Serial cheaters and randy bachelors often seem deeply unable to stay monogamous; could there be scientific proof to their claims that they “just can’t help it”? According to a new study out from Binghamton University, the propensity for infidelity might possibly be blamed on DNA.
The team of researchers led by Justin Garcia, a SUNY Doctoral Diversity Fellow in the laboratory of evolutionary anthropology and health at Binghamton University, compared choices in sexual behavior with genes. The resulting new theory is that the dopamine receptor D4 polymorphism, or DRD4 gene, may lead to choices about sexual activity. It is the same gene that has been linked to sensation-seeking behavior such as alcohol use and gambling–it is able to influence the brain’s chemistry and thus, behavior.
“We already know that while many people experience sexual activity, the circumstances, meaning and behavior is different for each person,” said Garcia. “Some will experience sex with committed romantic partners, others in uncommitted one-night stands. Many will experience multiple types of sexual relationships, some even occurring at the same time, while others will exchange sex for resources or money. What we didn’t know was how we are motivated to engage in one form and not another, particularly when it comes to promiscuity and infidelity.”
They conducted the study by collecting detailed histories of 181 young adults, and comparing it with samples of their DNA. The team was able to determine that individual differences in sexual behavior seemed to be influenced by individual genetic variation.