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Male Sexual Orientation and Avuncularity in Canada: Implications for the Kin Selection Hypothesis

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Androphilia refers to sexual attraction and arousal to adult males, whereas gynephilia refers to sexual attraction and arousal to adult females. The Kin Selection Hypothesis (KSH) posits that genes for male androphilia can persist if androphilic males offset the fitness costs of not reproducing directly by enhancing indirect fitness. In theory, by directing altruistic behavior toward kin, androphilic males can increase the reproduction of kin, thereby enhancing indirect fitness. Evidence supporting the KSH has been documented in Samoa. Samoan transgendered, androphilic males, known locally as fa’afafine, are socially accepted by the majority of Samoans. In contrast, no supportive evidence has been garnered from other cultures (i.e., USA, UK, Japan) that are characterized by less social tolerance toward male androphiles. Tests of the KSH in Canada might be more likely to yield findings consistent with Samoa because Canadian social and political attitudes toward male androphiles are markedly more tolerant and accepting. Here, we compared the willingness of Canadian androphilic men, gynephilic men, and androphilic women to invest in nieces and nephews as well as in non-kin children. Consistent with the KSH and findings from Samoa, androphilic men exhibited a significantly greater cognitive dissociation between altruistic tendencies directed toward kin versus non-kin children relative to gynephilic men and androphilic women. The present study, therefore, provides some tentative support for the KSH from a culture other than Samoa. Findings and future directions for research are considered within the context of the existing cross-cultural literature.


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