One Night Stand Gene Discovered?

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Big Love is genetic?

Researchers at Binghamton University in New York are reporting in a new study in the journal PlosONE at a version of the DRD4 gene have a greater propensity to engage in promiscuous sexual behavior. As the press release (via ScienceDaily) accompanying the research notes:

The biggest culprit seems to be the dopamine receptor D4 polymorphism, or DRD4 gene. Already linked to sensation-seeking behavior such as alcohol use and gambling, DRD4 is known to influence the brain's chemistry and subsequently, an individual's 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."

Gathering a detailed history of the sexual behavior and intimate relationships of 181 young adults along with samples of their DNA, Garcia and his team of investigators were able to determine that individual differences in sexual behavior could indeed be influenced by individual genetic variation.

"What we found was that individuals with a certain variant of the DRD4 gene were more likely to have a history of uncommitted sex, including one-night stands and acts of infidelity," said Garcia. "The motivation seems to stem from a system of pleasure and reward, which is where the release of dopamine comes in. In cases of uncommitted sex, the risks are high, the rewards substantial and the motivation variable—all elements that ensure a dopamine 'rush.'

Hmmm. Somehow I doubt that many partners will accept the excuse, "Honey, my DRD4 receptor made me do it."

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  1. Before I take you out for some surf and turf, can I swab you’re cheek?

    1. Is that what the kids are calling it these days? “Swabbing your cheek”?

      1. Good one.

      2. I just LOLed, out loud!

  2. Does this variant of the DRD4 gene seem to prefer a gender?

    1. From the paper:

      No sex differences were evident in terms of genotype frequency (female 7R+ frequency = 23%, male 7R+ frequency = 26%), suggesting it is unlikely that the findings are a function of systematic sex differences (?2 (df = 1) = .20, p = .66).

      DRD4 is an autosomal gene (chromosome 11), so it should assort independently of gender (which in humans is pretty much completely determined by the presence or absence of a Y chromosome).

      That’s not to say that gender doesn’t play a role. There could be sex-specific differences in gene expression of this DRD4 allele or related signalling factors, but that can’t be evaluated by the methodology of this study.

    2. Does this variant of the DRD4 gene seem to prefer a gender?

      You do realize that that is impossible right?

      1. Not if it were to be located on the Y or X chromosome…

        It’s not, it is on 11. But if you didn’t know that it’s not entirely stupid to ask. Of course were that to be the case it would probably be in the lede.

        1. Obviously there won’t be a sex difference on an autosomal locus but there could be sex differences in expression patterns influenced by sex-linked alleles or hormones etc…

        2. Not if it were to be located on the Y or X chromosome…

          You mean if it is located on the Y.

          Everyone has an X…if you didn’t you could not exist.

          1. Hey dipshit, it matters if you have one or two copies of the chromosome. Men will always express a recessive allele on the X, women will not if they are heterozygous. Thus X-linked alleles will vary by sex.

      2. I’ve heard that there’s a pretty strong correlation between the y chromosome and the penis.

  3. Let me know when they discover the gene linked to increased usage of emoticons in text messaging. That’ll be some science.

  4. I have to go out of town this weekend, so I will try this on my wife. If successful, I will let the Reasonoids know on Monday. If unsuccessful, you will likely not hear from me ever again.

  5. When they come up with DRD4 gene therapy that I can put in her drink when she isn’t looking, give me a call.

    1. To turn it on or to turn it off?

      1. Depending on the circumstances and the subject, yes.

  6. I’m not sure why this research is that impressive. DRD4 has been known to be linked to sexual activity for at least a few years. I’m skeptical this is what is really going on though. Dopamine receptors (namely DRD4 and SLC6A3) are known to be very strongly link to bipolar disorder (typically other genes have to be involved to get the full bipolar effect though – some of the serotonins and glutamates). Bipolar people are known to be more sexually active (at least during the mania phase). If someone is weakly bipolar, but not identified as such by a clinician, they are still likely to have the sexually active mania phase (this is why I don’t think it’s a coincidence that slutty girls are usually emotionally volatile – I think they often have mild bipolar disorder). I’m wondering if the authors attempting to control for bipolar disorder in any way? Also, variants of DRD4 is known to promote novelty seeking. Rather than getting pleasure from sex per-say, are we sure that sexual activity isn’t just a result from impulsiveness rather than the one night stand creating more pleasure than in most people?

    In short, I don’t see why this research is that impressive and it’s hardily conclusive.

    Also, DRD4 is the new “it” gene for everything it seems. It supposedly is linked from everything schizophrenia to eating disorders to political preferences to novelty seeking (in terms of psychological behavior novelty seeking is really the only one that has been pretty strongly demonstrated to be directly connected to DRD4 – the other linkages need more research).

    1. In short, I don’t see why this research is that impressive and it’s hardily conclusive.

      That’s why it is in PLOSone.

    2. Well, I’m both bipolar and slutty (or I was back in the day, anyway), and the main link I see is a predisposition to take risks, which I don’t necessarily see as a bad thing; my willingness to take chances allowed me to discover all manner of experiences that I found immensely pleasurable, most of which I did not give up upon being properly diagnosed and medicated. And at least in my case, none of this was accompanied by that emotionally volatile, clingy, histrionic behavior so often associated with crazy chicks.

      I guess my bottom line is that I don’t see the need to look too deeply for causes, since chicken-and-egg questions are pretty pointless, and I’m not interested in finding a way of denying full responsibility for my fuck-ups. I’ve spent too much of my life proving to other people that I’m a rational, capable adult to feel comfortable ceding even an inch of that. My chemical makeup is part of who I am, but it isn’t me; human beings are more complex and unpredictable than that.

      1. Yeah, seems to me that a lot of it comes down to risk-taking and/or empathy. As a married professional with kids, I don’t screw around on my wife because neither the emotional fall-out (potentially destroying a wonderful relationship, breaking up a family, etc.) nor the economic fall-out (I would get absolutely taken to the cleaners in a divorce) is worth the short-term thrill of an affair or one-night stand. It seems to me to be the same calculus with which I likewise approach financial or professional risks.

      2. And at least in my case, none of this was accompanied by that emotionally volatile, clingy, histrionic behavior so often associated with crazy chicks.

        Exactly what a crazy chick would say.

  7. So you mean I was blessed with a special slut gene? That’s the story of my youth? Not quite as appealing as the notion that I just liked sex and liked variety, but certainly miles better than the prudish, stupid, and crazy “sex addiction” theory that views any sexually adventurous female as damaged goods by definition, the self-loathing product of a traumatic childhood.

    Either way, I don’t accept any theories that deny women (or men, for that matter) the possibility of agency in their own lives. You pay your dime and you take your chance, that’s my theory.

    1. certainly miles better than the prudish, stupid, and crazy “sex addiction” theory

      Ohhh, but don’t you see? This new finding provides the genetic basis for sex addiction, just like the gene that causes alcoholism. Thanks a lot, Science. Jerk.

      1. Ohhh, but don’t you see? This new finding provides the genetic basis for sex addiction, just like the gene that causes alcoholism. Thanks a lot, Science. Jerk.

        Or a genetic basis for a polygamous orientation.

    2. I dont think genetic propensity towards any type of behavior removes agency.

      So, despite the gene, you were a slut because you chose to be. So you’ve got that going for you.

      1. Yes, as a young, single woman it was one of my more endearing characteristics.

        As far as removing agency is concerned, yeah, I haven’t heard too many arguments that genetic makeup = predestination. My real issue is with the addiction and “recovery” industry, which insists that people accept that they are powerless over their lives; with sex that plays out as seeing sexually “promiscuous” women as prisoners of repressed childhood psychodrama and emotionally inappropriate family dynamics. It’s useless to try to convince them that maybe, just maybe, other people choose to behave in ways that they find icky. Saying you don’t feel any sort of compulsion is evidence of denial, and stating further that you like sex, that as a rational being you naturally seek out and respond to pleasurable stimuli is proof that you’re completely delusional. It’s the same old Puritan mindset that distrusts and fears the idea of pleasure as an end in itself, the same worldview that sees the chemical pursuit of altered consciousness as inherently sinful, but coached in quasi-medical terminology that obfuscates the difference between science on the one hand and self-righteous moral crusading on the other.

        Yeah, I have attitude issues.

        1. Yeah, I have attitude issues.

          The first step towards recovery is acknowledging those issues, so you’ve got that going for you.

        2. I’d say the definition should hinge on whether the behavior is causing you any harm. If you are having fun and not feeling down about it – not bad. If you regret what you do every week – problem. Should be pretty straightforward.

          If you are compulsively masturbating at work and it costs you your job… probably a problem.

          1. “If you are compulsively masturbating at work and it costs you your job… probably a problem.”

            Oh shit!

          2. I regularly and methodically masturbate at work. There is nothing compulsive about it, Just putting in the work to keep the romance alive. That’s OK right?

    3. So were is the strangest place you ever made whoopee?

      1. In the butt?

    4. “any sexually adventurous female as damaged goods by definition”

      damaged? no. not desirable for committed relationship? yes.

      1. For the record, I am happily and faithfully married and have no desire for things to be otherwise. I don’t assume that men who fucked around a lot when they were young and single are incapable of commitment and monogamy, and my husband doesn’t make those assumptions about women either, so everybody’s happy.

        Like most people, the choices I made in my teens and twenties are not the same as the choices I made in my forties, and I wouldn’t be real interested in any man who assumed they were, since that assumption would be like a flashing neon sign over his head reading “I haven’t learned a thing since I was 22.”

        1. I was engaged to a woman like you. The more I learned (she offered the info unasked) the more i came to realize I was fucking an open sewer.

      2. In my experience, its hard to have a continuing relationship with someone who isn’t as sexually adventurous as you. Otherwise, teh boredom sets in, then the roving eye, then the awkward scene . . .

        Umm, that’s what I read somewhere, anyway.

        1. Well now we’re talking about two types of “sexually adventurous.” I think most men want a wife who’s sexually adventurous when it comes to WHAT they do in bed, but a decidedly smaller percentage of men are looking for a sexually adventurous wife when it comes to WHO they do.

    5. sexually adventurous female

      >> we put so much heart into our euphemisms

      damaged goods by definition

      >> yes, this is true

  8. Meanwhile, the effects of the R2D2 gene on a persons sexlife have been well understood for a few decades.

    1. That’d be the extra special not-getting- any gene?

      1. Ive got 2 or 3 of those.

    2. +internets

  9. “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.”

    If Jane Austen wrote porn.

  10. Somehow I doubt that many partners will accept the excuse, “Honey, my DRD4 receptor made me do it.”

    Heh. Tell me about it.

  11. The biggest culprit seems to be the dopamine receptor D4 polymorphism, or DRD4 gene.

    Which means that more than one gene is involved, which means that “One Night Stand Gene Discovered?” is a silly thing to say.

    The same gene has been called the “liberal gene” and, not surprisingly, is associated with criminality.

  12. In A-C-T-G, does the T stand for Tequila? B/c I know that’s been linked to more than one one-night-stand.

  13. The article claims that there’s genetically based racial differences in behavior: “Evidence that DRD4 VNTR status is related to social and sexual behavioral strategies provides a plausible mechanism for varying selective pressure and observed racial, ethnic, and regional differences in allele frequencies.”

    That’s naughty.

  14. I’ll believe the researchers are on to something when they find the gene that makes people be statist fucks (i.e. spineless thieves.)

    1. I agree, though I’d settle for a gene that makes chicks only want to sleep with me and other chicks.

      1. All you need is the big dick gene and your in.

  15. One Night Stand Gene Discovered?

    That is so irritating.

    http://johnhawks.net/node/14762
    “”Where does the myth of a gene for things like intelligence come from?”. It’s an unfortunate headline, because she doesn’t disagree with a strong genetic influence on personality, intelligence or other behavioral traits. Bishop merely explains that they are polygenic, with few genes of strong effect.”

  16. I would pay good money for a remote, realtime DRD4 detector to use on women.

    1. I actually saw this in effect some 27 years ago. Older dude (maybe 35?) went up to every woman in a Fayetteville, NC bar and leaned in to ask the very straighforward question: “ya’ll fuggin’?” We couldn’t believe it and had some good laughs watching him scour the bar. In fact, “ya’ll fuggin’?” is still an in-joke among my college buddies all these years later.

      He left with someone about 2 hours later. I guess his detector was pretty effective.

  17. I think Im repeating somewhat what others have said but DRD4 seems like a switch that turns on the possibility for a whole bunch of other genes to work.

    So, maybe somewhere else is a slutty gener, but it only works in combination with DRD4.

    And maybe somewhere else there is a bipolar gene, but it only works in combination with DRD4.

    And maybe somewhere else is the liberal gene, but it only works…etc.

    I would be surprised if genes didnt work this way.

    1. Billions of switches and we look for 1 for complex outcomes… This is a problem defined by our ability to measure and calculate. We look for 1 because of the exponential nature of recombinant genetics.

  18. So, can we look forward to people discriminating against people with the “cheater” gene (in terms of commitment)?

  19. “Honey, my DRD4 receptor made me do it.”

    How about when some skank calls you gay (not that there is anything wrong with that) because you will not fuck her?

    Can I use the excuse that I don’t have the posone variant DRD4 gene?

    Note: This is has not been an issue much lately as I was much better looking in my 20s then i am now.

    1. I am thinking of suing my surgeon. He should have warned me that I wasn’t going to make a good-looking woman.

      1. Ouch.

  20. I wonder how far away we are from Brave New World.

  21. Crazy, emotionally volatile women tend to be crazy good in bed, including bipolar women.

    1. Crazy, emotionally volatile women tend to be crazy good in beds including bipolar women.

  22. Who sits on mini fridges to model that’s just Ghetto…Nightstands are way

    classier.

  23. Who sits on mini fridges to model that’s just Ghetto…Nightstands are way

    classier.

  24. ic partners, others in uncommitted one-night stands. Many will experience multiple types

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