Justin Garcia and a team of researchers at Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York, have just published a study showing a genetic basis for human sexual promiscuity and infidelity. This is the first study of its kind.
Sexual promiscuity is noncommittal sexual intercourse with non-monogamous partners, or a “one-night stand.” Sexual infidelity was defined in this study as any physical sexual activity with someone besides one’s current self-identified committed relationship partner, or “cheating.”
(In the Christian community infidelity would be more narrowly defined as sexual activity with anyone other than the person to whom you are married.)
This study interviewed 181 young adults averaging 20 years old. They were asked to anonymously report about their sexual behavior and relationships. DNA samples were obtained by swabbing the inside of their mouths. Seventy-seven percent of the group reported a history of sexual intercourse.
You don’t need to know these specifics to understand the results of the study, but the researchers examined the variable number tandem repeats (VNTR) polymorphism in exon III of the human dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4).
The study discovered that individuals with at least one 7-repeat allele reported a much greater rate of promiscuous sexual behavior (“one night stands”) and reported more than 50% higher rates of sexual infidelity (“cheating”). This proves a genetic basis for deviant sexual behavior.
This study joins other scientific evidence demonstrating a genetic component in homosexuality, alcoholism and drug abuse. The Bible describes this problem in less scientific terms but in a way that is simpler to understand.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—.” Romans 5:12 (NKJV)
We all have defective genes of some kind or another. Many unhealthy behaviors have a genetic component. Fortunately, there is a solution to all the genetic defects that eventually lead to death.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:1-7 (NKJV)
Ellen White, a 19th century health reformer, wrote about looking forward to the day when the genetic basis of bad behaviors would be understood more clearly. She agreed with the Bible that with God’s help genetic tendencies to harmful behaviors can be reversed. More than 200 times her writings refer to both genetic and acquired tendencies to evil.
“Objectionable traits of character, whether hereditary or cultivated, should be taken up separately, and compared with the great rule of righteousness; and in the light reflected from the word of God, they should be firmly resisted and overcome, through the strength of Christ.” (Christian Education, 113)