Which is the real me?

In response to my current research project regarding experiences of heterosexuality among same-sex attracted people, I received the following email recently. This individual is quite interested in the research for reasons that are clear here. He gave me permission to include this portion of the email which speaks to the fuzziness of sexual orientation concepts as well as their inadequacy to guide value-based action.

I would probably have chosen to live a gay life if I was born 20-30 years later than I was. The option of choosing to pursue men in the early 80′s was nothing like it is today. I do love my wife very much, and do feel very attracted to her emotionally, physically and sexually – however I am not attracted to any other women at all. (Isn’t that what most women would prefer?)  Yet, I am often attracted to other men, some so intensely that I am convinced I could have lived a gay life had I never married.

So, a rhetorical question, if I may:

Do I separate from my wife just because of this? I could say that as a married man, my real identity is that of a gay male, and I should be honest with myself and pursue what I feel in my gut.  If I did, I think it’s quite possible that I could find another man to love, but eventually, still long for the softness and tenderness of my former wife.  I may be living out a straight life now while secretly longing to live a gay one; or, if I chose to follow the path of some others, I could end up living a gay life while secretly longing for what I missed from my straight one. So I have often wondered, which is the real me?  Am I really gay pretending to live a straight life, or if I switched, could I really be straight pretending to live a gay life?

Confusing? Hell yes, this dilemma has consumed me for much of my life. I know if I ever chose to leave my wife, I could never come back to her; it’s a one way road, so I have chosen to stay, “un-regretfully.” If I’m the only such man, then so be it; but surely you must come across other men just like me – do you not?

In answer to the last question, I certainly do come across other men like him and have written about this elsewhere. I began to explore the practical implications of men whose historical sexual desire includes men in general but only wives on the female side after reading this article by Daryl Bem (see especially the last paragraph). I am not sure where the term “spouseosexual” came from (from me or one of the people I have interviewed) but perhaps it comes closer than bisexual to describing this type of inner experience – although I wouldn’t quarrel greatly with any terms at this point in our understanding.  

  • http://bewitchedtoo.blogspot.com Samantha

    I find this interesting because I have had feelings similar to the email author’s in my own marriage. However, I did explore homosexual relationships prior to my marriage, so I’m fairly certain that I’m in the best place for me. Unlike the stereotypical lesbian, I strongly feel physical attraction for women, and sexual relationships with them feel natural, but I’ve never felt the same emotional connection with a woman that I feel with my husband. That emotional connection, for me, has allowed longevity in my marriage which was absent in any same-sex relationship. I’m not sure if that means anything significant in the broad spectrum of homo/heterosexual research, but to me it means that emotional and sexual connections are extremely complicated and varied. I suspect this is true in heterosexual relationships, as well..

  • http://allpointsinbetween.blogspot.com Brian

    I am proud of the decision this man has made. He made a commitment to his wife and regardless of the reasons he made it (cultural pressure, internal discomfort, … whatever), he owes it to his wife–and to himself–to remain committed to her.

    If he is able to love her in every way that she deserves, expects, and returns to him, then I completely understand why he and she remain together. If he can’t, or isn’t, I hope he has the grace to allow her to find someone who can.

    Samantha, I’m glad to hear that you too have found a partner! Among the few guys I have dated, I have found an emotional connection with them, so while I respect your experiences, I would like to point out that they are not indicative of all same-sex relationships, though I’m sure you’re aware of that.

  • Michael Bussee

    In retrospect, I wish I had been able to find a way to stay married, even though I was not, and never have been, sexually attracted to my wife — or any woman really. I wish, like the man in the email, that I had had sexual attractions to my wife. That would have made things much easier, I think. But I did not. I truly wish I had been able to find a way to stay in a sexless marriage. But I could not. I say this because of the hurt that my leaving caused many people, especially my daughter.

    But I could not stay. I had to think about men each and every time.to function sexually in my marriage — so it felt like cheating even when I was being “faithful”. My wife would often cry herself to sleep, wondering what was wrong with her faith, what was wrong with her. It wasn’t her, it was me. I could not give her what she needed — a husband that could meet her needs emotionally, spiritually and sexually. Thank God she has that now and thank God my daughter has also turned out well — she is happy, well-adjusted , married and expecting my first grandchild — a boy.

    The emotional cheating (thinking about men to function) gave way to an affair that ended my ministry and two marriages. Our children suffered greatly. I have expressed remorse many times over, but like the character in Brokeback Mountain, i just “didn’t know how to quit” Gary — or how to keep on denying that I was homosexual — when the “real me” had always been gay and still is..

  • concerned

    Thanks Warren,

    What this man is describing is likely not uncommon. I find myself relating to much of what he is saying. I have found over the years my commitment to my wife has been stressed when I begin to believe the lies the pro-gay activists are presenting through the media. I am grateful to my church and its support of family over individual desire for helping me make the right decision to stay in my marriage and try to work out some of the childhood issue I have rather than take the easy way out and leave my family to give in to my attraction to other men. The funny thing is that by doing this I have learned to appreciate other men at a non-sexual level and friendship has become very important.

    I am so glad now that I never did that, as more and more it is being revealed to me that my SSA is nothing that I have to act on it is simply a small part of who I am as a human being, a husband, and a father. By realizing this I can be more present to my wife and hopefully learn to focus more on others than on myself and yet be conscious of my own feelings.

  • http://bewitchedtoo.blogspot.com Samantha

    Brian–

    In case it was not clear, I would never tout my personal experiences as typical, nor would I intimate that they were a baseline for any homosexual norms. My point was simply that sexual attraction and intimacy are much more complicated that many people realize. And I believe there is much to be learned even in the atypical situations which is why I allow my experiences to be shared. I believe your experience as a homosexual finding both attraction an intimacy with a same-sex partner is probably closer to what most homosexuals find than that which I have expressed in my personal situation.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    I do love my wife very much, and do feel very attracted to her emotionally, physically and sexually – however I am not attracted to any other women at all.

    I’m not sure I see the issue. In this case, since he says he loves his wife in all the ways one would expect, then whether he is attracted otherwise to men or women, he’s in the same boat; a happily married man who should remain faithful to his wife.

    It really does seem to be more the rule than the exception that primarily homosexual men who are able to truly love and marry a woman, have a very, very narrow heterosexual attraction to that one person. I’m not sure how it works, as I can say with complete honesty that I have never had anything close to an intimate thought about a woman. Complicated creatures we are.

  • concerned

    David,

    Yes we are complicated, but for so many years I was told if I have any SSA then I have to consider myself homosexual. That was so damaging to my ability to relate to my wife. I am glad to see that has changed, at least on this site, I would have to say it is still quite common in some media circles today and unfortunately many young people give more credence to what pop media says than what is really true.

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    I do admire and applaud the man for being transparent enough to share these thoughts. I believe they do resonate with the way that Tdub felt in our marriage. The one commentor (concerned, i think) speaks about the lies of the pro-gay activists being somewhat of a threat to his ability to maintain his commitment to his marriage. I have to wonder what he’s really getting at there. The man in the letter seems to have a much firmer grasp on who he is and where his focus needs to remain because he admits that he may have come out and been gay, rather than married, if he were a young man in today’s culture. I imagine that concerned would say that this man has “bought in” to the lies of the pro-gay activists. Yet, he chooses to remain committed to his wife because he’s certain that it’s the right thing for him to do and he’s obviously figured out how to function successfully in a straight marriage.

    The wives in these situations are to be commended as well. It’s horribly tough to know that your husband is fundamentally not attracted to women. I’m not quite ready to verbalize what it is exactly about that….I need some experience in a healthy situation to frame it against. But, it’s there. It’s certainly there. It hurts to know that your husband is attracted to men. It just does.

    I wonder….I really do….whether or not hetero married men would like the idea of being attracted to ONLY their wives and no other women. I imagine that would have an effect on the dynamic of the overall relationship. Again, I think I will be better able to speak to these sorts of questions if I’m ever fortunate enough to find myself in a healthy (regular) marriage.

  • Drowssap

    I guess it all depends on someone’s frame of reference.

    A) When a gay man lives a “straight” life is he living a lie?

    B) When a gay man lives a “straight” life is he overcoming an obstacle?

    That is a tough one and I have no strong opinions either way.

  • http://allpointsinbetween.blogspot.com Brian

    Thanks for sharing your perspective with us, Samantha. It’s a valid perspective and one that should be heard. I hope that individuals won’t stay in emotionally bankrupt relationships simply out of physical attraction, in the long run that isn’t healthy for anyone. I really am happy to hear that you’ve found someone to build a life with whom you can connect with emotionally, spiritually, and physically!

    I hope you would want the same for me.

  • ken

    Samantha,

    Someone (I’ve long since forgot his name) proposed the concept of an affectional orientation. Basically, who one desires on an affectional/emotional level. It doesn’t get discussed much because for most people sexual and affectional orientation align, so the focus ends up being on the sexual orientation. You, however, seem to be one of the few people for whom it doesn’t align.

  • Drowssap

    pam ferguson

    It’s horribly tough to know that your husband is fundamentally not attracted to women.

    It hurts to know that your husband is attracted to men. It just does.

    #1 on just about everyone’s emotional needs list is the desire to feel wanted.

    I am a stereotypical straight guy in a happy, monogomous marriage. Because my wife is human and has a pulse I’m sure that she finds men attractive besides me. I am not threatened or hurt by that at all. But if I found out that my wife was a lesbian I would be crushed. On some level my emotional desire to feel wanted would not be met.

    That’s a tough one.

  • jayhuck

    This is a tough one – I would say that this guy may have some bisexuality, but fall further towards the homosexual end of the spectrum. What is the term Jim Phelan used on another thread – bi-homosexual :)

    For the record I don’t think that the guy is pretending at all – I do have a similar story I’d like to share. Shortly after I came out a close family member of mine shared with me that they had had a relationship with someone of the same sex. This person told me that it was most likely a one-time thing and might never happen again – at least they weren’t attracted to the same sex before and haven’t been since – as far as I know anyway. I found this news interesting and paradoxically troubling at the same time.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    I have found over the years my commitment to my wife has been stressed when I begin to believe the lies the pro-gay activists are presenting through the media.

    Perhaps, but let’s not excuse the lies from the anti-gay activists, either (SSAD anyone?). My own response to the above may have been quite different if the man did not actually find his wife sexually and intimately attractive, and love her as he says he does. Using a another individual (wife) as part of one’s denial and/or escape is not fair to the woman, nor healthy for the man.

    However, if the couple (in any case) have young children, it is also my personal opinion that they should find a way to handle the issue until the children are at least older, if not grown. No one is required to agree with it, but I was taught that the needs or desires of the parent are secondary to that of any lives they bring into the world. I’ve never found a reason to think differently.

  • Evan

    Drowssap:

    A) When a gay man lives a “straight” life is he living a lie?

    B) When a gay man lives a “straight” life is he overcoming an obstacle?

    Some people like to think these are simple and straightforward questions. But I know at least one person who was engaged with a woman, they later separated and he eventually got into same-sex intercourse which he did not enjoy, although his same-sex attractions were intact. So it seems that those researchers who were careful to separate attractions from actual intercourse were very much right. It may not be the same for all people. Not all same-sex attracted people may actually enjoy same-sex sexuality, but they may like making love with a person of the opposite sex they fell in love with and with whom they reached an attachment stage. Lust is unstable and unreliable, so I can understand why some people choose to base their relationship on something else, which values the human connection, as long as both man and woman feel good together.

  • jayhuck

    Evan,

    it seems that those researchers who were careful to separate attractions from actual intercourse were very much right. It may not be the same for all people. Not all same-sex attracted people may actually enjoy same-sex sexuality, but they may like making love with a person of the opposite sex they fell in love with

    Really? That’s a loaded issue and a somewhat bad example. I’ve known many straight men who have had incredibly unsatisfying intercourse with women. Bad intercourse doesn’t speak to someone’s orientation or say anything about who they are primarily attracted to and have the potential to have good intercourse with.

  • Eddy

    It seems it would be healthiest for the man in the post, concerned and others in similar situations to simply reject falling into the labelling trap. Why do we have to label ourselves by our sexuality? Why isn’t the label ‘happily married man’ enough?

    Warren–

    IMHO, this man both illustrates and validates the legitimacy of SIT. Where do sincere and honest men with SSA find support for their sanely chosen path with a member of the opposite sex? Beyond that, if ‘marriage committment’ can be considered a ‘sanely chosen path’, couldn’t ‘religious committment’ also be a ‘sanely chosen’ reason?

    I think one reason that marriages throughout the world are crumbling is that we have this notion that there’s some ‘perfect bliss’ out there and somehow we’re entitled to pursue it. (LOL! We’re always being persuaded to ‘upgrade’.) What’s the real difference between a married man who deals with a wandering eye towards other women and one whose eyes wander towards men. If they choose not to respond to the wandering impulse, I applaud them and hope that they can find the support they need for their choices.

    Pam–

    I remember a story from a piece I read while with Exodus. A woman in a similar situation to yours said something to this effect: Think about it. If it were another woman, I’d feel like I had some things I could do. Dress sexier. Enhance my looks. But, what do you do when he’s attracted to men?

  • jayhuck

    Dave,

    However, if the couple (in any case) have young children, it is also my personal opinion that they should find a way to handle the issue until the children are at least older, if not grown.

    I agree with you Dave, but only to the point that they can actually handle the matter. If they can’t handle it – and have really tried – then I think it would be better that they split – for themselves AND for the children. Staying together simply for the sake of staying together isn’t good for kids either.

    Pam,

    Thank you so much for sharing your unique perspective on this. I was going to use the word we WE – but really I can only talk about myself so I will say: *I* often forget to consider the spouse!

  • Evan

    Jayhuck:

    Bad intercourse doesn’t speak to someone’s orientation or say anything about who they are primarily attracted to and have the potential to have good intercourse with.

    It hasn’t been proved that exclusive attraction towards one gender is necessarily linked to sexuality. It could be related to something else; we don’t know — remember? There are so many cases of people who had great sex with a person they were not most attracted to and poor sex with a person they were very much attracted to. Given that many people value other components of togetherness, other than sexual thrills, their choice is really commendable. It shows great character strength and integrity. People are not cattle, why should we expect them to weigh themselves in such terms — ie, good vs bad intercourse?

  • Concorned

    Jayhuck,

    I disagree with the idea that it is better for them to split. My own experience has been that my wife and I have had many difficulties and that these have needed to be worked through. The working through process has made both of us stronger people. I do not give into the new age stupidity that if something is difficult it is not meant to be. Life has many challenges, it is our willingness to take on these challenges that helps us overcome them. I do not believe in beating a dead horse, but I have seen too many people give up on their relationships too easily and then later regret having done it.

    It is a sickness in our society today that says if things are not perfect as you want them to be then it is not meant to be. All the focus on individuality is tearing us all apart and that is the biggest sickness in the west. It is much more difficult to be other focuses, but in the end it is so much more rewarding.

  • Eddy

    Concorned–

    I’m not sure if you’re ‘Concerned’ with a typo or not. In either case, I tend to agree with you. I often reflect on the centuries where marriages were arranged–before the concept of ‘being in love’. They had partners for life that they might not have even met prior to the wedding and yet they raised strong families–and they didn’t divorce at the rate that we do today. They went into marriage hoping they’d like their spouse; we go in with visions of perfection and ultimate biss.

  • Concerned

    Thanks Eddy, I just noticed the typo.

    Our children have fallen into the same trap. They believe learning should be easy so they don’t try. I am not suggesting that we must flog ourselves to know what pain means, but if we give into the idea that life should always be easy we are likely to experience much hardship.

  • jayhuck

    Eddy and Concerned,

    I have seen kids that are the products of loveless, bitter and sometimes emotionally and/or physically abusive marriages – they will probably be in therapy in some way for the rest of their lives. I do not believe it is always good for parents to stay together who absolutely do not want to be together.

  • jayhuck

    BTW- I NEVER, in ANY WAY, suggested that a couple should divorce rather than work through their difficulties concerned. I understand why you might be upset about that in our “disposable” culture – I am too – but that is not what I meant. We cannot pretend that all marriages can or should be saved – it isn’t always what is best for children. Better for them to know peace rather than live in a violent and bitter home for the rest of their lives.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Not all same-sex attracted people may actually enjoy same-sex sexuality

    Interesting you should write that.

    The first time I heard of this phenomenon was only a week ago. I was posting on a board completely unrelated to sex and by chance someone wrote about this.

    A gay men wrote that he hated gay sex because it was so physically unpleasant and wished he could find a woman to settle down with.

    That blew me away, I had never heard that before.

    On a somewhat related note I’ve heard and read many stories of gay men who say that sex with a woman feels great. The problem they experience is that the female form doesn’t excite them, there isn’t a spark.

  • jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    If the female form doesn’t excite them, how are they able to have sex?????? Methinks they are probably bisexual and having trouble dealing with their homosexual desires. I’ve been gay for quite awhile and have never heard that specific statement, but I have heard some gay and straight people – who happen to have issues with being clean – talk about how the sexual act can at the same time excite them and upset them.

  • jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    Just to add to those “gay stories” – I’m probably oversharing again, but I have had sex with a women – it did feel really good – but having sex with men felt SO much better as to completely overshadow the sex with women.

  • jayhuck

    I guess that would technically make me a bi-homosexual according to Jim Phelan – again the difference between identity and orientation :)

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    Drowsapp,

    Maybe you should give me the name of that gay guy you were talking about. LOL LOL LOL LOL

    (gotta inject a little humor here)

    There absolutely are times when people need to divorce, even Jesus made provision for that. However, in my experience….in more cases than not of mixed marriages(like my marriage to Tdub) the only compelling reason for divorce is because the guy just can’t use enough self-control to stay away from other guys until the children are raised. It’s rare that a gay husband is abusing a straight wife, and they are usually great friends. I’ve said many times, and to Tdub’s face so I’m not talking “out of school” here….that I wish so much he just would have held it together long enough to get the boys out of high school. It’s not like we were absolutely miserable….in fact, we’d found a pretty good rythymn(i can’t spell that) for making it work. I’ve told him over and over (a bit jokingly) that I don’t fault him for being gay (never did) but for being gay so soon.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    I have no idea why that happens and it may be limited occurence, but I know at least two guys who went through similar experiences. They both struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions, they had a couple of same-sex encounters to see if it works for them but found it too unpleasant to continue. I don’t know, maybe what is coveted always looks better then it feels when obtained. The same principle might work with celebrities whom most people admire, but when someone gets in a relationship with them, the spark is gone.

    Jayhuck,

    Very interesting your remarks. Thanks for sharing that. As someone who is very interested in the works of the brain, attractions and sexuality, I expect that actually most people are not exclusive in their attractions or preferences. What makes them settle for a gender is probably the object of current research. But, to be honest, I am interested in how all these experiences are actually possible.

    So I return to my expectation that probably researchers will find a common base for all people (brain wiring) that gets activated differently, according to different factors at play. There could be some neurotransmitters (so you get genes too, just like in the case of fruitflies) or different hormonal influence, and/or different and stable patterns of socialising. The thing is, whatever closes the deal, it makes attractions or preference more stable than not. So I’m placing my bet on both development and function (brain physiology). Function could be variable, but within a limited space of possible choices.

    I do like speculating…

  • Michael Bussee

    This is for Eddy: On a number of occasions on this blog you have asked for a “timeline” of my affair with Gary — implying that I was somehow lying about the facts. Yes, like many married gay men, I lied to my wife. But since leaving EXODUS, I have never tried to hide or confuse the facts about this period of my life. Gary and I (both married, “ex-gay” fathers) began the sexual part of our affair the same year the movie “Alien” came out.

    You can read the whole story of my involvement with EXODUS and with Gary here:

    http://www.ocweekly.com/features/features/the-closet-and-the-cross/27499/?page=1

  • steve florida

    This is the real me,

    It may help to understand the context in which I wrote the email above that everyone has commented on. Just days ago I discovered what appears to be a British site called “marriedgay.org”. Being married and having dealt with same-sex attraction, the title intrigued me so I invested time reading over their material. Occasionally it’s difficult to tell which way a site like this leans. At first it appeared to be “neutral” and sympathetic to my life experience, but the more I read the more it became apparent that the author “Michael” seeks to pique the curiosity of married men with some degree of SSA and gently influence them to consider his own chosen path of leaving his wife and family for the gay life. A quick perusal of his site bibliography confirmed his obvious bias.

    I sent the author the email posted here “Which is the real me?” in an effort to let him know that I wasn’t buying into his half truths, that there was another side of the story for men like us that wasn’t being told. He responded quickly with what appeared to be a prepared response that started with the comment “I guess that you are like so many of us, ‘one woman short of being entirely gay’ – certainly you are not the only one to feel the way you do”. He then proceeded to tell me that my only options were to “Go outside the marriage without the knowledge of your wife…”, or to “Go outside the marriage with the knowledge of your wife…”. Some options; why is it that gay affirmative sites such as this try so desperately to appear neutral and impartial yet tend to be so “anti-choice”? Why did he not offer the choice that I have already made?

    In the corner of his site is a link to Warren Throckmorton’s survey examining the experience of heterosexual relationships among same-sex attracted people. From there I came to this site and found more of what I was looking for. I forwarded a copy of my email to Dr. Throckmorton not really expecting a response at all. I was surprised to get a reply the next day asking permission to post my email on this blog. Had I known that my comments would have solicited such a response, I would have made the effort to elaborate on my circumstances much more concisely.

    First, in response to Michael’s presumptuous assessment that I am “one woman short of being entirely gay”, I would have to say that one woman is all I really need. Since most women outlive their husbands by a number of years, I’m not concerned. If by chance I would outlive her, I’m certain that I would not have any interest in pursuing a relationship with another man, as I now identify myself as a heterosexual, and nothing else. While I admit I do feel some attraction to some men from time to time, I have learned how to deal with these attractions without viewing them from a sexual perspective.

    If I were not a Christian, I probably would not have fought this temptation to resist being the whole person that I believe God created me to be – a heterosexual man created in his image. Look at what Paul wrote in Romans chapter 5 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

    Character, that’s an interesting term, how often do we seriously consider it? I heard a young man make this claim once; “You can outwardly change what you “choose” to act on, but your feelings will always be there, always.”

    My response to him was “Shall we allow our choices to define our character, or shall we allow our character to direct our choices? Isn’t this what character is all about? You ‘choose’ to let that driver in front of you in when really, you ‘feel’ like cutting them off…You ‘choose’ to exercise patience with your kids when really, you ‘feel’ like shouting…You ‘choose’ to let a friend explain a situation fully before coming to the wrong conclusion when you ‘feel’ like harboring resentment….you ‘CHOOSE’. Sure, your ‘feelings’ may always be there…so? Choices will always be there. We make them all day long….some good ones, some not so good ones. THAT I think is what helps define our character, and that is what the Christian life is about.

    Thoughts and desires and temptations pass through our minds daily, but we may (and must) choose to not dwell on them if we consciously make the decision not to. Our character is defined by how we ultimately decide to behave and conduct ourselves, not by the thoughts and desires that pass through our minds.”

    I suspect that Michael Bussee may disagree with this, and that’s his prerogative. Frankly, I’m a little puzzled as to why he would have married when he said he had never had any sexual attraction to his wife and he had to think of other men in order to function sexually at all with her. He said that he wished he could have been able to find a way to stay in a sexless marriage. In my opinion, a marriage without a fulfilling sexual relationship is not a marriage at all, at least the way God created it to be. What I find to be really perplexing is his comment “The emotional cheating (thinking about men to function) gave way to an affair that ended my ministry and two marriages”; . . . two marriages Mr. Bussee? What did you learn from your second marriage that you didn’t already learn from your first? You claimed that you “expressed remorse many times over, but like the character in Brokeback Mountain, you just ‘didn’t know how to quit’”

    Sounds to me like you just didn’t know how to choose.

    Mr. Bussee, I have read your “apology” for helping to create Exodus International on your “Beyond Exgay” website. There is really no need for an apology because you were involved in something larger than yourself that has had a tremendous impact in countless men’s lives, including my own; and you are to be commended for your efforts! In some way I’m sure, you have helped so many; I only regret that you were unable to help yourself; and I do mean that in the most sincere and genuine way.

    When I chose to marry my college sweetheart at 23, I was head over heals about her, and was convinced that I could not live without her. Any attractions I had for other men at the time were nothing more than feelings of envy and jealousy for physical and social qualities that they possessed that I perceived I did not. It was actually not until about fifteen years into our marriage that I started to struggle with my sexuality emotionally. I was never one to go to clubs or bookstores, but did find it a struggle to avoid gay pornography on the internet – needless to say, its everywhere. You can’t even buy a pack of underwear nowadays without Madison Avenue trying to sell you sex instead.

    What I found I guess was that I still had a degree of insecurity regarding my own masculinity that rose to the surface, for what ever reason, in my early 30’s. I decided that I wasn’t going to walk away from my wife and family because of it however, and I started looking for help where ever I could find it. There is so much more available now for men like me than there was in the early 90’s.

    In his book, Growth Into Manhood, Alan Medinger writes: “For many men, craving for the masculine is the central driving force in their homosexuality, as it once was for me”. In fact, he suggests that if a man has an incomplete male identity, that can be the engine that drives homosexual behaviors and attractions.

    He goes on to say that “Identity may be defined as the way a man sees himself, especially the beliefs and judgments he holds about himself in relation to others, as well as the groups and types of individuals he identifies himself as belonging to or sharing common characteristics with. So if identity is based on adopted beliefs and chosen associations, consider, then, how malleable identity can be, and how susceptible it can be to deliberate manipulation, . . . It affects whether he sees himself as being like other men, or more like women, or something in between. It affects his sense of isolation or belonging, his sense of wholeness or emptiness, his sense of connection or disconnection. Most significantly, it affects which gender he sees as being his opposite. And that, perhaps more than anything, affects which gender he finds himself attracted to.”

    Frankly, I think the man is brilliant, and dead on the money. While I wish I could have read this stuff a decade earlier, I’m grateful he was able to come to such clear and concise understanding when he did. While I’m sure he had to experience years of pain and agony to come to these conclusions, I’m guessing he would say that it was worth every bit if he could have helped a man such as me – though I’m sure he has helped many more.

    In response to a post by concerned;

    “David, Yes we are complicated, but for so many years I was told if I have any SSA then I have to consider myself homosexual. That was so damaging to my ability to relate to my wife. I am glad to see that has changed, at least on this site, I would have to say it is still quite common in some media circles today and unfortunately many young people give more credence to what pop media says than what is really true.”

    This is so well said that I wanted to emphasize it by reposting it. I’ve heard the gay media claim that the majority of men fall within a continuum between heterosexuality and homosexuality, that really a minority or men are truly heterosexual. I have seen no evidence supporting this and I tend to disagree, but why is it that the “gay community” wants society to be “tolerant” and “diverse”, yet also wants to claim any man with the slightest degree of same-sex attraction as one of their own?

    Regards, Steve

  • Drowssap

    jayhuck

    Just to add to those “gay stories” – I’m probably oversharing again, but I have had sex with a women – it did feel really good – but having sex with men felt SO much better as to completely overshadow the sex with women.

    Actually that is interesting. Kinda sad that most gay men have had sex with more women than me… which in my case is 1 women, my wife. 8-)

  • Drowssap

    pam ferguson

    the only compelling reason for divorce is because the guy just can’t use enough self-control to stay away from other guys until the children are raised.

    Uh oh… are you saying that he is cheating on you? That’s a tough situation with kids involved. Man…. I’d say this. If your daugher was in your boots what would you tell her to do? Whatever that is, take your own advice.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Steve Florida,

    I was quick to respond above that I was quite puzzled as to why you were out looking around for a solution to what didn’t seem to be much of a problem. You said you loved your wife, had a fulfilling sex life and intimate relationship with her. You’ve been married for years, and by definition you are bisexual at least to some degree. I see no more reason for you to cheat on your wife than anyone else, bisexual or straight, just because there might be something over the horizon you haven’t experienced. This is the delimma of the average man in a so called mid-life crisis. So again, as explained, I don’t really know why you were out searching. Only you know how close your description comes to the life you live.

    I responded thay way, even though I can honestly say I’ve never had the slightest romantic interest in a woman my entire life, and I have no sane reason to think that will ever change at this point – nor does it bother me one way or the other. But again, I’m confused. You just got done explaining how you were almost snared in a “gay trap” of sorts, this website you visited, and yet you seem to be giving a treatise here of much the same sort yet in the opposite direction. And you are doing it to some very understanding, tolerant, intelligent people, many of whom have waded through the pop psychology of those who struggle to put some simplistic causation on their feelings. Why would you do that?

    You were given a great deal of understanding, and yet you return with comments like “really a minority or men are truly heterosexual.” I’ve never heard that from anyone in my life, and I don’t know anyone who would say it was true. Yet you use it as a straw man:

    I have seen no evidence supporting this and I tend to disagree, but why is it that the “gay community” wants society to be “tolerant” and “diverse”, yet also wants to claim any man with the slightest degree of same-sex attraction as one of their own?

    Complete with scare quotes around perfectly innocent words. And you made downright rude judgments about Michael Bussee’s life that he was kind enough to share. So, what makes what you are doing here any better than what you say this person at marriedgay.org attempted to do with you? And as for the brilliant theories on causation, well you are entitled to the opinion, but factually I think Warren will have to agree that anyone who says they know what causes same sex attraction is not being honest, and therefore must be less than brilliant in that matter.

    No one here is stupid Steve, and many have been through hell and back following those brilliant yet false theories. Give them some credit, and ease up on the judgment. From the way you talk now, in contrast to the snippet we had to comment on before, I can imagine how the person at that website might have concluded that you were trying very hard to convince yourself of something.

  • steve florida

    David Roberts,

    I can understand why you were puzzled, so I will be glad to offer an explanation.

    First, anyone sitting in front of a computer with an open browser is searching for something (information, entertainment etc); so I don’t disagree with you that I was “searching”. However, what you have presupposed I was searching for and what I was really searching for are two different things. I hope that doesn’t disappoint you.

    I am currently working with four young men in their twenties that are attracted to both sexes, but have each committed to resolving their same-gender attraction in a positive way and would like to be married and have a family someday. We have an ongoing list of books and websites that we are updating on a regular basis. I do not recall exactly how I found that website, but when I came across the oversized header I was intrigued by the topic and decided to check it out. Once I discovered that this fellow had a hidden agenda, I decided to write him and explain that there were more options for married (now or in the future) men than he was offering. If I were “searching” the way you have alleged, I would have stayed there and wallowed in his lies and not written him as I did, and I would not have forwarded that email to this site. As far as I am concerned, this explanation is more than sufficient to explain to you or anyone else what I was doing. The most important person here to be convinced that I am telling the truth is me, and I am fully content in the sincerity of my intentions.

    Why does it seem apparent that the gay community is obsessed with putting a label on everything? You insist on applying a label on me by claiming “by definition you are bisexual at least to some degree”; by whose definition, yours, Mr. Bussee’s? Please don’t offer a dictionary citation, I have several at my disposal, thanks. You may choose to select and apply whatever labels you prefer for yourself, and I will reserve the right to do the same on my behalf. I believe that if someone is going to accept a label (they give themselves) at all, it can and should reflect their attitudes and behavior, not occasional, fleeting or ephemeral desires.

    I am a heterosexual because I practice hetero-sexuality. I am not a “bi-sexual” because I do not practice bi-sexuality. While I stated that I do feel an attraction to some other men, I don’t dwell on it and fantasize about it. I recognize it for what it is, nothing more than thoughts and feelings that pass through mind, and I move on. I recognize that if I did dwell on it, I could take it further – but I have chosen not to. I guess you could say I’m pro-choice in this area of my life. I have already pre-determined that I will not act on these impulses no differently than another married man who chooses to not lust after a woman other than his wife. I know this is apparently very difficult for you to understand because it is foreign to you, but there actually are men out there that have dealt with this differently very than you have. Please accept that.

    I don’t suspect that you have ever been an alcoholic, but I suggest that you never volunteer to work with AA because you would not be considered very politically correct. If you did, you would be tempted to call those who have recovered from any degree of alcoholic dependence, from an occasional habit to an all out addiction – still an alcoholic, or maybe even a bi-alcoholic or who knows what, anything but a recovered alcoholic.

    “…You were given a great deal of understanding, and yet you return with comments like [I’ve heard the gay media claim that the majority of men fall within a continuum between heterosexuality and homosexuality, that]… ‘really a minority or men are truly heterosexual.’ I’ve never heard that from anyone in my life, and I don’t know anyone who would say it was true.”

    David, the Kinsey Institute is still publicizing their study on male sexuality performed sixty years ago. I hear them being quoted by gays in the media often. Visit their site, their propaganda is replete with charts, graphs and scales to continue making their point; for what purpose, I haven’t a clue, I don’t know what they are trying to accomplish.

    “Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories… The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects,” (p 639).

    “While emphasizing the continuity of the gradations between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual histories, it has seemed desirable to develop some sort of classification which could be based on the relative amounts of heterosexual and homosexual experience or response in each history… An individual may be assigned a position on this scale, for each period in his life…. A seven-point scale comes nearer to showing the many gradations that actually exist,” (pp. 639, 656)

    If this does not make my point I don’t know what will. The fact is that many gays insist that male sexuality is a “continuum” between straight and gay, I’ve heard this over and over again for at least twenty years, and if you were never aware of that, you are now.

    “And you made downright rude judgments about Michael Bussee’s life that he was kind enough to share. So, what makes what you are doing here any better than what you say this person at marriedgay.org attempted to do with you?”

    I have not made rude judgments about Michael Bussee’s life, I simply stated that I’m a little puzzled as to why he would have married a woman when he clearly stated that he had never had any sexual attraction to his wife and he had to think of other men in order to function sexually at all with her. Why would he marry a woman knowing this about himself? I was only restating what he had already made known, and expressed my bewilderment – I really don’t know why such a man would choose to marry a woman or two and then choose to have children; and I was hoping for some sort of valid explanation from David himself, not an accusation from a third party that I was being judgmental. I’ll leave that for him to decide. If he can point to something I said that he felt was judgmental, I’ll consider rephrasing my statements if necessary.

    Your second sentence above makes absolutely no sense to me and I have no idea what you’re talking about – so I’ll take a guess. The marriedgay site makes an attempt to appear unbiased, neutral, impartial, and disinterested in being an influence on encouraging married men with some degree of SSA to leave their wives – I found that to be misleading, deceptive, and a site for me to distrust and avoid. I did not stay in an attempt to persuade the sites visitors otherwise, I simply left. Contrarily, I am now on a site owned by a college professor that is doing research regarding experiences of heterosexuality among same-gender attracted people that has included but has not been limited to men that are in a heterosexual marriage relationship that deal with some degree of same-gender attraction.

    I believe making my comments known on this site is more appropriate and applicable than for me to be on a site I disagree with trying to persuade visitors who choose to be there of a different point of view which, in my opinion, is exactly what you are doing Mr. Roberts. Judging by his writings, Dr. Throckmorton is obviously making efforts to assist men in their unwanted same-gender attractions, but is apparently being very gracious to allow people like you to say almost anything you wish as long as it’s within his limits of a safe dialog. I would like to join the discussion also, and I am grateful that he has allowed me to. I think I will stick around for a while and make myself comfortable.

    “And as for the brilliant theories on causation, well you are entitled to the opinion, but factually I think Warren will have to agree that anyone who says they know what causes same sex attraction is not being honest, and therefore must be less than brilliant in that matter. No one here is stupid Steve, and many have been through hell and back following those brilliant yet false theories. Give them some credit, and ease up on the judgment. From the way you talk now, in contrast to the snippet we had to comment on before,”

    I’m not sure that Dr. Throckmorton would agree with that or not, I’ll let him speak for himself; but it would seem to me that the study of causation was a part of the survey of his that I recently completed. If a psychology professor is making observations about culture, mental health, sexual identity, and religious issues, my guess is that the study of sexual behavior and its root causes would be very appropriate.

    As for me, I feel very strongly about some of the work Allan Medinger has done and documented in his book “Growth Into Manhood”; some of which I quoted above. If I say that Alan’s work has been helpful to me and that his theories of causation and ideas of how to deal with such causes were helpful and effective for me, who are you to deny that? You may want to disagree and not believe it to be true, that’s your prerogative, but I’m here to tell you that much of the work I have studied by Medinger, Throckmorton, Nicolosi, Worthen, Satinover, Konrad, Cohen, Whitehead, Schmidt et.al. has indeed been very helpful to me in dealing with my “unwanted same-gender attractions” – or better put, the unwanted erotic desire derived from my same-gender attraction. The same-gender attraction in and of itself is not the problem. I will write on this another time, but what I have been able to do is not necessarily “get rid of” my same-gender attractions, but I in fact have accepted my same-gender attractions in a more constructive non-sexual way for me.

    I do not think anyone here is stupid here David, quite the contrary; that’s why I am choosing to offer my story in hopes of being an additional influence to any who may be interested.

  • Michael Bussee

    In response to Steve’s rather long post above, I don’t recall ever making a “presumptuous assessment” about you. I have not said or implied that you (or anyone) is “one woman short of being entirely gay”, What a sillly thing to say! Doesn’t even sound like me. I can report that nearly all of the married “ex-gay” men I have talked to say that they are attracted only to the one special woman they married — and not to the opposite sex in general. I have no problem with that.

    Steve also said: “Frankly, I’m a little puzzled as to why he would have married when he said he had never had any sexual attraction to his wife and he had to think of other men in order to function sexually at all with her”.

    Answer? We were very young. I was in love with her. I admired and liked her. I sincerely believed (and she believed) that God would create straight feelings in me over time. We expected it to happen. We were even counseled by church leaders, pastors and counselors that we should marry, trusting God to change me. In retrospect, I believe that we believed in error and were counseled in error.

    Regarding my comment that “two marriages were destroyed”, I meant Gary’s marriage and my marriage. I was only married once. There was no “second marriage” for me — unless you consider my commitment ceremony with Gary.

    Steve also remarked: “You claimed that you “expressed remorse many times over, but like the character in Brokeback Mountain, you just ‘didn’t know how to quit’. Sounds to me like you just didn’t know how to choose.” No. I knew how to choose — and I did. I didn’t know how to quit being homosexual, so I chose to quit decieving myself and my wife. I chose to quit trying to convince myself and others that I was “ex-gay” or “former homosexual” when I was not. As for the need for a formal apology to those I may have harmed in the process, that was necessary and it still stands.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    Michael, It’s a pleasure to meet you.

    I am capable of writing a short post such as this.

    “In response to Steve’s rather long post above, I don’t recall ever making a “presumptuous assessment” about you.”

    One reason for that is you haven’t written anything in this topic since my first official post yesterday, but give it time. I will admit that yes, I did make a mistake in misreading your text about “ending your ministry and two marriages”. That’s pretty obvious to me now so I’m very sorry for that obvious mistake. I do apologize and I ask that you forgive me for being so careless and presumptuous.

    “I have not said or implied that you (or anyone) is “one woman short of being entirely gay”, What a sillly thing to say! Doesn’t even sound like me.”

    That’s because it wasn’t you. I was referring to a private email from a fellow also named Michael that owns the site marriedgay.org. Re-read my second paragraph, you’ll see that I didn’t mention your last name at all.

    “Answer? We were very young. I was in love with her. I admired and liked her. I sincerely believed (and she believed) that God would create straight feelings in me over time. We expected it to happen. We were even counseled by church leaders, pastors and counselors that we should marry, trusting God to change me. In retrospect, I believe that we believed in error and were counseled in error.”

    This is an understandable scenario, and I agree that your counseling was in error. Heterosexual marriage was not the best thing for you at that time – or apparently ever.

    “I didn’t know how to quit being homosexual, so I chose to quit decieving myself and my wife. I chose to quit trying to convince myself and others that I was “ex-gay” or “former homosexual” when I was not”.

    Then I have some questions for you Michael. What did convince you that you were in fact “ex-gay” at that time? Can you describe what you went through decades ago to get to that place when there was so little research to work with?

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    I should have asked the question above in this way;

    What convinced you at that time to believe you were “ex-gay” ?

  • Michael Bussee

    Steve Florida asked me: “What did convince you that you were in fact “ex-gay” at that time? Can you describe what you went through decades ago to get to that place when there was so little research to work with?”

    Faith. Name it and claim it. Trust God, not your reasoning. You are already “ex-gay”. First Corinthians says “…and such were some of you…” All of these messages convinced me that in God’s eyes, I was already straight. He created me straight, didn’t he? He would remove the barriers and hurts that kept me from feeling my “true heterosexuality”.

    It was part of the “name-it-and-claim-it” theology that was very strong during the Neo-pentecostal, charismatic Jesus movement that was sweeping the country in the late 60′s and 70′s. I was (and still am) a born-again, bible-believing, evangelical Christian and at that time, I firmly believed the “change” had already happened in heaven and would happen on Earth — IF I believed hard enough, tried hard enough, prayed hard enough.

    If I didn’t “change”, it was an indication that I either (1) was not doing enough or (2) wasn’t really a “real” Christian anyway. I noticed it simply wasn’t happening. None of the “ex-gays” I knew were straight. All struggled with masturbation to gay fantasies and most “fell” often. I began to question — not God so much — but what I had been told. I read, prayed, studied and changed my mind. I now believe I was created gay and that it is how we love — not who — that God really cares about.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    You’re comments are simply too long and presumptuous for a point-by-point response with the time I have to spend here. So I will take a single, delightfully arrogant quote as representative and respond to that.

    I have already pre-determined that I will not act on these impulses no differently than another married man who chooses to not lust after a woman other than his wife. I know this is apparently very difficult for you to understand because it is foreign to you, but there actually are men out there that have dealt with this differently very than you have. Please accept that.

    It’s so difficult for me to understand, that it is exactly what I suggested you do in my response to your letter in the original post, and again emphasized in my recent comment to you directly. In fact, is said that, in my opinion, that was your only responsible choice. And as for the “completely differently than you have,” I’ve never been attracted to a woman so your situation is not mine, and vice versa.

    If you are here to learn and not simply to monologue, try talking less and listening more.

  • Ann

    If you are here to learn and not simply to monologue, try talking less and listening more.

    David,

    Are you willing to do the same thing?

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    “You’re comments are simply too long and presumptuous for a point-by-point response with the time I have to spend here”

    Too long? So what, that does not make my points any less valid. Ignore them if you wish, others may not.

    “If you are here to learn and not simply to monologue, try talking less and listening more.”

    Frankly, I will not hesitate to learn more about you, but I suspect I have little to learn from you. Your situation is not mine, and vice versa.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Ann, please. I’ve affirmed his position three times and he continues on as though I am telling him to be gay.

    It’s moot at this point anyway, I have too much work at the moment to continue this discussion, such that it is, so I can’t comment further. I would ask Warren to weigh in on whether anyone who at this point claims to know the causation of homosexuality is to be taken seriously.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    “Michael” from the “marriedgay” site suggested that I disclose his entire email to me so that you can see for yourselves the neutrality and open-mindedness of his response to a first time visitor “seeking answers” of his site.

    So here it is – come to your own conclusion;

    Hi Steve

    Thank you very much for your message.

    I guess that you are like, so many of us, “one woman short of being entirely gay” – certainly you are not the only one to feel the way you do.

    I believe that we are all different and all have to look at our inner most emotions and what it is that we really really want in our lives. This is extremely difficult to do, in my opinion, and can take time and can take experience so as to know what choices are really for us and what are not. Unfortunately, experience tends to take us outside the marriage and there are major risks associated with this:

    - Opening “Pandora’s Box” and discovering that once having experience the gay side of our lives, that starts to take over (may be it is anyway?), leading possibly to falling in love with another man

    - Putting our wives at risk because of external activities which our wives are unaware of.

    So your options, tend to be:

    - Do nothing – probably in the long term this is not an option as it can lead to illness / depression

    - Try to do something.

    That something is the “rub”:

    - Go outside the marriage without the knowledge of your wife – dangerous as it could put her at risk without her knowledge, or she could find out – the revelation is usually traumatic if she genuinely loves you, which I expect she does

    - Go outside the marriage with the knowledge of your wife, having discussed with her what you feel you have to do – again traumatic for your wife if she is unaware of the way you genuinely feel.

    You, in being totally honest with yourself, may be able to cope with things in the short term, but in the longer term, it is very much more difficult. Some men do somehow manage to stay in marriage (more often than not without their wives knowing for sure what is really going on). Some men have to follow their hearts. For instance, every time you tell your wife you love her (and I imagine that you genuinely do) and want to stay with her for the rest of your life, does a small part of your heart die? It is the latter that drives some men to leave the marriage even where there is genuine love, a well formed family unit and so on. I suggest that under such circumstances, it is not a matter of choice, it becomes a necessity, going beyond any obvious form of logic.

    I hope this helps,

    Michael

  • Ann

    David,

    Still not sure if that is a yes or no to my question but I do understand you are very busy so there is no need to answer unless you have time or want to.

  • http://www.marriedgay.org marriedgay

    So as to present all of the facts relating to the message posted by Steve Florida, commenting on me and my site, I am presenting below the actual exchange that took place. This exchange would normally be totally in confidence but since Steve Florida has broken that confidence and it is in the public domain, I have advised him that I would reveal what had been written so that people could judge for themselves.

    Steve Florida wrote:

    488 11/03/2008 21:34:09

    I, like you, would probably have chosen to live a gay life if I was born 20-30 years later than I was. The option of choosing to pursue men in the early 80′s was nothing like it is today. I do love my wife very much, and do feel very attracted to her emotionally, physically and sexually – however I am not attracted to any other women at all. (Isn’t that what most women would prefer?) Yet, I am often attracted to other men, some so intensely that I am convinced I could have lived a gay life had I never married.

    So, a rhetorical question, if I may;

    Do I separate from my wife just because of this? I could say that as a married man, my real identity is that of a gay male, and I should be honest with myself and pursue what I feel in my gut. If I did, I think it’s quite possible that I could find another man to love, but still long for the softness and tenderness of my former wife. I may be living out a straight life while secretly longing to live a gay one; or, if I chose to follow your path, I could end up living a gay life while secretly longing for what I missed from my straight one. So I have often wondered, which is the real me? Am I really gay pretending to live a straight life, or if I switched, could I really be straight pretending to live a gay life?

    Confusing? Hell yes, this dilemma has consumed my life. I know if I ever chose to leave my wife, I could never come back to her; it’s a one way road, so I have chosen to stay, “un-regretfully”. If I’m the only such man, then so be it; but surely you must come across other men just like me with a site like this – no?

    My response:

    Hi Steve

    Thank you very much for your message.

    I guess that you are like, so many of us, “one woman short of being entirely gay” – certainly you are not the only one to feel the way you do.

    I believe that we are all different and all have to look at our inner most emotions and what it is that we really really want in our lives. This is extremely difficult to do, in my opinion, and can take time and can take experience so as to know what choices are really for us and what are not. Unfortunately, experience tends to take us outside the marriage and there are major risks associated with this:

    Opening “Pandora’s Box” and discovering that once having experience the gay side of our lives, that starts to take over (may be it is anyway?), leading possibly to falling in love with another man

    Putting our wives at risk because of external activities which our wives are unaware of.

    So your options, tend to be:

    Do nothing – probably in the long term this is not an option as it can lead to illness / depression

    Try to do something.

    That something is the “rub”:

    Go outside the marriage without the knowledge of your wife – dangerous as it could put her at risk without her knowledge, or she could find out – the revelation is usually traumatic if she genuinely loves you, which I expect she does

    Go outside the marriage with the knowledge of your wife, having discussed with her what you feel you have to do – again traumatic for your wife if she is unaware of the way you genuinely feel.

    You, in being totally honest with yourself, may be able to cope with things in the short term, but in the longer term, it is very much more difficult. Some men do somehow manage to stay in marriage (more often than not without their wives knowing for sure what is really going on). Some men have to follow their hearts. For instance, every time you tell your wife you love her (and I imagine that you genuinely do) and want to stay with her for the rest of your life, does a small part of your heart die? It is the latter that drives some men to leave the marriage even where there is genuine love, a well formed family unit and so on. I suggest that under such circumstances, it is not a matter of choice, it becomes a necessity, going beyond any obvious form of logic.

    I hope this helps,

    Michael

    My purpose in revealing this is that I felt that the comments made were unkind and unfair. All responses that I make are individual and considered – my whole intent is to help people who are having difficulties, whether as a gay person or as a straight person. There is no intended bias or intended presumption. There is however a wealth of experience to draw on.

    There are some 3000 histories from people who have found the http://www.marriedgay.org site helpful to them, men and women, straight and gay. The modified Klein Sexual Orientation Grid questionnaire has been of considerable interest and is quite helpful to those who respond to it, but for it to be useful, they have to be very very honest with themselves. I would suggest, Steve Florida, that you give it a miss for the time being.

  • Evan

    I believe that we are all different and all have to look at our inner most emotions and what it is that we really really want in our lives.

    Whoever you are, I think you wrongly extended what you believe to other people’s lives. Your reply could have stopped at that, without making any of the following assumptions for the person you were addressing. And then you go on to define that person’s options… That is unacceptable.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    Michael,

    You apparently did not see that I have already posted your email offering your ‘neutral’ and ‘open-minded’ advice. Do you really not think anything is missing here Michael? What about staying with your wife and working to resolve your same-gender attractions that lead to illicit sexual behavior – Just because this is not an option you personally considered, is that any reason to not suggest it as an option to other men at all? Face it, your site is totally biased into ‘helping’ married men “come out of the closet” and leave their wives. Your site bibliography proves that you have a gay agenda.

    A) Do nothing - probably in the long term this is not an option as it can lead to illness depression (Illness, that’s a good one, I suppose I can get AIDS from remaining monogamous with my wife?)

    B) Go outside the marriage without the knowledge of your wife - dangerous as it could put her at risk without her knowledge, or she could find out – the revelation is usually traumatic if she genuinely loves you, which I expect she does

    C) Go outside the marriage with the knowledge of your wife, having discussed with her what you feel you have to do – again traumatic for your wife if she is unaware of the way you genuinely feel.

    I would suggest Michael that you stop trying to portray your options as if they were the only available

  • jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    Actually that is interesting. Kinda sad that most gay men have had sex with more women than me… which in my case is 1 women, my wife.

    LOL – That’s ok – you’re one up on me – I don’t have sex at all anymore ;)

  • Ann

    Whoever you are, I think you wrongly extended what you believe to other people’s lives. Your reply could have stopped at that, without making any of the following assumptions for the person you were addressing. And then you go on to define that person’s options… That is unacceptable.

    Evan,

    Thank you for calling it like it is – what this person wrote is unacceptable.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    I’ve managed to look over all this again while taking a break. First, Ann, exactly how is what Michael said “unacceptable”? I doubt I would agree with everything he says, but from a short review of his site it looks like he is genuine in his attempt to provide some help. Do you expect to never get a point of view from anyone? And if not, what are you doing here? And considering his rather strong opinions about things as nebulous as the cause of homosexuality, I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume Steve would have given at least that much opinion were he in a similar situation.

    I think this entire thread is unfortunate, in that Steve appears to have come under false pretenses. He asked Michael for advice using what appears to be at least a partially contrived story – he certainly doesn’t seem to be searching or confused – and used what appears to be a sincere reply to bash the man and his site. And unless Warren knows more than he posted, Steve didn’t tell him what he was doing either, but instead presented this as a genuine, personal dilemma. In fact, it would appear he is instead part of a ministry or group of sorts, working with 4 people himself.

    Steve has been rude since his first comment. He used Michael and his time in an attempt to prove his own point. The entire thing seems deceptive, and I suggest the thread be closed to comments.

  • Mary

    Thank you Steve Florida for your thoughts and input. I can certainly understand having an attraction for one person. It is not a contest of definitions to have attractions for most, more, many, more than one etc… to know that you are hetersexual.

    (Just so you know, I am ex gay, female, single, politically liberal and christian) Hope that’s enough to give you a frame of reference when I post.

  • Ann

    First, Ann, exactly how is what Michael said “unacceptable”?

    David,

    I find this unacceptable -

    Unfortunately, experience tends to take us outside the marriage and there are major risks associated with this:

    It seems from your earlier comments that you find this unacceptable as well.

  • Ann

    Steve Florida,

    I appreciate what you wrote and your honesty. Please know that your story can touch many lives and be an example to those who are looking for encouragement and support in making the same decisions you have. Thank you again for your openness, honesty and integrity – it took a lot of courage to share something so personal and I hope by doing so, your blessings will only multiply.

  • Mary

    I disagree DR with your comments about Steve’s attitude. It would seem to me that some gay men here have been intimidated by his story. Steve has been straight forward (and please no stupid comments about my choice of words) and honest in his writings. And then some people here have decided to redefine his experience and say it’s not true or turthful. Again – someone else telling another person how he should view his sexuality, life, faith , marriage etc… When Steve defneds himself he only points out some of the inconsistencies in other peoples accusations of him. Of course, that is to a gay man being rude but to another man telling it like it is as he sees it.

    If you see an adversary then you are going to filter every impression of him through hostile glasses instead of through a true lense. That being the one he speaks about.

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    Mary,

    I’m sorry….are you reading the same thread as me? I can’t see where anyone has tried to redefine anything. There has been a bit of trying to figure out just what was going on with all this emailing….was he confused, not confused, looking for help, baiting the guy….just what?

    From the get-go David was totally with Steve and his experience….the guy is attracted to his wife and has a successful marriage….he has typical struggles like any other married man (well, maybe not typical…but…he is at times tempted like any man)…anyway….David hasn’t attempted to redefine Steve….he actually was trying to support the guy until it seemed to come to light that the whole thing was a sort of “ruse” to make a point.

    Well, point made. We all disagree in the same ways we always have.

    And Mary, I’m going to apologize in advance if I sound defensive to you….I’ve had some things going on at my personal blog that I’ve never experienced before….so I’m probably displacing some frustration on you. I do sincerely apologize if this all sounds a bit harsh. I’m really just trying to disagree nicely…promise. ;)

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    I disagree DR with your comments about Steve’s attitude. It would seem to me that some gay men here have been intimidated by his story. Steve has been straight forward (and please no stupid comments about my choice of words) and honest in his writings…

    Mary, do you even read the comments?

  • Michael Bussee

    Mr. Florida. I have no “gay agenda”. And I don’t assume that what I did is what all married gay men should do. If the man and woman can figure out a way to be reasonably happy, more power to them! I sincerely wish I had been able to.

    You see, the problem is that my wife wanted sex with a man – and so did I.

  • Drowssap

    Jay

    LOL – That’s ok – you’re one up on me – I don’t have sex at all anymore

    What? Did you give up on humanity or something? 8-)

    If I may be so bold, why no partner in your life?

    In my case my wife drives me crazy but right now she is on vacation. After 2 days I forget all of her annoying traits and I miss her pretty bad.

  • Mary

    Not to worry Pam. Fair enough David. I have a tendency to skim and probably misread. Thanks for calling me on it.

    Still – I do not think Steve has been rude – frstrated – not rude.

  • Mary

    Michael,

    I do have a question – why did you get married if you had no sexual attraction to your wife? Did you feel obligated? Bullied? Intimidated??

  • Michael Bussee

    Mary asked: “Why did you get married if you had no sexual attraction to your wife? Did you feel obligated? Bullied? Intimidated?”

    None of the above. I got married because (1) I truly loved my wife Ann and still do, (2) I was really young. (3) I thought my homosexual feelings might just be a (very long) phase that I was finally “growing out of”. (4) Falling in love with a woman seemed to prove this. (5) Even though there was no real sexual desire, that was OK. Marriage wasn’t just about sex and we weren’t supposed to have sex until after marriage anyway, right?

    (6) I was a brand-new, on fire Christian full of the love of the Lord. (7) I believed marriage to a woman was what God wanted for all of us — marriage was what males and females were supposed to do. (8) I believed that gay relationships were always sin and (9) I believed (and was counseled to believe) that getting married then was the right thing to do, an expression of faith, the next step in my healing and (10) that Jesus would create straight feelings in me as we went along in our marriage — if I tried hard enough, read the Bible enough, fellowshipped enough, had enough faith and really wanted it enough.

  • listener

    This is a very interesting discussion. I hope it continues. I have never commented on a blog before, and only do so now because David Roberts suggested that this discussion should be shut. Please don’t. We need somewhere to talk about this important issue, and I think this is a good place to do it. I really appreciate those who have taken the time to comment, whether I agree or not. Good ideas can stand up to argument, right?

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    Mary – “I disagree DR with your comments about Steve’s attitude. It would seem to me that some gay men here have been intimidated by his story.”

    I tend to agree with this Mary and I’ll tell you why; but first I want to address these comments repeated by a few about my “attitude”. It’s my sense that some of you here just don’t like hearing what I have to say, and you want to associate that with a certain undesirable “attitude”. Have I been frustrated? Yes. Do I think I have been rude or disrespectful to any one here? No, I do not. If any of you disagree with me, kindly point out where you think I have been rude and I will gladly consider rephrasing what I was trying to say.

    About a year ago the menshealth.com website had a topic in their discussion group area titled “Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction”. I came across this one day and decided to participate in the dialog with other guys. I was frankly amazed that there were consistently about 10-15 guys that wanted to talk about how to deal with their same-sex attractions in a non-sexual way. There was another topic that was geared more toward guys with SSA that actually wanted to act on those feelings, and apparently, this newer topic was created to separate the two types of men so each could find the support and/or encouragement they were looking for.

    There were several guys in the newer forum that were explaining to us how they were able to deal with these attractions and remain faithful to their wives. Some of them actually said that their sexual attractions had greatly diminished, or had disappeared altogether. To my surprise, there were gay men that would come into this topic and argue with these guys and claim that real change was simply not possible. On fellow in particular said, and I’ll never forget this as long as I live;

    “I tried everything I could for many years to change, and I couldn’t, so you may as well give up now, because it just isn’t possible, if I can’t, neither can you!”

    Talk about an attitude! All of a sudden it finally hit me, this guy was angry because other men in this group said that they had either changed their orientation or were in the process of accomplishing their desired goal. This fellow was upset, actually quite indignant about his assertion that change wasn’t possible. I came to realize that when some men see other men accomplishing something that they themselves did not succeed in, there can be a variety of emotions in that man, ranging from thinking;

    1) Wow, good for him!

    2) I can do it too if I work as hard as he did

    3) Huh, wish I could have done that, but I just can’t

    4) There’s no way he could accomplish that, there must be a trick to it

    5) What he did is impossible because I’ve tried and even I didn’t succeed.

    I find it very sad, particularly in dealing with SSA, that if you tell someone that you have made progress that you hear VERY FEW 1’s and 2’s, a lot of 3’s and 4’s, and a ton of 5’s.

    I’m not going to guess at where DR is in this, only he knows for sure. But I find it to be very disappointing that so many people seem to have a personal agenda on this issue, and so few to encourage you to pursue your own personal goals without trying, intentionally or not, to distract or discredit you, …and I’m not saying anyone here has tried to do that.

    I didn’t come here to “intimidate” anyone. I came here, quite honestly, by accident; but thought while I was here that what I had to say would be encouraging to others, given the nature of Dr. Throckmorton’s work and this website.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    David Roberts

    “Steve has been rude since his first comment. He used Michael and his time in an attempt to prove his own point. The entire thing seems deceptive, and I suggest the thread be closed to comments.”

    listener

    “This is a very interesting discussion. I hope it continues. I have never commented on a blog before, and only do so now because David Roberts suggested that this discussion should be shut. Please don’t. We need somewhere to talk about this important issue, and I think this is a good place to do it. I really appreciate those who have taken the time to comment, whether I agree or not. Good ideas can stand up to argument, right?”

    I’ve addressed this above, I don’t know why David thinks I’ve been rude, if anyone tends to agree with him, please feel free to point out where I have been less than kind and I will gladly correct myself. I also do not understand why some here feel like I have been deceptive. Please point out how you feel I have deceived anyone here and I will do my best to explain.

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    I do have this to say about my friend David.

    During the time I was married to Tdub, there was NO ONE more encouraging to me and no one more ready to accept our marriage and Tdub’s willingness to work on his SSA so that we could remain together as a family. There was also NO ONE more upset about the demise of our marriage and no one less willing to provide Tdub with any sort of easy excuse for giving up his struggle with SSA.

    This man just shares his experience like everyone else. I’ve never known of him to have any sort of personal vendetta against ex-gays in general.

    He runs a watchdog site. That site performs an important role. Like it or not, some bad stuff has happened….as I can personally attest. But he’s not against ex-gays and is more open to their existence than anyone here ever seems willing to give him credit for.

  • Ann

    Listener,

    Dr. Throckmorton is the only person who can shut down a thread. While others hold themselves up to be experts with authority, they are usually the same ones who want to end a discussion when things are not going their way. The majority of people who blog here are intelligent and thoughtful and open-minded and like to keep a discussion open, even when it becomes challenging, so they can keep learning from others. I agree with you about this subject and am glad you want to be a part of it.

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    It was deceptive in the way you approached the marriedgay site as if you were some confused person….and then used the whole thing to sort of blast the guy here.

    I don’t necessarily agree with his advice either….but geez…..

    It was a different thing than it was originally presented here. It just was.

    And again…I’m WAY COOL with you being ex-gay and…I’ll say it AGAIN…if I had my druthers I’d be married to an ex-gay right now.

    it just looks like…so many times in these threads….that we go through here and are like…

    ok…david roberts, XGW….i’ll be against what he says…

    ok…jayhuck…celibate gay man in support of all things gay…check, i’m against him to….

    ok…here’s an ex-gay….he can say the sky is falling and i’m with him…

    Warren has pointed it out before….there are good things to say, be said…and be heard on all sides. I know, I know….I’m in the wrong “camp” now so what I have to say is tainted with pro-gay rhetoric. blah blah blah..

    that’s really how it feels over here sometimes…

    i’m certain you must feel the exact same way in the opposite vein….*sigh*

  • Ann

    Steve,

    That is one opinion. I do not think you have been rude at all – nor deceptive.

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    I didn’t mean “if I had my druthers” in that I’m looking to marry another ex-gay. Just to be clear! LOL

    can we laugh? a little? please?

  • Ann

    it just looks like…so many times in these threads….that we go through here and are like…

    Pam,

    Have you ever seen it happen in reverse?

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    Pam, I will be glad to respond to that as soon as I can – busy at work. Maybe later tonight. thanks for your honesty. steve

  • Ann

    can we laugh? a little? please?

    Pam,

    Yes, good idea! I have followed your story for a long time now and know exactly what you meant about your “druthers”. I understand it completely.

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    maybe a tad, but nothing nearly as consistent….

    i know for a fact that jayhuck has at times bent over backwards trying to catch a break around here…and i have seen he and eddy at least patch things up a bit….which is heartening….

    honestly ann….you do it more than anyone else. I’m sorry….i’ll probably regret telling you that…but it sure looks that way…..can we still be friends?

    i did allow for you feeling that same thing on your end in my comment…did you see that part???

  • Ann

    honestly ann….you do it more than anyone else.

    Pam,

    What do I do more than anyone else?

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    Ann,

    You know I’m a big weenie….and I can’t stand not getting along and stuff….so I really am trying to say this as gently as possible. It really does look like to me….really….that you look at who’s saying something and decide to agree or not just by who’s saying it and not by what’s even being said. I mean…you just fall in lock-step consistently with any ex-gay….I sometimes wonder if they could come over here and claim to have found healing from SSA through licking ivory elephant tusks or some such nonsense and you’d just accept it unquestioned. I’m sorry….I know that was rude. But it seems that ridiculous at time. To me.

    I know your heart is heavy with this issue. I do have compassion for that in you. I do.

    Please forgive me in advance if this is offensive to you.

    love and grace,

    pam

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

    At the request of listener and others I am going to leave the thread open for a bit.

    I also want to ask commenters to refrain from assuming the motives of others. I do not read David Roberts remarks as being dismissive of Steve’s experience so I am confused by some of the perceptions I am reading.

    Please stay on topic and not on your impressions of other commenters.

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    I’m sorry…I”m sorry….

    Ann, If you are still speaking to me….would you email me privately?

    much love!

    pam

  • Ann

    Pam,

    No, I do not know you are a big weenie – I have no knowledge of that nor have I ever thought that of you.

    I understand your observations about me and there is no need to ask for forgiveness – you have done nothing wrong that needs to be forgiven. I also understand how important it is for you to feel the way you do. For the past couple of years, I have followed your story with wishes (here I go again) for your (and often Tdub’s) well being. I wish you knew more about me because I believe you would see me in a different light than you currently do. Because that cannot be, your observations are the only guide you have. Not sure how many posts of mine you have read, but I hope enough to see the full range of the kind of person I am before drawing any final conclusions. Pointing out that what I say is ridiculous to you was not rude – I took it as your observation, not a judgement. I don’t ever think I have said my heart is heavy with this issue, though I can see how you would get that impression. Regarding Jayhuck, I am one of his biggest fans and have told him so – often. He rises above an issue in order to be able to talk about it and commands respect for doing so.

    In closing, I hope you feel clarity from your comments to me and can also feel re-assured they were received without offense.

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    Ann,

    I really don’t read them as consistently as I should. I pop in and out and get interested in something here and there as it suits my fancy.

    Thank you for being so gracious. I agree with you, I wish I could know you more…but for now…I think I’ll step away from the computer and go and get some fresh air outside. I’m pretty sure that will do me more good than anything at this point! :)

    I appreciate your prayers and well wishes for me, Tdub, and the boys. There’s no telling where we’d be if it weren’t for the prayers of so many….and so many like you who’ve done it from afar as you have.

    love and grace,

    pam

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Again, I think this thread is a good example of how not to deal with issues as important as these. The issues are fine, but the thread began with deception, and Steve and some others seem intent on ignoring that.

    I do feel it is important that Warren respond to the question about causation. I submit that anyone, Medlinger, Nicolosi, etc, who says they know the cause of homosexuality at this point is not only incorrect, but focusing in the wrong direction. The only honest answer is, “we don’t know what causes it.” Like pop psychology, their “answers” have a ring of truth because we all share some experiences as human beings, but retroactively trying to apply these theories to one’s own life does not a causal factor make. Warren?

    PS: Thanks Pam, for a little fresh air and honesty ;)

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

    David – Yes, you are correct. I commented in a recent post that the APA had taken a more cautious position and now I am waiting for NARTH and Exodus to do the same.

    These masculinity deficit theories appeal to some men who may have been gender nonconforming as kids. It makes sense that an explanation that resonates with their experience would be appealing. However, correlation is not cause and we do not know what causes homosexual attractions in these men. The research support for developmental factors implicated by reparative drive theory is weak at best. Conservative sometimes howl at this point and ask, “so are you saying its genetic?” The answer there is no, I don’t know. We need less dogmatism on this from all sides.

  • Mary

    I did not view Steve as being deceptive. I guess it really does matter what chair you sit in and from what angle you read from.

    Isn’t it strange – some here remark on his honesty and transparency and others remarks on his deception?

    Just an observation.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    Lets take a another look a what a couple of you are claiming to be “deceptive”, shall we?

    I would probably have chosen to live a gay life if I was born 20-30 years later than I was. The option of choosing to pursue men in the early 80’s was nothing like it is today. I do love my wife very much, and do feel very attracted to her emotionally, physically and sexually – however I am not attracted to any other women at all. (Isn’t that what most women would prefer?) Yet, I am often attracted to other men, some so intensely that I am convinced I could have lived a gay life had I never married.

    Every word of this is true – no deception here.

    So, a rhetorical question, if I may:

    Do I separate from my wife just because of this? I could say that as a married man, my real identity is that of a gay male, and I should be honest with myself and pursue what I feel in my gut. If I did, I think it’s quite possible that I could find another man to love, but eventually, still long for the softness and tenderness of my former wife. I may be living out a straight life now while secretly longing to live a gay one; or, if I chose to follow the path of some others, I could end up living a gay life while secretly longing for what I missed from my straight one. So I have often wondered, which is the real me? Am I really gay pretending to live a straight life, or if I switched, could I really be straight pretending to live a gay life?

    Every word of this is true as well – no deception here. I am not asking for “advice”, as I already know at this point that he will not offer the recommendation I would like to hear. Plus, I make it crystal clear that my question is rhetorical – I am actually stating a position that is no where to be found on his site.

    Confusing? Hell yes, this dilemma has consumed me for much of my life. I know if I ever chose to leave my wife, I could never come back to her; it’s a one way road, so I have chosen to stay, “un-regretfully.” If I’m the only such man, then so be it; but surely you must come across other men just like me – do you not?

    Here I confess that I do still fight this from time to time, but that I have chosen to make a life decision to remain with my wife for the rest of my life; un-regretfully so, because I am in love with her. While I still find some men to be attractive, I doubt I am even capable of falling in love with one. My wife and I have made a commitment to one another, for better or for worse, to stay with each other until death. She knows about my SSA and has graciously agreed to work with me, and she has read everything I have post on-line.

    As I have stated before, The most important person here to be convinced that I am telling the truth is me, and I am fully content in the sincerity of my remarks above, and everything I have stated in my follow up posts.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    I will have further comment soon

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    *whew*

    ok…thanks Steve. I’ll just concede that I read it wrong, even though it sure seemed like it turned a corner at some point up there….but I honestly have no more energy left to think about this and what bit of energy I had earlier I used to up on defending David and assuming Ann’s motivations. I’m pretty much done on this one! ha!

    Again, I stand by my support of David and apologize for coming down on Ann. I need to put this in perspective and just move on to other pursuits. It’s not as if there aren’t others. ha!

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    David

    “I submit that anyone, Medlinger, Nicolosi, etc, who says they know the cause of homosexuality at this point is not only incorrect, but focusing in the wrong direction. The only honest answer is, “we don’t know what causes it.” Like pop psychology, their “answers” have a ring of truth because we all share some experiences as human beings, but retroactively trying to apply these theories to one’s own life does not a causal factor make.”

    What make you so sure about this David? How do you know that they don’t know? If indeed they don’t know, then do you know that what they suspect is “incorrect” as well? Frankly, I don’t know that I have read any scientific literature on this subject where the researcher/author claimed to know what causes homosexuality, only what he/she suspects may have been a contributing factor(s). Are you saying that you have no interest in knowing anything about that? I’ve asked myself why that seems to be of little interest to you. I noticed a similar outlook in the gay men I corresponded with in the MensHealth forum; they basically didn’t care what caused it because they came to accept it regardless of cause and had no intention or desire to change, they believed themselves to be content – and that is fine, I have no problem with that, nor should I.

    However, what about those who do have the intent and desire to change; what do we tell them? Should we just say that David Roberts has dismissed all of this research as incorrect; sorry, you’re stuck buddy? If men like myself can accept your decision to embrace your homosexuality and personal dismissal of any research on cause, then I’m sure you can offer the same in return, and I believe you have already confirmed that somewhere above. If a man desires to reject his homosexual urges and wants to learn more about where they came from, then he is going to be very interested in what Medinger, Nicolosi, et al have to say, with or without any proof to back it up. If men such as myself have the desire and will to change, believing ourselves to be discontent as homosexual – then I’m confidant you should have no problem with that.

    Now Medinger may not be as careful with his words as you would like, maybe he could have said “can be” in lieu of “is”, but his point is that this is what he found to be true for himself – it worked for him. How can you possibly argue with that? Are you going to tell him he’s wrong if that realization has been able to help him accomplish his goal of putting his same-sex attraction into a different perspective? I agree with him and believe that what has worked for him is working for me as well. I have been able to live with my attractions much more comfortably than before by considering this as a possible cause of these unwanted feelings; and responding by working in that area of my life.

    For many men, craving for the masculine is the central driving force in their homosexuality, as it once was for me”. In fact, he suggests that if a man has an incomplete male identity, that can be the engine that drives homosexual behaviors and attractions.”

    What other ‘proof’ do I need? Would it work any better for me if the APA came out and endorsed everything Medinger has to say? Would it even make much difference if God sent me a personal messenger to proclaim that Alan Medinger was really an angel in disguise put here on hearth just to write his book so we would all know the truth – not really (well maybe). The fact is it has already made a difference in my life, and I’m finding my existence to be much more joyful the past few years because of it.

    You have accepted your homosexuality and therefore have no need to be aware of the potential cause(s), correct or not – they are irrelevant to you.

    I reject homosexuality (not to be confused with you as a person) and therefore have a great interest in the potential cause(s) – they are relevant to me.

    I do not disagree with your assertion that “we don’t know what causes it.” However, I will not dismiss what anyone who has studied this at great length proposes to be potential cause(s). I am very interested in what they have to say because I refuse to accept my undesired attractions to label me as a homosexual who has no choice in the matter.

    Warren

    “David – Yes, you are correct. I commented in a recent post that the APA had taken a more cautious position and now I am waiting for NARTH and Exodus to do the same.

    These masculinity deficit theories appeal to some men who may have been gender nonconforming as kids. It makes sense that an explanation that resonates with their experience would be appealing. However, correlation is not cause and we do not know what causes homosexual attractions in these men. The research support for developmental factors implicated by reparative drive theory is weak at best. Conservative sometimes howl at this point and ask, “so are you saying its genetic?” The answer there is no, I don’t know. We need less dogmatism on this from all sides.”

    So are you also claiming Warren that whatever specific position NARTH and Exodus have taken that you disagree with is incorrect – beyond any doubt? The APA has always taken a “cautious position” when it comes to anything regarding a person “rejecting their homosexuality”, simply because the APA has a very strong gay contingent, and has for years. I, for one, am certainly not going to wait around for them to come to any conclusion on how to help men such as myself deal with undesired attractions – particularly when they consider such a position to be “dangerous” to my health.

    I suggest that rather than taking the position that “These masculinity deficit theories appeal to some men who may have been gender nonconforming as kids”, it would be a little more accurate or to say that “These masculinity deficit theories may apply to some men. . . “

    Maybe they do, maybe they don’t.

    I don’t know for certain that they do, but how do you know for certain that know that they don’t?

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    Its difficult composing in this little box – correctly stated;

    Maybe they do, maybe they don’t.

    I don’t know for certain that they do, but how do you know for certain that they don’t?

  • Mary

    Steve,

    I think as people who have looked at our OWN same sex attraction that we find answers in many different places. The answers will not be the same for everyone or even two people who are very much alike. I have found truth in several places and ultimately it comes down to what I think and how I view my life. Not any other person has that answer. But sometimes, what a person writes or says does resonate with me – not everytime on everything but sometimes. And to capture each person in a static picture and try to frame that is going to be difficult for any audience.

    I think you have put into words things other people don’t want to hear and want you to deny. It may not be the truth for them. And that’s fine. They have their own life to live – not yours and not mine.

    I used to be so invested in the way other people lived instead of focusing on myself. Being gay taught me to foucs on my own desires and let others do as they please, too.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    I think you have put into words things other people don’t want to hear and want you to deny. It may not be the truth for them. And that’s fine. They have their own life to live – not yours and not mine.

    I agree with what you’ve said here Mary, the answers we are looking for vary per individual, no two of us are exactly the same.

    I take only one exception to your comments, albeit a critical one.

    I do not believe in relative truth. Truth is truth, regardless whether we believe it or not. Perhaps Augustine was right when he said that “we love the truth when it enlightens us, but we hate it when it convicts us.”

    Maybe we cant handle the truth.

  • Mary

    Well, Augustine ( a very sexually active individual before his conversion) had a lot to say about sexuality.

    I know what God has revealed to me. I cannot say he has revealed the same to others. And since God does not impose his will on me – I find it hard to do such to others. So – let it be. I may not agree with someone’s choices, logic, concerns etc… I want the same for myself – let me be.

    I know that if my parents had not let me pursue my sexuality in the manner that I was beginning to express in my later teens then I would have rebelled and in so doing argued myself into a corner which I would find difficult to give up – purely out of pride and – well pride. But that they did not contest gave me some sense of ownership of my sexuality that allowed me to examine myself later and develop further. I did not spend my coming out struggle on convincing my parents – I spent it on fighting for equality. I still fight for equality and find it rather strange that so many gays have decided that I don’t accept “my” “orientation” . LOL

    So as to what the truth is – well – even you and I only know part of it. Even the Son of God was not knowing of all.

    And yes, we hate the truth when it convicts us. It’s embarassing, humbling, etc..

    Tacitus was quoted as saying “We often hate the ones we hurt” Most people think we go around hating those who hurt us – but not so. We convince ourselves that we hate someone hoping to justify why we have hurt them when it was never needed to begin with.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    Agreed; are you willing to share what God has revealed to you Mary?

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    I came across this article in Mother Jones this morning, thought it was interesting, coming from a “an independent, left wing, nonprofit magazine rooted in progressive political values and known for its investigative reporting” Wikipedia

    Read here: http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/09/gay-by-choice.html

    Gay by Choice? The Science of Sexual Identity

    NEWS: If science proves sexual orientation is more fluid than we’ve been led to believe, can homosexuality still be a protected right?

    By Gary Greenberg, psychotherapist

    Mother Jones

    August 27, 2007

    “…But as crucial as this consensus has been to the struggle for gay rights, it may not be as sound as some might wish. While scientists have found intriguing biological differences between gay and straight people, the evidence so far stops well short of proving that we are born with a sexual orientation that we will have for life. Even more important, some research shows that sexual orientation is more fluid than we have come to think, that people, especially women, can and do move across customary sexual orientation boundaries, that there are ex-straights as well as ex-gays. Much of this research has stayed below the radar of the culture warriors, but reparative therapists are hoping to use it to enter the scientific mainstream and advocate for what they call the right of self-determination in matters of sexual orientation. If they are successful, gay activists may soon find themselves scrambling to make sense of a new scientific and political landscape.”

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Steve said:

    If a man desires to reject his homosexual urges and wants to learn more about where they came from, then he is going to be very interested in what Medinger, Nicolosi, et al have to say, with or without any proof to back it up.

    Yup, you’re right.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    I meant to put “proof” in quotes; so consider it revised.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    Youre a man of few words this morning David, was that all you could think to say?

    Why not consider responding to the many other points I made in that post?

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    David is busy reviewing an article I want to post at XGW.

    You guys just talk amongst yourselves here.

    I need his undivided attention right now.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Why not consider responding to the many other points I made in that post?

    You seem quite able to carry on a conversation with me without my interjecting my actual thoughts into the mix. You need an enemy, I’m not it but you will make do and that just doesn’t interest me. I’m done now.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    Thanks for checking in Pam. I took a brief look at the “XGW” site; I had no idea there were people so preoccupied with “watching ex-gays”, it must be a pretty big deal to you and Dave. I guess I could be considered “ex-gay” by some people, am I being watched too?

    I wonder if there is there such a thing as “gay-watch”? Oops, never mind, I just checked for myself and found nothing but gay sex for sale.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    “I’m done now.”

    Yup, you’re right.

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    You know Steve…

    I’m gonna let Dr. T respond to that one. I’ve known him and talked with him over the past several years…he knows why there IS a need for such a watchdog site. He knows most of my very painful story and the reason why I’m involved in a site like XGW.

    It really is very callous and flippant for you to speak to me that way about it.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    I’m finished with this Warren, few here are really interested in an open and honest discussion on this topic. Close at your discretion.

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    I’m sure he’ll appreciate your permission.

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

    Steve wrote:

    If a man desires to reject his homosexual urges and wants to learn more about where they came from, then he is going to be very interested in what Medinger, Nicolosi, et al have to say, with or without any proof to back it up.

    This is probably one of my biggest problems with these writers. They traffic in anecdotes and want to be taken seriously as having something to say about homosexuality in general. This is not a scientific approach and I will continue to call people to say only what we know and when speculating about the rest, to say so.

    I think the frustration many people face can be traced to trusting theories that sounded like they fit but then when applied did not work to reduce or eliminate SSA. These people waste lots of time and money and often get depressed and self-critical to the point of despair. It is better to say we do not know and help people work toward a valued position individualized for them. My problem is not a man thinks his homosexuality is a reflection of masculine deficit (although I am not compelled to believed it anymore than I am compelled any personal theory of causation), it is when a person writes that homosexuality for others IS masculine deficit, apriori before understanding the individual.

    Using these books to teach others what homosexuality is sets people up for lots of heartache in my view. Some may do ok with it and even find enough resonance with their own situation to feel motivation to move forward. However, I think one could get value support without telling people what caused their feelings in a definitive manner.

    RE: XGW, I think in recent years, particularly under David Roberts leadership, the site has had some very good posts and broken some important stories. My observation is that the conservative world has very few people who are willing to question the status quo. In that kind of environment, outside observers serve a function. XGW stands in contrast to bombthrowers like Wayne Besen.

  • Mary

    Steve,

    My relationship with God is private and personal. My life from gay to ex gay is different than most. I was not a christian or believer of christ at the time. My views on sexuality are not the typical conservative response nor the typical liberal response. I don’t think everyone can take the path you have taken. I don’t think gay people should make that a priority in their life unless they want to. Many people with same sex attraction are going to have those feelings for the rest of their lives and some people come to different conclusions when they integrate their sexuality with their beliefs.

    That is what has been revealed to me.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    Warren, I posted this at 9:14 am, I will assume you missed it;

    “I meant to put “proof” in quotes; so consider it revised.” . . . meaning, that if something has worked in my life, thats proof enough for me, without having to wait for some “professional proof” from the ‘academics’ and ‘researchers’.

    This is probably one of my biggest problems with these writers.

    Are you referring to me ore the men I quoted?

    I had no intent on coming back to add any further comment, but did not want this to be left misunderstood

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

    I deleted two comments that related to other blogs. I am not interested in fighting over how other blogs conduct business. That chatter here will be deleted.

    Regarding “what works for me”: I have no problem with individuals offering their experience but I also have the ability to evaluate critically how that relates to the big picture. Some say their SSA comes from being born C-section which prevented a failure to bond with mother in the nursery. I don’t believe their theory about themselves, but I respect their right to articulate it. I do not however, believe it to be a general principle for SSA. People believe all kinds of things but I do not think belief is proof.

  • Eddy

    Pam–

    As always, I appreciate it when you drop in. In one of your posts, you touched on the dynamics of the blog. I agree with you that it does seem that individuals rally in support of ‘their team’ and in taking the offensive against ‘the other’. Many times it appears that we look for that one unfortunately chosen word or phrase or that one overstatement and launch into a fresh diatribe–forgetting to say, “By the way, I agreed with most everything else you said.” So, the challenge does not appear to be a challenge to that one portion but rather to the whole statement. I think we can all use some work in that area. I’ve been trying but the old ways are rather entrenched!

    LOL! But there was a time when I challenged Mary so regularly that she was actually surprised when I finally supported something she said. Conversely, I’ve expressed agreement at times to things David or Timothy said only to find that it didn’t seem to get through to anybody. I read responses from both David and Timothy in the Wendy thread and the Alan thread over at XGW and couldn’t believe it was the same guys I continually get into trouble with over here. Naturally, I wondered if I wasn’t somehow reading them through a filter of expectations and prejudgements over here–and I’ll concede that I may have. But I’ve also not seen Timothy run so hot over at XGW as he does here and David’s patience seems stronger there as well. (These aren’t conclusions–simply musings.)

    We share so many concerns on so many levels that I feel it’s most unfortunate that we can’t seem to work our way past the “us and them” mentality and see what we can really learn from each other. That’s where Jayhuck and I usually had our breakdowns. I’d make a statement about us mutually learning or mutually compromising and it seemed he always came back with “I agree but it’s your side that has the most to learn, that has to give the most.” That may or may not be true but I still believe we have to come to a mutually respectful sense of ‘us’ and then deal with the individual needs for learning and compromising as they surface.

    I’m not ready to post over there yet but I do promise I’ll come check out your new thread.

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    Thanks for verbalizing all of that Eddy.

    I’d usually rather eat a big bag of rocks than feel like I’ve hurt someone’s feelings, even though I can be awfully sarcastic at times. The key for me is to remain in a spirit of humility, and I’m not always successful, but I try.

    I’m glad you’ve done some reading over at XGW recently…just because I it IS important for all of us to come together and follow Romans 12:18-

    “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

    I appreciate your kind words, your humble and honest comment, and your encouragement to me personally.

  • listening

    I can’t help but wonder why no one has said a good reason for Steve to stay with his wife is because that is what God has commanded. Isn’t obedience to God’s commands (keep your vows, abstain from fornication, etc) better than following our lusts? Won’t we be blessed for that, both in this life and the one to come? I don’t mean to be judgemental, only to put this discussion in light of what God has said in his Word. Am I being too simplistic?

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    I guess it was because it was something for you to say….good point!
    :)

  • Michael Bussee

    Listening; You suggested that Steve stay with his wife — and I tend to agree. If a gay man has enough heterosexual desire to meet his wife’s God-given needs, he should stay. But what if he does not? I sure didn’t. I had to fantasize about men each and every time in order to function.

    I divorced because she deserved to be with a fullt heterosexual man who desired her spiritually, romantically and sexually — and could meet all those needs.. She deserved that and now she has that.

    It was a painful mistake that we married. It was painful being married, listening to her cry herself to sleep because I had no sexual interset in her. She couldn’t help think there was “something wrong with her”. There wasn’t. She was just straight.

    It was very painful to leave. But it would have been much more painful for both of us if I had stayed. Would is have been fair or loving to expect a young bride to have a sexless marriage? That’s not what she “signed on for”.

    You asked, isn’t staying “better than following our lusts?” Of course.. But when two very young people like us realize they have made a tragic mistake — getting married when one is gay and one is straight — then I think it is best to annul such a marriage and let the woman find a true husband in every sense of that word.

  • Mary

    Michael,

    Did you answer wh you married to begin with? Was it out of obligation, intimidation, …? Just wondering.

  • http://peoplecanchange.com steve florida

    I have decided that as long as someone like listener is here asking questions, that I will return to offer my point of view. In response to your question, no listener, you’re not being too simplistic; quite the contrary. If I were not a Christian and had no concern for Gods will for my life, I would more than likely be living a gay lifestyle. It’s somewhat difficult for me to explain, but being a Believer, God has now given me the discernment to be able to see my life beyond my lusts, or my desire to do what I knew to be wrong. This is not a condemnation of anyone else here or a challenge to the decisions anyone else has made – I’m speaking about myself only. However, if tolerance is what we are all striving for, then I think my views should be tolerated as well. The Bible clearly condemns homosexuality Listener, and I refuse to believe a homosexual life is a valid option for the Christian man or woman; and I can clearly see how the non-Christian would have no problem with it.

    I have not mentioned this before, but there was a time in my life where I turned my back on God and chose to do what I wanted. Over a decade ago and for the first time in my life I allowed myself to become involved with another married man. At the time it felt like it was the right thing to do for me, I was “experimenting”, or so I justified. While I was blinded to reality of what I was really doing, the fact was I was being unfaithful to my wife by committing adultery. What I discovered during this time was that while there were some new experiences that seemed to have me captivated, I noticed that my relationship with God became one where I was always trying to justify to Him why I was doing what I was doing. I finally came to the realization that I could not do both, worship my creator and live contrary to the way He designed me to live. I eventually confessed all of this to my wife, asked her forgiveness, and will remain with her for the rest of my life. It was certainly not as simple as that, we did go through some difficult times together as a result of what I did, but God helped us through it and our relationship is better now than it has ever been. She is always aware of my participation in groups such as this, and fully supports my efforts in wanting to work with other Christian men to deal with these attractions toward other men in a non-sexual way.

    Michael Bussee – Listening; You suggested that Steve stay with his wife — and I tend to agree. If a gay man has enough heterosexual desire to meet his wife’s God-given needs, he should stay. But what if he does not? I sure didn’t. I had to fantasize about men each and every time in order to function.

    Michael, I must comment on your use of the term “gay man”. I am not a gay man; I am heterosexual. You may choose to argue with me all you want, but I will retain the right to “label” myself how ever I decide, and you are clearly free to do the same for yourself. I actually don’t think you are trying to make a point here by inferring that I am a gay man; as I realize it’s just the way you have come to think after many years of living a homosexually oriented life – this is a natural thought process for you. If a man exhibits any same-sex attraction, confusion, curiosity, whatever you want to call it, then he is a gay man, and if he is married or otherwise pursuing a heterosexual life, he is either living in denial, in the closet, or rejecting his true self. I propose that you shouldn’t come to that conclusion with every person. A man can certainly experience and deal with his same-sex attraction in whatever way he chooses. Regardless of the fact that we do not know what causes homosexual desire, we can only speculate, that alone is no reason to simply accept it as a given. While there are many theories on cause, there seem to be a lot more related to learned behavior than there does a genetic condition; so I have chosen to consider all of the “nurture” theories and have been working on the ones I believe are most applicable in my life. For me, the proof is identified in the personal results, not researcher’s critical evaluations. I consider my “true self” and my identity to be the life I have finally chosen to live, not the one I might have lived.

  • Pingback: Just as I am

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Regarding the above exchange with Steve Florida and involving Michael from marriedgay.org, I want to apologize to Michael. I allowed Steve Florida’s uncivil remarks toward Michael to go on without check. I do not think this was appropriate. Steve Florida did not articulate a view that I agreed with on the whole and I am not an associate of his in any way. I appreciate and empathize with the conflict expressed by the original post but I think the discussion became unproductive.

    I appreciate Michael allowing me to gain access to research participants via his informative website.

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    Those of us subscribed to the email comments received Steve Florida’s response to the previous comment which Dr. T judiciously deleted.

    It occurs to me that as Christians we will never ever fully agree on which specific behaviours constitute sin….and in the end, I honestly believe that sin is a matter of the heart….which is simply my interpretation of a whole slew of statements and situations made from Old Testament to New. However…..I believe we CAN all agree on matters involving how to treat one another with dignity and respect, even within the course of bitter disagreement. In fact, I believe it’s absolutely VITAL to our kingdom life that we learn these very valuable lessons while we are here on this earth.

    Steve Florida showed his true colors in the end. No…I’m not saying he’s “of the devil” or even that he’s not a Christian. I am saying that the motivations of his heart were laid bare with the comment he left in anger at Dr. T.

    It baffles my mind when I see folks (gay, straight, ex-gay, or polka-dotted sea turtle *heehee*) come in here and claim Christ as their example, then spew venomous remarks such as those Steve blurted out in his response. He can be faithful to his wife, he can be free of same sex desires, he can be the banner boy for all things traditional family and against any form of alternative sexuality…..yet….when he treats his brothers and sisters to that sort of ranting…what has he really gained?

    We should be about the business of edification of one another….and we can absolutely do that even in our disagreements.

  • Mary

    I can see Steve’s frustration. He wrote in here with a perspective that was attacked. Michael does show a bias towards gay affirming only therapy. And Jayhuck continues to call anyone with any SSA a gay person. Even though it has been discussed at length that some people identify as gay and some with SSA do not identify that way and Jayhuck continues to disrespect other people in this manner. So – I can totally understand his frustration.

    And yes, we should edify eachother. I’m as guilty as the next for being opinionated and impatient.

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    Mary,

    We must have a different perception of what it looks like to be “attacked”.

    I can’t for the life of me figure out why you would justify the sorts of things Steve said to Dr.T. I can only imagine how frustrated Dr. T. gets with all the bantering that goes on back and forth at this place….and yet….to speak to someone in that manner is inexcusable. We don’t respect that or mark it off as “frustration” when Wayne Besen does it….yet it’s understandable when Steve Florida turns loose on Dr. T and his site????

    Your logic makes no sense to me. One can’t claim Christ in one sentence and then act that way….well….obviously they can because Steve did….but he doesn’t gain respect or understanding when he does so…..well….he doesn’t from alot of us….but I guess he does from you.

  • Mary

    Pam,

    Steve is not paid nor does he regularly join in on blogs etc… I’m not excusing him.

    As for the likes of others who are paid and earn their income solely by attacking ex gays – then we have a different story. So I don’t compare the two.

    I don’t like that he attacked Dr. T. But he (Steve) is not very experienced at discussing this subject with others – as he said.

    I can feel his frustration. That’s all I meant. And by following your lead – to show a little more towards eachother.

  • jayhuck

    Mary,

    Again – we have problems with definitions – and NO I don’t call ANYONE who has SSA gay. I, like most of the people I know, and from what I can tell, most of America, equate the word GAY with HOMOSEXUAL. So if someone tells me that their primary attraction is to men, it would be common for many to label them as gay – right or wrong, good or bad, etc. That’s sort of how it is. If someone is primarily attracted to the opposite sex but has only minor SSA I MIGHT call them bisexual, but I’m not sure. UGH – why do I feel like I’m repeating myself?

  • jayhuck

    Sorry – let me rephrase that – if someone’s primary attraction is to the same sex, then I would call them gay. If they ask me to identify them as something else, then of course I would, but just knowing that fact – almost everyone I know would call that person gay – in the sense that they are homosexual.

  • Evan

    Jayhuck,

    How do you find out to what gender is someone primarily attracted to if he/she does not tell you? How do you objectively measure their ‘homosexuality’/’heterosexuality’ or some ratio between them? Some people can have erections that are not related to sexual fantasy, while others are hardly able to have them no matter what they see. That does not mean they are not attracted to anything. What about primarily same-sex attracted people who can have good sex with opposite-sex partners? Do they have to fill in a form and run a couple of tests to have their sexuality labeled by some external authority in these matters? BTW, there is no such authority right now, not even in theory.

    Until we know exactly what causes what we call ‘sexual orientation’ we don’t know precisely where it’s seated and what form it can take and how much variation it can have. Unless the person starts talking and they say what they feel and maybe whom they identify with – if there is a sexual label in their culture to identify with, I don’t see why should anyone’s sexuality be labelled according to categories that have no objectively measured criteria as yet. That kind of science should be equally valid in any given country, not just in the US. I know you know, we’ve discussed this before, but I just wanted to reiterate the argument here.

  • Patrick

    Evan, what does the cause of homosexuality have to do with how someone identifies? Jayhuck said that if someone’s primary attraction is towards the same-sex he would identify them as gay. (And he did mention that he does this by how the person in question states their attractions).

    Some see the label gay as SSA

    Others use the label gay to refer to SSA+pro-attitude towards SSA+cultural identity

    It isn’t as though it is a precisely defined term – after all it started as underground codeword.

  • http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com pam ferguson

    Walk away Jayhuck…just walk away!!! lol

  • jayhuck

    Thank Patrick. I think you did a good job explaining me :)

    Pam – LOL :)

  • Evan

    Patrick,

    I was only objecting to this part:

    If they ask me to identify them as something else, then of course I would, but just knowing that fact – almost everyone I know would call that person gay – in the sense that they are homosexual.

    I think that what those people are can only be determined by themselves. That’s why I argued that both the ‘gay’ and ‘homosexual’ labels would not do justice to how they lead their life, to what is important in their life. If they are not ‘sexual’ with any same-sex person and do not have a ‘gay’ self concept why would someone outside them have the right to tell them what ‘they are’? That’s why I was talking about the insufficient scientific grounds for determining who’s really ‘gay’ and who’s not. There hardly are ways to determine that if a person presumably takes the test.

    So my objection had to do with people deciding what someone else really is in sexual terms, based on their saying so. I am not disputing meanings of words, I am disputing this logic of imposing a ‘reality’ about someone based on your beliefs of what is real in sexual identity terms. One could have, for instance a combination of attractions but only identify with one type of attractions. If it works for them, who’s to say what they really are?

  • jayhuck

    Just because I know someone is primarily attracted to people of the same sex does not mean I would necessarily know how they would like to be identified. I’ve had several people tell me who they are attracted to but never had someone offer to me how they want to be identified.

    MY POINT, however, was that the world classifies people according to who they are primarily attracted – not to how they want to be seen.

  • jayhuck

    But it does have to do with definitions of words. We have the word gay being synonymous with homosexual – and its only meaning is that someone is primarily attracted to someone of the same sex. It doesn’t speak to whether they are married to someone of the opposite sex, want to be called straight or bi, etc. It is an objective statement, not subjective understanding of their sexual identity.

    There is also the word gay, used often by conservative Christians and therapists to mean someone who IDENTIFIES as gay – THIS is a subjective understanding of the word. Does that make sense?

    The word gay is used by many in this country in a vastly different way than it is used by some Christians and Christians therapists

  • Evan

    Jayhuck,

    If an object is grey, objectively it’s both black and white, so to speak. If I were a scientist I would study how come a homosexually identified person is able to be attracted to one particular opposite-sex person and have sex with that person. You know what I mean. :) Or how some people can be ‘primarily’ OSA and heterosexually identified and play parts in gay pictures, or be able to have homosexual sex in prisons (how is that possible if they are not at all attracted?), etc. I think there are many people that do not participate in debates like ours but do a lot more stuff than we can imagine, especially young people… If we don’t hear them talk we keep entertaining the same old views.

    This ‘primarily attracted’ phrase is a dogma that cannot be thoroughly proved right now. Most research is based on self-report and some unreliable measures of sexual arousal. If we want to be really fair, both in objective and subjective terms, we need to look at the entire picture. Maybe it’s a cultural difference here: I know people from the US like to think in pragmatic terms, in terms of ‘what works’, so ‘primarily attracted’ may sound good enough for ‘what really is’. If that is the case and it’s a cultural thing, I’m OK with it. :)

  • Evan

    I meant ‘if we don’t hear them talking‘.

  • Patrick

    Before I got involved in discussions with people who are (or trying to be) ex-gay – I did use gay, homosexual (and SSA though I never saw that term till I was involved with Bridges-Across) interchangeably.

    I think Jayhuck is right that ‘gay’ has traditionally referred to someone’s attractions. However, I am also aware that when talking in a mixed group of people (like here or BA etc) – more precise terminally is often needed. BA even invented there own lingo – some of it to just be shortcuts (side A/B etc) but some of it so we can talk to each other – without talking past each other.

  • Evan

    I don’t know about many of the people here, but I’m a guy in my late 20s and see a lot of people my age talking on message boards about “doin’ both guys and girls” and not asking themselves much about why and how to identify. To someone who is somewhat familiar with the research, that comes kind of surprising. Hello, Dr. Bailey, these people are deluding themselves! Dr. Bailey: ‘There is no bisexuality; it is a subjective experience.’ Professor Bem: ‘They are discordant with their own sexual orientation’. Hats off to science, I honestly don’t know who’s right but I’d really like to find out, because I’m interested in how can the same brain work in both directions. I don’t see any research on that. Someone must be right and the other one wrong or in a state of delusion.

    But then, again, how does it work for them? Does self-identification come at a price? Are some people heterosexually identified because they are same-sex attracted? Do they use self-identification as a sort of cultural and psychological crutch? I have more questions than answers. Unfortunately some believe they have more answers. I hope better research will solve some of these issues. (I’m not at all interested in reading research on flies and mice, it’s actually boring sometimes, but I don’t find any good answers in research on humans. It must be a cultural-political thing.)

  • Mary

    Patrick,

    In american society it was once acceptable to refer to people of african descent as n_____. Then later that was changed by those very people because that was demeaning to them and black became the preferred reference. Then again another change and today the acceptable term is African American. Nonetheless these people are primarily defined by their skin color (varying shades of black)

    Using Jayhuck’s reasoning – these people are black and that’s what they should be called (irregardless of the term African American) because by physical description – they are black. They are not African American.

    But among others who are respecting of a person’s right to choose how they will be defined – for those who prefer African American – we so say. For those preferring balck – we so say. And on and on.

    For those preferring SSA – we so say. We don’t call them gay if they do not identify as gay. Nor do we call them a fag. We respect a person be indentified as he chooses. Some people really do feel and identify as heterosexual with same sex attraction. They are not gay or homosexual.

    If a man identifies as a woman – we call him a her and allow her to cross dress, cross behave, etc….

    Why is this so hard to understand? Because popular culture says otherwise. If you feel like a man but are a woman – you are a man. If you feel more African American then you are and you are not black. But for those with same sex attraction in conflict with there heterosexuality – they are supposed to be called GAY. Because popular culture has decided that is the way it is??? I think not. Think outside the mob.

  • Mary

    Evan,

    I totally understand. Between my girlfriends and I we say horrible things about eachother and laugh about it. But what is between friends or those with a specific understanding of the humor in the communication is far different than insisting that your definition of someone is more correct than there own definition of themselves.

  • Evan

    Mary,

    I totally agree. It’s not serious name-calling what I was referring to. I was just reporting how people of some age, especially young people, act according to what they see in the culture and they think it’s cool. They don’t seriously mean that, they are way past any demeaning or derogatory intention. It would be stupid, not fun. And it’s just between friends. Many of my friends say when they meet something like: “What’s up, bro?”. Some of them even wear clothes like they saw on African-American hip-hop singers. So culture can be really strong in the way someone identifies himself/herself. It’s not always about what they really are. It’s about what they like or find that it represents them. It’s the same case with gay or ex-gay or straight or bi or undefined.

  • jayhuck

    Evan,

    I was only talking about the way the world works right now. I wasn’t talking about an idealic world where we know all the information we need to know in order to make an accurate assessment or declaration :)

  • Ann

    But what is between friends or those with a specific understanding of the humor in the communication is far different than insisting that your definition of someone is more correct than there own definition of themselves.

    And one can always insist, but do it silently (it’s called a thought) – because no one really needs anyone else telling them who they are – would they want that done to them?

  • jayhuck

    Evan,

    Culture can work many ways on people. It can, and has, been used to cause repression in gay people – even today. Some people find it easier to call themselves straight or even bi, even though they only sleep with people of the same sex and claim they are only attracted to those of the same sex. It can get pretty complicated. I’m sure there are SOME primarily straight people who have adopted a gay identity but its less likely considering the fact that its still very difficult in today’s society to be gay – or live as a gay person. And only in some circles is it considered cool. The great thing about young people is that most of them are much more open minded when it comes to homosexuality, are more supportive of their gay friends, and don’t tend to carry around the baggage and biases many of us adults do.

  • Evan

    Jayhuck,

    Right, but if the world doesn’t change, you know, that leads to global warming… I guess that’s why people talk about the need to change and get beyond past politics. We could use some changes in this area too, keeping all the progress we have made so far. The best indicator is how young people identify and settle (or do not settle with an identity), and I must say it’s not ‘the way the world works’ right now. At least, that is the feeling coming from my generation.

  • Evan

    Jayhuck,

    In the previous post I replied to your 104224.

    Some of the past problems are still carried over, as you mentioned about ‘being gay in the present society’. But as far as I can see that is much less, much less of a problem with people of my age. Actually people I know don’t pay much attention to that stuff anymore. They just get on with their lives and, you know, live and let live. But for the people just growing up right now, things are not so clear, precisely because of the old-style politics of identity. They have trouble understanding why does the establishment keep talking about this gay/straight divide as if it’s about people coming from Mars and people coming from Venus. You know, it’s like the divide itself can produce conflict both inside people and between people. I think this status quo will be shattered. I think gay people are intelligent and understand that there are limits to how much identity politics society can accomodate. Finding the middle ground could be more productive and could reduce tensions on both parts.

  • jayhuck

    Evan,

    I can tell you that I thought of myself as straight until I got to college. *I* was completely repressing my true feelings. When I got to college, to an environment that wasn’t as threatening as my conservative home town, when I stopped, and really thought about which gender I was attracted to, it was absolutely clear. I was gay. I had never slept with a guy, had never been to a gay club, nor did I need to to know I was gay. I had spent my whole adolescent life being attracted to men but had managed to repress that knowledge and identify as straight because I knew that was what was expected of me – by my family, my church, my town, etc.

    When I got to college and that light bulb went off, I felt like I had been set free from a prison – one of my own making, mind you – but still :)

  • jayhuck

    I think gay people are intelligent and understand that there are limits to how much identity politics society can accomodate.

    I’m a little disturbed by this phrase. It sounds like something an anti-gay person would say. Is the public only going to tolerate so much? That depends on WHEN we are talking about. I saw a Gallup Poll the other day that showed how much more tolerant the public has grown over time – and as far as I could tell, that tolerance and seeing gay people as equals is not diminishing. So there may not be a limit as the one you are talking about Evan. But you are right, things should be done slowly so as to allow everyone to adapt :)

  • Ann

    You know, it’s like the divide itself can produce conflict both inside people and between people. I think this status quo will be shattered. I think gay people are intelligent and understand that there are limits to how much identity politics society can accomodate. Finding the middle ground could be more productive and could reduce tensions on both parts.

    Evan,

    Very well said – I think more people are thinking like this than they, or others, are willing to acknowledge. I am always grateful for those who seek the middle ground and are willing to communicate without sarcasm, disparaging remarks and divisive comments. It can only lead to understanding and with that, fear goes out the window – where it belongs.

  • Ann

    Jayhuck,

    I took Evan’s comment to mean that the divisive nature of identity politics within a society that is evolving to accommodate all people, will soon have limits. This is a good thing – the emphasis will be taken off identity politics and put into the middle ground where it should be. Right not identity politics is being used for agendas from all sides and all it has caused is division. If society does not permit or limits this from all sides, there will be a gravitation to common ground. If this is not what he meant than chalk it up to another idealist thought from me.

  • Evan

    Jayhuck,

    I understand how getting in a friendly environment helped you reconcile both feelings and life. But let’s take another look at how the present situation might be seen by another person who grows up hearing about people being either gay or straight and taking pressures from many sides to identify in some way. I don’t know how to understand these confessions of people who are actually sexually active in many ways, but do not identify. For me, as a bit of a philosophically inclined person with some new-found interest in brain research, trying to understand these things in terms of essence is really challenging, if not impossible. I see it as a game between culture and nature. The truth doesn’t seem to be in identity, but in a relationship between someone’s nature and the culture he grows up in and with, some other culture he later identifies with etc. I don’t believe in someone’s essential homosexuality or heterosexuality or bisexuality. They look like political and cultural crutches to me. Concepts developed in theory to try to make sense of a few directions along a two-way path. They were spilled in culture and people were eager to use them in all sorts of ways, liberating or discriminating. They did both good and damage. We are approaching, I think, a new stage, when divisive boxes will be blurred. To quote Breedlove from Deborah Blum’s book ‘Sex on the Brain’, on the role of society on this issue: ‘Yes, we’re born with predispositions, but it’s society that amplifies them, exaggerates them.’

  • Ann

    sorry – “not” should be “now” and “idealist” should be “idealistic” :-)

  • jayhuck

    That very well may be True – or not – Evan. Many gay and bisexual activists have been saying the same thing for a long time – that these labels we put on ourselves are limiting.

    However – ALL labels are limiting, regardless of what we use them for, but they have a purpose and satisfy a need. They won’t be going away anytime soon.

    I do know, from having several bisexual friends, that true bisexuals seem to the be ones that have the most difficulty with labels. Often because people seem to want to place them in either gay or straight boxes. It is usually the bisexual activist voices I hear the loudest when talking about getting rid of labels because of the damage they do.

    I worry a little bit about using the word “predisposition” in such a light way. Is SSA or OSA really a PREDISPOSITION when those are your primary attractions? If a guy spend his whole adolescent life fantasizing about other men, desiring to date men, longing for me – do we simply label that a predisposition? Well, there’s a problem with terms and labels again I suppose :)

  • jayhuck

    Ann and Evan,

    This is a good thing – the emphasis will be taken off identity politics and put into the middle ground where it should be.

    There’s a problem with this though – Is what is going on REALLY just identity politics, are are we talking about Orientations? That may simply depend to whom you are speaking.

    I’m kind of curious what Evan specifically means by the above statement though

  • jayhuck

    Oooops – ME should be MEN above – LOL – Freudian Slip????

  • Ann

    Oooops – ME should be MEN above – LOL – Freudian Slip????

    FUNNY!!!

  • Patrick

    Consider though a person that only explored same-sex relationships in the 40′s, 50s or even earlier. There was no societal push towards identifying as gay, there was a great deal of societal pressure NOT to identify as gay. And yet people still did identify as gay – in spite of societal pressures. Which says to me that this idea that we are born with predispositions and society amplifies them is missing something – that for these above people mentioned there is something very essential (not constructed) about their attractions.

    One very important fallacies I see at work here. One is the ‘black is white’ slide (since there is much fluidity in how people identify the terms ‘gay’ , ‘straight’ etc are meaningless). It may be that some young people are quite ‘hetero-flexible’ but I suspect that the labels gay/straight/bisexual do a pretty good (though not perfect) job of labelling most people’s attractions. I an not an anti-labels person – I always think when people get carried away with the anti-label rhetoric that perhaps they would just be happier to removes all nouns from their language – and we can all just grunt and point :)

  • jayhuck

    Patrick and Evan,

    I personally think that bisexual people are coming into their own – and this includes young people. Because society has become more accepting of gays (it still has a long way to go) I think those people who are bisexual, and perhaps young, feel that it is alright to express that part of themselves instead of simply identifying as just straight or gay. I also think there’s less pressure on bisexuals to HAVE to identify as one or the other – although I don’t see them embracing the bisexual moniker, it is really what they are doing.

    This doesn’t negate the fact that there are many people who primarily have a gay or straight orientation!

    I don’t really believe in fluidity – I believe we are awakened to different parts of ourselves over time, and that, deep down, these things are fixed to a certain degree – whether we are conscious of them or not is another matter. That’s why things seem fluid, but I don’t really think they are. – just a personal opinion :)

    Again though – that doesn’t mean that all gay people can function as a straight person or that a straight person could function as a gay person.

    True – labels do become problematic at a certain point, but I really think there is a purpose for them.

  • jayhuck

    Thanks Ann –

  • Evan

    Ann said:

    the divisive nature of identity politics within a society that is evolving to accommodate all people, will soon have limits.

    Ann, you captured the essence of my argument in a lot less words than I used to explain it. I bet not being a native English speaker/writer really shows in my case!

    Jayhuck,

    I’m not sure that those people are bisexuals (if bisexuality means equal attraction to both genders). Actually it’s this label that can clarify how political sexual identities have grown. Scientific evidence does not testify in support to the existence of bisexuality, but still there are people who identify themselves as such. Do they need scientific evidence to back up and live their identity? It looks like they need it less than gays. But you talk about them as being really bisexuals, based on what they say they feel. I guess the people who volunteered to go to Bailey’s lab failed to prove what they subjectively believed and most of them did not equally react to both genders in a sexual way. So we’re going back to thinking who decides what is real in someone’s sexual identification: science, individuals, group affiliation, cultural traditions?

    But I was not talking about this when I mentioned finding a less divisive approach. I’m not calling for an abolishment of labels, I’m just saying that taking labels as factual reality can be confusing to some people. And we do know how important is to someone growing up in a certain environment. At this point in time, we cannot support our labels all the way by empirical evidence, we do agree that they represent something, but part of this agreement has a political stink to it too. The question is how far are we willing to go: how do we know when we should stop, when it’s been enough of identity politics and time for pulling the lever and changing direction to a new track.

    I went this year to the Netherlands to visit some places. It’s probably the most liberal place in the world for gays. They have the right to marry, to adopt children and they are everywhere in society. You could not argue that they are any more at risk of being stressed for their sexual identity than any other category. But still, I remembered that study that said gay men are more affected by psychological problems than their straight counterparts (the Sandfort et al. study from 2001). I wondered how could that be if we’re not talking about a disorder and the environment is really the same for all. I came to this conclusion, that maybe insisting too much on an isolated identity could actually create a different type of social awareness in gay men. It’s like you ask for your own space, to be left alone to live your identity and later you realise that you cut some ties that were somehow connected to other social bonds. Maybe that created a feeling of disconnectedness in gay people, even if they now gained acceptance and all the rights that the others enjoy. That was my thought when I tried to put together both what I saw in the Netherlands and what I knew from research. So I started thinking that there could be a backlash to this identity politics, that was not well-thought out or was not foreseen when other priorities took the stage.

    Freudian Slip????

    Be careful not to make another one by mentioning Freud! ;)

  • Patrick

    I believe in the Sandfort study they said a plausible explanation was ‘minority stress’ (they cited studies that pointed to other minorities having more social/physical health issues) which isn’t necessarily offset by living in a more tolerant society.

    And I am sure some of those people in the study weren’t all from ‘gay ghettos’ where they were isolated from straight society. I don’t see how identifying as gay – cuts you off from mainstream society. I identify as gay and have about 30/70% mix of gay/straight friends. Certainly I don’t feel isolated by my identity.

  • Jayhuck

    Evan,

    The Netherlands may be a liberal place, but you can’t separate that place from the rest of the world. There are also things that may go on in gay communities – things that are fixable or changeable within those communities, that are causing this. Again, you use ONE STUDY and then treat the results of that study as if they are fact.

    I still don’t understand what you meant when you said: “but part of this agreement has a political stink to it too. The question is how far are we willing to go: how do we know when we should stop, when it’s been enough of identity politics and time for pulling the lever and changing direction to a new track.” What do you specifically mean? Please explain this for me so that I understand.

    I also pulled this from the writeup on the study:

    “The interpretation of these findings requires consideration of some potential limitations, which could have cumulatively either inflated or deflated actual differences in prevalence rates.25 Among those people contacted, there could have been a nonresponse related to homosexual behavior. Although nonresponse to specific questions was negligible owing to the computer-assisted interviewing, subjects might have differed in their reporting behavior. Compared with heterosexual men, homosexual men might have been less reluctant to admit specific complaints. Although some demographics were statistically controlled for, the possibility remains that at least part of the observed differences are accounted for by some other uncontrolled confounding variables. Finally, the study might underestimate the differences between homosexual and heterosexual people owing to the limited number of homosexual subjects and the consequently broad CIs of the ORs.”

    The comments section of the study also gay other reasons for the numbers – ones that seem more credible than your hypothesis that people are boxed into categories. That same section also goes onto discuss how the results of this Dutch study may very well not apply to gay people in other countries.

    As for bisexuals – I do think those people are bisexuals Evan, and bisexuality doesn’t mean EQUAL attraction to both sexes, it just means that you have STRONG enough attractions to both sexes to act on them.

  • Jayhuck

    Minority stress is a very reasonable explanation. The African American communities in the United States, as well as other minorities, all suffer from their own sets of problems – Yet we don’t blame the problems on their skin color, do we?

  • Jayhuck

    yeah – I don’t understand how identifying as gay has cut me off from anything. I still have more straight friends than gay friends, I have several bisexual friends, two that have families – and I have two godsons, 2 nephews and 1 niece. I have suffered from depression but I most likely inherited it – my mother and grandmother both suffered from clinical depression :)

  • Ann

    Evan,

    In my opinion, this kind of thinking that you are sharing is exceptional and worthy of discussion for all people who wish to advance in a civilized way.

    I have often wondered what would happen if future Palestinian and Israeli children felt free to see each other as brothers and sisters without taking on their parent’s past resentments and then feeling the obligation to carry on a legacy of division and identity politics just to please the prior generation – a whole new group of people would evolve.

  • Evan

    Jayhuck,

    That was my thought, trying to put all pieces together, not a hypothesis. We are debating possible effects of identification. Right now we all agree there must be some predispositions in each and everyone’s nature and that labels can serve some purpose but they are not wholly representative. But that’s all we can probably agree on right now.

    As for bisexuals – I do think those people are bisexuals Evan, and bisexuality doesn’t mean EQUAL attraction to both sexes, it just means that you have STRONG enough attractions to both sexes to act on them.

    I just wrote above that they failed to respond in the lab equally strong to both sexes.

    The Netherlands may be a liberal place, but you can’t separate that place from the rest of the world. There are also things that may go on in gay communities – things that are fixable or changeable within those communities, that are causing this. Again, you use ONE STUDY and then treat the results of that study as if they are fact.

    Actually there are more studies. I haven’t quoted others on the quality of life and suicidiality, because I did not want to get the topic off the track. When the subject comes up, we will discuss this. But the conclusion is still valid: what more than perfect equality is necessary to have the same results in studies on both categories of people?

  • Jayhuck

    You mean they failed in the lab in ONE study – and if its the study I’m thinking of, there are plenty of reasons to criticize it. It was NOT a good study of bisexuals – we can go down that road if you want to.

    I’m sure there ARE other studies Evan – but you’re missing the point again. There are many many tolerant countries where man different Ethnic group show a disproportionate amount of problems from the main or dominant culture.

  • Jayhuck

    My problem is that I don’t understand what is going on in the Dutch culture – but I can think of plenty of other reasons other than accepting the fact that you believe people are being boxed into identities – I wholly disagree with you in that respect. That is an argument that would most likely come from an anti-gay source seeking to stop gay people from achieving equal rights.

  • Ann

    I don’t understand how identifying as gay has cut me off from anything

    Jayhuck,

    It definitely should not – my point about Evan’s comment is that when identity is used for political purposes and that becomes divisive, only oppressive societies will and can survive under that mindset. For example look at what is happening between tribes in various countries in Africa. When there is little or no benefit to being divisive, when it is not tolerated, then people tend to gravitate to each other on common ground and evolve and accommodate each other. Right now there are people from all sides of this particular issue deriving monetary, emotional, and professional benefits from participating in this divisive identity/labeling, which only fortifies status quo and keeps everyone apart. If this was limited or looked unfavorably upon as an interference with civility from all sides, then what would their motivation be to continue the divisiveness? Rarely will you find someone like Dr. Throckmorton who is interested in fairness and honesty and doing what is right for everyone involved without compromising their well being.

  • Evan

    Ann:

    I have often wondered what would happen if future Palestinian and Israeli children felt free to see each other as brothers and sisters without taking on their parent’s past resentments and then feeling the obligation to carry on a legacy of division and identity politics just to please the prior generation – a whole new group of people would evolve.

    You are right. There is a pressure coming from their prior generations, although there might be more than that. But that pressure does play a part in preventing them to at least be able to reach an agreement, which keeps them deadlocked in a bloodshed.

    Finding a middle ground should be about finding those reasons that make people emphasise more what they share than what totally sets them apart. I think identity politics can produce mixed feelings: it can both liberate some people and alienate others that do not support labelling. Since we are past the liberating phase, I am sure that we are going through the phase when people start feeling suffocated by what they should be, because labels became widespread enough to make people judge themselves and others according to them. I do see that in many people from my generation, who have to take identities like they are concrete realities, so they react against them or use them in a very loose and depreciated way.

  • Jayhuck

    Ann,

    We need to define what we mean by sexual identify and orientation – Sexual Identity is a term I’ve only heard used by conservative Christians – although I’m sure some others use it.

    No one I know of is USING a gay identity specifically for political purposes – if anything Christians are using a gay person’s orientation to deny them rights -

    I’m pretty sure Warren is going to step in here any minute and ask us if we have anything of substance to contribute to the actual thread topic :)

  • Jayhuck

    Evan,

    It is your opinion that this is about Identity Politics – those are your words. I happen to disagree with you. I don’t believe it is. I don’t like the word Identity, the way it gets used alot around here, as much as I do Orientation. Its a problem of definitions and understanding what we are talking about. You have a right to your opinion of course, but don’t frame this as a problem that gay people have because they have a gay orientation. It was not gay people who started the fight – and we are FAR from the liberation phase

  • Evan

    Jayhuck:

    That is an argument that would most likely come from an anti-gay source seeking to stop gay people from achieving equal rights.

    I seriously doubt that I understand how gays live in the US and that you understand how they might live in Europe. That may contribute to my lack of understanding both of the background you are coming from and how would my arguments fit against that background. But I think I have less reasons to be suspected of anti-gay agenda. We don’t have this ex-gay movement around here, at least it’s not making the news anywhere I’m looking. :)

  • Jayhuck

    I hope that’s true Evan :)

  • Jayhuck

    One thing that concerned me Evan, is that the only places I could online find touting the Sandfordt study were Anti-Gay sites. They were supporting that study and making inferences from it similar to yours

  • Evan

    Jayhuck,

    To quote Drowssap – one day I will come back here and tell you a big “Told you so!” 8)

    LOL, it may take a few decades, though.

  • Jayhuck

    To quote Drowssap – one day I will come back here and tell you a big “Told you so!”

    LOL, it may take a few decades, though.

    Funny – that’s just what I was thinking ;)

  • Evan

    Jayhuck,

    I don’t know those sites, I don’t read ex-gay stuff. I think I argued in a few posts on this blog against using this ‘ex-gay’ term. You also doubted my argument at that time and said something about how important is that in the US.

    As for the studies, I browsed through a whole lot of studies and I usually jump from one another using the references section.

  • Evan

    Jayhuck,

    BTW, Sandfort cannot be suspected of doing research to support some ex-gay people’s agenda. He chaired a lesbian and gay studies section in a Dutch faculty.

  • Patrick

    True Sandfort wasn’t going research to support an ex-gay agenda, nor was Spitzer – but that is certainly how the research was spun. I know NARTH had an article about the Sandfort study – the point of that article was that gays cannot blame societal factors for their increased mental health problems (there was definitely an attempt on NARTH’s part to repathologize homosexuality via the use of this study).

    I don’t think anyone disputes the conclusions of this (and other) studies that show gays and lesbian have more mental health problems as compared to heterosexuals. The reason for these differences and what one can conclude from these differences – is where the disagreement is.

  • Jayhuck

    I didn’t say he was Evan – I said it was simply disconcerting to see how the only sites I found the study on – outside legitimate academic sites, were Anti-Gay sites putting their own spin on the study saying that it proves there must be something inherently wrong with gay people or some such nonsense – it didn’t say anything of the sort. The study went out of its way to show that there were plenty of other explanations for the findings other than there is something inherently wrong with gay people

  • Jayhuck

    I didn’t say Ex-gay sites Evan – I said Anti-gay – though some of the sites were both

  • Evan

    Patrick & Jayhuck,

    Hm, that makes me think. If I come to the conclusion that identity may actually play a part in many gay men’s feelings of alienation or whatever makes them feel social anxiety in a most liberal society, does that make me a neighbour to Narth and anti-gay people? Maybe it’s possible that I can think of a slightly negative conclusion, without having any other intention. It’s not like research should only paint a rosy picture of any given identity (even heterosexual). We still don’t know what Sanders will find with that gay genes study. 8O

  • Patrick

    Evan you might want to look at this:

    Distress and Depression in Men Who Have Sex With Men: The Urban Men’s Health

    Thomas C Mills; Jay Paul; Ron Stall; Lance Pollack; et al

    The American Journal of Psychiatry; Feb 2004; 161, 2; Research Library Core

    pg. 278

    It seems to run counter to your ideas about identity.

  • Evan

    Patrick,

    Actually the odds ratio of having mood disorders is almost the same for MSM as that in the smaller sample Dutch study and 2.7 larger than that of the general population of men. That actually proves the rate remains the same even if one country does permit marriage and adoption and all the other rights as the rest of the population. So someone could actually argue that identification does not improve well-being, at least that’s what’s coming from the statistical data. They say: ‘Multivariate analysis can establish association, not causality.’ and then they explain that they specifically included those possible reasons for causing distress to see whether any future interventions can address these mental health problems. Apparently, checked against the Dutch study, the odds seem to be independent of those variables; they are the same.

  • Patrick

    So someone could actually argue that identification does not improve well-being, at least that’s what’s coming from the statistical data

    I don’t see how you are claiming this – the 2.6 times more mood disorders than the general population is the looking at the whole sample set of MSM (both those that identify as gay/queer/homosexual and those that don’t).

    When you look at the rate of distress and depression – broken down by those are qay-etc identified versus those who are not the rates are higher for those not identified as such.

    And yes correlation does imply causality – but correlation is necessary (though not sufficient for causality) – this study would seem to indicate that you cannot even show the necessary requirement to support your hypothesis.

  • Jayhuck

    Evan,

    Hm, that makes me think. If I come to the conclusion that identity may actually play a part in many gay men’s feelings of alienation or whatever makes them feel social anxiety in a most liberal society, does that make me a neighbour to Narth and anti-gay people? Maybe it’s possible that I can think of a slightly negative conclusion, without having any other intention. It’s not like research should only paint a rosy picture of any given identity (even heterosexual). We still don’t know what Sanders will find with that gay genes study.

    No Evan, that’s not it. What makes me think you have ulterior motives is that despite the study’s authors offering other explanations for their results, despite the fact that there are several other logical explanations for the results you offer, you seem to latch onto the few that are only touted by other anti-gay folks. It makes me question your intentions.

  • Jayhuck

    Evan,

    And you seem to completely ignore the fact that in tolerant societies, several other minority groups ALSO have problems that the larger society/culture does not share


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