Queer theories for the straight guise

Now that’s a title with more than a double meaning.

Recently readers sent two websites to me to review. As I did I was struck by a similar reaction which I will explain shortly. The websites are Homosexuality 101 and Joe Kort’s new blog Straight Guise.

Let me take the second one first. Briefly:

Straight Guise will explore the many reasons men have sex with other men, only some of which have anything to do with homosexuality or bisexuality.

In a nutshell, he proposes that anytime someone says they have changed from gay to straight, if they are telling the truth, they were never really gay in the first place. He says:

If there are any success stories by someone practicing RT [reparative therapy] or helping someone stop same sex attractions, the individual was not gay from the start. In other words those who state they have helped someone go from gay to straight or be relieved or same sex attraction are simply describing someone who is heterosexual who may have been acting out homosexual behavior having nothing to do with their sexual orientation.

He lists a variety of ways that straight men can through trauma or emotional trouble come to a homosexual orientation. He sounds reparative in his descriptions of a couple of straight guise scenarios. For instance, he says abused men can reenact their abuse through gay sex and offers a very interesting case in point.

However, the most reparative scenario of all is…

Father Hunger: These are heterosexual men who crave affection and attention from their fathers and seek sex with men as a way of getting that male nurturance and acceptance.

In reading, one must keep in mind that Joe is explaining straights who act gay not gays who are really gay. So in the universe of father hungry men, I guess one might see gays who have father hunger who are really gay, straights with father hunger who are really straight but act gay, and straights with father hunger who are really straight. I wonder if there are real gays who have father hunger who act straight. Maybe they have mother hunger. Are bisexuals just hungry? The glass is half empty? What about lesbians? We’ll get to them in a minute (they always have to wait).

Speaking of father hungry gays, Julie Harren’s video Homosexuality 101 provides a quick course in reparative drive theory and at least for men, the hypothesis that perceptions of a disconnect with dad lead to homosexual behavior. Ironically, on at least the father hungry male, Mr. Kort and Dr. Harren may agree that such a father-deficient developmental history can lead to homosexual behavior. The difference of course is that Joe believes he is explaining a type of gay-acting straight man and Julie believes she is explaining almost all gay men.

She also has some thoughts about lesbians. Above the others, I was pretty stunned at the description of one type of lesbian. She says, “somewhere, maybe very early on, maybe even in infancy there was a break in the relationship with the mother.” As examples, she says that maybe the infant-lesbian-to-be was hospitalized or the mother was hospitalized or suffered depression, but whatever it was, something happened to impact the relationship at a critical period. In infancy? She then says, the mom and daughter may have gone on to have a pretty good relationship. If that is true, then how do you “fix” such a thing? Sounds like an argument for a critical period to me where once set, the picture cannot be altered. I doubt that is what she intended.

What is striking to me about both of these efforts is the how little research can be offered in support. These are theories but they are presented as fact. Joe offers some interesting and I think compelling vignettes and I am quite sure Julie could do so as well. In fact, they probably would look very similar working with a male client who had abuse or father deficits in the background. Both would likely work toward insight and provide support for the client’s values (as would I). However, they both begin with different presuppositions: Joe believes a priori that anyone who changes in some fashion was never gay and Julie assumes that the same-sex attracted person is not really gay but off-track developmentally. One point of this post is that clients may have similar therapeutic courses and outcomes working with therapists with very different worldviews.

Troubling to me about these theories is that they are not readily falsifiable. How can we tell who is correct here? Joe simply says, if you changed you weren’t gay (even if you thought you were) and reparative drive theory asserts that if you’re gay you had a disruption in your parenting (whether you know it or not).

Now for some discussion. Would we limit/ban either of these therapists from conducting their work based on their theories/methods and if so, why and if not, why not? Does Joe get a pass because even though he does the same thing as Julie, he says he is actually returning a person to his “true sexual orientation?” Would Julie say the same thing?

There may be a part two to this topic…

  • Marty

    one must keep in mind that Joe is explaining straights who act gay not gays who are really gay.

    And how can we tell which is real and which is faking it?

    … I’m still waiting on “the test”. If, as they say, sexual orientation is determined at/before birth and cannot change over time, then surely there’s a simple test we can give to an infant, someone sleeping, or a sample of a deceased person that can tell us what their orientation is/was/will be.

    Yep, I’m still waiting…

  • Drowssap

    Anyone arguing that male homosexuality comes from “father hunger” or lesbianism is derived from a poor mother-daughter relationship can’t logically argue against therapy.

  • Drowssap

    I should note (because I always do like a broken record) that in my opinion in 98% of cases sexual orientation is inborn.

    Schizophrenia used to be blamed on Schizophrenic Mothers.

    Autism used to be blamed on Refrigerator Mothers.

    Google either, just a few decades ago these were the dominant theories for Schiz and Autism.

    I’m not in any way arguing that therapy can’t help gay people, that already want help. I’m just arguing that poor socialization isn’t the cause and reverse socialization isn’t the cure.

  • Eddy

    My, what a lovely can of worms!!!

    I think you said it best when you mentioned how it can’t be ‘falsified’. I remember in my earliest ex-gay ministry days that gays would often taunt me with “you’ll be back”. On two occasions, after I admitted to the beginning of some sort of attraction to women, my challengers quickly changed their tune to “well, then, you were never really gay in the first place.” (This was way back in the late 1970′s!) What was amazing was that people from both, radically different viewpoints had both completely ‘compartmentalized’ me. From that point on, they’d interpret anything I said or did to fit their preconceived notion.

    To your question: I think that neither should be banned. Your point that his would escape the dreaded reparative therapy label because it was actually restoring a straight identity is most interesting. I hope you find a way to present such challenging questions to the APA.

    Here’s another question: So Joe goes on with these ‘restorating to straight’ therapies. One day, an ex-gay man walks in, has never been with a woman but is ‘no longer turned off by them’. He’s wondering if marriage is possible for him. Should Joe be forced to come up with some sort of checklist to see who was a legitimate candidate for restoring to straightness? If someone doesn’t qualify as ‘straight on the inside’, is there nothing they can gain at all from his therapy? At what point should the APA determine that he’s crossed the line and actually gone criminally reparative?

  • Nemario

    Are we really presenting limits/bans as a viable option?

    I have qualms about the pictures I’ve seen of Richard Cohen’s so called “techniques”, but are we really going to bring up the possibility of bans? And if so by who? The law? Or do these two people work for an organization that might limit their counseling ability.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Nemario — read the other posts in July and you will see what I am referring to.

    What is or isn’t banned should depend on demonstration of widespread harm. I have not seen the empirical case made as yet.

  • jayhuck

    Warren -

    I’m just curious – if this is true, does it work the other way around? Are there men living straight lifestyles who are actually gay in orientation??? Hmmmm :)

    I’ve had bonafide attractions to women – that doesn’t make me straight. My main romantic and physical attractions are for men

  • Nemario

    Reparative therapy/counseling is so subjective and so dependent on the individual’s will that I doubt a convincing empirical case could/will be made either way. Seems like anything that would be “harmful” accross the board would already be covered under law, though I’ll grant that may remain to be seen.

  • jayhuck

    To me, these desires, these needs that some ex-gay people have to get married seem very self-serving. I’ve had a few women actually state that they would marry me – whether that’s true or not I could never do that with them – not because I couldn’t make the physical relations work, but because I couldn’t really be the person for them that they need. I couldn’t pretend to be quasi straight and make that work – it just doesn’t seem right – for the women involved and for the possible offspring.

    I’ve never really understood the idolization of marriage – men and women both do it, I understand that – but why?

    Eddy,

    I think we should look at WHY a person feels they need to marry first, and go from there. I’m not saying some Ex-Gay people shouldn’t marry, but from listening to Ex-Gay men and women retell stories of having been married and then realizing they have to get out of it, marriage should never be entered into just because someone wants it – that’s not a good enough reason in my book

  • Mary

    Eddy,

    I too have been through the “You’ll be back” to “You were not really gay anyhow” remarks from the gay and straight communities. Who’s to say what is really true for anyone except that person. When I was a lesbian – I swore by it! I would never, ever be with a man! Well, that changed didn’t it. And so who is to say?? But I could say back then that I was gay. No amount of arguing, convincing, etc… could have moved my mind.

    Anyhow, neither side should be banned. I truly feel a person will search out for themselves their own life – and both options and more should be available.

    I don’t prescribe to the mother/daughter brokeness so much, but I do kind of go along with nurture (good and bad) to a certain kind of person can lead to homosexuality. Of course, no rule is absolute. I think in years to come as more people come forward and the discussions carry on, more reliable research will be available as will theories and practices.

    And niether outcome should ban rights against homosexuals, homosexuals inutero, people of faith (of any kind) etc…

  • jayhuck

    Mary,

    I’m wondering if you believe that good and bad nurture can also cause a gay person to act out in a heterosexual way?

  • anon2

    Mary,

    Once again I could not agree with you more. Just because the “scientific” research is not available that does not mean that there is no level of change and from my own experience this is a difficult battle and in this day in age anyone who attempts it is definitely swimming against the current. The thing is I also believe that in time the evidence will be available and I will be glad that I did not follow the idea that nothing can be done. I can’t begin to count the number of issues that have been supported by one scientific idea for a season and then later where shown to be completely incorrect. This alone has caused me to loose much faith in the science around this political issue.

  • Ann

    Hi Mary,

    You make such good points here about individuality and I completely agree with you. Each person has a different story to tell and no two stories are the same – why should any treatment be either?

  • Lynn David

    Isn’t Kort’s idea simply reparative therapy for the 2-3% of gay men for whom it actually applies? if you disavow Kort you necessarily disavow reparative therapy. I guess that is to say that as a gay man Kort and I see ‘eye-to-eye.’

    We have always said that there may be different paths to homosexuality both psychological and biological (and perhaps even a few biological paths). And that both the psychological and biological might be extant in a person’s life. Though I have often thought that the father-thing, the physical occurance, might derive not from the child’s reaction to a distant father but the father’s reaction to a son with overt tendendencies, like “I wanna play with the dolly” or “I’m a girl!” The memories of the gay man from his childhood might mirror the reparative drive mechanism; however, they are not the cause but the effect of his homosexuality.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    Eddy said:

    “From that point on, they’d interpret anything I said or did to fit their preconceived notion.”

    Good point. Therapists and theorists do this as well. I know the temptation to do it and probably engage in self-confirmatory reasoning more than I care to admit. Kort’s preconceived notion is that if you end up straight, you were always really straight and Harren’s is that anyone who is gay had a developmental arrest to get there.

    Lynn David said:

    “We have always said that there may be different paths to homosexuality both psychological and biological (and perhaps even a few biological paths).”

    Who is we? I say that but reparative therapists don’t and many biologically based folk don’t either. Kort would probably say that the essential homosexuals are born but the straight posers are made.

    Reminds me of a conversation I had with a prominent reparative therapist. I gave him a case study of mine that falsified his reparative drive theory. He asked a few questions and said, “He’s not gay. He’ll be fine and come out of it.” I replied (tongue in cheek) that my client would be relieved to know that since he was in pretty big distress about it at the time. Why wasn’t he gay? Because he was very close with his dad, played rough contact sports, had numerous guy friends, and was not abused. So even though he had strong feelings for guys and weak feelings for girls, the RT guy said he was not really same-sex attracted.

    I do not doubt that Joe and Julie are correct about some people. I like that Joe has recognized that sexual attractions can be influenced by environmental and developmental circumstances. And I like that he sees multiple pathways. Where I have theoretical trouble is his essentialist and binary view of sexual orientation. You are only really gay or straight. Anything else is posing. Again, this will be news to lots of folks.

  • Nemario

    News to me, I think everyone’s naturally born with male-female capacities, but that somewhere along the way a deviation may have occured.

    There’s some evidence that there may be indirect biological factors, for example the child may be different from peers his/her own age and gender, which may give rise to those type of tendancies.

  • Drowssap

    Lynn David

    Though I have often thought that the father-thing, the physical occurance, might derive not from the child’s reaction to a distant father but the father’s reaction to a son with overt tendendencies, like “I wanna play with the dolly” or “I’m a girl!” The memories of the gay man from his childhood might mirror the reparative drive mechanism; however, they are not the cause but the effect of his homosexuality.

    You are absolutely correct. I think we’ve seen a whole generation of theorists blaming an effect for the cause.

  • jayhuck

    WHY doesn’t anyone ever talk about bisexuality? Isn’t a majority of the population bisexual on some level? We always seem to talk in extremes. A good friend of mine is bisexual – he is married to a woman, but they have what can only be termed an open marriage and it seems to work for them.

    Just because someone has SSAs or OSAs, doesn’t mean they don’t have the desire for the other sex. Both straight and gay cultures seem to devalue the existance of bisexuals, or pretend they don’t exist

  • jayhuck

    Warren,

    The fact is, though, all we know for certain – at least today – is that some gay people, or who at least called themselves gay – who are so upset with their orientation, are able to change their BEHAVIORS – we have no real evidence one way or the other, that a true change of desire has taken place – notice, I’m not talking about self-reported claims – that is not hard evidence

  • Drowssap

    Lynn David

    You might enjoy this (from the web)

    Cause of Autism

    Refrigerator Mother: mothers who were cold, distant and rejecting, thus deprived of the chance to “bond properly.” The theory was embraced by the medical establishment and went largely unchallenged into the mid-1960s, but its effects have lingered into the 21st century.

    Cause of Schizophrenia

    Schizophrenic Mother: Mothers of schizophrenics were often found to be particularly cold, unresponsive, dominant, and conflict-inducing towards their children. Researchers argued that such “schizophrenogenic” behavior was the direct cause of the disorder. Successful treatment, then, required the patient and mother to examine their relationship and seek out better, more positive methods of interaction.

    In both cases they used to blame the effect on the cause. This sounds like it must have been 100 years ago, but it was just a few decades ago.

  • Mary

    Jayhuck,

    You’re question presumes that gay is predetermined. I presume the sexuality is biological and temperment are biological and events begin to shape us from the time we are born.

  • Mary

    Anon,

    I just watched a science documentary on the new method for measuring the age of the oldest known star in the universe. What they found is that it seems to be older than the universe??? Yes, the scientific community knows they have a “problem” and they fully admit it, find it kind of funny, and are working on it. But it just goes to show you – that sometimes science is not complete either.

  • david blakeslee

    It is troubling to me after 50 years of collecting data on SSA and gay identity that professionals still resort to anecdotal material. It is lazy and egocentric; polluted by experimenter bias.

    Anecdotes are #@$%*!.

    So called experts and advocacy groups should drop them and talk about the data.

  • NickC

    Warren asks: “Would we limit/ban either of these therapists from conducting their work based on their theories/methods?”

    Seems to me that are two reasons for “banning” any type of therapy: first, if the therapy has been proven to be harmful, and second, even if it’s not harmful, if it is completely ineffective and in conflict with accepted scientific data.

    Let me make an analogy. I not just gay; I am also bald. Really, really bald. In my case, and for the majority of bald people, the cause is genetic. However, baldness can also be caused by trauma or disease or even just wearing a tight ponytail. And while most baldness is irreversible, some balding can be reversed, depending on the cause.

    So suppose someone wants to market snake oil as treatment to cure baldness. They can even show that it’s worked on a few people, without revealing that those were people with the reversible type, who also stopped wearing tight pony tails. If they make broad claims that the treatment will cure all baldness, when in fact it’s completely ineffective for most bald people, they can end up in trouble for false advertising. If it turns out that the treatment is actually toxic for some people, they’ll be in more serious trouble than that.

    If you think of it that way, what the current APA committee really has to decide is whether “reparative therapy” is the equivalent of a snake oil remedy for baldness. The fact that the pro-reparative camp can produce a few clients who claim success doesn’t really prove anything, especially if there’s a question of whether those clients might have made that change anyway, without reparative therapy.

    Cases in point: Mary, who comments above, has said that she began her change from gay to straight before she started any type of therapy. Michael Glatze, the newest public ex-gay, has said his change has happened purely through a religious conversion, without any therapy at all.

    We’re a long way from knowing the exact causes of homosexuality. But I think it’s safe to say that the consensus scientific opinion agrees that some people do indeed have a strong and relatively unchangeable homosexual orientation, and that therapy focused on family relationships and self-identity, however it may help them, will not change that orientation.

    To the degree the APA as an organization believes the that those two points are correct, I don’t see how they can sanction their members to practice a therapy that does claim to change orientation by focusing on family relationships and self image. It would be no different than the AMA sanctioning its members to prescribe snake oil for baldness.

  • Lynn David

    Warren wrote: “Who is we?.”

    Gee Dr T…. I was feeling in the family way about the main bloggers here…. yourself included! :)

    And Warren further wrote: “I do not doubt that Joe and Julie are correct about some people. I like that Joe has recognized that sexual attractions can be influenced by environmental and developmental circumstances. And I like that he sees multiple pathways..”

    I thought that was what I was saying.

    Drowssap wrote: “You [Lynn David] are absolutely correct. I think we’ve seen a whole generation of theorists blaming an effect for the cause..”

    Well I’m glad at least someone recognizes my genius! ;)

  • Timothy Kincaid

    David,

    I agree that anecdotes are #@$%*!, but sometimes they are all we have.

  • http://www.collegejay.blogspot.com Jay

    Because he was very close with his dad, played rough contact sports, had numerous guy friends, and was not abused. So even though he had strong feelings for guys and weak feelings for girls, the RT guy said he was not really same-sex attracted.

    Really? This distrubs me, because I get a sense of that attitude a lot when reading around the ex-gay/RT side of the Internet. I’ve never heard it put so explicitly before, though. It also makes me wonder about the types of men (and women) who seek RT. I’m not sure, but they all seem to have lived rather unhealthy lifestyles, which they attribute to SSA.

    Most of them also seem to believe in the “broken father/abuse” theories, and many of them have had such experiences. Could it be that those experiences didn’t cause them to have SSA, but caused them to make bad choices, and it’s those bad choices that led to seeking RT?

  • Drowssap

    Jay

    I think that is where the whole concept of homosexuality as a result of improper socialization breaks down. In fact I think it normally works the OTHER way. Many men with strong SSA give heterosexuality a shot. Gay men have about half (maybe less) as many kids as straight men do. Compare that with gay male sheep who don’t have socialization and have 0 offspring. Statistically no one is trying to raise their sons to be anything but heterosexual.

  • Drowssap

    Somebody correct me if I’m way off base but…

    The two sites that Dr. Throck reviewed were very PC and yet they shared many views with Narth. When Narth makes claims of “father hunger” people BARRAGE them with hate. My guess is that because these sites aren’t Narth the same opinions are viewed as reasonable.

    I might not agree with Narth on causation but its times like this I feel sorry for them. It reminds me of the kid who gets tagged a nerd in 4th grade and can never escape. Cool kids can act twice as nerdy and yet… he is still the nerd.

    I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for that guy. 8-)

  • Nemario

    “Because he was very close with his dad … and was not abused … the RT guy said he was not really same-sex attracted.”

    Maybe he was right, “he’ll get over it”. I think that’s a case-in-point for almost any case. There’s so much fixation on how it occurs – and while it may certainly be of comfort to figure that out for oneself, the main focus is abstinence. The psychological factor, if not fed, should go on away on its own. I believe it was Alan who said that his “attraction” had gradually dwindled to nothing over the years.

    …And for what it’s worth, I doubt any one would remember something being done to them when they were, say, 3.

  • Lynn David

    My mother mentioned to me recently (completely unrelated to homosexuality – at least in my mind) that I went off the breast at the age of just 1 month. A few years ago I suggested to someone that I could have slipped the teat and ended up bawling at the exact time when an important neural bundle concerning sexual orientation was being completed, thus severing my connection to heterosexuality. The coincidence nearly had me …. yawning.

  • Lynn David

    Just wondering….

    “My literature review contradicts the policies of major mental health organizations because it suggests that sexual orientation, once thought to be an unchanging sexual trait, is actually quite flexible for many people, changing as a result of therapy for some, ministry for others and spontaneously for still others.”

    – Dr. Warren Throckmorton, “Initial Empirical and Clinical Findings Concerning the Change Process for Ex-Gays,” Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, June 2002.

    Do you still consider it is sexual orientation which is changed or behavior? Or both in some cases?

    BTW… found this quote rummaging through the musty cellars of the demised website of ReclaimAmerica [test.reclaimamerica.org] which Coral Ridge Ministries closed down. Did they quote-mine you for their own purposes (anti-homosexual)?

  • jayhuck

    Jay,

    I’ve noticed that as well – anytime I hear a story from someone who identified as Ex-Gay, what I hear isn’t that their orientation was a problem, per se, but that the lifestyle they were living was bad. Somehow they came to blame their unhealthy choices on their orientation, which is really wrong in my book

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Maybe he was right, “he’ll get over it”. I think that’s a case-in-point for almost any case. There’s so much fixation on how it occurs – and while it may certainly be of comfort to figure that out for oneself, the main focus is abstinence. The psychological factor, if not fed, should go on away on its own.

    Sure, by the time you’re 84 you don’t have much sex drive at all. The psychological factor should be pretty diminished by then and he’ll “be over it”.

    Geeez

    Nemario, when one makes bold assertions about “almost any case” it helps to not be flat out wrong. After all, “almost any case” is right here in the blog space with you and can immediately refute your wild statements.

  • paul

    Joe Kort said:

    “I think that father hunger and male to male sex for heterosexual men is about affection and attention from other men which is not filled by relationships with men.

    Oddly men are not allowed to touch or show affection to one another so it becomes reconciled in the erotic by sexual contact.

    This is not about homosexuality but about male to male contact which other than sports is prohibited in our culture. I think it becomes sexual because it can stay hidden.

    I believe, though it leaves straight men feeling badly, confused and ashamed.

    These men do not feel same sex attraction in terms of romance like gay men do it remains sexual. These are my opinions. I welcome others.”

    Warren Throckmorton said:

    “What is striking to me about both of these efforts is the how little research can be offered in support. These are theories but they are presented as fact.”

    Eddy said:

    “From that point on, they’d interpret anything I said or did to fit their preconceived notion.”

    Warren responded:

    Good point. Therapists and theorists do this as well. I know the temptation to do it and probably engage in self-confirmatory reasoning more than I care to admit. Kort’s preconceived notion is that if you end up straight, you were always really straight and Harren’s is that anyone who is gay had a developmental arrest to get there.

    Okay, my turn.

    There is no definitive study as regards what makes one gay. Everyone who offers their services to help the person struggling with ssa, one way or the other, is basing that help on theory.

    I appreciate people like Warren who want to treat this scientifically. Meanwhile there’s a whole lot of experimenting going on (often called “therapy”). When it comes to ssa, most of my experience in therapy has left me feeling like a guinea pig.

  • Mary

    Ya’ know – meaning to be flippant and all – I think my cat is gay. Does it really matter?? Did I raise him in a poor social environment? Did he not have a TomCat male figure around to model? Did I coddle him too much? Maybe one of his parents was “really” gay but was decieving themselves and passed on the gene. Dr. Throck – how much does a session with you cost?

    I just want my cat to be happy in his life.

  • Kathy

    MICHAEL GLATZE IS ON SIGNORILE’S SHOW TODAY AT 4:30P EST: http://www.siriusoutq.com/

    Just click on “free online trial” in upper right corner.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    jay said: Most of them also seem to believe in the “broken father/abuse” theories, and many of them have had such experiences. Could it be that those experiences didn’t cause them to have SSA, but caused them to make bad choices, and it’s those bad choices that led to seeking RT?

    I think you are on to something there Jay :)

    I would not deny anyone a narrative that makes sense to them and helps them regulate their emotions and behavior. However, from an academic perspective there are many reasons to doubt we can ever really know what happened at 2.5-3 years of age or even if the discomfort we felt then is what wired our brains to react to certain people with attraction.

    I have now watched the entire Homosexuality 101 video and it is sad to have Julie Harren talk about how fathers are the cause of homosexual urges and then have her dad speak about his gay son.

  • Mary

    My siblings who were subjected to the same dysfunctional famioly as I, have all interpreted and responded differently to our childhood. I can only say that there must be some genetic component that adds to that environment that caused all of us to “react” differently.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    MICHAEL GLATZE IS ON SIGNORILE’S SHOW TODAY AT 4:30P EST

    Again? I thought God told him not to show up last time. God must have changed his mind.

  • Mary

    Timothy,

    Are you insulting God or Glatze?

  • jayhuck

    Mary,

    I think Tim is poking fun at Glatz.

    Tim,

    I think God just told him to stay away from CNN ;)

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Mary,

    Let’s just say I’m gently mocking those who claim the motivations for their actions are divine revelations from God.

    I’m of the opinion that if God puts the universe on auto-pilot long enough to tell you what TV interview to show up for, surely you don’t need Matt Barber to give advice on what church to attend.

  • Mary

    Well, I often discount everything God tells me anyhow. That way is easier to say I made a mistake.

  • Drowssap

    Drowssap wrote: “You [Lynn David] are absolutely correct. I think we’ve seen a whole generation of theorists blaming an effect for the cause..”

    Well I’m glad at least someone recognizes my genius!

    Hey, when the shoe fits… 8-)

  • NickC

    An interesting article has just been published in New York magazine, telling the story of a married man who has a secret sex life with men.

    Apropos of this discussion, the article Includes a quote from a therapist who works with a lot of gay men who’ve gotten married. In a mirror image of the reparative therapists, he thinks his clients are trying to compensate for problems with their parents:

    “Every married man I have seen has needed to repeat with his spouse the sense of having been emotionally deprived by his mother. The futile hope of mastering this trauma provides one powerful but unconscious motive for these heterosexual marriages.”

    So maybe we also need a reparative therapy to help closeted gay men leave the married lifestyle?

  • Mary

    NICKC,

    There is such a thing as therapy to help closeted gay men leave their marriages. It is called gay affirming. Not reparative since it is not “fixing” anything.

  • Anon2

    NICKC,

    What about those who are married and want to accept that they have a responsibility to their family and choose to stay in the marriage and make it work. For some of these people they do not accept that the only way they can be happy is to accept their gayness, but rather they need to discover other ways of fullfilling the need for same-sex relationship (non-sexual). Where is the help for these people in the APAs model?

  • NickC

    Obviously, I know there are “gay-affirming” therapists who help people leave the closet. But this is the first time I’ve run into the reverse image of reparative theory to explain why people become ex-gay.

    I mean, we poor gay guys can’t win. If we pursue our attraction to men, we’re really just compensating for our “father hunger.” But if we give up being gay and get married, that’s due to emotional deprivation from our mothers.

    Then there’s the celibacy option. I’m sure that will turn out to have something to do with our twisted relationship with the family pet!

  • Ann

    Nickc,

    I know this is a serious subject but wanted to thank you for your last post – a touch of humor that made me smile.

  • jayhuck

    ANON2 -

    Bisexual men need to accept the fact that they are bisexual and make a decision on what they want to do – I have a bisexual friend who is married and monogamous – that is a decision he made a long time ago – and he did it all without the help of a therapist :)

  • Mary

    NICKC,

    Instead of listening to what others have to say about you – why don’t you define yourself. Maybe you are just gay. That’s it.

  • Ann

    Bisexual men need to accept the fact that they are bisexual and make a decision on what they want to do

    About what and why? Why do they need to accept anything?

  • Eddy

    Hi Ann!

    I’m gonna take a stab at Jayhuck’s answer to your questions. They have to accept that they have sexual feelings for both genders and then they have to decide what they want to do with that knowledge.

    Do they remain actively bi-sexual? If not already in a relationship, which gender would likely provide the most satisfying relationship if they were to ‘settle down’? How do they go about finding that? If in a relationship, they need to decide if they want to stay with commitment or leave.

    They need to accept that they have sexual feelings towards both genders. By accepting the reality, they can reckon with it. Like Jayhuck’s friend who decided that his marriage was worth forsaking his bisexual urges.

  • Ann

    Hi Eddy,

    Thank you so much – I do understand now and appreciate your answer. It has to do with “knowledge” rather than a directive, right? They need to accept the feeling in order to know what to do with it, whatever that may be.

  • jayhuck

    Eddy,

    But its wrong to suggest that bisexuals who enter into marriage, or even many straight people, are going to foresake desires for others – that’s not the case anymore – not that I approve, mind you, but it seems to work for some.

    Many married couples are engaging in the old pasttimes of Swinging – they remain married to one person, but each partner is able, within a set of rules, to sleep with others – or they invite others to be with them together – its not just about forsaking anymore :)

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck,

    LOL, even when posting I knew that I wasn’t addressing any of those in an ‘in between’ state. Besides the ones you cited–with some sort of spousal agreement–we also need to reckon with those who decide that they want their marriage but they also want to continue with occasional bisexual flings. (These would be the ones who continue with bi behavior without informing their spouse.)

    BTW: Very impressed by the more thoughtful and ‘to the point’ direction your comments have taken.

  • Mary

    Jayhuck,

    Swinging has always been a fashion of sorts (whether you were a pagan at the festivals or whatever) Among christians – correct me if I am wrong – swinging is not allwoed and forsaking all others is still part of the matrimonial contract. And of those marriages that allow swinging – what is the divorce rate, re-marry rate etc… this would indicate the type of people that are involved in “swinging” marriages.

    I doubt that married couples do not have desires for others – but not all act on it. Or act on each time.

  • jayhuck

    Mary,

    The divorce rate is high enough among Christians I don’t think we have a right to be pointing fingers at anyone else!

  • jayhuck

    Mary,

    Yes, swinging has always been around, but it seems to be growing among certain groups of people. They are much more organized know with clear rules about conduct, and there are some 3,000 swingers bars in the country I think now. It’s odd – I lived with a couple that, um, Swang? for about a year and it was difficult – I could never do it. :)

  • Mary

    Jayhuck,

    I was not saying that christian divorce rate is not high. I was asking what the divorce rate, re maryy rate is among swinging couples.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    I just discovered that an acquaintance had been involved with Swinger clubs and bars. I wouldn’t have guessed it about her.

    It’s only anecdotal.. but she and her husband at the time did divorce and that was a factor.

  • jag

    wow…I’ve heard “father hunger” used to describe everything now. My first exposure to “father hunger” was when it was used to explain the onset of eating disorders in girls. Now, it is used to describe homosexuality?

    geez, people have to start getting a bit more creative.

  • Mary

    Well, have we learned more about eating disorders in girls and boys (who by the way are the fastest growing group of those acquiring eating disorders)? If so – is it possible for understanding about sexuality to also increase?? Not all ideas are good but people are moving towards an understanding – that may not be the understanding that some people have about themselves.

  • jag

    Mary -

    Truth is, people “moving towards an understanding” should be scientists, making informed scientific hypothesis that are studied – not just making stuff up because it suits them, or the organization they represent. That’s why we have the scientific method…you know, all that “objective” stuff.

    If I wanted subjective opinion, I’d ask my neighbor “ralph” – he’s a great guy, a farmer, and hasn’t studied a lick in his life…but boy his theories on things sure are interesting.

    If you want to stick with “ralph,” that’s just fine…but as for myself, I’ll stick to science.

    “father hunger” as an explanation for homosexuality is really reaching…

    maybe those gay penguins in the zoo missed their daddy?

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