Sexual orientation after prenatal exposure to exogenous estrogen

Anke A. Ehrhardt, Heino F.L. Meyer-Bahlburg, Laura R. Rosen, Judith F. Feldman, Norma P. Veridiano, I. Zimmerman, Bruce S. McEwen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Thirty women aged 17 to 30 years with documented prenatal exposure to the nonsteroidal synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) were compared to thirty women of similar demographic characteristics from the same medical clinic who had a history of abnormal Pap smear findings. A subsample of the DES women were also compared to their DES-unexposed sisters. Sexual orientation in its multiple components was assessed by systematic semistructured interviews. In comparison to both control groups, the DES women showed increased bisexuality and homosexuality. However, about 75% of the DES women were exclusively or nearly exclusively heterosexual. Nonhormonal and hormonal interpretations of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-77
Number of pages21
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • diethylstilbestrol
  • homosexuality
  • prenatal hormones
  • sexual orientation


Dive into the research topics of 'Sexual orientation after prenatal exposure to exogenous estrogen'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this