Are love and sex bidirectional?

Some interesting recent articles online from the APA Monitor. Specifically this one detailing the interface of romance and sexual attractions brings into mainstream discussion research and theorizing very relevant to the definition of ex-gays and change.

Daryl Bem briefly anticipated some applications of this work in July, 2005 on his website.

The subtitle of the APA article, “Why romantic love isn’t limited by a person’s sexual orientation” does not convey the bidirectional nature of Diamond’s views. It could have been better worded: “Why romantic love isn’t limited by a person’s sexual orientation and vice versa” According to Diamond’s 2003 scholarly article, romance can be a pathway to sexual interest as well as flow the other direction.

The first chapter in the book I am working on more fully expands this line of research and theory. I note that many same-sex attracted men (ala Jim in A Valued Life) seem more generally attracted to men but are heterosexually responsive only to their wives. Over the years, I have seen a handful of women who also demonstrate this sexual pattern. Such a framework would actually address many disconnects in we have discussed this issue over the years (Side one – “but you really are gay”; side two – “but I love and am attracted to my wife and that is a real change”).

Seems to me this perspective could accommodate all five vision-impaired men and their understanding of the elephant. Change might happen and not happen all at the same time to different degrees for different people. Men and women clearly differ. Men, in general, are probably less likely to show rapid or permanent change in general erotic attractions (but some men appear to take the romance road to heteroeros); whereas women appear to be more flexible. However, this cannot be viewed prescriptively (“just find a good woman/man and you’ll be fine”) since the interactions of the sexual attractions and romantic attachment systems are complex and cannot be reduced to a formula. In other words, you Can’t Force Love.

The development of the sexual identity therapy framework has been informed in part, for me at least, by this line of thought and theorizing. I think sexual identity ministries could find much here that would be beneficial.