Let's take three people: Alice, Bob, and Carol. Suppose Alice is heterosexual. That should imply that Alice finds Bob attractive at some level, but not Carol. Does this mean Alice is more likely to be biased in favor of Bob (and the reverse if Alice is homosexual)?

I've not found anything directly analyzing this. Closest was this paper, The Influence of Sexual Orientation on the Perceived Fit of Male Applicants for Both Male- and Female-Typed Jobs, but it dealt with whether the sexual orientation of the applicant affected whether the applicant was perceived by the hiring manager as suitable, i.e. it's not the sexual orientation of the hiring manager that's being investigated.

Presumably if the answer to the title question is "yes", then it would be advisable to appoint asexual people to e.g. settle sexual harassment complaints.

  • $\begingroup$ Your question about sexual orientation seems to be without basis and not really reflected in practice really. Attractiveness research is more relevant to your question but more so than sexual orientation. Attractiveness does not mean personally attrctive to the person which seems less relevant - sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071206124838.htm, qz.com/work/1115220/… $\endgroup$ – Poidah Aug 29 '19 at 7:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Poidah I think that's the point of the question though: is e.g. a heterosexual female hiring manager more likely to be biased in favor of (not necessarily physically attractive) males than a homosexual female hiring manager, who is more biased in the reverse direction? That question remains unanswered by those studies. $\endgroup$ – Allure Aug 29 '19 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ Physical attractiveness is far more important than personal attraction or sexual attraction to the individual. There are some articles that address this and I will draft an answer to this. You can't just railroad and push forward an argument without dissecting and challenging the assumptions $\endgroup$ – Poidah Aug 29 '19 at 8:41

The issue around attraction needs to be clarified and assumptions challenged and proven.

To imply that sexual orientation is solely and wholly responsible for attraction is a severe and gross oversimplification verging on stereotyping and discrimination. As Wiki argues physical attractiveness is distinct from sexual attraction. Just because someone is physically attractive and also falls within one's sexual orientation, that person may also not be attracted to the person. The person may already be in a fulfilling relationship or the other person has a wedding ring, to imply that humans are animalistic and therefore their desires translate into behaviour without much other consideration is quite improper and unscientific. You should not draw a specific scenario like studies on hiring interviews to imply that the evidence is not present. There are enough studies on attraction and behaviour in other fields to disprove the specific example of hiring interviewers. I am sure you would not like your race, age or any other stereotyping physical attribute to be the sole determinant for how people and the public assess you? Would you?

On that note, there has been research on attractiveness according to sexual orientation. If attraction is the basis of hiring decision-making process, this study disproves this. However, if you are implying sexual orientation goes through a different mechanism to affect the decision-making process at the hiring interview, then I would be keen to hear it. This 1992 study of 52 subjects (four groups of 13) found minimal or no difference between heterosexuals and homosexuals on the assessment of attractiveness. Both heterosexual and homosexual men rated younger sex subjects higher than older subjects. Your question implies that homosexual men should rate women lower than men as they are not sexually attracted to them. If there are no differences between attractiveness depending on sexual orientation, it seems hard to argue that asexual people should be used on hiring interview panels.


Jankowiak, W.R., Hill, E.M., Donovan, J.M., (1992). The effects of sex and sexual orientation on attractiveness judgments: An evolutionary interpretation. Ethology and Sociobiology. Volume 13, Issue 2, Pages 73-85.

  • $\begingroup$ Hmm that paper actually seems to back up the idea that heterosexuals and homosexuals treat members of the opposite gender differently, e.g. quoting from it, "In contrast, homosexual men expressed boredom with having to rank women and admitted that they preferred to rank a woman’s “good looks” on the basis of assumed personality attributes." -- which could easily manifest in gender bias. $\endgroup$ – Allure Aug 30 '19 at 5:00
  • $\begingroup$ Also, this question is just a question. It's not a hypothesis or statement about anything. I think the 2nd paragraph of this answer sort of misses the point. $\endgroup$ – Allure Aug 30 '19 at 5:00
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah you propose a mechanism that it is a given without any proof. That sexual orientation influences hiring decisions with zero evidence that this is so. Then when presented with evidence that there is disinterest somehow claim that is proof? The attractiveness scores were the same. The proof is convincing. Disinterest and other throwaway comments is not evidence nor convincing $\endgroup$ – Poidah Aug 30 '19 at 8:05
  • $\begingroup$ If I were trying to convince someone that sexual orientation influences gender bias, I would not be asking a question. Asking questions indicates I don't know. But I'm not going to argue with you because you're going to see what you want to see and it's pointless. I'm not downvoting your answer because the reference is related (although I do not think it answers the question in the OP), but I'm not upvoting it either. $\endgroup$ – Allure Aug 30 '19 at 8:19

Partial answer: it's apparently the case that being physically attractive affects the hiring manager positively, assuming the hiring manager is of the opposite sex. The reverse is true if the hiring manager is of the same sex - the effect on the hiring manager is negative.

Previous studies of organizational decision making demonstrate an abundance of positive biases directed toward highly attractive individuals. The current research, in contrast, suggests that when the person being evaluated is of the same sex as the evaluator, attractiveness hurts, rather than helps.

The authors speculate that the reason for same-sex negative feedback is the perception of self-threat.

This study does not examine sexual orientation, but given the fact that most (>90%) of people are heterosexual, it's a possible confounding variable.

  • $\begingroup$ Where did you get the idea that >90% of people are heterosexual? $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Dec 19 '19 at 11:17
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisRogers en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_sexual_orientation $\endgroup$ – Allure Dec 19 '19 at 11:48
  • $\begingroup$ "The demographics of sexual orientation vary significantly, and estimates for the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) population are subject to controversy and ensuing debates." The population studies, as pointed out in the Wikipedia article you linked, are based on self-report which leaves results open to debate due to the problems involved with self-report data. The 90% figure is opinion at best. $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Dec 19 '19 at 11:55
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisRogers the article goes on to quote plenty of statistics which are in the 5% range. I've quoted 90%, leaving a 100% error margin. Therefore I consider the sentence accurate. If you really, really dislike it, you could replace the 90% figure with 50% and the sentence is still true. $\endgroup$ – Allure Dec 19 '19 at 11:59

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