A reader sent along a link to a review of the psychoanalytic study of homosexuality headed by Irving Bieber and reported in 1962. Titled Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytical Study of Male Homosexuals, the nine-year study of 106 gay men summarized the reports of psychoanalysts about their patients but did not interview the patients directly.
The pdf of the the review by George Carter, MD is here. Since it is brief, I am going to post it and then comment.
Homosexuality—A Psychoanalytic Study of Male Homosexuals
Irving Bieber et al.
New York, Basic Books, Inc., 1962,358 pp.
A statistical comparison from questionnaires submitted not to their patients, but to a group of
psychoanalytic psychotherapists, gives much interesting information about 106 overtly homosexual male patients, as compared with 100 not overtly homosexual male patients (controls). Most of the study patients were seen once (13%), twice (50%), or three times (31%) a week for periods varying from months to years. The group included patients with character disorders, neurotics, and schizophrenics The questionnaires intensively covered wide areas of development and functioning including relationships between parents,. patient and mother, patient and father, patient and siblings; sexual development and current, functioning; choice of homosexual partner; relation to women; latent homosexuality, etc. The emphasis is on conscious present and past attitudes, experiences, and behavior of the subjects, and does not explore the therapist’s dynamic understanding of the material. It is notable that 74% of the therapists either did reply (55%) to, or answered simply “no” (22%) to the question: “Did the analyst feel the questionnaire explored the fundamental dynamics of the patient?” It is also difficult to evaluate the statistics at times. For example, the authors base some of their theoretical conclusions on the fact that they find ‘latent homosexuality” less frequently (in their controls) than is ordinarily reported in psychoanalytic literature. But the data collection method may not be psychoanalytic, since it is not clear that the reporting analysts asked their patients to free-associate! It is difficult to evaluate the results.
Nonetheless, the study does point up some interesting issues. It suggests most strongly that overt homosexuality is especially apt to occur among those exposed to certain constellations of early family relationships, including what the authors call a close-binding, intimate mother and a distant or detached father. There are many other interesting inferences, especially about prognosis and treatment. However, the authors’ stated basic theoretical conclusion that homosexuality is the result of hidden, but incapacitating fears of the opposite sex seems over-simplified and over-determined, since they started with this as a working assumption, but found direct evidence for it, as I understand it, in only about 70% of the studied group and in at least one-third of the nonhomosexual controls.
GEORGE H. CARTER, M.D.
One observation I had not noticed before relates to the evaluation of the survey by the analysts involved:
It is notable that 74% of the therapists either did reply (55%) to, or answered simply “no” (22%) to the question: “Did the analyst feel the questionnaire explored the fundamental dynamics of the patient?”
If most participants in the study did not believe the instrument captured the essence of the patient how can any conclusions be drawn from the results? There are numerous problems with this research as a study of causation, but this is another serious blow to the validity of the approach Bieber used.
The Bieber study is often cited as a foundation for reparative drive theory. Bieber, like modern day reparative therapists, believed that a “constructive, supportive, warmly related father precludes the possibility of a homosexual son; he acts as a neutralizing, protective agent should the mother make seductive or close-binding attempts.” As the reviewer above pointed out, Bieber went into the study believing that a fear of women as a reaction to a too close mother, was at the root of male homosexuality. He believed that the father could bring the boy out of this problematic attachment, if he was “warmly related.”
The reviewer hints at but does not elaborate on the confirmation bias at work here. Bieber believed homosexuality was the result of a certain set of family forces and found what he expected to find. As Carter points out, the patterns were not universal and existed in the heterosexual controls as well.
However, despite the problems with validity, no follow up, no direct questioning of patients, etc., Bieber made a conclusion which continues to have influence in the modern ex-gay movement. The concept of the father’s intervening role with the overinvolved mother can be seen in the masculinity enhancement approach to reparative therapy. If you make a man more trusting of men (as dad should have done), then you give a man the courage to distance himself from mother (women). Once distant from mother (women) and in the world of the father (men), he loses his fear of being engulfed by mother (women) and finds them appealing. I think the appeal of the New Warriors Training Adventure comes from this view of masculinity. The Mankind Project view is that women have prevented men from being initiated into manhood. Only a man can initiate a man. So since by (reparative) definition, SSA men are fearful of mother (women), the need is to initiate them in the world of men (father) by other men (pretend fathers). What I have never heard addressed by reparative advocates is why these family constellations mark both same-sex and opposite-sex attracted men. If this set of factors was determinative in some general way for all same-sex attracted men, then why do we see SSA men who do not have these backgrounds and OSA men with them?
46 thoughts on “The Bieber study: A review revisited”
EBE? Extraterrestrial Biological Entity???
Eh…. told you so. Absent fathers make for lousy heterosexual husbands, nothing more.
BTW…. reports of my death are an exaggeration… though losing 10 pints of blood made me a little woozey.
A twin can at will either choose to emulate his brother, or go in a different direction to express his individuality, while interacting with his home environment. One might choose to regularly read Popular Mechanics, and the other Playboy. This choice will set different directions for behavior, as well as values and convictions. The free will factor cannot be discounted or eclipsed by congenital or environmental conditions.
Cool, I hope you build the site.
BTW, on that mouse, fear of cats instinct…
This shows that long ago a mouse had a random genetic mutation that gave it an intense fear of cats. Because cat-phobia works wonders for the survival rate of mice this gene and corresponding trait spread around the globe.
If the same “fear of cats” mutation happened in people doctors would consider it a mental illness. It’s interesting to me that a genetic trait can be viewed as healthy and natural in one organism and a mental disorder in another.
New York Times, Gene-Hunters Find Hope and Hurdles in Schizophrenia Studies
You might find this one interesting because it says a lot about how the gay gene is going to work out. Cliff notes… it aint happening.
One last note, if you read the story one scientist theorizes that since common genes don’t lead to Schiz it must be caused by thousands of rare mutations. Guess what? WRONG! Mutation isn’t nearly common enough to give 1% of the population a mental disorder. Schiz is triggered by environmental damage and he knows it. He’s trying to protect the funding for his his gene research.
I lolled at the jokes. 🙂
I was planning on setting up a website project on sex & gender-related issues as reflected in research and culture, so I had some prepared materials on attractions and behaviours. I’ll see if I get the time windows to get it done.
That should send sex researchers on the dole queue. 🙂
Culture could also accelerate evolution because civilization selects for certain traits.
Archeologists have uncovered the oldest known joke circa 1900 BC.
Another one from 1600 BC Egypt
This fascinates me because although the language doesn’t hold up the basic concepts do. These are the kind of funny ideas that people talk about in the modern world. People’s humor doesn’t seem to have changed much over the last few thousand years.
I remember that story about the fearless mouse. It was done on monkeys too, by tampering with a few amygdala genes, which resulted in either too fearful or too tame monkeys. But it’s an extreme approach which makes them stupid risk-wise. They become unable to tell who’s friend or who’s gonna eat them up.
On the other hand, scientists are still working for better chemical approaches to help fear extinguishing therapy in humans. Research on humans is typically slower and not so bold.
Interesting diagram. Why did you make it? College presentation?
Another complex mouse behavior (fear of cats) comes down to a simple, instinctual wire in the brain. I’m sayin’ it right now, this is the way the train is headed. 😎 Someday soon the mate selection wire is going to be discovered.
Any debate about the Gay Gene(s) theory is purely academic. The collected, scientific evidence points to something in the environment. Google the latest Swedish twin study.
They did not measure sexual orientation by self-report, but same-sex attractions do correlate strongly with same-sex sexual behaviour, especially in men. That does not mean that all who engage in SSB have the primary attractions, but those who have them are more likely to engage in them than the others. Take a look at this diagram I once made using data from Bailey’s 2000 study on Australian twins. You can see how strongly attractions flow into behaviour and then how they are reflected in identity.
So Drowssap is right in pointing out that genetic factors don’t seem to be the decisive influence on sexual orientation. But which unique environmental factors actually do set a path to stronger same-sex feelings, that remains to be seen.
I agree with Nick R. I think that cultural arrangements bypassed evolutionary forces, pressuring androphilic men to play down the sexual side of their attractions and get into fixed marriages. This is one possible vehicle for genetic transmission. If this untestable hypothesis is true, then the coming of the open society could, in time, reverse this effect, reducing the prevalence of primary same-sex attraction in the population. If gay men, on average, have less children, then their genes will be less and less passed on to future generations. There is support from scientific studies of such occurences at a bigger time scale: some species which had, millions of years down the evolutionary road, same-sex behaviours determined by genetic factors completely lost the trait along the way (the fruitfly is an example). But humans are a bit more complex than these species. They can also work against evolutionary forces using cultural means.
It makes tremendous difference, particularly once you throw in the prenatal environment. First, if the genes require a specific environmental loading threshold, then it’s entirely possible for the genes to be passed on but never manifested. Second, if it requires the right combination of genes, then each individual gene can still be regularly passed on individually, particularly if they are pleiotropic (have multiple effects). Third, all over the world gays have had to marry and have offspring throughout history. Even in Britain and, more commonly in the USA, there are scandals of religious leaders and politicians who are married to women but are gay and have children. Their genes are regularly passed on – as it was throughout history. The entire natural selection argument is based on, among others, the premise that gays around the world don’t have children. Well, thanks to arranged marriages and many cultures having a negative view of homosexuality, throughout history gays have often had children. The natural selection argument is completely irrelevant to the discussion.
So, once again you have yet to demonstrate that “a gay gene” is a dominant theory. Even the person you suggested as using the argument based on “a gay gene” did not – in the link you provided he did not specify how many genes would be involved.
What remains, based on the evidence provided in the link you provided (which is just a summary of the article, so I’m going on that summary), is it seems that they were able to get consistent evidence from multiple cultures – that females with gay sons have more offspring on average (this could be genetic or it could be a biproduct of the birth order effect). So, before I take your word for it that the idea is rubbish because of your flawed appeal to natural selection, I would like to see the studies that actually demonstrate it is rubbish. Do you studies that actually tested the idea and showed the hypothesis failed, or am I to assume it is rubbish because it doesn’t fit your flawed natural selection argument? Regardless, it is irrelevant to the argument that a dominant theory to explain homosexuality is a single gay gene. Once again, I’ve not seen anyone recently use that, except for the anti-gay crowd as part of their straw man argument.
Your premise is that gays living in the past did not have children, therefore any gay gene(s) would have died out. You’ll need to demonstrate that gays have not had children and thereby pass on the gene(s). Then, once you have done that, you’ll need to demonstrate how a trait that is caused by the interaction of genes (probably more than one) and the prenatal environment would be entirely subject to natural selection, particularly when there appears to be multiple ways the trait can occur, even prenatally.
Finally, yes, I saw that study (more accurately, I saw one brief summary Warren provided a few weeks ago). And I seem to recall Warren saying (perhaps I am mistaken) that the study was not looking at sexual orientation in general, but a person’s specific sexual choice – as in the particular traits that someone goes for in the sex they prefer. Perhaps I’m wrong on that, but from the small quote you provided that seems correct. That is an idea I have no issue with – the sex you are attracted to is inborn, but the particular trait(s) you seek is largely environmental.
As with the religious gentleman who came to my door earlier today and immediately started condemning me upon learning I am gay, throwing verses at me left and right before turning and leaving, refusing to hear any response I had as he continued to speak over my voice as he walked away, I find that discussing this matter with certain people is simply futile and only results in further alienating me from Christianity. No matter how often you demonstrate the anti-gay basic premise is wrong, they simply repeat it as if it has been demonstrated as true. Attempting to reason with the irrational is a hobby I do not need.
So, to you and to the following commenter who wrote
I say goodbye. “Concerned” doesn’t seem to realize that many of us progay people used to accept the “alternative question”, but we altered our view when we realized its supporters had nothing to back it up except discredited theories and reprehensibly dishonest and unscientific studies (eg Cameron’s).
I just noticed something interesting from a story last year. Remember the fearless mouse that scientists created? They did it the same basic way that those “when Minnie becomes Micky” scientists flipped mouses gender instincts.
Japanese Scientists Create Fearless Mouse
From your comment 117548 I get the idea that you believe in the influence of parental relations on a child’s future sexual orientation and/or behaviour.
The Langstrom et al study points to 0 shared environmental influence on twins’ same-sex sexual behaviour. You can, at most, claim that somehow parental influence gets into different treatment of each twin or different response of each twin to similar parenting (with one twin being more vulnerable to a particular parental approach). But you would have to produce some empirical evidence for that. I used to think that at least for a subset of SSA-ed men, parental power relations might have contributed to the degree to which a boy would catch or miss some windows of opportunity to fully express some traits or to better adapt to some deficits. I haven’t completely dismissed the idea, but there is no factual support for it. I also know a number of cases in which this hypothesis would be completely off the mark.
I do agree with you on the possibly different experiences that could lead twins on very distinct paths of feelings and behaviour, but I don’t see how free will plays a big role in that. I’ve recently got very interested in psychology, especially the biological paradigm, but I always keep in mind questions from my humanist background. The problem of “free will” gets a new perspective from neuroscience studies, which have detected a degree of deterministic factors that precede decision-making. Two months ago Nature Neuroscience published an interesting study on how brain activity can process the outcome of a decision 10 seconds before it enters awareness (press release here, scientific communication here). I expect this effect to be stronger in children, when their executive brain is not fully developed. Children might be more driven by sensations than we think. That is, they might be less aware of how emotions influence their behaviour. Genetic and biological predispositions could have a big say in that. Less conscious decisions would lead to closed opportunities and to later adult realisation of more aware decisions which have less power on emotions.
Here is the problem. Whether homosexuality is caused by 1 gene or a combination of 100 makes little difference. These genes could never become widespread across the globe and as common as 3% in men. Nothing works like that. In any case the collected, scientific evidence strongly says it’s environment, not genes.
You didn’t see that massive, Swedish Twin study from a month ago?
Actually the twins study supports my contention that the individual with free will interacting with the same general environmental stimuli as his twin goes in a different direction, not necessarily by one big choice, but by a series of smaller decisions as to which stimuli to pay greater attention to.
My basic point is that our life is not driven by what happens to us because we also happen to it.
Here is the latest incarnation of the gay gene theory.
Why Gays Don’t Go Extinct
Unfortunately the article with the Dean Hamer quote is no longer free so I can’t drag it up. Put simply Hamer thinks this is awesome work and it teaches us a lot about how homosexuality survived.
Of course this is at least as silly as anything that Narth claims.
I should also note…
Your earlier statement
From this article
Forget about actual proof, try to think of even one common trait that appears to work like the SSA/Extra fertility hypothesis. Do 3% of men have a uterus because it’s a fantastic baby maker when it’s in a woman? This extreme antagonism hypothesis is just goofy.
(Sorry about the bold, I messed up with the coding)
A theory that argues sexual orientation is the result of the interplay between the prenatal environment and the genetic code is not anywhere near the same thing as an explanation relying on a gay gene. The latter suggests it is solely monogenic. People who argue the former normally highlight a polygenic condition that is strongly influenced by the prenatal environment, with the environment perhaps taking the crucial role. To equate the two views under a “single gay gene” umbrella is to create a straw man. Remember, you presented the view as if “a gene that discourages reproduction” caused sexual orientation. Once again, this is not a prominent view. Furthermore, if they were arguing for a single gene that is nonetheless strongly influenced by the prenatal environment, then we have yet another reason why appeals to natural selection become a waste of time – the gene could get passed on regularly if the prenatal environmental component is absent. But once again, this is simply a red herring because the view that homosexuality is caused by a single gene is not a prominent view held by modern researchers.
I should note that the Gene/Prenatal Hormone theory of homosexuality is the fallback position for the Gay Gene theory.
It’s still a “gay gene theory” but with a twist. What do you think programs the hormones? Genes.
I don’t have his name handy but that Italian guy, Campriano? just released a paper on the gay gene. Dean Hamer said it was excellent.
Don’t you see, it’s a pointless argument because no one, other than the anti-gay crowd who use it dishonestly as a straw man, seems to argue homosexuality is caused by a “gay gene”. Therefore the appeal to natural selection, suggesting that homosexuality would disappear over time because it is selected against, is irrelevant. Why should I google you a monogenic trait that acts environmentally similar to homosexuality, when homosexuality is not monogenic? I can point out the sickle-cell allele, which is beneficial in a heterozygous condition but harmful in a homozygous condition, but then you could respond it is not “sexually antagonistic in all environments.” My response would be, well, it would be but the frequency of the trait is not standard throughout the world, unlike homosexuality. But, once again, that’s a pointless argument because no one (except those using the “gay gene” as a straw man argument) is saying homosexuality is monogenic like the sickle-cell trait. Furthermore, people with a hypothetical “gay gene” still often have sex with people of the opposite sex, and therefore would continue to pass the hypothetical gene on. The entire appeal to natural selection in the homosexuality argument is simply irrelevant. What further amazes me is that the people who appeal to natural selection against homosexuality generally reject Darwin’s views to begin with (which probably helps explain why they misuse the theory so much).
My point, was that your comment regarding social factors and the “gay gene” being the two most dominant theories for homosexuality was wrong. I rarely see anyone argue that a single “gay gene” in and of itself causes homosexuality. Furthermore, the appeal to natural selection in a “gay gene” argument is also misguided.
Since you said it was one of two dominant theories, please provide references to current researchers (not from the early 90s) who continue to argue for a single gay gene that causes homosexuality.
I don;t think that freud can really explain homosexuality. I believe that evolutionary psychology can. I you wish, check out my analysis at http://encefalus.com/cognitive/homosexuality/
Google me even one human trait that is common like SSA and massively, sexually antagonistic in all environments. Nothing like it exists.
Strangely I went through my girls are icky stage at the same time I thought they were cute. I felt both ways about them at the exact same time.
Come to think of it when I was a teenager I thought that all girls were crazy. At the very same time they were cuter than ever.
The only ones I ever hear put forth the “gay gene” argument anymore are those who are anti-gay and use it as a strawman. As far as I understand it, a combination of genes and prenatal hormones is the leading theory, not a single “gay gene”. And for the record, many monogenic traits that discourage reproduction are nonetheless prevalent because in their heterozygous condition they are beneficial.
Sadly this applies to both sides of this debate. Narth makes the claim that men are gay because their dads didn’t attend their Little League games. This is crazy but it’s hard to disprove so a lot of people latch on to it and won’t let go. On the flip side the Gay Gene Crowd has latched onto the absolutely ludicrous hypothesis that a gene that discourages reproduction found a way to spread around the globe. (face palm) Both sides seem to forget that all of the collected scientific evidence suggests they are both completely wrong.
Saddest of all, these are the two dominate theories on SSA.
So I can get my head straight on EBE…
Although the differences aren’t massive, gay and straight men have slightly different brains. Increased left handedness, hypothalamus differences, general purpose brain wiring differences, etc. etc.
It’s pretty obvious that something has happened, and it left a biological footprint.
So EBE theory says that the biological “event” that caused these differences doesn’t create SSA. But the event sets up the potential for SSA? It creates a susceptability factor and some men with this factor become gay?
Tell me where I went off the tracks.
The whole distant father/smothering mother schtick MAY actually be A pathway towards homosexuality, but perhaps ONLY for those with the BIOLOGICAL propensity for homosexuality. What I’m getting at is a possible nature+nurture non-dichotomy. That would account for those people who turn out to be heterosexual, despite having a distant father/smothering mother.
What is your opinion on the latest Swedish twins study on same-sex sexual behaviour? Their conclusions run counter your opinions on parental effects.
I’m thinking about children, not adults, at this point. They are attracted to more stimuli than they can respond to at any one time. Temperament may make some more adventurous than others. Personal history and home environment will have an effect on gradient of attraction. Family stability/instability has a proven effect on behavior, and good or bad choices of response to attracting stimuli, including relationships. This happens before the full development of the frontal cortex for reasoning power, or any adolescent hormonal sexual attraction. If relationship attractions are later sexualized, this has to be a behavioral addendum influenced by additional experiences.
What drives the attractions on which to focus?
It appears from studies of perception, that the brain moves ahead of awareness. We find ourselves thinking about things based on context, past history and the like. Being attracted does not seem to me to be something I choose. I never chose to be attracted to that little blond in kindergarten; I did not think about it, I just was. I never went through a girls are icky stage. I did not choose that either.
Now for brain offerings (thoughts, desires) that do not match up with my beliefs and values (I want that Taylor guitar really badly but I do not want to go in debt to get it), I must choose to direct my reason to override by feelings or desires. Is this what you are referring to Dave?
With sexuality, I know quite a few SSA men who make these kind of decisions about how to direct their sexual and romantic behavior. But they wouldn’t say that their immediate sexual interests have changed much. Some do say that they do, these are matters of great interest to me.
Bieber, the psychoanalysts and NARTH often make this mistake. The problem with this theory is that it is a theory. It is a guess. It is not truth — it is a guess as to why something might be. Those who believe this guess tend to accept it as though it were FACT — and not just a way of trying to explain something. It is not a theory anymore. It IS.
This is a common logical fallacy known as reification of the construct: “when people treat an abstract belief or hypothetical construct as if it represented a concrete event or physical entity.” NARTH does this all the time and that is one of the main reasons that NARTH will never be respected as a true “scientific” organization.
This appears to me to be but an argument that gay persons choose their orientation, even if subconsciously. Forgive me for cynicism, but I suspect that the factors that influence your attention to this bit of logical knot-tying is that it provides self-justification for the desire to treat gay persons differently than the way in which you wish to be treated.
Though I suppose you may be choosing to believe this nonsense unconsciously or randomly.
Part of free will is the ability, consciously, unconsciously, or randomly, which attraction to pay attention to, then followed by closer attention, and perhaps followup if interest is held. In other words, there are lots of attractions, but not all are adhered to. What factors influence focus on a particular attraction?
Sure, we pro-gay folk may be mistaken about our assumptions surrounding the bases of attractions. And we do have biases.
But I don’t think we are opposed to finding out the truth.
The reasons we reject the claims of the reorientationists is not because we fear their ramifications but rather because they just don’t appear to be true.
Nick – This has been pointed out frequently. You cannot generalize from clinical populations to the nonclinical population. It may be true that homosexually inclined people experience more difficulties with parents due to greater gender nonconformity but it is not clear that sexual orientation is caused by the parents approach.
Dave G – Free will is relevant in choosing values and behavior but I do not see that people choose what attracts them. I suspect that a gender nonconforming son with a macho dad would not be a winning combo for the relationship dimension, all things being equal (which they rarely are). However, I continue to look for the actual mechanisms which get us from A to B. Even Bem says this is the weaker part of EBE.
One element I see missing in any cause-effect approach to explaining homosexuality is the free will of the individual, who interacts with environmental factors, internal and external, to forge his/her own perceived identity.
There seems to be sufficient evidence that temperament variations are congenital; have there been any studies as to how certain temperaments interact with dysfunctional family environments? –School/peer environments?
What about the alternative question? What if the progay folks are also wrong about their way of looking at their own orientation? What might they be afraid of?
Not only do you have the problem of 3/4 therapists not responding or not feeling the questionnaire was sufficient, but one is also left wondering what the parent/child relationship was like for neurotic and schizophrenic heterosexuals. Wouldn’t it be fun to do studies on them and then generalize the results to all heterosexuals? Or, perhaps we could do a Cameronesque study of female prostitutes and then generalize the results of their promiscuity to all heterosexuals. Then we’d be on level terms with the “reparative therapists” and other anti-gay activists. I’m always left wondering why the anti-gay crowd simply refuses to even honestly consider that they are wrong. What are they so scared of?
Chuck – Yes, this has been suggested by several theorists, including Richard Isay, I believe. I may have suggested as much on this blog in the past. I know I did recently at my talk at the Exodus convention on sexual orientation research.
Concerned – What you propose is no doubt true and not a positive thing. However, how such parental relationships could impact how the brain registers an attractive figure is unspecified in reparative drive theory. In other words, the question still remains why some kids with this kind of family grow up to be SSA and some grow up to be OSA.
Drowssap – I am with you on the distant father theory but not as much on EBE. The basic issue in EBE is experience of being different based on gender nonconformity. You may have lots of sisters and feel quite alike your same sex peers. EBE does a nice job of accounting for the available research but does not explain all SSA in my opinion. I think it may describe a pathway, but only one.
If the Distant Father Hypothesis had any merit at all black men would be significantly more likely to be gay. Something like 3 out of 4 black children come from broken homes and black men aren’t more likely to be preferentially gay.
If the Exotic Creates Erotic theory had any merit boys with lots of sisters would be significantly more likely to be gay. Boys with lots of brothers would be significantly LESS likely to be gay. This pattern doesn’t exist or we’d know about it through stereotypes even before modern science discovered and proved it.
I think there is another part to this senario. The message the mother is giving the child about men in general may have an effect of the way the male child perceives men in general. This may also influence how this child relates to men as he grows older. These are just opinions, but when the mother presents a negative attitude towards the childs father it has to have a strong influence on the childs own relationship with the father and vice versa.
Homsexuality is the last refuge of a Freudian.
It has frequently been suggested that male homosexuality is caused mainly by family relationships … namely an absent or detached father figure and an overbearing mother. But I wonder if anyone has ever considered that the CONVERSE may in fact be true: That a parent’s subtle perception that his or her child may be “different” might influence how that parent subsequently relates to that child.
Years ago my mom told me how she had become a fan of the old teen drama, My So-Called Life (a show I liked a great deal also). Of the young Gay character Ricky Vasquez, my mom said, “I just want to MOTHER him!” And I thought this was a very revealing statement.
I think parents are much more perceptive of their young children than we give them credit for. I think it’s absolutely possible that many fathers, upon perceiving that a son might be “sensitive,” “artistic,” effeminate, or exhibit some other qualities that conflict with dad’s masculine ideals, might grow distant from the child, while the mother might become more protective.
Has anyone ever bothered to pursue this line of thinking?
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