Wow! A cure for being gay!

Again, courtesy of one of our lovely sponsors, there’s help for homosexuals. Maybe even a cure! :sunglasses:

Call me shallow - but I’d do anything for a million dollars…

I’ll have to check out this “research” for my sex class. I always “enjoy” pointing out stupidity in my field to my students. The last great “cure” (besides psychotherapy :unamused: ) actually made sense from an epidimiological perspective: gay men tend to have lower levels of testosterone than straight men, so, just as we bump up your serotonin when depressed people lack this NT (that’s not actually what happens with SSRIs–in fact, SSRIs appear to make your brain more sensitive to the serotonin that is available to you, but that’s another thread…), they thought we should inject gay men with testosterone to “cure” them.




(True story…i.e., testosterone is also related to “libido” as well as aggression, but I think they were only hornier, not aggressively hornier gay men…).

Ho ho, the liberals are out in force today!

(Actually, I count myself one of them. I’m not gay though.)

Anyway. What’s so sinister about the proposition?

Let me argue along the following lines.

If a man goes to a doctor/psychiatrist and say ‘I am a man but I am unhappy about it, I want to be woman’, the doctor will not object. In fact, it may be suggested that he be ‘cured’ of his predicament with an operation.

So far, so good, so liberal.

Now, if a man says ‘I am gay and I am unhappy about it’, why is it considered sinister or distasteful? What would be so awful if a ‘cure’ did exist?

(I’m only asking!)

Note that ‘cure’ here only means ‘changing the person and making him happier’. It does not necessarily imply that there is an initial disease.)

As a person who thinks he knows a thing or two about gay and gays (that’s another story) :wink: , I have a rebellious theory.

  1. I believe people are sexual – not straight, gay, bi, transvestite. These are western constructs and don’t fit with many (most?) cultures.
  2. I believe the gamut of sexuality is vast – SOME people CAN change their sexual preference – IF THEY REALLY WANT TO and if the techniques are the right ones for that person.
  3. I believe sexuality is fluid and can vary decade by decade, year by year or even day by day (for some people)
  4. I believe most of our sexuality is directed, trained and finally conditioned by our society and the prevailing “norms” to an extremely large extent

So in essence, it wouldn’t surprise (or bother) me if someone changed from straight to gay (or vice versa) because he/she wanted to.
I might be pissed off that they did it for jesus or for their family or for social acceptance but, if life’s easier, then it’s not my business.

Sorry, km, but your theories have been postulated by numerous writers–but at least you’re in good company. And for what it’s worth, I mostly agree with your points. But let’s address a few things (and in this I’ll also address Noel’s question):

True to an extent, but they are NOT just “western constructs”–MANY non-western societies have such distinctions. However, yes, other societies have different takes on the matter (such as the “third” sex, where the person is male but treated more like a “female”–mostly re. sex–but he’s not considered “gay” nor prejudiced against…there are numerous other examples). And even in the West, our operational definitions are so varied, which helps explain why one study will claim that “10% of men are gay” while another will claim that it’s “1.2%.” As I always tell my students, the most controversial topic in human sexuality is sexual orientation.

Sticky ground. The question is whether they are actually CHANGING their sexual preference or whether they were UNAWARE of their actual preference and thus NOW are merely acting NATURALLY to themselves when they supposedly “change.” This is especially important to consider re. your points in 4.

See above.

Many would agree with you, which is why I made my response to 2. above. However, enough research has come out (a lot of it pretty wonky, and almost all of it necessarily correlational) that shows there ARE biological or hormonal or genetic differences among people of different sexual orientations. I believe that, with most things in our life, we are born with certain predispositions which manifest themselves a certain way depending on the environment. It’s true for (almost) all other features of being human, so why not orienation?

I remember a number of years ago, while doing some research on AIDS, I spoke with an AIDS prevention centre and I thought I was hip on the language (this was before I was teaching). She mentioned one group they were targeting: “men who have sex with other men.” So I said, “oh, you mean gay men.” She said, “No, this group is not ‘gay,’ they are often married.” So I said, “oh, you mean bisexual.” To which she said, “No, I mean MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH OTHER MEN.” Ooookay…I soon realized that this group does NOT identify itself as gay nor bisexual. They are happy, normal, heterosexual men who just happen to enjoy getting their dicks sucked by other men, or inserting said phallus into other men’s anuses. Interesting, no? In the Latino community (and I think this one), doing such things is fine, as long as you are not the one “receiving”…now THAT is gay…So yes, society does have a large impact on our sexual orientation (check out theories by DARYL BEM (1996) and, of course, John Money (1987).

Next post has my response to your last point, KM, and to Noel’s question.

And that’s my answer to Noel’s question: Noel, since you proclaim yourself to be a heterosexual (liberal??), suppose in (junior) high school you were sent to a school where EVERYONE was gay, and they ridiculed straights. Almost every TV show and movie you watched showed you that straight was the way, and that gays were “quirky” or “quaint” or “goofy” or “evil” or whatever (for instance, you’ll notice that many evil characters in Disney films are effeminete, not that it means they are gay–just helps paint a picture). Whenever you and your friends talked about sex, it was always GAY sex, with enough hetero bashing thrown in to make sure you all knew that GAY WAS THE WAY…straights were worthy of scorn and ridicule (in fact, even little kids would insult each other by yelling “HETERO!” or “that is just soooo straight, loser…” And you, wanting to fit in with friends, family (many of whom said or suggested similar things to what you heard on TV and at school), and society, try your best just to be like everyone else. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget your CHURCH/SYNAGOGUE/MOSQUE etc…You’re told that HETEROS ARE SINFUL AND EVIL AND WILL BURN IN HELL!!!

So you learn to hate yourself for being born a freakoid, sinner, loser hetero and pretend to be just like everyone else. You go out to parties, kiss boys, give the occasional blow job, take the occasional penis in the ass…you know, the usual teen experience…And as you get older, you decide to settle down and have a nice civil union with your lover, Steve. You even adopt some kid from China or get Melissa Ethridge to sleep with you so you can have your own biological kid to raise with Steve (hell, it’s a 3-some with you, Mel, and Steve, so there’s a 50/50 chance the kid is your biological offspring…). But through all of this you can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong. You’re living a LIE. You LIKE Melissa’s vulva and breasts and vagina, etc…Hell, you LOVE those features on many of the women around you. But you don’t want to shame your family. You don’t want to go to Hell. You don’t want to be ridiculed at work, in the neighbourhood, etc. You don’t want to break up your family or confuse your kids.

So what do you do? Hmmm…wait a second…wait for it…here it comes:


Okay, that was a long way to make my point, but I hope you get the point, Noel. In my classes I say that if someone wants to change his/her orientation, I would make sure they had LOTS OF COUNSELLING first, so they could TRULY UNDERSTAND that being gay is NOT their fault. I’d make sure to direct them to the wealth of writings on the topic of sexuality and orientation (hell, I’d set them up for coffee with KM :wink: :wink: ). I’d get their family into counselling with them, if they and their family agreed. Then, after ALL THAT, if they STILL wanted to change and I was able to help them, I would. But ONLY after all those other criteria have been met.

This is one reason people who become transgendered (transexual) have to wait for a few years before the final “cut” or “addition”–they go through counselling and also through a gradual process of wearing the other sex’s clothes, and so on…they go through the hormone treatment first, gradually, etc. This way, they can be more certain that they really want to go through with the process for the “right” reasons–>for THEIR OWN reasons.

Sorry, let me explain what I meant. I didn’t mean rebellious in the theoretical sense; I meant rebellious with my gay brothers and gay friends. They hate the thought that sexuality can be changed but I think they’re too subjective… people have different levels of sexual attraction. Not all people who fall into a gay/straight lifestyle are 100% committed to that form of sex/love. Some can cross over and back again while other might simply get bored and move on.

Was that a pun? :smiley:

Maybe its simpler to give an example. In australia, children are weaned on vegemite. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a thick gooey yeast extract that’s very salty and sharp in flavour. After a certain amount of attempts (in increasingly larger doses) I’ve seen babies go from squashing their face up in horror and spitting the muck out to crying for more in a matter of weeks.

My point? I think the real desire is hunger, the flavours can be learned. Similarly, sex is the real hunger, sexual preference is, in my opinion, largely a learned flavour. People want to fuck, they want their pointy bits (or deep bits) scratched. That’s the driving force. That’s why masturbation is so prevalent. Sure people fancy a particular type of sex just as a hungry person says he fancies a thick juicy stake but will be quite satisfied with a piece of bread plastered with peanut butter.

I’ve got to crash out… I’ve been up all night and its just gone 7am… so I hope this makes sense???

PS Don’t worry about setting me up with someone for coffee. I’m not that kind of guy. I’m a tea drinker.

Ah, I see. In fact, several of my gay friends (I’ve got a gay brother and sister too…) believe that “bisexuality” does not exist: you are either gay or straight, and any “bis” are just “experimenting,” “not true to themselves,” “trying to get the best of both worlds (for whatever manipulative reason)” and so on. But ironically, “bisexuality” is far more common than straight homosexuality (pun intended)…

Was that a pun? :smiley:

I just can’t help myself… :blush:

Well, not that there’s anything wrong with that… :sunglasses:
But I WAS actually giving you a compliment with my coffee line…

psyche wrote:

Have you been successful in helping someone change their orientation?


Before anyone says anything, my reference to being gay NOT being the person’s fault does not imply a value judgment on MY part; that is, I’m with KM when it comes to very loose/open thinking on sexuality and orientation, so I personally see “homosexuality” as just one NORMAL manifestation of sexuality. However, someone coming to be CURED of their “gayness” WOULD most likely feel that homosexuality (at least in them) is WRONG…Just wanted to straighten things out before anyone gave me any queer looks…

Me thinks you make too many Freudian slips… and I don’t mean austrian pettycoats. :sunglasses:

No, not slips: BAD PUNS (they are sprinkled all over my threads…)


I get your point. Fair enough, well argued.

However, it does not answer the gist of my question. If it were possible to switch someone from gay to straight, and the person requested it, and went through all the counselling you offer, would it be acceptable (to the people who oppose it)?

It seems to me that gay is the new religion. Anything that is deemd to be is shot down in flames before it is even examined. I find it rather irritating. (But that’s beside the point.)

I must be getting old, Noel. When I give that scenario to my classes, I usually finish off with “And after all that, if the client STILL wanted to change and I was able to help them, then YES, I would.” That is, what right do I have to deny someone their “happiness” or peace of mind or sanity, etc., if they come to me to help, and that is my profession? Just as if I’m with a client who is a pushover and she always gives in to her husband (but he’s NOT abusive). I PERSONALLY might want her to develop a backbone. I PERSONALLY might want to tell her ABC. But PORFESSIONALLY I do not. I might give her info. on “norms” (e.g., if she asks, say, “do most husbands in North America sit around all day and do nothing, while I work three jobs, take care of the kids, and take care of the home?” I might let her know that this is not what most husbands do (though there is a line up of men waiting to give their left testicle to find a wife like that… :astonished:) and I will be very empathic and understanding, but I will NOT tell her what she “should” do.

So, in the same way, if someone is gay and I’ve done everything to help them address their issues around their sexual orientation, and they STILL want to change, I’d do it. HOWEVER, unless something has changed dramatically over the past while, I would also explain to them that NO TREATMENT has been shown to “cure” or change sexual orientation. I could help that person develop a severe aversion to same-sex behaviour (a la a far milder version of Clockwork Orange), and I could probably even help them ENJOY sex with the opposite sex (as stated above, I believe that sexual orientation is not typological but a matter of where we fall on a “scale”–>purely homosexual to purely heterosexual, with a lot of gray (or rainbow :wink: ) in between). But all this would not change who the person TRULY is re. their sexual orientation.

Hope that answers the question (at least from my perspective).


Yes, it answers my question. Thanks.

May I ask you a second one? To get a feel for the, err, ‘politics’ of sexual liberation.

If you proposed to ‘help’ someone follow such a course, would you expect some militant group to picket your premises?

Isn’t that dreadful?

Loaded question, Noel. If, given everything I explained, a militant group DID picket my office, I’d try to explain that they were being as oppressive and self-righteous as all the homophobes who drove my patients to me in the first place. However, I’d make sure that they know my approach and rationale, since 99.999999% of such “conversion therapists” do NOT share my belief/philosophy. They are “curing” gays/lesbians b/c they think there is something WRONG or SINFUL with these people, whom they think have made a CHOICE about their “disgusting” ways. So, I guess I’d give the militants a map to these other therapists’ places…

waves fist at picketers

ok folks

Nature makes gay people so that the planet isn’t over populated.
If every straight person had a family the popualtion of the planet would be over 30 billion, nowhere near enough food for that many people.

Further more, almost every great person has been gay. the person responsible for breaking the enigma codes, a mr turing, was gay. Everyone in the free world owes their lives to him.

Lets see tchaikovsky, the composer, without him rachmaninoff wouldn’t be the greatest composer of the 20th century.

there’s a very long list of great people like this, all of them either gay or bisexual. Curing them of this would deprive the world of the genes of genius.

Learn tollerence folks, your lives will depend on it someday.