Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Clinical Implications Of The Organizational And Activational Effects Of Hormones
Milton Diamond, who I regard as the most important figure in modern sexology, has reviewed the scientific history of the nature-nurture debate about sexual behavior. This is a wonderful summary of the science, the theories, and the medical controversies regarding intersexuality and transsexuality written by a leader in the field. Below is the abstract of Dr. Diamond’s article, “Clinical implications of the organizational and activational effects of hormones” which was published in the journal Hormones and Behavior in March 2009.
"Debate on the relative contributions of nature and nurture to an individual's gender patterns, sexual orientation and gender identity are reviewed as they appeared to this observer starting from the middle of the last century. Particular attention is given to the organization-activation theory in comparison to what might be called a theory of psychosexual neutrality at birth or rearing consistency theory. The organization-activation theory posits that the nervous system of a developing fetus responds to prenatal androgens so that, at a postnatal time, it will determine how sexual behavior is manifest. How organization-activation was or was not considered among different groups and under which circumstances it is considered is basically understood from the research and comments of different investigators and clinicians. The preponderance of evidence seems to indicate that the theory of organization-activation for the development of sexual behavior is certain for non-human mammals and almost certain for humans. This article also follows up on previous clinical critiques and recommendations and makes some new suggestions."
This is the paper to read if you are looking for a quick way to be brought up to date on the evidence for the “organization-activation theory” of sexual development and an understanding of the controversies on “core sexuality”. Here is the complete article entitled Clinical Implications Of The Organizational And Activational Effects Of Hormones.