Prenatal exposure to estrogen and sexual orientation in women
Studies of women exposed to high levels of estrogens prenatally could provide information regarding effects of early exposure to masculinizing hormones on sexual differentiation of brain and behavior independent of influences on the external genitalia.
1994 Study Abstract
We hypothesized that girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), who experience higher than normal levels of androgens prenatally, would show masculinization of behaviors that show sex differences.
Androgen and the development of human sex-typical behavior: rough-and-tumble play and sex of preferred playmates in children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Child development, NCBI PubMed PMID: 7956464, 1994 Aug.
Therefore, we examined rough-and-tumble play and sex of preferred playmates in 3-8-year-old children with CAH and in unaffected 3-8-year-old male and female relatives.
The hypothesized sex differences in rough-and-tumble play were seen, with unaffected boys showing more rough-and-tumble play than unaffected girls. However, CAH girls were similar to unaffected girls. Additionally, CAH boys showed reduced rough-and-tumble play. In contrast, sex of preferred playmates showed the hypothesized pattern of results. There were sex differences, with unaffected boys preferring boys and unaffected girls preferring girls. In addition, the preferences of girls with CAH were masculinized compared to those of unaffected girls.
Results are discussed in terms of possible influences of social, hormonal, and illness factors.