me when we should find some place.

    I don’t know why some people are heterosexual, other homosexual and yet other bisexual, but frankly I don’t give a dam.

  2. I would hope we don’t Jonathan. Give me an OS map and compass of where I am I can get you out of there by ready reckoning. My car is full of street maps no sat nav and I can find anywhere. Also take mne somewhere once even without a map and I’ll get you back.

  3. Jennie said

    Yeah. I’m really good at mapreading, and my wife is crap.

    I do wish that people could be evaluated as to their individual skills and not as to what genitals they possess or who they like to shag.

    But until that time comes, it would be interesting to see brain scans of myself and Mister Mat to see if he falls into female and I fall into male on this test as well…

  4. […] Fryer reports on research suggesting that gay men and straight women have symmetrical brains, which give them a worse sense […]

  5. Jane Salmon said

    This research is really interesting. I have been married for 29 years. My husband has been heterosexual for 26 years. He has been bi sexual for two and gay for the last year. He has always been brilliant at reading maps and finding his way anywhere. Like Stephen Glenn he can find his way back very easily too. He also gets very insecure and anxious until he has located his bearings in a strange place. He will never ask for directions! I don’t know if this still applies as he does not speak to me now, but it would interesting to know.

    His neural patterns have definitely changed. He has had a complete identity change. He no longer thinks in the same way as he did. He no longer likes animals where he loved our family pets before. He cannot relate to his kids and has forgotten how to father them He sees them as contemporaries.(Actually if ever anyone needed evidence of why gay people should not have children it is here…. He was a great Dad before although he had a strong feminine side to him and was very nurturing, now he doesn’t care much at all. He has lost the capacity to empathise, which is again something in the brain that causes development of empathy which goes back to lack of parent/child attachment in early years. When he was going throught the change process from heterosexual to bi then gay, he had different personalities that were very distinct. he could not remember what each of the personalities had said from day to day. His mannerisms also changed and he started to look gay. Something has happened to his brain without any doubt.

  6. Greg said

    Jane, perhaps your husband was always gay. When he has always had a “strong feminine side” that seems likely in my humble opinion. I’m sure he’s acting differently since he’s come out, but I would think that’s more due to him being able to act like himself, purposefully acting more feminine to fit in with other gay guys, or emulating the gay guys he hangs out with (if he does). As far as intrest in his kids, perhaps after finally coming out he is simply more focused on himself and being excited about experiencing life as a gay man, sort of like a high school or college student in their first fling or relationship.

  7. Johnny said

    Thank you for this, appriciated!
    תיירות גאה

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