Blame promiscuous behaviour on a ‘cheating gene’

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS
Saturday, December 4, 2010

TORONTO - If you are sexually promiscuous and sleeping with your boss or maid or your friend’s wife, it is not your fault.

Blame your bad behaviour on the “cheating gene” in your genetic make-up, according to a study.

The study by New York-based Binghamton University Justin Garcia has linked promiscuous behaviour to the “cheating gene” DRD4.

Based on DNA scraped from the cheeks of 181 sexually active young people, Garcia has found a link between a variant of DRD4, a gene that affects dopamine receptors, and infidelity, one-night-stands, drinking and thrill-seeking, according to a Canadian daily.

The DRD4 has also been dubbed the “slut gene.”

“We all have the so-called promiscuity or ‘cheating gene,’ ” Garcia told the Vancouver Sun in an interview.

“The DRD4 gene, which affects the dopamine receptors in the brain, is important for pleasure and reward.

“It (DRD4) goes off when you jump out of an airplane, engage in sexual behaviour, drink alcohol and gamble,” the researcher said.

If you carry a certain variant of the DRD4 gene, you might be pre-disposed to repetitive, intense sexual sensation-seeking: one-night-stands and infidelity, he told the paper.

“Whereas some people might jump out of a plane and say, wow, that was great, another person might skydive, land and say hey, I want to go up again!”

Garcia told the paper that there is a strong correlation between pleasure and reward for dopamine addicts and risk-takers: uncommitted sex and one-night-stands fit the high-risk, high-reward structure that results in the pleasurably, addictive dopamine rush.

But he added, “We can have these genes that predispose us to certain kinds of behaviour. (But) we can also modify our behaviour.”

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at

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