Utne Blogs > Science and Technology

The Science of Gaydar

by Staff


Tags: Gaydar, pheromone chemistry, human sexuality, Monell Chemical Senses Center,

GaydarWhen people claim to have an acute “gaydar,” they may not be referring simply to their intuition. Long accepted as a fact in pop-culture lore, the ability to perceive homosexuality in others could be scientific. The Jan.-Feb. issue of Psychology Today (not available online) reports on a study by the Monell Chemical Senses Center where volunteers sniffed the armpits of sweaty T-shirts and rated how attracted they were to the scent. Lesbians were most attracted to the scent of other lesbians, gay men to the scent of other gay men, and straight people to the scent of straight people of the opposite sex. “This kind of scent-based gaydar enables gays to pinpoint potential partners instantaneously,” writes Psychology Today of the study. In the same vein, an article from Science Daily reported that homosexuals can be identified by gender-incongruent body types and walking styles. However, the way these ideas of gaydar differ from “straightdar,” if such a term existed, remains unclear.

(Thanks, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide)

Sarah Pumroy