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Dominance and Sexual Behavior: A Hypothesis
VIRGINIA ABERNETHY
Am J Psychiatry 1974;131:813-817.
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Associate in Psychiatry (Anthropology), Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

1974, The American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Primatological, ethnographic, and psychiatric data suggest the hypothesis that male dominance facilitates male-female copulatory behavior while female dominance inhibits it. The author discusses a mother-son pair of rhesus macaques in which two incestuous episodes took place, several human societies in which the wife is economically independent of her husband and has higher status in the home, and the significance of maternal dominance in the dynamics of male homosexuality. Presentation of these data is followed by suggestions for testing the hypothesis and a discussion of the social and therapeutic implications of the observed relationships.

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