Salt Lake City program examines cruising behavior, sexual identity

Here is an article that bring together several topics covered here on the blog. The Healthy Self-Expressions program works to curb sexual cruising in Salt Lake City and is run by Pride Counseling, a GLBT oriented counseling center. Many men are married and identify as straight.

Buie says many of the program’s participants identify themselves as straight. Many are also active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and roughly 40 percent are married, he says. The average length of those marriages is 23 years. Two of the men with whom he is currently working have been married for more than 40 years…

…”Just because you have an attraction to men doesn’t mean you have to be a slave to those attractions,” he says. “As a therapist I try to encourage people to be honest with themselves.”

126 thoughts on “Salt Lake City program examines cruising behavior, sexual identity”

  1. Timothy-

    LOL! When I took a minute to actually digest your instructions this morning, it looks so easy to do. I can’t wait to hit ‘submit’ and see if I get ‘digest’ in italics and easy in bold . Victory dance to follow if it works. I’ve had a block against HTML for years! Oh, cool, I don’t have to hit submit…it’s there in the preview! A thousand thanks! I think I’ll still have plenty of occasions for my single quotes and the dot-dot-dots.

    Now to the meatier stuff.

    Timothy

    Is there a separate word for ‘environmental’ as I described it or would that simply be ‘post-natal environmental’ or something to that effect?

    JAG and Jayhuck

    Sound reasoning from both of you. Consider my understanding now enhanced. I think I’ll even be able to read animal studies now without wincing!

    Jayhuck

    Wound up singing two Roy Orbison songs and my new favorite, “Volare”–complete with Italian verses, instead last night. If weather permits, I’ll karaoke again tonight and slip in at least one Van Morrison. Our snow started earlier than expected and they’re talking up to a foot!

    Okay, I’m off for a second cup of coffee and playing around with HTML codes. I’ll victory dance the whole way to the kitchen.

  2. Eddy,

    Parents and siblings, for example, would be a part of our environment. Is this a common consensus here?

    I would agree with Timothy on this and my answer would be no as well. I think he did a good job of trying to help us understand what researchers might be saying when they use the word.

    I wonder sometimes just how important things like parents or siblings might be considering the wide variety of parents and siblings that gay people have.

  3. Eddy,

    We do need to be mindful though of the important distinction that we have soul, spirit and an awareness of our creator as we evaluate how the animals experience may relate to our own.

    I agree that this is an important distinction, but I also think we need to be made aware of the lack of Biblical guidance surrounding animals – we don’t really know to what extent they may be aware or have a soul. God created everything, including animals and us – did he create living creatures without souls? I’ve been wondering that for quite some time.

  4. Eddy,

    I followed the genetics link from your post 68696 and found very little information. The only science was the twins studies and it, as we already know, is inconclusive. The article seems to allow as much, or more room for environmental factors. LOL! I can actually envision using that one to support my pov.

    Wow – that was a Stanford Geneticist talking about the science that shows a somewhat strong genetic basis for homosexuality – It also supports my POV. Perhaps we will need to differentiate?

  5. Eddy –

    Your environmentalist assumptions are false if they are PURELY environmentalist. For example, we know that every personality and physical trait we have has some genetic contribution…how much or little its influence varies. If you are meaning to say that there is absolutely no genetic contribution, I think science would indicate that you are wrong on this.

    Saying that, I do agree that some areas of sexual arousal are reinforced environmentally. But what we know of sexual arousal and desire is that the object of our desires – be they pathological (pedophilia) or considered normal (heterosexuality or homosexuality) are likely to remain firmly in place, despite efforts to alter them. That is not to say that you cannot have some movement on these, but even our best efforts at changing have not shown stellar results.

    Although I know that many discount animal models (even though we use them on everything from physical to psychological studies), we can certainly learn something from them…at least we can answer the question – what are creatures at their most basic, when NOT influenced by their environment? Dragonflies, for instance, that show homosexual behaviors can hardly be said to have had turned to other female dragonflies due to conflict with their mothers, etc. They are basic creatures who function solely on instinct…their brain power and reasoning isn’t exactly what directs their movements. If instinct is leading a percentage of them toward same-sex interactions, maybe that is something to look at. But we see it even in the more cognitive creatures…bears forming same-sex pairings, dolphins, penguins, etc…and the list goes on and on.

    So while I think it is convenient to believe that orientation is purely environmental for many, it simply does not fall in line with scientific reasoning.

    We do not know how much is genetic/biological, we do not know if everyone is equally affected (between the genders, and even within the genders), but it can be said with some certainty that orientation does have a biological contribution. If you would disagree, I’d humbly ask that you review the research that’s out there.

  6. Eddy

    BTW: I’m hoping we’re all on the same page with ‘environmental’. When I use it, I’m not talking about the weather, the climate, wealth or poverty…but rather, any outside influences on the brain and emotions. Parents and siblings, for example, would be a part of our environment. Is this a common consensus here?

    Nope.

    When discussion origins of orientation, “environment” also includes the womb and its environment such as hormones or (Drowsap’s favorite) pathogens. Thus when discussing, for example, Bogaert’s speculations about birth order, that is all environmental but it is also all pre-natal.

    You have to be careful that when you read a researcher allow for environmental factors that you don’t assume that this means psychoanalytic notions such as a distant father or confusing admiration for eroticisation. That’s not what they are talking about. Generally, they are speaking of things like hormones, pre-natal parental stress, or other conception or fetal devolpment issues though, of course, they may also be allowing for post-natal physical or psychological factors.

    As for italics, practice away. It’s really very easy. 🙂

  7. Timothy-

    Thanks for the italics tip you offered Ann. I’m fried from work right now but I plan to add italics to ‘things I can do’. Some time back I noticed the confusion of leading off with someone’s quote and then commenting. At the time, I think Ann was quoting you. I tried to explain how the comment came off confusing but didn’t succeed. You not only said it better but gave an excellent lesson! Thanks.

    Until I have time to practice though, you’ll still find me using old fashioned quotation marks. Hopefully, I’ll have italics mastered by the end of the weekend. LOL! (Tonight’s agenda is learning 3 Van Morrison songs well enough to do them at karaoke.)

  8. Jayhuck-

    I followed the genetics link from your post 68696 and found very little information. The only science was the twins studies and it, as we already know, is inconclusive. The article seems to allow as much, or more room for environmental factors. LOL! I can actually envision using that one to support my pov.

    I believe it is possible to be gay due to environmental reasons AND not to have chosen it consciously. I hate when people say “It’s a choice” or “you chose it”. It sounds like you went to Wal-Mart, saw a shelf full of sexual possibilities, and said “Hmm, I’ll take the gay one.” We DO choose how we act and react but, many times, we feel we have no other choice. We’ve already picked up the notion that we are different, perhaps and think that homosexuality explains it. Or we notice a preoccupation with the physicality of others of our gender without realizing that it’s more envy than sexual desire. Perhaps a deficit in our upbringing has created a hunger for same sex affirmation and affection. “Desire” often gets misinterpreted as sexual when it’s another want altogether. In any case, the individual feels gay without ever having made a conscious choice to be gay. The “you chose it” bashing does nothing to help an individual sort through any of these issues if they do exist.

    BTW: I’m hoping we’re all on the same page with ‘environmental’. When I use it, I’m not talking about the weather, the climate, wealth or poverty…but rather, any outside influences on the brain and emotions. Parents and siblings, for example, would be a part of our environment. Is this a common consensus here?

    Although I’d already read Jag’s post re animals that you linked to, I did re-read it. I still have my reservations regarding using animals as our models but can appreciate that perhaps there are some things we can learn. We do need to be mindful though of the important distinction that we have soul, spirit and an awareness of our creator as we evaluate how the animals experience may relate to our own.

  9. Timothy,

    I am very sorry if you have taken my remarks to be insults. They were certainly not meant to offend and I take it that I have touched upon an issue that is sensible in a way that is less familiar to me than it is to you. If there was any unintended hurt from any remark I made here, on you or on any other person here I appologise. It was not my intention, and it may be due to the fact that I don’t know your background of endeared assumptions, things that you take to be your core beliefs and are implicit in your judgement. It’s one of the reasons I have told you that I do not understand why you would need scientific research to feel solid in your own identity. It’s a tricky thing to base one’s identity on issues that are the object of intense debates in our society. Usually when I expose an argument, I try to disconnect making a judgement from my being in a certain way, because what I am can never be pinned down to statistic equations or gene mapping.

    That part you quoted from my message is missing the punchline, which would have clarified its thrust:

    You cannot always have right reactions just because you do the right thing.

    So please, do not attribute to me any intention to justify any type of crimes, because it is just as offensive. No crime is justified, no putting to death of a human by another human can ever be justified by any thought or judgement; remember, I am from Europe and we have no death penalty here for any type of crime. Do not attribute to me the idea that there could be any sort of “deserved” death, because that notion is simply missing from my brain or from the present background I live in. Just as a side point to make, I find it disappointing that this is the case in the US with death penalty.

    The idea presented in that paragraph was to only point out the possibility — marked by using the adverb “maybe” — that some people have a greater associated risk of acting in a violent way and that certain problems will always be “legacy” problems, things that resurface even if we think that we made great progress; that risk must be managed in some way. If this possibility is proved wrong, then we can move on to identifiying other reasons that may be lying behind the “hostile environment” or even hate crimes. I can even question our way of understanding these things, which comes from the Enlightenment idea that any human problem can be addressed by education and knowledge — basically by exposure to the educating position. I won’t elaborate on this, unless there is anyone interested in this debate.

    Warren, I hope this clarifies your inquiry too. Let me just add that the argument you wanted me to further explain was devised to show that Timothy’s assumption that there is a climate of hostility towards gay people was too simple to make. I argued that there are different levels of acceptance, exemplifying with areas where gay contribution is greatly appreciated and very influential in society, and that the same graduality could be found in relation to violence towards gay people. I may also have a bias I must declare: in all European countries where I lived, I haven’t seen or heard about hate crimes against gays or noticed a hostile environment towards gays. It may be because they are less than in the US, they were given poor media coverage or I failed to notice them.

  10. Thanks – hope this is easier to read now.

    Jayhuck,

    Please show me where I made the below comments that you replied to in #68696 and attributed to me. I never said these things.

    That pressure coming from the society is no longer as univocal as you put it.

    Jayhuck replied –

    You are joking right? Most states have taken it upon themselves to hold elections for preventing gay people from having equal rights. Many states will not let gay people adopt kids. Gay people are still prime targets for hate crimes. The MEDIA may be portraying more gay people than it has in the past, but society itself is still FAR from being tolerant and understanding of gay people. I do think things are getting better Ann, but gay people are nowhere NEAR to being on equal footing when it comes to rights and tolerance as straight people – the playing field – the advantages – still belong to straight people. Don’t confuse what you see on the media with what is happening in reality. And I’m a little confused what you meant by the statement regarding “gay values”??????

    Why would you need role models to find out what sexual identity you have?

    Jayhuck replied –

    You missed the rest of the sentence here – It wasn’t just about not having any gay role models, it was growing up in such a conservative environment that I didn’t even know gay people really existed – or if I did hear about a few they were spoken of as freaks or degenerates. I had no frame of reference – there wasn’t anyone around to tell me that the feelings I had were ok – that they were normal. This forced me to hide everything about myself until I got to college.

  11. Ann,

    I’m having difficulting determining what you are saying from what you are quoting from others.

    If you would like to differentiate, here’s an easy way:

    Before the part you are quoting, put three key strokes: the first is the left pointing caret (usually shift-comma), then put the letter i, and then the right pointing caret (usually shift-period). It will look like i inside pointy parentheses. I’ll illustrate each below (but not together or it will recognize a command)

    This turns on italics

    After the quote use four key strokes: left caret, forward slash, i, right caret. This turns off italics:

    If you do it correctly it will look like this

  12. Jayhuck,

    Please show me where I made the below comments that you replied to in #68696 and attributed to me.

    That pressure coming from the society is no longer as univocal as you put it.

    You are joking right? Most states have taken it upon themselves to hold elections for preventing gay people from having equal rights. Many states will not let gay people adopt kids. Gay people are still prime targets for hate crimes. The MEDIA may be portraying more gay people than it has in the past, but society itself is still FAR from being tolerant and understanding of gay people. I do think things are getting better Ann, but gay people are nowhere NEAR to being on equal footing when it comes to rights and tolerance as straight people – the playing field – the advantages – still belong to straight people. Don’t confuse what you see on the media with what is happening in reality. And I’m a little confused what you meant by the statement regarding “gay values”??????

    Why would you need role models to find out what sexual identity you have?

    You missed the rest of the sentence here – It wasn’t just about not having any gay role models, it was growing up in such a conservative environment that I didn’t even know gay people really existed – or if I did hear about a few they were spoken of as freaks or degenerates. I had no frame of reference – there wasn’t anyone around to tell me that the feelings I had were ok – that they were normal. This forced me to hide everything about myself until I got to college.

  13. Evan – This is not clear to me. What do you mean by this?

    Of course, trendy clothes and hairstyles will never make hate crimes look less serious than they really are, but there are “legacy” problems that will always resurface, especially coming from marginal groups. Maybe strong reactions can sometimes be the product of too radical claims or too much exposure. You cannot always have right reactions just because you do the right thing. As for the “hostility of the environment”, you cannot ask society to love you or to have a special sympathy for you, only to have your legal rights respected — the rest is up to you.

    Timothy has raised a concern that I must check out.

  14. I was willing to overlook “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”. I was willing to not respond to “I thought being gay was about being different, now I learn that it is about wanting to validate oneself”

    Insults are not new to me. And I have no need to acknowledge them.

    Of course, trendy clothes and hairstyles will never make hate crimes look less serious than they really are, but there are “legacy” problems that will always resurface, especially coming from marginal groups. Maybe strong reactions can sometimes be the product of too radical claims or too much exposure.

    But to smirk and justify hate crimes is vile and disgusting. To blame the victim is unspeakable.

    There are plenty here who sing praises. But I’ve read enough to get the measure of the man.

    I have nothing further to say to you Evan.

  15. Eddy,

    I simply can’t imagine where the animal arguments could lead us.

    I don’t think the idea is to directly compare humans with “animals”. But I don’t think its right to completely dismissing studying animals to help us understand humans either – sometimes there are benefits. Its another way of getting to the truth in my eyes.

    I’d refer you to Jag’s statements on another thread regarding this matter:

    Studying animals

  16. Eddy,

    “Evan’s questions are more sociological than scientific”

    Evan’s questions and statements are everything BUT scientific – I wouldn’t even call them sociological, because they aren’t referencing any sociological studies – they are inferences made on some of his experiences.

    If you want to read what science has to say regarding homosexuality, this is a very good article to begin with

    Genetics and homosexuality

    Ann,

    That pressure coming from the society is no longer as univocal as you put it.

    You are joking right? Most states have taken it upon themselves to hold elections for preventing gay people from having equal rights. Many states will not let gay people adopt kids. Gay people are still prime targets for hate crimes. The MEDIA may be portraying more gay people than it has in the past, but society itself is still FAR from being tolerant and understanding of gay people. I do think things are getting better Ann, but gay people are nowhere NEAR to being on equal footing when it comes to rights and tolerance as straight people – the playing field – the advantages – still belong to straight people. Don’t confuse what you see on the media with what is happening in reality. And I’m a little confused what you meant by the statement regarding “gay values”??????

    Why would you need role models to find out what sexual identity you have?

    You missed the rest of the sentence here – It wasn’t just about not having any gay role models, it was growing up in such a conservative environment that I didn’t even know gay people really existed – or if I did hear about a few they were spoken of as freaks or degenerates. I had no frame of reference – there wasn’t anyone around to tell me that the feelings I had were ok – that they were normal. This forced me to hide everything about myself until I got to college.

    Evan,

    I am not now, nor have I ever been fearful of the opposite sex. As for studies, I know of none that support this idea

    AND, in the same way you say you only posited those questions of yours, Jag posited equally valid questions worth looking at: “You know, we could also reverse this…are heterosexual people simply fearful of those of the same-sex? Do they suffer from hatred or disdain for their own form? Do they have some sort of perceptual problem that leads them to search outside of their own gender?”

  17. Jag:

    You can’t be serious with this:

    Evan: Or are there people who may have same-sex attractions, created by social phobia, androphobia, narcissism or any other sort of condition that may produce distortions in one’s perception?

    You know, we could also reverse this…are heterosexual people simply fearful of those of the same-sex? Do they suffer from hatred or disdain for their own form? Do they have some sort of perceptual problem that leads them to search outside of their own gender?

    You see, I realize how ridiculous these notions are….and I really do hope you made these statements tongue-in-cheek.

    Jag, your reply would have been the converse of my argument if it was laid out this way: Are heterosexual people simply fearful of the opposite sex? Is that what creates or fuels attractions?

    And I would answer, in the same manner as the question was posed — maybe. I only asked, I did not assert anything there. If it’s worth asking, we can follow the idea and see how fruitful or not it proves to be. I think attractions do have some fear component, at least in the male individuals, and that was indicated in the Safron et al. study that you all discussed here some time ago. Remember, the amygdala activation patterns?

    I don’t want to create here a vein-popping debate, but if I am wrong about a statement of facts, please briefly indicate the body of research that supports the contrary and I will try to take that into consideration. Thank you for both your praise and your criticism.

  18. Jayhuck: I think the pressure society puts on people to be “normal”, in the sense of straight, plus the fact that the gay community is still the target of vicious and brutal hate crimes, plus the fact that most gays still can’t marry the people they love or even in some places adopt children – and you’ve got an environment that is still relatively hostile for gay people to live and thrive in. If anything, I would say society pushes people to be straight – sometimes to the detriment of gay/homosexual people. It would be difficult for me to believe that the items you listed would “create” gayness/homosexuality.

    Yes, Jaychuck, society is pretty unfair for not allowing people who love each other to marry, but there are many unfair things that affect people who love each other and we can’t do much to sort them out. Nature is the unfairest here for not allowing men to have children by their beloved men… Marriage, as an institution, was created with a certain blueprint in the social mindset; to distort it in order to make it fit any type of consensual union is to no longer have marriage, but something else… Just the same with family, with reproduction and so on. I thought being gay was about being different, now I learn that it is about wanting to validate oneself according to mainstream practices, pertaining to that formerly oppressive majority. Honestly, to me it all seems like we’re losing more than we stand to gain by diluting every inherited institution according to presently recognised differences. We’re stretching marriage until it becomes shapeless. Easy to get, easy to quit, nothing gained, nothing lost, just a kick out of our sense of empowerment. And I’m not talking just about the gay issue in this respect.

    That pressure coming from the society is no longer as univocal as you put it. In fact present society is drenched in gay values, gay images, gay promotion etc. Fashion, which affects so many people’s body image and look (with all attending psychological and physical effects, especially among the young), is overwhelmingly gay in the way it has created the stereotype of the high maintenance male, for example. Ten years ago all my friends went to the barber’s to have their hair cut short, now they go to the hairstylist… Of course, trendy clothes and hairstyles will never make hate crimes look less serious than they really are, but there are “legacy” problems that will always resurface, especially coming from marginal groups. Maybe strong reactions can sometimes be the product of too radical claims or too much exposure. You cannot always have right reactions just because you do the right thing. As for the “hostility of the environment”, you cannot ask society to love you or to have a special sympathy for you, only to have your legal rights respected — the rest is up to you.

    We haven’t “elucidated” the nature of heterosexuality yet either, so are you saying we can’t assume that a young person is straight, just because that is where their primary attractions lie – or because that is what they claim it is? I thought you said that having sex would confirm someone’s orientation? If that is the case and two young people have same sex and realize they are gay, then by your earlier statement, couldn’t we confirm that they are indeed homosexual.

    Why would you need role models to find out what sexual identity you have? I thought you were the one who stressed the importance of one’s own attractions and feelings. My explanation of how sexual orientation should be validated was rather technical, mainly directed against the shortcomgings of the concept. Heterosexuality is the main type of sexuality, according to all research, and the only one that makes all other possible… It’s variability that makes scientists still wonder.

    Timothy,

    I will not quote here from what another guy who struggles with his unwanted attractions told me about his first and last same-sex encounter, because it’s too graphic. But what caught my eye was that after he went halfway through it, he began having second thoughts because it was not what he imagined it would be. It can happen, we don’t have to shape people’s experiences to fit our logic, but I only claimed this as a marginal possiblity, which shows the limits of the concept of sexual orientation such as it is thought of today. The concept of sexual orientation is not very precise if you cannot ascertain people’s sexual response in real life situations, when it’s not due to sexual dysfunctions. Look at the people who showed feeble activation in Bailey’s last reasearch; their self-concept was either homo- or heterosexual, based on either preference and/or previous experience, but neuroscans could neither prove nor disprove their orientation (contrary to what was the case with subject 16).

  19. Jag,

    Yes, I do think Evan has been one of the most intelligent and thoughtful people to post on this blog.

  20. I don’t think Evan’s question is ridiculous. He’s simply asking if those factors play in? They do appear to play into some. I agree with you that we can ask those questions of everyone: gay, straight, ex-gay. It’s the honest answers to those questions that would help us see motives, intent, potential and direction for therapy, etc.

    You still seem to be speaking purely from your bias that the condition IS inborn and natural. If the discussion really is scientific, you’ll have to accept that science has only THEORIZED that it’s inborn. Evan’s questions are more sociological than scientific but, as far as I know, we’ve discussed this issue from scientific, psychological, political, religious and sociological viewpoints. I see plenty of room in this blog for Evan’s perspective. I appreciate his point of view mostly because the differences in culture and language move us away from our routine discussions that often seem canned.

    Personally, I’ve always been distressed when anyone from either side appealed to the animal model. Having a mind, a soul, a spirit and a knowledge that I have a creator are significant distinctions. Heck, in some species, animals eat their young…siblings kill their nest mates to get more food for themselves. I simply can’t imagine where the animal arguments could lead us.

  21. Jayhuck,

    I do appreciate what you post and while I might take issue with some of the things we discuss I have never felt uncomfortable talking with you and thinking about what you say and that has made me take pause many times and consider what I might not have considered before. Thank you.

  22. Ann,

    I’ve been guilty of writing thoughtless and less-than intelligent words here in the past, so I’m not suggesting I’m any better, but I’ve never had those statements met with a Thank You or compliments from anyone.

  23. Ann,

    The more intelligent and thoughtful your words are, the more they may be met with a contrary point of view

    I’m sorry but I have to disagree here. When words are truly thoughtful and intelligent on this blog I usually see people gather together in agreement on them. I’m also noticing that some people on here are rallying around Evan simply because he writes well and contradicts many of us – not because his words are intelligent or thoughtful- or at least that’s the way it seems to be from my perspective.

  24. Evan –

    You can’t be serious with this:

    “Or are there people who may have same-sex attractions, created by social phobia, androphobia, narcissism or any other sort of condition that may produce distortions in one’s perception?”

    You know, we could also reverse this…are heterosexual people simply fearful of those of the same-sex? Do they suffer from hatred or disdain for their own form? Do they have some sort of perceptual problem that leads them to search outside of their own gender?

    You see, I realize how ridiculous these notions are….and I really do hope you made these statements tongue-in-cheek.

    Ann –

    You encourage Evan on these? If these same things were said about ex-gays, you may have a different take…

    Picture it for a moment in Evan’s words… are ex-gays “created by social phobia, androphobia, narcissism or any other sort of condition that may produce distortions in one’s perception?”

    My assumption is that the blog is attempting to have rational discussions based on science, etc…and Evan has made many statements that contradictu what we know (see his statements about animals and sex).

    I’m hoping his statements become more well-considered and researched, and I’m surprised by your support of the offhanded comments that stray so far from the truth.

  25. Evan,

    The more intelligent and thoughtful your words are, the more they may be met with a contrary point of view – please stay encouraged and know there are many who appreciate all that you have shared in your posts.

  26. Evan

    You state that you have little connection to persons that are gay. So perhaps you are unaware of how your theory comes across.

    You are eager to discount Jayhuck’s experiences and to suggest that they may be anecdotal and non-representative of gay persons as a whole. You postulate instead that there may be great bodies of persons who believe themselves to be same-sex attracted but who, as a result of sexual experimentation, discover they are not. Surprise!!

    You are incorrect in your assumptions.

    I am fairly conversant with gay people, gay culture, and gay literature. Further, I am fairly aware of the studies and research on same-sex sexuality. I am even aware of anti-gay literature and its claims.

    To date, I have not heard of a single instance of anyone discovering – though sexual intimacy – that their same-sex fantasies were not an indication of their desire. I’ve never even heard an anti-gay claim of this and if it had happened you can be assured that it would be included at AFA, TVC and probably Exodus as well.

    In other words, your scenario simply does not occur – or certainly not with any regularity.

    You may now consider your question answered. You need not continue to assume that you are correct and continue speculating on a notion that is patently absurd.

  27. Evan,

    Or are there people who may have same-sex attractions, created by social phobia, androphobia, narcissism or any other sort of condition that may produce distortions in one’s perception?

    First of all, the confirmation of my orientation had nothing to do with my having sex – I think you need to re-read my post.

    I don’t know that my story is true for everyone – I doubt it is, but I also doubt that what you say above is true. I think the pressure society puts on people to be “normal”, in the sense of straight, plus the fact that the gay community is still the target of vicious and brutal hate crimes, plus the fact that most gays still can’t marry the people they love or even in some places adopt children – and you’ve got an environment that is still relatively hostile for gay people to live and thrive in. If anything, I would say society pushes people to be straight – sometimes to the detriment of gay/homosexual people. It would be difficult for me to believe that the items you listed would “create” gayness/homosexuality.

    Since we have not elucidated the nature of homosexuality yet, we cannot just assume that there is a necessity to socially nurture its self-concept. It’s nudging teens towards what we think it may be their sexual identity. It’s one thing to have equality of treatment for consenting adults and quite another to assume that there can be zero component in the social instillment of the sexual self-concept.

    We haven’t “elucidated” the nature of heterosexuality yet either, so are you saying we can’t assume that a young person is straight, just because that is where their primary attractions lie – or because that is what they claim it is? I thought you said that having sex would confirm someone’s orientation? If that is the case and two young people have same sex and realize they are gay, then by your earlier statement, couldn’t we confirm that they are indeed homosexual.

    As a young person growing up gay I can’t tell you how the attitudes like the one you are espousing hurt me. I had to hide everything about myself from all the people I loved until I got to college where I could be free because of attitudes like yours. We need to take care of our young gay people.

  28. OK, so you had a homosexual self-concept that was confirmed by homosexual sex. Do you think it is the case for each and everyone because it was the case with you? Or are there people who may have same-sex attractions, created by social phobia, androphobia, narcissism or any other sort of condition that may produce distortions in one’s perception?

    When I was growing up there was some uncertainty and confusion surrounding my orientation, but I have to say that came from a society that gave me absolutely no gay role models.

    That’s a statement that assumes the inborn thesis and goes on to demand social nurturing of homosexual self-concept. Since we have not elucidated the nature of homosexuality yet, we cannot just assume that there is a necessity to socially nurture its self-concept. It’s nudging teens towards what we think it may be their sexual identity. It’s one thing to have equality of treatment for consenting adults and quite another to assume that there can be zero component in the social instillment of the sexual self-concept. Since we don’t know how it develops, we cannot know what effects would homosexual role modelling have.

  29. Evan,

    I don’t know if my own personal experience rings true for many gay people, but it seems pretty common from what I’ve heard from the gay people in my area.

    When I was growing up there was some uncertainty and confusion surrounding my orientation, but I have to say that came from a society that gave me absolutely no gay role models. The fantasy life I had during my teen years included looking at men in the Sears Catalog whenever I could hide away from my family to do that. The really odd thing about this is that even though I fantasized about men, and even though I hated being in the locker room after football practice because of all the cute guys I knew would be there, I NEVER once thought of myself as gay/homosexual. I took girls to prom because that was what everyone expected me to do, but I never, in any way, fantasized about them. I believe there were two overriding reasons for my feeling the way I did. 1) That I grew up in a small farming community and we never talked about gay people – it was also rarely on the news or in TV shows so I had no words to use to describe how I felt and 2) the community was so conservative I knew that my difference would not be accepted should anyone find out about it.

    The point behind that story is that I never felt uncertain about myself because I didn’t have sex, but I did feel uncertainty and confusion because of the ideal being forced on me by society and by religion. I think my story is a fairly common one among gay guys – at least some that grew up in small towns.

    When I got to college I had a girlfriend and we messed around a little bit but I never had sex with her. The illumination came one day when I was just sitting in my room thinking about junior high and high school and who I spent all my time fantasizing about – well, that coupled with the fact that I had actually met gay people in college and knew they existed – these things helped me put a label/name to the feelings I had and meeting others like me was just the icing on the cake – it was a wonderful moment of discovery for me. I knew then, that I was gay/homosexual.

  30. Jaychuck, I haven’t said that they are confused, that this state of uncertainty is a positive ascertainable fact, only that they feel to be oriented in a certain way, but technically, I would say that they validate their expected orientation once they have sex. Someone who never had sex may have all sorts of infatuations, fantasies or feelings, but if they don’t have sex, they won’t find out really how they react sexually to their preferred sex. Who said sexual orientation is a perfectly tight concept that will hold for another century?

  31. Evan,

    So virgins can feel and assume they have a certain orientation, but it will only be confirmed once they have sex and it works. If they keep trying and it doesn’t work for them, i.e. the distance from fantasising to reality is really failing to give way to feelings of physical and emotional contentment created by intimate interaction, then they may conclude that their attractions are just psychological, generated by idealised features in some choice individuals.

    I’d say that these are probably rare occasions, wouldn’t you? – and I’m guessing that you’d expect this to hold true for people who think they are straight or gay. I don’t know of any studies done anywhere to suggest that most people don’t know their true orientations prior to the act of having sex.

  32. This issue is why there is a distinction between orientation and identity.

    Jones and Yarhouse recognized this distinction in one of their questioning methods. They asked two questions, one asked about the category of the person and the other about the category of their sexuality. In other words, the first was their identity and the second was their orientation.

    Interestingly, they found that sexual identity changed significantly during the course of the study. Yet the number of persons identifying their sexuality as homosexual or heterosexual remained exactly the same.

    While the study went on to make other observations about sexual orientation adjustment, this clearly illustrated that a change in identity is not always in correlation to a change in sexuality.

  33. Timothy,

    We’ve been hearing about research on correlates in handedness for decades now, from McCormick (1990), Pattatucci-Aragón (1998) to Lippa (2003). Even Bogaert concluded in his 1996 study co-authored by Blanchard, ‘Handedness in Homosexual and Heterosexual Men in the Kinsey Interview Data’ published in Archives of Sexual Behavior:

    The present study analyzed a large sample of homosexual and heterosexual men to examine the relationship between sexual orientation and handedness. No relationship was found: Both the heterosexual and homosexual males had levels of adextrality around 11-12%, similar to what is typically found for the general male population…

    It seems that every couple of years we have to hear of yet another study on handedness and sexual orientation. There is no progress in the field, if Bogaert goes back and forth on his own conclusions.

    Now seriously, why do you need biodeterminism to feel good about homosexuality? Let me quote an interesting remark of Gayle Madwin, owner of the http://www.queerbychoice.com: “people say that being queer is about loving one’s own sex but in most people’s minds that is not really enough, I have to also say ‘I can’t help’ loving my own sex or else I don’t ‘qualify’ as a ‘real’ queer“. I hope you see the point of this. Why is there any need of biological proof for gays to support their cause? That I can hardly comprehend. Could you help me understand the point of this debate?

    Because for all I can see its worth, it seems that finding a biological cause can only feed curers’ agenda.

  34. Ken,

    This issue is why there is a distinction between orientation and identity.

    I’ll take that a step further and say that I could identify as a heterosexual. I could stop dating men (well, I already have, but this is an analogy :)), become celibate for awhile, maybe find a woman that I’d like to start dating, and begin identifying as a heterosexual man. No one should question me because I’ve decided for myself that this is what I want for my life. I’m still primarily attracted to men however – so regardless of what I’d LIKE to identify myself as, my orientation will still remain homosexual.

  35. Evan said in post 68076:

    That’s precisely why I said that present science in this area seems to be struggling to clarify its terms, rather than deal with things.

    Clarifying terms is how people can communicate ideas most effectively. What “things” aren’t being dealt with because of the need to clarify what is being said?

    As to your notion that people can’t know what their orientation is until they have actually had sex, I strongly disagree. And I suspect many other people would as well. To continue your car analogy, I can look out my window to the street and see there are cars there. I don’t actually have to get in each one and drive it around the block to know it is a car. Even if someone steals all the wheels off of it so it can’t be driven, it would still be a car.

    Scientifically, if they show signs of arousal to both sexes in their presence (even if it’s about choice individuals), they are bisexual, but if they report feeling good about having sex only with the opposite sex, the gay persuasion is likely to call them in denial, based on scientific evidence. How can we umpire this conflict between personal beliefs/preference and empirical evidence?

    If a person is attracted to both genders without a significant bias in his attractions to one particular gender, that person would be considered bisexual. Simply because that person doesn’t like being bisexual and only has relations with one gender doesn’t change the fact that he is still attracted to both genders. This issue is why there is a distinction between orientation and identity.

  36. Evan,

    No doubt you will be interested in the research released this week from Anthony Bogaert. It adds to the research that gay men and women are 39% more likely to be left-handed by discovering that they are also more likely than heterosexuals to be extremely right handed.

    So it would seem that those temperaments and momentary dispositions that lead to orientation also lead to the stage where past non-choosing choices are sufficiently compelling to cause one to be disproportionately left-handed or extreme right-handed.

    But if than temperament does not lead to left handedness or extreme right-handedness then it leads to that stage where past non-choosing choices cause one to have older brothers.

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2007/11/27/1052#

    And the study just released from Sandra Witelson tells us that the temperament of which you speak aslo leads to the stage where past non-choosing choices are sufficiently compelling to increase the size of the isthmus of the corpus callosum – but only in those who did not make the non-choosing choice to be left-handed.

    My point, Evan, is that whether you define choice as a determination or as some non-choice resulting from tiny incremental non-chosen choices, you run up against biology. And even if you rename biology “temperament” it still remains biology.

    The jury is out on the etiology of homosexuality. But the jury has long been decided on the issue of choice. And choice did not win its trial.

  37. Eddy, thanks for your praise.

    Timothy, sorry for mistaking that quote with one of yours. It was Ken’s; I focused on the argument. I hope Ken will see it.

    I don’t make a case here for choice as a determination for homosexuality, but I have read an interesting interview referred to in that link I posted earlier. It was with Ruth Hubbard, a professor emerita of biology at Harvard University, and the interviewer was Frank Aqueno, a gay writer. They did not put forward a body of empirical evidence to support their views on choice, but it’s interesting for lifting the veil a bit on the backstage dealings of research into biodeterminism around the time when LeVay and Hamer published their famous papers.

    The body of evidence so far ‘suggests a link’, to quote the interviewer, but there is no empirically established explanation for the biological determinism of homosexuality. It can be disappointing, though, to end up with a shadow of doubt on so much research done by gay scientists just because science was used in a questionable manner by some, just to name LeVay or Hamer, to present in the media inconclusive results under the banner or certainty. How are the future generations of scientists going to appreciate the work of Pillard, Bem or Bagemihl?

    It all boils down to how we understand choice, Timothy. If we mean by that conscious or reasoned choice, I agree with you, no one will ever find a particular point where someone made a choice for that—it’s unthinkable. If we take choice to mean as points along our life continuum where we endear some things over others, because of our temperament or momentary disposition, riding along until we get to the stage where our past choices are sufficiently compelling to feel the need to rush into our defined preference — that is a hypothesis lying in wait for substantiation. If it were not a subtle thing, we would have found its biological support long ago, in my opinion.

    My dictionary defines choice as ‘an act or instance of choosing, making a selection’. I could rephrase the argument then, using the expression ‘a string of implicative choices’, once you make one you leave out others distancing yourself from them, consolidating a tendency. This happens in everyone of us.

  38. Eddy,

    To use italics and other formatting techniques, you need to put html brackets around words, sentences or paragraphs you want to format. I’m sure Warren could give you more info if you like. I thought about listing them but because the blog recognizes them and uses them for formatting, I’m not sure they would show up

  39. Evan,

    To me this sounds like relationship police, sounds like agenda to deter some people to get into mutually agreed situations

    I’m not trying to be the “relationship police” as you call it. All I was saying – if you had read further in that post, is that when it comes to something as important as messing with someone’s head, therapists can and should assess WHY this person wants what they want and then help them determine the best course of action – not just give the client what he wants because he asks for it. I would hope no therapist would ever just give a client what they wanted without some careful assessment.

  40. Evan,

    If you wish to argue that orientation is a product of choice, you will come up against a mountain of evidence to the contrary. You will also find that you are nearly alone in that position.

    Gay individuals, gay groups, ex-gay individuals, ex-gay groups, reparative therapists, values counselors, churches, and pretty much EVERYONE who has objectively looked at this question have found the one sole thing upon which they agree: sexual orientation is not chosen.

    Some anti-gay activists and some leftist gay activists will argue for “choice” as a basis or orientation out of political ideology. The rest of us ignore them.

  41. Evan,

    I was not the author of the segment you quoted.

    As for websites… you had stated that you were not familiar with gay people and that you wanted to hear from the voices of those in question. I referenced the voices from various perspectives.

    You may, of course, now choose not to listen to them.

  42. Evan–

    Thanks for jumping continents to join the discussions here. I appreciate your voice especially your clarity. LOL! I can’t get emoticons…can’t even figure out italics or bold…CAPS, quotes, brackets and the famous … , that’s my arsenal. Thanks again!

  43. Jag,

    I was just posting some thoughts – not referring to anything in your post except whether there are any people who marry and do not consumate their marriage – think I said I didn’t know if this happens but anything was possible – sorry, I should have prefaced my comments with that reference.

  44. Timothy: The problem with your definition of orientation, is that according to it, virgins have no orientation. Additionally, a man who has only had sex with other men, but considers himself straight, would likewise have no orientation. This problem is why most people describe sexual orientation as being based on attractions/desires/feelings. Sexual identity refers to what a person perceives him/herself to be. Since outside observers generally don’t know what other peoples feelings are (although, they may be able to ask in some cases), they generally rely on observed behaviours to estimate a persons orientation. However, attempting to base a determination solely on behaviour has its flaws.

    That’s precisely why I said that present science in this area seems to be struggling to clarify its terms, rather than deal with things. I hate to draw any comparisons with objects, but I only use it for logical purposes, for illustrating some logical pattern, not to fully superimpose that logic on human conditions. If a carmaker designs a car, puts all the parts together and takes a picture of it, he can hardly call that a car if it doesn’t roll. So virgins can feel and assume they have a certain orientation, but it will only be confirmed once they have sex and it works. If they keep trying and it doesn’t work for them, i.e. the distance from fantasising to reality is really failing to give way to feelings of physical and emotional contentment created by intimate interaction, then they may conclude that their attractions are just psychological, generated by idealised features in some choice individuals. I know, this take on orientation is not failproof, especially when people may just have problems of inhibition or sexual dysfunction, but you cannot dismiss it just because it works in your case or in the case of people you know and believe. Some people are attracted to one gender, but feel good being intimate with another. It’s hard to believe, because it was not empirically tested… Just think of those falling trees that do not exist in the forest, just because scientists don’t hear them falling.

    ‘Sexual identity’ is really drenched in a lot cultural glazing today. I simply doubt that ‘gay’ and ‘homosexual’ are congruent, in that the former is culture-laden while the latter has a more technical history of usage. But I agree that if someone is mainly attracted to same-sex individuals and reacts sexually mainly to those individuals (include here any of the signs of sexual arousal generated by the presence of another same-sex person, not their fantasised forms), they are mainly homosexual. Whether or not they identify as gay, to me it’s more of a cultural issue than a technical one. But let’s consider this example: someone who is strongly drawn to some very attractive same-gender people, but not to most same-gender individuals. What if this individual is also attracted to the opposite sex, and is able have satisfactory sexual relations with them? Scientifically, if they show signs of arousal to both sexes in their presence (even if it’s about choice individuals), they are bisexual, but if they report feeling good about having sex only with the opposite sex, the gay persuasion is likely to call them in denial, based on scientific evidence. How can we umpire this conflict between personal beliefs/preference and empirical evidence? Maybe we should not be so hard on people’s preferences: we don’t allow God to confiscate our free will, but we talk as if we believe people should do so, based on ’empirical data’. Being human is not just being testable.

    Timothy,

    About those sites.

    I’m sure that any written proof of some people’s experience is fashioned to look consistent with itself. So reading a partial website will not make me have a complete picture of this issue. If they are ideologically motivated, that doesn’t necessarily make them frauds, though it is likely to be so in some cases. But again, even if proven so, it doesn’t apply to any unspoken case. In my turn, I can refer you to a very interesting webpage of a gay writer, who firmly defends the role of choice.

    Jayhuck,

    You’re probably right in the case of those people who come to the surface in some way, in therapy or public space. Or maybe Freud was right about those ‘blighted germs of heterosexuality’. Who knows?

    Jayhuck: Being in an unhappy straight marriage is a terrible environment for both spouses as well as any kids that might be there – especially if one or both partners wants out. Sometimes ending a marriage is the best thing for everyone involved.

    I agree, but it’s not up to us to decide. I just hate to see some people developing some sort of relationship police here.

    Ann,

    Thanks very much for your words of appreciation. I think we have to be balanced without trying to stifle standing up to our beliefs.

    Warren: When you say gays discourage people from staying married, it might be good to offer a link to a resource or statement

    My reply dealt with an attitude coming from some commentators here, who seem to assume they know better what is good for some people with SSAs who marry. That moralising tone was addressed in my message. No statement of facts. Here’s an example, addressed to you, this time:

    Jayhuck: Just because a client WANTS something doesn’t necessarily mean they should have it Warren.

    To me this sounds like relationshipping police, sounds like agenda to deter some people to get into mutually agreed situations, in which they really live comfortably, such as those that you adduced here from your experience. Why so much concern with other people’s lives, if not motivated by an agenda? Just asking.

    PS. I try to write less, simpler and say more — something I admire in many people here, but I can’t do that at the expense of clarity. I was not born in English, so my messages may sound a bit formal and stiff, because of or thanks to my background. What’s nagging me right now is that emoticons don’t work.

  45. Mary,

    I try as much as possible to see all sides in these issues. It seems a little bit odd to point out that the gays seem to be the ones focusing most on the sexual aspect of relationships when it is that very aspect of their own reltionships that’s completely in question here. If, after all, there had been no sexual aspect to my ex-husband’s attachment to his newfound companion, our marriage might have remained intact. The gays may seem to focus so much on it because it gets so spotlighted. Just antoher way of looking at it. Also, and again, we are talking about an article where married men are cruising for sex. It’s pertinent to the discussion and very often IS important to the sorts of things we talk about at these sorts of sites.. Just more of the 47 cents I seem to be offering to this discussion. 😉

    OH…and i have been married both times long enough for the initial attraction to wear off. After that point, there are typicaly other things, sometimes personal endearments that you learn of over time, which draw you together and end up attracting you physically to the other person. When you love someone and the romance wears off, you find that your love can deepen as you begin to know them in more and more personal ways. This can even happen in marriages where there are other areas of dysfunction….hence my ability to offer personal testimony even though I’ve lived through two failed marriages.

  46. Ann –

    You really need to reread my post, I did not say sex was paramount to any relationship…in fact, I also gave the example that there are inmates who marry who will never consummate their relationships.

    I did speak to the importance of many of the things that Timothy speaks of…desire, love, attraction, etc…and it would be a hard sell to say these things are not important.

    I think you may have come to some conclusions that I didn’t make.

  47. All of the men I work with currently wanted to have a family and marriage and they loved their wives exclusively when they married; they have not married just to look straight or get their parents off their back. Some have felt marrying would help cure them but they were also in love with the woman they married. Stating that is not an approval of their original choice or a disregard for the women involved. It is stating my experience.

    Warren,

    Just to clarify, are these people whom you worked who were already married before they came to you? Or were these people whom you worked with who became married during or after the time you counseled them?

  48. I think Ann has rightly pointed out that sex is not the sole determinant for a happy and fulfilling marriage. As she stated, many people are unable to have sex in any conventional manner and yet find ways to make their relationships fulfilling.

    But I think that perhaps there are other factors at play: desire, love, attraction. A person who becomes unable to function sexually due to injury may be able to please their partner in other ways that, because desire and attraction are present, are fulfilling and exciting.

    Some of these – desire, love, attraction, sex – may be present in a marriage in which one partner is same-sex attracted. But, from what I read, often at least one is missing. And the absense of any single one of these can definitely add stress to any relationship.

    I would discourage the forming of any marriage in which there would not be present love, attraction, desire AND sex. If any one of these is going to be absent or limited or forced or externally directed, such a marriage should only be entered cautiously and with full disclosure.

  49. I read a lot of comments from the gay people here emphasising the sexual aspect of marriage and relationships. Has anyone here ever been in a marriage long enough or relationship long enough to the point where you don’t have that “attraction” at the moment but still hold a deep love for the other person? I know many marriages that have moved into that place (some change again, some do not)

  50. Pam,

    I hear what you are saying. I did not mean to infer that it was less diificult or similar. What you have been through is gut wrenching. I do get angry that men like your ex husband were not honest with you.

  51. Mary,

    Yes, OSA people and couples have their problems with sex and preferences that go with that too –

    Elvis Presley had a very difficult time having sex with Priscilla Presley after she gave birth to their daughter. In his mind, she become a mother and he could not separate that from her also being his wife. In his mind, he could not have sex with someone who was a mother. She felt sexual rejection for years until she met another man and divorced Elvis. Although this is well documented through books and interviews, my reference on this is personal.

    Eric Clapton realized after he stopped drinking for many years that he could never remember having sex while sober. He said it was a whole new way of learning how to feel sex and experience it in a way he hadn’t before and included an adjustment period. My reference on this is an interview he gave on Larry King.

  52. Jag,

    I happen to like sex a lot but that doesn’t mean it is paramount in relationships for others. I remember Christopher Reeves talking about his sex life with his wife and how it had changed dramatically but they never once thought of leaving the marriage because of it. As to whether some couples never consummate, I really don’t know but it is certainly within the realm of possibility. Many men that have been wounded in the war will never be able to have sex in the same ways again, my niece was born without a vagina and met her husband in college and they have been married now over 10 years – I never ask how they have sex, I just know they are happy and trying to adopt a baby. A friend of mine has been married for about 30 years and in the early stages of their marriage she had an affair – when this soured she asked her husband to go back with her – they did and have everything anyone would think is ideal in a marriage – she told me recently that he took her back saying he did not know if he could ever be intimate with her again – she resolved herself to that based on all the other things they had together and both are happy. Is it ideal – not the way I would recommend marriage but I am not THEM and could never make that kind of determination for them based on what is important for me.

  53. Jay,

    While I believe we agree in principal regarding your last post and the pressures of society to marry and raise a family….I do believe that there will always be SSA men who will prefer to marry women and have traditional marriages and families, even if same sex marriage becomes legal and accepted at large in our culture. However, I tend to think that when being gay is not demonized the way it is now, those men will be choosing that path for the “right” reasons. Also, when I was married to Tdub…I appreciated those who valued and respected his committment to me and didn’t question his motives, even if they may have been correct in their assumptions. The marriage we had remains a valuable experience to both of us and we have no regrets other than the harm brought to the children. We continue to work together toward their good and hope that they learn that real love is tough enough to weather any situation. There’s the “follow-up” on our end. 😉

    Ann,

    No, I did not know of his preferences before we married. Is the communication question for me? If so, I’m not sure what you mean. And thank you for your kind words to me in your earlier post. I appreicate it and I hope my story has somehow enriched your own faith or experience (or both).

  54. Warren –

    I was commenting to your insinuation that marriage would reduce “sexual acting out” in gays…see the context of your words:

    “All I have known do so because they want a life that appeals to them on most other levels besides the sexual. And some do so with full attraction to their wives but to no other woman. I applaud efforts to help men reduce/eliminate sexual acting out in public and support client values.”

    As for the role of sexuality in marriage, it was I suppose, my faulty assumption that sex has SOME role in marriage. That “some couples prefer to be buddies,” is interesting…I would call that a friendship, even a bonded one, but not a marriage – isn’t there something about “consummation?” Maybe not. I’ll have to think about that.

    It is true that many heterosexually married couples never consummate – perhaps one is an inmate, etc..and that’s fine.

    I suppose a large part of the arguments against same-sex couples marrying is based on the sexual act. (silly “parts don’t fit” arguments, cannot result in procreation, etc..). But if now we find it more of an individual choice, in only lends credence to my existing stance.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  55. Warren,

    Another example comes from when I belonged to a local area GLBT group. There were a few men in that group who had been married. Each time we heard them speak the reasons they got married were the same – sure they loved the women they married, but they told us they got married because they felt it was the “right thing to do”. They knew their family/society would be disappointed in them if they didn’t, and this led to a marriage without much intimacy, romance or sex, and with these husbands seeking that out in the arms of other men in secret.

    And these men got married without the push of ex-gay groups or therapists – all it took was society, family and sometimes religious institutions.

  56. Pam,

    Did you know anything about your husband’s preferences before you got married?

    Also, regarding how people communicate, why would they have to change their style because it doesn’t fit in with what others want to hear?

  57. Warren,

    All of the men I work with currently wanted to have a family and marriage and they loved their wives exclusively when they married; they have not married just to look straight or get their parents off their back. Some have felt marrying would help cure them but they were also in love with the woman they married. Stating that is not an approval of their original choice or a disregard for the women involved. It is stating my experience.

    Do they say they love their wives as a way of rationalizing what they are doing? Couldn’t they be using this “love” as a way of covering up the fact that they are really being influenced by a society and a nation that still makes it difficult to be gay and almost impossible to marry someone of the same sex and have a family in safety? I think its irresponsible to ignore the incredible pressures our society places on marriage and family, and how that equates to being a Man.

    As for loving women – I love many women – I even had a women say that she would love to marry me, but I know, deep down, I could never inflict that on a woman no matter how much SHE might want it. It wouldn’t be right of me to use her desires for my own selfish ends. I realize that may not be what many SSA men are doing who want to get married, but how do you know? How could you ever know? Do we have any sort of follow up on marriages between SSA men and women?

    I have another friend who is homosexual – he IS married to a woman, but they got married only for tax reasons – they lead separate romantic lives. Just because a client WANTS something doesn’t necessarily mean they should have it Warren – I would think this would be pretty clear – I’m sure its something you at least consider – and its an area where total client-centered therapy really falls apart.

  58. jag – you are reading way too much into my comments. Do you support “efforts to help men reduce/eliminate sexual acting out in public and support client values?” If you answer yes to that, it does not mean that you believe all gays are acting out in public. Please, after all I have written here, to think I meant that all gays are having sex in public is discouraging. You are reacting to someone else, not me.

    RE: SSA men who marry. All of the men I work with currently wanted to have a family and marriage and they loved their wives exclusively when they married; they have not married just to look straight or get their parents off their back. Some have felt marrying would help cure them but they were also in love with the woman they married. Stating that is not an approval of their original choice or a disregard for the women involved. It is stating my experience.

    As far as the reasons people marry and the role sexuality plays in that marriage, it is a value judgment to prescribe the level of sexual interest that “should” be there. This is a far more complicated issue than I have time to get into, but some couples prefer to be buddies and that is fine for them. Do you have a problem with that?

  59. Mary –

    Thank you for sharing your experiences above…and I agree, full disclosure offers both parties the opportunity to make informed decisions. I am thankful that the man you considered dating was honest with you, it saves much time and difficulty down the road – regardless of your choice whether or not to date him, at least you know going in that your relationship is based on honesty and that you know, to some extent, the issues your future partner may struggle with.

    Warren –

    As a professional, I was rather horrified by your response to some comments above. It seems your ideology has clouded your judgment and clinical knowledge base:

    “All I have known do so because they want a life that appeals to them on most other levels besides the sexual. And some do so with full attraction to their wives but to no other woman. I applaud efforts to help men reduce/eliminate sexual acting out in public and support client values.”

    Reread this…”on most other levels besides the sexual?” How do you build a marriage on this? Why not be “buddies?” Every person in a relationship wants to be desired and desireable (is this a stretch?) and every person wants to feel that the person they are with only has eyes for them.

    More importantly…

    I don’t think being with someone you are not attracted to is a way of ” help[ing] men reduce/eliminate sexual acting out in public and support[ing] client values,” in fact, I see this as a way of negating the true issues at hand.

    Many gay/lesbian individuals have NEVER had “sexual acting out in public,” and if you did, partnering is certainly not the answer to it – there are other issues that require addressing.

    It’s a bad stereotype, even worse relational advice, and a sad example of emotional overlay of the therapist onto a very clinical issue that requires a bit more addressing.

  60. Mary,

    I realize you didn’t actually say, “this is just typical stuff”.

    My point was that what you said made me infer that….and…yeah….it could be my experiences making me biased. But, these are the only ones I’ve got.

  61. Evan – I tend to agree that people are sharing their experience here and many commenters have been in and around ex-gay ministries. It is important not to generalize too much from any comments. No one speaks for all gays or ex-gays here.

    I have been lax about asking people for documentation for their claims. Perhaps, I should ask this more but time prevents me from it. For instance, when you say gays discourage people from staying married, it might be good to offer a link to a resource or statement from a gay leader. Otherwise, a personal experience with this might be good. I am not picking on you here, it would be good for all commenters to think this through. Just saying, I know some people who… or most gays do this or that… is not terribly helpful. In fact, after a while, I tune that out.

    Let me challenge commenters to offer references, or sources where possible.

  62. “I find that straight men and women are really no better at communicationg their desires than a man who has homosexuality as a secret.”

    Mary,

    I do respect and value your experience. You have obviously successfully minimized/managed/changed your same sex attractions. You have achieved success and are a testament to the fact that folks, at the heart of the matter, can be whatever they choose to be and be happy and fullfilled. I respect that.

    Now. I’m sorry but I must take issue with these sorts of statements that seem to continue to minimize the sheer devastation that happens to women and families when the scenario we’re discussing comes to light. I doubt that you are trying to minimize it purposefully, yet, you do. It is not the same as heterosexual couples with a communication problem…at ALL. It’s quite different. I’ve been married twice. I’m ashamed of it, and yet, it’s true. I say that to say that my experiences have placed me in BOTH the positions you’re talking about here. There is literally NO comparing the first to the second as it concerns depth of hurt and devastation to the family. Absoutely none. It’s quite a different thing for the children of a broken straight home….who yes, must become accustomed to maybe a dating parent or a new step-parent. Yes, that’s difficult for children. But, it does NOT compare with children learning that their parent is gay, seeing the parent love a same sex partner for the first time, etc… The same goes for the wife in that situation. While some, indeed many, ex-gay marriages work and are working, MANY do not. The reasons for this are tied up in the fact that the man hadn’t been able, for cultural and religious reasons(in OUR culture), to fully explore what and WHO he is for fear of rejection. Most of the ex-gay marriages you hear about that are working, are of those where the man had experienced being gay for at least a time. I believe there is purpose in EVERY moment of our lives, even those when we are making decisions that we later regret or change our minds about.

    We can’t just blithley say, oh…well…all marriages have trouble, even hetero ones….and this is just “typical” stuff. If it were typical stuff, we wouldn’t be here talking about it and articles like the one we are discussing (we are discussing that, aren’t we? 😉 wouldn’t be written.

  63. “With due respect it can be difficult to know what you mean because you use words in a way in which they are not commonly used in the English language. Not only do you define “homosexual” in a way that is not based on any recognizable attributes but even “enjoy” seems to be used in a manner with which I’m not familiar.”

    Thank you, Timothy. I kept wondering if my I.Q. was going up or down every time I read his stuff. I’m not being sarcastic (for the most part), I REALLY was wondering.

  64. Evan,

    Just want to say how much I enjoy your posts and the intelligence you display in what you write. The things you say are very important and I appreciate the critical thought you put into it. The only agenda I get from your posts is fairness and that is a great place to have any discussion.

    Regarding your post on this particular topic, I agree that people have the right to determine how they want to live their life and don’t need others doing it for them.

  65. Evan,

    Sorry – forgot to add my second paragraph. The “gay chalet” as you put it isn’t going to help anyone get out of a marriage that doesn’t want to get out. Again, we go back to this staying heterosexually married for marriage’s sake argument that is troubling. Being in an unhappy straight marriage is a terrible environment for both spouses as well as any kids that might be there – especially if one or both partners wants out. Sometimes ending a marriage is the best thing for everyone involved.

    If no one wants out I haven’t read anything suggesting that people who want to remain married to a person of the Opposite Sex would be coerced or forced out of that marriage.

    I’m betting most of these aren’t cases of a gay man being married, but of a bisexual man being married and dealing with attractions to both sexes.

  66. Evan,

    But this jeering attitude from the gay chalet shows an agenda of helping people with SSAs who want to stay married to get out of it because they are ‘living a lie’

    First, if they are married to a person of the opposite sex (remember, there is legal gay marriage in this country now so its probably time to start differentiating), and having good relations with their partner, they were probably a good deal bisexual to begin with – I won’t speak completely for Warren, but I seem to remember him saying something to this effect about the people he has talked to – that many of them are bisexual. I have a bisexual friend who dated guys for most of his life but then decided to marry a woman. I think we too often forget about that category of bisexual that heterosexuals and homosexuals don’t like to talk about.

  67. Keeping in mind that the subject for the J & Y study came from a very tightly defined and specific group – excluding a wide range of other folks.

    Thank you Mary for pointing this out – it cannot be said enough.

  68. Evan,

    With due respect it can be difficult to know what you mean because you use words in a way in which they are not commonly used in the English language. Not only do you define “homosexual” in a way that is not based on any recognizable attributes but even “enjoy” seems to be used in a manner with which I’m not familiar.

    Further, you attribute attitudes to me that I do not share.

    However, if you truly want to hear voices of those involved, I recommend a few sources. First, check out the various ex-gay ministry websites for testimonies from those who found the process helpful. Then check out http://www.beyondexgay.com for some of those who found the process to be very harmful.

    You may want to read Jones and Yarhouse’s book for the more candid responses from those who found themselves to be helped on some level as well as some who did not. And finally, you may want to check out a few of the websites that keep track of when those who offer testimonies demonstrate lives that are radically inconsistent with their public proclamations (www.exgaywatch.com, for example).

  69. Evan said in post 67829:

    Pam: That scenario [of same-sex attracted men getting into marriage for cover-up] is quite common.

    With all due respect to your personal experience, you are making an assumption.

    No, Pam is not making an assumption here. In fact there is a slang term for a woman whom a gay man uses to hide his sexuality. She is referred to as his “beard.” Note, “beard” doesn’t always refer to a wife. However, marriage has happened enough to be considered common. Now, Pam isn’t saying that means ALL cases (or even a majority of cases) of a gay man marrying are to hide his orientation, just that it is a common occurrence.

    Ken: What is your criteria for a person to be called straight?

    The same – they have to feel, act and identify as such.

    The problem with your definition of orientation, is that according to it, virgins have no orientation. Additionally, a man who has only had sex with other men, but considers himself straight, would likewise have no orientation. This problem is why most people describe sexual orientation as being based on attractions/desires/feelings. Sexual identity refers to what a person perceives him/herself to be. Since outside observers generally don’t know what other peoples feelings are (although, they may be able to ask in some cases), they generally rely on observed behaviours to estimate a persons orientation. However, attempting to base a determination solely on behaviour has its flaws. For example, a man may be marriage and have sex with his wife, but whenever he does he is thinking of Kevin Bacon.

  70. Evan,

    You make a very good point – that it is those who are involved in their own life rather than those who have “decided” for others that should be involved in the discussion.

  71. It seems that there are many couples with sex as a problem within the marriage. And we are not just talking about homosexual issues. Doesn’t this really get down to communication well before marriage takes place. What are the individual experiences, thoughts, expectations, issues etc with sexuality as well as other topics before jumping into the marriage bed?

    I find that straight men and women are really no better at communicationg their desires than a man who has homosexuality as a secret. And that should be disclosed so the woman can make informed decisions. Just the other day I was talking to a man that I was thinking about possibly dating – he was upfront about his sexual addiction. He admitted to having a problem that destroyed his marriage and ministry. I asked some investigative type questions to see where he might be in his “healing” and for my own satisfaction he did not seem to have a true handle on his addiction. But I am ever grateful for his disclosure. I also disclosed my past.

  72. Keeping in mind that the subject for the J & Y study came from a very tightly defined and specific group – excluding a wide range of other folks.

  73. Timothy,

    I do not expect you to agree with me if that contradicts your own feelings. I’m sure science has a lot in store for you and me that will shake many of our heartfelt assumptions. Like your assumption that any man who has some degree of SSAs can naturally enjoy same-sex behaviour. But there’s no scientific postulate about that that I know of. Only your personal convictions and feelings, and of those of the people you know and believe.

    Why such concern for dishonesty in some choice category of men? It’s wrong in whomever might do it. But this jeering attitude from the gay chalet shows an agenda of helping people with SSAs who want to stay married to get out of it because they are ‘living a lie’… It’s knowing better what’s good for them, even if most of them might lead good lives with their beloved wives. I think we should go back to living our own lives and stop showing stalking levels of concern for other people’s lives. I would really love to hear from the people involved in this, to listen to their motivations and objectives, not to participate in some sort of caucus talk who deliberates what’s good in their life.

  74. Thanks for clarifying, Ken. You are right, for me to be 100% sure I would personally have to assess the program and interview the participants. My statement was based on assumption taken from the my limited reading of their site and mission statements, and from past experiences with such assessments of GLBT programs when I worked in NYC. I do realize there possibly could be a difference, but I haven’t apparently put too much stock in it. I do appreciate you bringing it to my attention, however.

  75. Perhaps one of the most disturbing aspects of the Jones and Yarhouse book was reading the comments from those who had married during the three years of the study. And often this marriage was what pushed them into the category of “success: conversion”.

    There’s something quite troubling in reading the comments of someone who finds the drive to act on his sexual desires with another man to be a bit abated because he is now having sex regularly with his wife. It doesn’t take a social scientist to predict that this is a recipe for disaster.

    The problem is not only that same-sex attracted men don’t fully disclose to the women that they marry; rather, it is that they frequently are not honest with themselves. If one is telling oneself that not wanting to continue sexually with another man means one is not really homosexually oriented it becomes easier to move from that step to believing that one can be fully there for a wife.

    I applaud those who have the good sense and common decency not to entangle another person’s life with their own struggles. I commend those who seek to be honest with themselves first and then with those around them.

  76. In a previous thread I commented that some want to define sexual orientation out of existence. I was immediately attacked by Anonymous Eddy who challenged that statement and demanded proof.

    Evan has nicely illustrated my point.

    As Evan sees it, a person who “engages in all the romantic and sexual aspects of [a same-sex] relationship” and who fantasizes or is even engages in sexual intercourse with a person (as long as he doesn’t want it to continue) is neither gay nor homosexual. In Evan’s world, “want to continue” is all that defines homosexuality.

    This perhaps should not be too surprising. It is, after all, the basis of most reorientation principles that I’ve seen expressed. Just “walk out of homosexuality” (ie decide you dont want to continue) and viola you are no longer gay. Much in the same way that a religious conversion to Christianity is made in a single moment of decision, so too is a conversion to heterosexuality.

    In the Jones and Yarhouse book, it was surprising the number of Exodus participants who, in the illustrative quotes, called themselves “heterosexual” but who experienced only attraction to the same sex. And this included those who were still engaging in sexual behavior. Identity trumped all evidence to the contrary.

    It is these sorts of declarations that those outside the ex-gay movement find perplexing. When there are loud proclamations of Change (on billboards and newspaper ads) the world looks to see some change in attraction. Too often, what they find instead is a change in “want to continue”.

    Well, is a bycicle the object that works like a bycicle or that looks like one? For me it has to be both. For a person to be called gay, they have to feel, act and identify as such.

    Sorry, Evan. But a bicycle is a bicycle whether or not it is ridden.

  77. but I’ve seen and heard FAR too many women who were blindsided by their husband’s SSA after marriage.

    Pam,

    This is indeed a problem – no woman or man should be blindsided by their spouse after marriage. I have talked with you on another site when you were married and have followed your story for awhile now. I know what you went through and the toll it took. Through it all you never lost your faith and I always admired you for your courage and perserverence. I also admire you for not wanting to generalize this subject as it is too serious and should be treated individually out of respect for each person.

    If a man or woman cannot be completely honest about themself before entering a marriage, then there is no security that they will be truthful after the marriage. When truth and honesty is up front, then there is an opportunity for both people to make a choice about whether they want to live their lives together and in what way. Nothing short of that is acceptable for a good relationship. The people I have encountered from all walks of life that have good relationships and marriages have a mutual understanding of each other and the commitment to their values is paramount to anything else. If the two people involved are knowledgeable about each other and what to expect or not expect, then the values that are important to them become the glue that holds them together. That is what their marriage is based on – a life, not a lie (I like that term too Evan). There are people who do not want to be referred to as gay just because they have same gender attractions – they don’t want this to define how they are going to live the rest of their life – they want to be married and have a family and a wife or husband who has the same values they do and can resolve together how they define their own personal relationship without any outside pressure. When a prospective spouse knows this, then they can make a personal and responsibile choice and be resolved to it. There are so many other examples – I like it when a woman tells her husband who has been injured in the war that their family and values are far more important than the way they used to have sex – it is commendable when a man is faithful to his wife and family even though he has found himself inexplicably attracted to his neighbor or co-worker – these things happened after a marriage but still are good examples of holding up values ahead of desires. A man who is happily married with three college aged children said to me not too long ago – I live by my compass and anything that points me in the wrong direction, I stay away from. He has SSA but it does not define his life, his family does.

    A man or woman who feels pressure from parents or society to marry must take responsibility to not involve another individual and set them up for pain just to alleviate their own pain from the pressure. That is cruel and the person they involve is the victim -not them.

  78. “But I wonder if a man with some mild degree of SSAs – but mostly attracted to his wife or other attractive women – should be expected to make a statement for something he hardly feels any inclination to pursue. If that be so, I think you’d be surprised how few people would ever embark on a marriage, probably most of them would have to be greater than or equal to 90% OSAs.”

    Evan,

    It’s very frustrating to me for you to bring up this sort of point when the very article that prompted the discussion is about (among other things, yes) married men CRUISING for gay sex! I often tire of folks banging their head against walls over at XGW and yet, here I am, beginning to feel a big knot on my own forehead! 😉 I think I’ve made any points I could possible make…so….have at it and continue on in whatever point it is you are really trying to make here. Somehow it’s lost on me and I don’t think it’s simply my Oklahoma education that leaves me baffled by your overexplanations of what are probably really simple points.

    God bless you in your continued endeavors to right the wrongs in your world and I trust I’ll have Godspeed on my end as well.

  79. Pam,

    I agree with you. It seems that many people (myself included) have certain areas of our lives where we want to not only control ourselves but what others do as well. And I often find the gay community employing similar intimidation tactics that the old school christian conservatives have used on the sexuality issue. And innocent people on both sides are the ones caught in the middle and truly losing because of this behavior. I feel for wives such as yourself who were lied to by their new husbands, who were inappropriately treated by “well meaning” people, and who lost portions of their hopes and dreams because of such. And I feel for people who have found only the worst of the gay community and who want out and then are being turned only back into the direction of the gay community as a means to fulfill their needs. It is a sad condition of our humanity on all sorts of levels.

  80. Pam: While we are each responsible, when a man grows up in a family culture/faith that teaches him from a very early age to loathe himself because of his same sex attraction….well…it becomes very pertinent to that man to do the “responsible” thing and find a wife and get married.

    I don’t deny even the possibility to instill implied choices by the way one’s environment of development is structured, much less voiced condemnation. But still, choices are made against changing backgrounds, so I wouldn’t make that a simple equation. The fact that there are gays who both embrace their sexual and their religious identities proves that people are able to make choices, even if they come from the background you are describing.

    Pam: That scenario [of same-sex attracted men getting into marriage for cover-up] is quite common.

    With all due respect to your personal experience, you are making an assumption. Even if you were right in that assumption, but wrong in some cases, that would still not invalidate the accomplishment some people have in their marriage although they have a degree of same-sex attractions. Just as I said in the previous message, it’s a negotiation process and people adjust to each other, according to their expressed feelings, needs and their validation by their partner. If that is found satisfactory by two matching people, why should we devise a test for them to see what degree of attractions they have and how much of that was provided for in a pre-marital contract? I wonder how did that work thousands of years ago for people along the sexual continuum? I think they just interacted and mutually learned each other, until they reached that degree of shared feelings that made them commit in some form. I agree that this can have hit-and-miss events, but we shouldn’t create a suspicious mindset here.

    Pam: Many of us, and particularly those of use with values related specifically to our faith, are chaste until married.

    I have to admit I didn’t see that coming. I guess it varies with culture, just as sexual contentment as a prerequisite to sound marriage is not a criterion in many cultures. All people across the world work their give-and-take in that specific environment. Pre-marriage chastity stands in the way to proper identification of life partner, but if that is of value to its supporters, I see a clash here caused by commitment to diverging cultures. They are culturally committed both to the ‘no pre-marital sex’ rule and to the more open modern culture of debate which recognizes one’s right to sexual satisfaction. Conflicted commitment straddles people’s lives across many divides. They have to find a negotiated middle ground, a modus vivendi or part ways.

    Ken: What is your criteria for a person to be called straight?

    The same – they have to feel, act and identify as such.

  81. “People have plenty of opportunity to test each other’s expectations before marriage”

    Evan,

    Are you talking about having sexual relations before marriage? If so, many of us, and particularly those of use with values related specifically to our faith, are chaste until married. An “in the closet” SSA man can appear to be a respectful, chaste Christian in his behaviors toward his fiance’….when, in actuality, he is simply not that attracted sexually. Also, you can talk about continiums and fullfilment until we’re both blue in the face….but I’ve seen and heard FAR too many women who were blindsided by their husband’s SSA after marriage.

    Mary,

    While intimidation may work both ways….the stories of pain and harm to innocent “victims” (i don’t care for the term and use it sparingly) ….wives, children….must certainly cause you to pause and weigh the outcomes of intimidation in the balance. Where are the third parties who are blindsided and hurt because of the intimidation to be gay? Parents, yes, …and yet, it is a parent’s job ultimately to allow the child to choose freely. When a parent’s intimidation of their child to marry causes pain to their new family, including grandchildren, where do you draw the lines of which sort of intimidation ultimately causes more grief? I don’t have the answers. Your point seems to be that there’s a wake of pain every bit as broad as the one I’ve experienced when society compells someone to behave gay as there is when society compells someone to behave as straight. Ultimately, the human experience is one often wrecked with pain of all sorts.

  82. Jayhuck: What do you mean by the fact that just because someone has attractions they aren’t necessarily able to act on them? Do you mean that just because someone has attractions they don’t HAVE TO act on them?

    No, the idea was quite clear – it’s one thing to be attracted and quite another to really react sexually in the fantasised way. Perception is selective and variable in different contexts, there is no arithmetic of attractions. One can be visually attracted to a person and not be able to interact sexually with that person.

    Jayhuck: Why don’t they try and establish some sound and healthy friendships then? Why the need to get married? Its clear that if someone wants a relationships or a “life” that appeals to them on levels beside the sexual, they get friends or get a hobby.

    Tell that to Daryl Bem. I still wonder why he did it, when I try to defend your point in my mind.

    Jayhuck:Talk to the ex-governor of New Jersey and ask him why he came out and left his wife. If a gay man wants to share things with a woman, I suggest they be friends and that the gay men doesn’t play russian roulette with the lives of the woman and any kids they might bring into the situation.

    I don’t know the details of this media case. Was he having an affair with a man and held a political position? Looks like we have the ingredients for preemptive action to political smear campaing. But again, there is the Bem case.

    If a man wants to live in a romantic and sexual relationship with another man but doesn’t want to be called gay – do you not call him gay?

    No, if he does not identify as such. Calling can be name-calling, if the person does not want that. Technically, he is in a homosexual relation if he wants to engage in the relationship and engages in all the romantic and sexual aspects of that relationship. But if he only wants to, or fantasises about or talks to that person about such possibility but never has sexual intercourse with that person that he can find fulfilling and want to continue, he cannot be termed homosexual either. Because to me homosexuality is defined as sexuality, not as moral attraction, even if gay identity discourse emphasises that being gay is not only about the sex.

    Gay means primarily having SSA, just as the term “straight” means having primarily OSA. I’m not saying others don’t have different definitions for these terms, but these are mine.

    That’s what I would call arithmetic of attractions. I don’t know what primarily undersexed could mean, or having sexual response to only one person of the opposite sex, or having sexual response to the opposite sex but having greater sexual orgasm with the same sex and choosing one over another either for inner sense of integrity or for physical satisfaction, etc. Could it be measured in degrees depending on the attractivity of the person or your average response to the prefered gender in all its variety, their talent to get a response from you or your disposition or focus, your experience or your inhibition etc? Just as I said in another message, I think they’re still working on forging the right vocabulary in this area, and barely touching on anything else.

    Pam: ..choosing a life of marriage because it appeals to them in other ways than sexual….well…I hate to tell you this…but that’s a horrible thing to do to a woman! And it’s EXACTLY the sort of thing that happens in these situations. A sexual relationship is an extremely important peice of a marriage

    I would personally agree with you in principle. Obviously good sexual rapport between partners is a good foundation. But in reality things are not always based on sexual contrasts, either good or bad, and not always used by all people to weigh their marriages or relationships. It depends on individuals and it can greatly depend on culture. For instance, a gay man told me once that he could only have a sense of worth by feeling that someone having sex with him had a great orgasm. To me it sounded simply outrageous and I told him that he is being consensually used, but he defended that against all arguments, saying it’s the only way for him to be happy. I quit wondering, it seems people can have very diverse ways of adapting their sense of fulfillment to their looks or to their perceived worthiness. I’m sure there is no scheme that could apply to all individuals, but only a sort of ongoing negociation between each other.

    People have plenty of opportunity to test each other’s expectations before marriage. If they still choose to take the next step, it’s their responsiblity for the outcome. But I wonder if a man with some mild degree of SSAs – but mostly attracted to his wife or other attractive women – should be expected to make a statement for something he hardly feels any inclination to pursue. If that be so, I think you’d be surprised how few people would ever embark on a marriage, probably most of them would have to be greater than or equal to 90% OSAs. We’re talking about a continuum of sexuality, right?

  83. Think of the dissatisfied gay people who have learned to believe only that a person cannot change and will never find happiness outside of their gay life – initmidation works both ways and a lot of people are being lost to the extremes.

  84. Evan said in post 67661:

    For a person to be called gay, they have to feel, act and identify as such.

    And what is your criteria for a person to be called straight?

  85. Jim Phelan said in post 67579:

    Funny how The Pride center wants to normalize this, rather divert it to their own ideas. That is where they say, they have a “Discussion on sexual identity and healthier ideas of what and how this can be expressed.” Pride is a disguise for gay agenda.

    I’m curious as to how you made these determinations about what the Pride center does and its intentions. Have you actually observed the “Healthy Self-Expressions” program? Been in contact with the Pride center with regards to how it is run? Interviewed any of the participants of the program?

    You seem to be making a lot of claims about the Center, but I don’t see a lot of evidence to support them.

    btw, my comparison between NARTH and the Pride Center, was about the respective bias within each organization, not in regards to any particular treatment program.

  86. Ann,

    While we are each responsible, when a man grows up in a family culture/faith that teaches him from a very early age to loathe himself because of his same sex attraction….well…it becomes very pertinent to that man to do the “responsible” thing and find a wife and get married. Truth, fidelity, commitment, and mutual desires are not exclusive values to those involved in certain religions, they are healthy ways of being for anyone. Truth includes being honest about what’s going on in your life, not covering things up for the sake of your religion/family values. This is what Jayhuck is referring to.

    I respect the lives and marriages of the ex-gays. I’ve said repeatedly that, given the choice, I’d still be married to an ex-gay today. I have no intention of marrying another one ;), but I was committed to that marriage till death. However, I would have preferred to have had the option of going into it with open eyes. I wasn’t able to do that, because of the scenario Jayhuck and I describe. Furthermore, that scenario is quite common. That’s basically all we’re trying to say, as far as I can tell.

  87. I was using Jim McGreevy as an example of how some gay men go into marriages because of societal or religious pressure to do so and how that can disrupt SO many lives.

    Jayhuck,

    Yes, I do understand and think you are very right about this. Would you also consider that Jim McGreevy and others have the moral obligation to be truthful with their potential spouse so that a mutual decision can be made to either proceed with full knowledge or to remain friends? Getting married because of societal or religious pressure only relieves the pressure for one person and it is at the cost of the other person’s well being because it is selfish and deceitful. He did have the opportunity to make a different choice and the choice he made was selfish and negatively affected his wife and child while he got what he wanted from the facade.

  88. Ann,

    As you might know, I am not big on organized religion but aren’t each of us responsible for making our own personal decisions regardless of what any evangelical says? Sometimes families and homes and marriages are saved based on personal decisions like truth, fidelity, commitment, mutual desires, etc. –

    I agree with you here on many items. I think truth and honesty are paramount, but being married just for the sake of being married is not right or good or honest or true, and no amount of fidelity is going to make that right.

    And relationships of all types – gay and straight, must have all those characteristics in order to be successful .

  89. Sometimes I wonder how many broken or single parent homes, or upset lives some Evangelicals want to create in the name of saving souls, fighting “the gay agenda” or allowing people to “live within their value system”!

    Jayhuck,

    As you might know, I am not big on organized religion but aren’t each of us responsible for making our own personal decisions regardless of what any evangelical says? Sometimes families and homes and marriages are saved based on personal decisions like truth, fidelity, commitment, mutual desires, etc. –

  90. Ann,

    I was using Jim McGreevy as an example of how some gay men go into marriages because of societal or religious pressure to do so and how that can disrupt SO many lives.

  91. Yes they would. Talk to the ex-governor of New Jersey and ask him why he came out and left his wife.

    Jayhuck,

    Do you think Jim McGreevy was using his wife and marriage as a cover up for his own selfish political motivations? He, too, had an issue of infidelity which is a character flaw.

  92. Pam,

    I agree with you about any man or woman entering into a marriage and not being completely honest – the marriage really has no where to go from there but down. With complete disclosure, both of the people involved can make a choice and plan a life together based on the truth. This kind of marriage has a far better chance of being sustained and evolving into a much deeper relationship.

  93. Sometimes I wonder how many broken or single parent homes, or upset lives some Evangelicals want to create in the name of saving souls, fighting “the gay agenda” or allowing people to “live within their value system”!

  94. Pam,

    Also, when you talk about the choosing a life of marriage because it appeals to them in other ways than sexual….well…I hate to tell you this…but that’s a horrible thing to do to a woman! And it’s EXACTLY the sort of thing that happens in these situations. A sexual relationship is an extremely important peice of a marriage, and particularly so when it’s difficult from the get-go for a new bride.

    Thank you, as always, for sharing your experiences! 🙂

  95. Warren,

    Thanks for clarifying. I refrain from giving generalized advice as well, which is the reason I’ve put off writing a column to that effect over at XGW. However, the rule of full disclosure must apply across the board. In my experience, I’d have never dreamed the sexual aspect of marriage would become so important. However, when something that’s supposed to be there isn’t….well….it somehow becomes gravely important and intertwined with self-esteem, etc… I’d like to see less of that sort of hurt in the world, not more. 😉 Again, thanks for clarifying.

  96. Pam – You are not being difficult; I am being too brief. No, I do not mean to suggest that the OSA spouse is of diminished importance or that there should be any deception or minimization. The spouse if she or he is so inclined is making a choice as well. Some OSA people also have different desires regarding sexuality and a life can be created that is mutually satisfying. Every situation is different and I do not think general advice works well here – e.g., you should never marry or go ahead, it’s no big deal. Of course, mutuality is the key and I glossed over that in my replies. Sorry.

  97. Not to belabor the point here. But….it sounds as if it’s being sort of reccommended (or maybe just not being clear) that it’s acceptable for men to go into a marriage to a woman and not disclose their same sex attractions. Warren, when you say “got into it for very good reasons”….yes….Tdub (and he would not mind my using him as an example in this case as we have made our peace with matters) had extremely good reasons for marrying, and YET, he regrets that he was not completely honest with me up front. This is certainly not all about me….but it IS all about a LOT of other women and the men who might continue to be encouraged that it’s “okay” to marry someone without this disclosure.

    Also, when you talk about the choosing a life of marriage because it appeals to them in other ways than sexual….well…I hate to tell you this…but that’s a horrible thing to do to a woman! And it’s EXACTLY the sort of thing that happens in these situations. A sexual relationship is an extremely important peice of a marriage, and particularly so when it’s difficult from the get-go for a new bride.

    I really don’t mean to be difficult. But, the intent of these positions seems to completely leave out the fact that there’s another human being here with a “life” they are trying to make as well.

    Am I being difficult here?

  98. Pam et al: I do not mean I have not known men who acted out their SSA and eventually left the marriage. I meant that the men got into it for very good reasons but for very bad reasons, chose deception over honesty and fidelity. And you are correct, of course, that is no life to emulate.

  99. Evan,

    I also like that phrase – ” a life” there are many people who choose a different life over one based on sexuality alone and there are other factors to consider.

  100. Evan,

    For a person to be called gay, they have to feel, act and identify as such.

    Then we use different definitions in this regard. I don’t require that someone identify as gay anymore then I require that they identify as straight. If a man wants to live in a romantic and sexual relationship with another man but doesn’t want to be called gay – do you not call him gay? I know a few homosexuals that don’t like the term. Is identifying with the term actually necessary? Not to me. Gay means primarily having SSA, just as the term “straight” means having primarily OSA. I’m not saying others don’t have different definitions for these terms, but these are mine.

  101. Evan,

    For a person to be called gay, they have to feel, act and identify as such.

    Then we use different definitions in this regard. I don’t require that someone identify as gay anymore then I require that they identify as gay. If a man wants to live in a romantic and sexual relationship with another man but doesn’t want to be called gay – do you not call him gay? I know a few homosexuals that don’t like the term. Is identifying with the term actually necessary? Not to me.

  102. Evan,

    No man would commit to share his life with a woman if there was nothing to be shared between them.

    Yes they would. Talk to the ex-governor of New Jersey and ask him why he came out and left his wife. If a gay man wants to share things with a woman, I suggest they be friends and that the gay men doesn’t play russian roulette with the lives of the woman and any kids they might bring into the situation.

  103. Evan,

    What do you mean by the fact that just because someone has attractions they aren’t necessarily able to act on them? Do you mean that just because someone has attractions they don’t HAVE TO act on them?

    Warren,

    All I have known do so because they want a life that appeals to them on most other levels besides the sexual.

    Why don’t they try and establish some sound and healthy friendships then? Why the need to get married? What about homosexual relationships makes it only about sex – gay couples live together, love together, pay taxes together, go out together, go on trips together, sacrifice together. I guess I don’t understand the point that you were trying to make with the above comment. Its clear that if someone wants a relationships or a “life” that appeals to them on levels beside the sexual, they get friends or get a hobby.

  104. Best intentions don’t mean much if you are being deceitful to the woman you are committing to for life. A life built on lies is NO life, and there’s no way of knowing if there can be a life until the lies are uncovered. Going into a marriage, knowingly being deceitful about same sex attractions is perpetuating lies, it is not building life.

  105. Jayhuck: I know men who married to perpetuate a lie. Their marriages eventually ended and they came to the realization that they were really gay.

    OK, I will not discuss the jurisprudence of failed or working marriages of same-sex attracted men, but I want to clarify something of principle. No man would commit to share his life with a woman if there was nothing to be shared between them. That cannot be called a lie. And if the man in question already had same-sex attractions, whatever motivated him in joining his life with a woman was not primarily attraction, but something else.

    If you agree that all human experience is subjective, you realise that there is no priviledged moment to realise anything.

    Jayhuck: I suppose it depends on what you mean by the word Gay. For me the word gay = homosexual = primarily SSA. I could claim I was not gay until I was blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean I am not. I am a gay man who has decided, because of his values, to remain celibate – but that doesn’t mean I’m not gay.

    Well, is a bycicle the object that works like a bycicle or that looks like one? For me it has to be both. For a person to be called gay, they have to feel, act and identify as such. So having attractions does not necessarily mean one is really able to act on them. This is called in French passer à l’acte and it points to the fact that there is a gap between fantasising and waking up to real-life situations.

    Just to clarify a matter of principle.

  106. Evan – I liked that distinction – a life versus a lie. While I suspect some men and women go into marriage as a cover, I have not known any. All I have known do so because they want a life that appeals to them on most other levels besides the sexual. And some do so with full attraction to their wives but to no other woman. I applaud efforts to help men reduce/eliminate sexual acting out in public and support client values.

  107. Timothy, the term anxiety is so generic and the literature vast on anxiety and it correlation to complusive sexual acting out behaviors, that I am safe to say it in this context. Jayhuck, however picked up that the use of the term “void of missing masculinity” is theoretical. Thanks to both of you. Jim

  108. We can compare stories for a long time. Fact is, we do not know how many of these marriages are successful.

    Pam, naturally, I agree. This situation is one which I encounter often and I think the SIT framework works well to help those involved.

    I had some trouble following Jim’s comment as compared to the article. The gay counselor said the men do not have to be a slave to their attractions and this implies to me that the counselors may help the men work on their marriages and eliminate the cruising.

  109. Ken, you are right, but in their mission statement they clearly state: “Pride Counseling is dedicated to providing Gay/Lesbian client’s quality counseling services in a Gay/Lesbian friendly environment. ” As for NARTH, a patient’s right to autonomy is respected. Additionally, NARTH does not run a similiar treatment program, so your comparsion in this case is unfounded. Referral therapists operate independently. But I am sure if NARTH ran a similiar program, GLBT folks would be all over it.

  110. Jayhuck,

    Some men have married in spite of the fact that their primary attractions are for the same gender – sometimes this works out and sometimes it doesn’t, based on the individual and his ultimate motivations and values and the resolutions that come with those. Having said that, do you think it is possible that some men are just seeking sex on the side without having a primary attraction to men? If so, isn’t that considered a character flaw in terms of infidelity and can that be helped in therapy if the couple wants to save their marriage and family? If you don’t think so, what is done with the part of him that does not want to make these sexual encounters the greater part of his life?

  111. Jim,

    They do this out of pure anxiety and an attempt to gain their void of missing masculinity. Funny how The Pride center wants to normalize this, rather divert it to their own ideas.

    Out of a “void of missing masculinity”? What in the world does that mean? Is that another NARTHism that the respectable psychological community doesn’t use? I don’t remember reading anything in the article about the Pride center wanting to normalize anything.

  112. Evan,

    I know men who married to perpetuate a lie. Their marriages eventually ended and they came to the realization that they were really gay. Most staid friends with their spouses and remained close to their kids, but they realized they couldn’t fool themselves anymore. I think you need to talk to some of the Ex-Ex Gay folk who occasionally post on here, or even better, perhaps – talk to Pam who WAS married to a gay man.

    I suppose it depends on what you mean by the word Gay. For me the word gay = homosexual = primarily SSA. I could claim I was not gay until I was blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean I am not. You are new here and probably don’t know much about me. I am a gay man who has decided, because of his values, to remain celibate – but that doesn’t mean I’m not gay.

  113. The Pride Center will teach these men the “Cycle of behavior and understanding why men resort to public sex environments”. Duh, these men seek the thrill of the risk of getting caught, and the thrills of meeting someone new for an anonymous encounter. They do this out of pure anxiety and an attempt to gain their void of missing masculinity. Funny how The Pride center wants to normalize this, rather divert it to their own ideas. That is where they say, they have a “Discussion on sexual identity and healthier ideas of what and how this can be expressed.” Pride is a disguise for gay agenda. The gay lobby wants more numbers. It’s too bad, and desperate on their part, that they have to recruit from the very sick.

  114. One more thing:

    Jayhuck: How many gay men have we seen throughout the decades who have struggled to repress (others say overcome) who they really are – who have gotten married only to perpetuate a lie?

    They married to perpetuate life, not a lie.

  115. “I wonder how much of the “coming out” process they push?”

    I would hope they would push a great deal of it, if for no other reason than the married men need to be open and honest with their wives about what’s going on. The viable options they mention probably don’t include reparative therapy, but the first step toward ANY sort of wholeness is admitting the issue at hand. If gay or “gay” people, as you call them Jim, need to do any changing, don’t you think God is big enough to let them know it and don’t you think that he will guide their journey appropriately?

    It sounds like these men might be the perfect candidates for the SIT framework. If they determine they are gay or “gay” (ha) then they could get a referral for further counseling if gay/”gay” affirming counseling wasn’t readily available.

  116. Jayhuck, who decides ‘who they really are‘ the people who struggle with unwanted attractions? It seems to me that what was abusive in heterosexual oppression of homosexuals by dictate of ‘what is obvious to everyone’, it is being used by gay people against people who do not identify as gay (is there a Michael Bailey standard piggy-weighing test to determine plethismographic or neurological sexual orientation?). Why condemn someone because it’s different than you in that they have other values or priorities? Does gut feeling take unquestioned precedence over one’s values? If they have been able to sustain their marriages, including by having children, then it must have a great deal of importance to them to lead their life as such. We’re not talking about people living in China or Iran here, so the social pressure does not account so much as their inner commitment to their values and the integrity thereof.

    I really wished you could have the same neutrality of judgement towards them as you want other people to have towards gays. Otherwise one can suspect that you have priviledged insight in who they really are, just as conversionists claim to have in you.

  117. Jim Phelan said in post 67532:

    Pride Counseling is pretty clear in that they call these men “gay”.

    Actually, they don’t just call them gay. From the 1st line of the Pride Counseling link Warren gave:

    gay men and men having sex with men

    Granted Pride Counseling exists to support glb folks and it is likely there will be some bias in their perspective. However, I would suspect it is far less than what you would get from Evergreen or NARTH.

  118. Is it any surprise that some gay men – especially Mormons (although this happens with many religious people) – would strive mightily to believe they are straight? How many gay men have we seen throughout the decades who have struggled to repress (others say overcome) who they really are – who have gotten married only to perpetuate a lie?

    I’m very happy to see the GLBT community stepping in to help deal with this though. For these men who are gay, perhaps it will help them to come out in a healthy way – and for those who really are primarily straight, perhaps it will help them to deal with their bisexuality and other proclivities 🙂

  119. I can, perhaps, see some conflict here. I can see men who do not wish to be gay, or even identify as such be subjected to this program, after an arrest, given it is coordinated through the Salt Lake County Criminal Justice Services. Pride Counseling is pretty clear in that they call these men “gay”. They say they will give these men “viable options” but I wonder how much of the “coming out” process they push? Sorry, but I have to see this as too nonpartisan. I wonder what the Evergreen group would have to say, given so many LDS men are identified.

Comments are closed.