Thursday, July 12, 2007

It's Not Gay: The lies of Reparative Therapy

I know I’m walking on thin ice in talking about straight men who have sex with men who are not gay because it resembles the type of work psychotherapists did in the past with gays and lesbians, as well as “conversion” or “reparative therapy” pushed today by conservative religious groups.

However the truth is that there are men who act out or enjoy sexual activity with other men who are not gay. I am not talking about changing orientation nor do I believe that a homosexual orientation is learned. I believe--and studies are pointing more and more--to research that people are born gay. I am also not talking about gay men who are in the early stages of coming out.

What I am talking about are those who are born straight, self-identify as such and have sex with men from time to time.

Reparative Therapy or Sexual Conversion

According to these now widely discredited forms of therapy, geared to “curing” homosexuals, men who acted out homosexually did so because they weren’t fathered or mothered well; their hunger for same-gendered parenting caused their homosexuality. Once this hunger was satisfied, homosexuality would disappear and clients’ innate heterosexuality would surface. It’s my judgment that these men who have sex with men aren’t gay to begin with, but are using homosexual sex to resolve past issues.

Men and women drift into the “ex-gay” movement and decide to suppress their homosexual urges because of self-hate. Dr. Partick Carnes’s book, Sexual Anorexia: Overcoming Sexual Self-Hatred explains why someone would go to great lengths to fight their natural sexual urges. I believe this explains why gay men and lesbians turn to trying to change their innate same sex attractions.

Many religious homes are very judgmental about homosexuality. Ex-gays go through exaggerated attempts to repress, control and avoid their sexuality—in a way that parallels the dynamics of sexual anorexia.
Ex-gays have come to see me talk about believing their homosexual urges were sick and wrong. They believe their homosexuality is a sexual addiction and try to use Patrick Carnes’s model to set boundaries around their “sexual acting out” behavior. They speak of hating themselves for having these homoerotic urges and would never consider acting them out. Instead, they work hard at repressing them. Preoccupied with any feelings toward the same gender, they’re extremely judgmental toward those who do live out their homosexual orientation, sexually and romantically. They tell me they don’t believe me when as I say I’m happy in my life as a gay man.

Ex-gays go to extremes to avoid sexual contact with the same gender, even if it means behaving in hateful ways—such as trying to pass legislation against gays. I strongly believe that those in the forefront of the ex-gay movement suffer from sexual anorexia and self-hatred about homosexuality, which was taught to them as children. So many come from families, cultures, and communities that disdain homosexuality, and have incorporated this to such an extreme that they can never fully actualize themselves as the gays and lesbians they were meant to be and truly are. Along with their true sexual orientation, they have shut down their capacity to be loving and accepting, particular toward other gays and lesbians.

Since I published my book, 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Improve Their Lives and my being a part of, I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received from ex-gays and “those who love them,” telling me about other ex-gay websites, books, and organizations, and criticizing me for not promoting the “other side” of being gay—that is, the ex-gay side.

Some do it nicely, sending me emails like, “Have you seen [a certain] site on changing one’s sexuality? Check it out.” Some are cowards, not leaving a return address, and telling me I am “going to hell” —even though being Jewish, I don’t believe in hell! The fact is, these folks simply cannot live their lives as ex-gays without being judgmental of those who live their lives as openly happy gays and lesbians. Ex-gays make a lifestyle of promoting themselves as the “healthy” alternative, as though gays and lesbians are pitted against them! It doesn’t, and shouldn’t have to be this way. If they were truly happy and aligned with how they choose to live, they would just live that way with very little fuss. They would maintain their own organizations, but not try to impose their thoughts and beliefs on others.

I’m not against those of a homosexual orientation who choose not to live as gay or lesbian. I do quarrel with their constant attempts to pass laws against me and send me emails me telling me I’m bad and wrong for living the life I do. Based on everything I’ve read and observed, I believe that ex-gays can be correctly diagnosed as sexual anorexics.

1 comment:

Semele said...

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