Is Serotonin the Gay Chemical?

By: Echo Brooks/ TRT Online Columnist-

A Chinese scientist states he has found that removing serotonin from a male mouse will decrease his mating desire for females and actually increase his desire for male mice, essentially chemically altering the mouse’s sexual preference.  While there is no documentation that serotonin in humans can alter sexual orientation, the study is thought provoking none-the-less.

If there were a pill one could take to change their sexual preference, and the ideal situation would be to create an entirely heterosexual society, when would doctors feel the right time to administer it be?  Giving it at birth would be an admission that people are born gay. Giving it later in life would alter not just sexual orientation, but the natural order of things. Altering sexual orientation is not the same thing as altering the entire person.  Life experience molds who people are.  Gay and lesbian people endure very different life experiences than their straight counterparts do.  Sexual experiences are only a small part of those differences.

LGBT people endure completely different situations than straight people.  Even if they are lucky enough to have had acceptance from friends, family, schoolmates, etc, they will still have had to learn different coping skills, different ways to communicate, and different social behaviors in order to be comfortable within a primarily heterosexual world.  If that person were to take a pill that ultimately changed the course of their thinking, even if just sexually, it would make sense that the skills, behaviors and experiences would not transfer correctly to the new heterosexual life they would now be living.  It is possible that a person’s entire perception of life and how to handle it would be compromised just by attempting to change their sexual attraction.

If the pill was available but not mandatory, would people opt to take it? Assuming that minors could not be forced to take it, but could consent on their own, would we see a sea of young people attempting to change who they are to fit into a society that doesn’t accept them? Would we see parents trying to persuade teens to change how they are under the false pretense that it will make ‘their’ life easier? Would people be willing to accept their lives as a lie in order to fit in?  Would the compassion the previous LGBT people had for their community turn to resentment because of the lie and ultimately fuel the war? Or would the pill change nothing at all?

Sex is not what defines us.  At least it is not what defines me. It is unrealistic to believe that altering a chemical in our brain which in turn alters who we are physically attracted to could be that simple and end there.  It is ludicrous to think that sexual preference is all there is to sexuality. It is absurd to think that a pill causing me to want to sleep with men would make me anything more than a lesbian that sleeps with men.

Echo resides in northern New Jersey with her wife and the two youngest of their five children. You can visit her blog at or send comments and questions to

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