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Gay-to-straight therapy repudiated


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#1 Larv

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 07:37 PM



Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy
. If such therapy does not work, or if it does more harm than good, then I agree with the APA. Maybe the therapists should just leave the gays alone. There's enough business already from screwed-up heterosexuals to keep them going for a long time.

However, this leaves open the question: If gays are so naturally and durably gay then what is there about nature that allows them to flourish in a population? Are gays counterproductive to a population? Or are they beneficial contributors to it? Maybe the answer is part of the solution for attaining more dignified treatment of the gay community by the general public.

Maybe science is the way. Obviously, homosexuality is not uncommon down through the ages. But, being your normal, everyday, life-long heterosexual, it is very hard for me to understand why it persists, with the single exception that gay persistence can be explained using Wm. Hamilton's theory of kin selection.

"Hey," asks Joe the Plumber, "what has a gay done for me lately?" Well, if you're able to explain Hamilton's theory to him, maybe he'll come around. And to prove your point you could add that the APA decided that gay-to-straight therapy was bogus after all and doing more harm than good.

"You can take the boy out of Ohio," we used to say, "but you can't take Ohio out of the boy." That's true enough for me, and I haven't yet sought psychological therapy to remove it, but I probably should have.

#2 freeztar

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 07:56 PM

I had never even heard of such "therapy". How bizarre?!

It seems that some people are so uncomfortable that they can't help but to try to make everyone else more comfortable. :(

"Oh, you're gay? I can help you with that!"

:lol:

#3 InfiniteNow

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 08:21 PM

Implicit in the suggestion that there is a therapy is the assumption that homosexuality is something to be cured... that there's something "wrong" with being gay. It's plainly stupid, and needs to be acknowledged as such.

As for persistence evolutionarily, there is the aforementioned issue of kin selection, whereby homoesexuality offers reproductive advantage in terms of caring for kin (much like the grandmother hypothesis). There is also the issue of human sexuality falling along a spectrum, as opposed to being divided into boolean "either/or" states. In some cases, the sex drive itself was selected for, not so much the mating partners genitals. Having a stronger sex drive or desire for sex is a more successful approach to spreading your genes into the future than merely selecting for attraction to opposite sex partners alone. The drive for sex itself is what gets selected, not the drive for opposite sex partners, and that selection of drive/desire somtimes results in a preference for same sex parnters.

Additionally, you have social hierarchy issues, whereby sex can be used to calm tensions and assuage group alphas. It's about dominance and submissiveness. We are, at our core, animals which exist in troops, and often tensions can cause members of that troop to be ostracized or killed. It may sound silly to some, but in these circumstances among angry primates sex can be used to save lives, remain a member of the pack, and ensure availability of resources and group protection... hence, same sex activity would be selected for (even though offspring are not created with same sex partners). Those who were unwilling to engage in same sex relations would have more often been killed or ostracized from the group, and hence reproduced less than those who were okay with same sex activities such as petting or rubbing or intercourse.

In a similar manner, sex can be used to barter... a form of trade... where you gain favors by having sex wtih others (as in bonobo monkey tribes). Basically, sex can be used as currency, and this currency can be spent beyond just opposite sex partners... and beyond the mere act of mating. Quid pro quo in its most basic form.

Evolutionarily, there are a great number of reasons that homosexuality is selected for. Above, I've named but a few.

#4 Moontanman

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 08:33 PM

Basically, sex can be used as currency, and this currency can be spent beyond just opposite sex partners...


Eeeewwww! Then again prison movies seem to work on that principle.....

#5 Larv

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 09:53 AM

I tried googling "straight-to-gay" therapy, but the Internet has nothing on it. Doesn't seem like there is much of a demand for it. Wonder why. You'd think the separate-but-equal rule would apply here, too. Doesn't it seem odd that sexual-orientation-reversal therapy is a one-way street? Why don't more straights want to be like gays? Where's the equality in that? There is something very lopsided in the American public's POV.

So much of all of this is about words, just words. Maybe we should abolish expressions like: “damn straight,” “straighten you out,” and “the straight and narrow.” Or maybe we should add equalizing expressions to our lexicon, like “damn kinky,” “queer you out,” and “the gay and narrow.”

#6 InfiniteNow

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 10:02 AM

Are you intentionally trying to look like a bigoted fool, or do you truly feel this way?

#7 sanctus

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 10:10 AM

Larv, there are no such gay-to-straight "therapies", the only thing one would learn there is to be an actor for the rest of the life, cheating yourself...
It is just like you do not decide to fall in love with that given person or attracted to that given person, it just happens or doesn't. And if it turns out you always feel attracted to people of the same sex, well then it is like that, you can deny it or not.

There is no surprise that there are no straight-to-gay "therapies", because the other ones exist just out of social pressure, i.e of a part of society wanting people to deny themselves, because they can't handle it. While if you are straight, but meet someone of the same sex and you are attracted to then, well, accept it or deny it :-). Many gay people at the beginnig have problems accepting it and there are consults, forums, etc. to help them coming to terms with themselves...if you want you can call them straight-to-gay therapies. Note that now I wrote therapy without " " because the latter are actually therapy because they help come to terms with oneself, while the "therapies" I wrote about before did exactly the contrary...

#8 Larv

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 10:21 AM

Are you intentionally trying to look like a bigoted fool, or do you truly feel this way?

Are you intentionally trying to look like a humorless jerk? Lighten up little with your knee-jerk accusations of bigotry. Until we all can laugh about this sexual-orientation silliness, we’ll forever be in each other’s faces with accusations of bigotry.

If equality is what you demand, then please tell me why there is no therapy available anywhere to convert heterosexuals into homosexuals. Doesn’t this fact, in and of itself, prove that homosexuality and heterosexuality are very different things? Of course they are. Let’s face it: gays are gay because nature made them that way, and straights are straight because nature made them that way. Nature made dogs to be dogs and cats to be cats. So why can’t we just recognize that we are separate by the laws of nature but equal under the laws of nature.

Isn’t that really what the APA decided when it repudiated gay-to-straight therapy?

#9 freeztar

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 02:32 PM

I think you raise a valid point, Larv.

It's nonsensical to ask every cat to be a dog (or vice versa). Yet, they should be accorded the same privileges that every other pet has.

I don't think that is bigoted at all. Your post shows that you've thought about the issue in a logical manner and that you are still interested in thinking about the issue. I respect that. :eek_big:

I think Infinitenow used the "B" word because the joke you used was a bit distasteful. It didn't offend me and I saw behind the humor, but I could see why it might be called out in such a way. It's a shame when our meanings get lost in translation, but all you can do is try to clarify and move on. :eek_big:

#10 Boerseun

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 02:44 PM

Heck - that kinda reminds me of years ago, when left-handed kids had to attend special remedial classes to learn how to write "properly", i.e., with their right hands.

Shizaam... you writes lefts, you writes lefts, goddamnit.

#11 freeztar

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 02:49 PM

Heck - that kinda reminds me of years ago, when left-handed kids had to attend special remedial classes to learn how to write "properly", i.e., with their right hands.

Shizaam... you writes lefts, you writes lefts, goddamnit.


It really makes one wonder why the AMA actually spent time to repudiate this type of "therapy"? :eek_big:

Was it a scorn on the image of psychology? Were they receiving hate mail?

Why would they bother to even address this?

#12 Pyrotex

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 03:14 PM

There are some groups out there who have a vested interest in "proving" the theory that being gay is merely a lifestyle choice. For example, some of the christian fundementalists.

Here is more info on the history of straight-to-gay therapy, which contains a lot of links.

There was a "gay conversion" clinic here in Houston at one time, but I think it's been gone for a while.

#13 freeztar

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 03:56 PM

There are some groups out there who have a vested interest in "proving" the theory that being gay is merely a lifestyle choice. For example, some of the christian fundementalists.


Ah, right. Sounds familiar...

Here is more info on the history of straight-to-gay therapy, which contains a lot of links.

You mean gay-to-straight, correct? :eek_big:

There was a "gay conversion" clinic here in Houston at one time, but I think it's been gone for a while.


Do you remember what it was called?
Surely it wasn't "Gay Conversion Clinic of Houston". How would they mask the name?
The article you linked to refers to them as "ex-gay institutions". But that doesn't really sound very appealing on many different levels.

I'm curious about the spin they would put on it, if any.

EDIT: nevermind, I think I found my answer on the bottom of page 1 from Pyro's link.

What are "live-in" ministries?

Live in ministries are ex-gay camps run by organizations such as Exodus. For a fee, parents can send their children to these religion-based camps for reparative therapy. There they are taught techniques on how to suppress their queer feelings and how religion can help them make the transition. Adults struggling with same gender feelings can also attend.


:eek_big:

#14 TheBigDog

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 04:14 PM

It really makes one wonder why the AMA actually spent time to repudiate this type of "therapy"? :hal_skeleton:

Was it a scorn on the image of psychology? Were they receiving hate mail?

Why would they bother to even address this?

Politics. What is acceptable sexual behavior and what is unacceptable sexual behavior? Some behaviors are very cut and dried and there is no argument on the matter that they are unacceptable (necrophilia, incest, pedophilia, bestiality, etc) . Other behaviors are in the gray zone where there is active debate about what is acceptable behavior and what is not. The politics of the homosexual debate drive decisions like this. In the rush to make homosexuality universally accepted it appears that some people have to get thrown under the proverbial bus.

There are those who feel that homosexuality is unacceptable behavior; there are also people who do not condemn homosexuality but believe that people find themselves trapped in homosexual lifestyles and don't know how to get out, much the same way that people find themselves in heterosexual lives and would prefer to be homosexual; and among them are those who believe that the desire to engage in homosexual sex can be overcome through therapy. Some of these people are in fact ex-homosexuals who came to regret their behavior and chose a different path. They seek to help others who may be in the same situation. Unfortunately these are often linked to religious movements which taints the motivation for making the attempt to switch people from gay to straight.

The fact is that there are situations where such therapy is appropriate. My neighbor has a child who suffers from mitochondrial disease, which leaves him with some challenging developmental disorders. When he was in preschool his bus driver (an elderly man) kidnapped and molested him. He was found only two or three days into the ordeal and returned to his family. He was largely unaware of what had happened, but was left with an obsession for homosexual contact. I believe that therapy to help him find a sexual identity that is not built from this unfortunate experience is quite appropriate.

I had the experience of participating in group therapy for teen boys who had been convicted of sexually aggressive behavior. Some of them were addicted to pornography (not like you and I were addicted; addicted as in resorting to criminal behavior without regard to consequences to get access to porn). Others had molested other adolescents near their age or younger. Others were sex addicts who would approach adults to solicit sex. The boys in the group I worked with were from the age of 13 to 17. The program they were in was court ordered therapy to help them learn impulse control, specifically impulse control around sex drive.

I have always been hesitant to write about this because there is confidentiality involved, and I am trying to proceed with great care to explain the reality of these youths without compromising the trust that they have given to me.

Some of these boys found themselves involved in homosexuality at an early age, and as they developed did not want that anymore, but they developed physiological triggers that gave them a sexual reaction that was in conflict with their heterosexual intellectual and physiological desires. They liked girls, they wanted to date, and to have girlfriends, to be fathers some day, but early sexual experiences gave them ingrained reactions to homosexual stimulus. Some of the boys had accepted that they were in fact homosexual, but not all. Should these youths be denied therapy to help them find a way to bring clarity to their sexual identity?

We are a society that lets people seek therapy for changing their gender. Homosexuals gladly help people choose a homosexual lifestyle over a hetero one, they even celebrate the "coming out" of a person. Why would we ignore those who are unhappy with being homosexual? While homosexuality may be perfectly natural, not all arrive at being homosexual in a manner that they wish to accept as "natural" and may ultimately decide that homosexuality is not natural for them. Denying therapy for these people is a crime.

Bill

#15 freeztar

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 04:44 PM

Denying therapy for these people is a crime.


You had me hook, line, and sinker...until...the last sentence.

I question the "therapy". How effective is it?

BTW, thank you for the frankness. :hal_skeleton:

#16 TheBigDog

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 05:03 PM

You had me hook, line, and sinker...until...the last sentence.

I question the "therapy". How effective is it?

BTW, thank you for the frankness. :hal_skeleton:

I don't know how effective it is. I would not know how to measure it because quite honestly most of the youths I worked with had a very difficult time with honesty. You never really knew if they were just saying what they thought you wanted to hear or if they were being real. My question is this; if the therapy is 1% effective, is that 1% worthy of the help? How effective does the therapy need to be to justify itself? That becomes part of the debate.

A twelve year old boy is convinced by a friend he adores (non-sexual) to engage him in oral sex. It takes time and peer pressure and the other things that kids do to convince someone to play along, but the kid does it. Then he does it for someone else. Then someone else. He finds he can make friends this way. When he hits puberty he starts to not want to do this anymore, but this is his group of friends, and this is how he is a member of the group. He has become submissive sexually to his friends and finds himself falling into a gay lifestyle. This is his adapted behavior, but is in conflict with innate heterosexuality that he is feeling. Therapy can help him to understand the difference between familiar behavior and desired behavior, and to find coping mechanisms to move from one to the other. And yes, this can go both ways, a person who is heterosexual only because it is familiar behavior should be allowed to seek therapy to help them cope with unwanted heterosexual desires.

The fact that there are religious organizations that promote this therapy cannot be allowed to poison the secular reasons that exist for helping people cope with life experiences which may include feeling trapped as a homosexual.

Bill

#17 InfiniteNow

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 05:22 PM

Bill, it is my impression that you are not accurately describing the intent of the therapy.
You make it out be some form of kind help provided to those poor folks who are not happy with who they are and who wish to change... based on their own preferences and decisions.

That's not what the OP was discussing. There are regular therapists to help them with that.

What has been repudiated is the idea that you can convert a homosexual into a heterosexual against their will using such therapy... So, while I appreciate the personal and heart-felt nature of your post, I think it misses the point rather profoundly.