NARTH’s new journal is not a new study

Seeing some of the press out on the recent NARTH (National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) monograph, one might think the paper is a new study which demonstrates something that was once unclear.

Not so. The first issue of the journal is actually a three part paper which reviews a variety of research studies mixed in with website postings and newspaper articles. There is no new research in the 121 page monograph. The three parts correspond to three claims the NARTH authors, James Phelan, Neil Whitehead, and Philip Sutton, attribute to the American Psychological Association. The claims are:

1. There has been no conclusive or convincing evidence that sexual orientation may be changed through reorientation therapy.

2. Efforts to change sexual orientation are harmful and can lead to greater self-hatred, depression, and other self-destructive behaviors.

3. There is no greater pathology in the homosexual population than in the general population.

To achieve the stated purpose, one would need to limit the review to the highest quality research which directly address each of the points. Particularly on the first two points, the paper does not do this, but rather includes any paper, or even opinion piece which supports the claims. In a subsequent article, I will review the paper in a bit more detail. Suffice to say for now, that there is nothing new in this paper.

I will note one problem that jumped out at me immediately. The NARTH report begins with the claim that scientific evidence leads to

a singular conclusion: Homosexuality is not innate, immutable or without significant risk to medical, psychological, and relational health. (Emphasis in the original)

However, one aspect of this “singular conclusion” – the claim homosexuality is not innate – is not covered in the body of the paper. Despite the fact that NARTH concludes that homosexuality develops after a person is born, they provide no review of the evidence which addresses that topic. From this statement and others, one could get the impression that the conclusion was decided before the review took place.

941 thoughts on “NARTH’s new journal is not a new study”

  1. Evan – Thanks for posting the abstract to that study involving risk and neuroticism. You might remember that when Siegelman controlled for neuroticism he found that the father deficit theory was not true of homosexuals. However, neuroticism may be somewhat higher in homosexuals for reasons of genetics and not environment. Thus, such variables probably influence the parent-child relationship significantly.

    On the point of risk for various disorders. I think this is a highly significant study. And one that does not eliminate the role of social environment. However, in asking which comes first, environment or genetic vulnerability, I would say this study provides preliminary but solid evidence that the vulnerability is prior to experience.

    An interesting counter point to the “new” NARTH paper which finds all of the mischief in men behaving badly.

  2. Evan quoted…..

    Secondly, we used our genetically informative sample to assess the viability of explanations invoking a common cause of both nonheterosexuality and psychiatric vulnerability. We found significant genetic correlation between sexual orientation and both Neuroticism and Psychoticism, but no corresponding environmental correlations, suggesting that if there is a common cause of both nonheterosexuality and psychiatric vulnerability it is likely to have a genetic basis rather than an environmental basis.

    Gee…. so you want to say ‘nonheterosexuality’ is innate and likely genetic? And along with that so to any neurosis or psychosis? So what then does the oppression I’ve felt over the years have done to me? Or…. is fleeing to people like NARTH to get rid of my ‘nonheterosexuality’ then a part of their statistical review? I mean if you’re told your mentally ill, that is have an SSA of which you should rid yourself, then your by definition mentally ill and become a part of their statistics.

    Tell you what, normalize ‘nonheterosexuality’ in the society and then see what those statistics come out to be.

  3. On second thought, it does seem reasonable that there might be neurological differences, shared with women, that make gays more vulnerable to (anti-gay) stress.

  4. I think what scientists, including “hard scientists” might be wondering is if there is a biological/neurological component to SSA are there correlations to other brain functions?

    It is a reasonable question. I just think we have to be very careful to keep in mind that theories are just that — theories, and that correlation does not equal causation. It’s a basic tenet of good research.

    For some reason, (I suspect anti-gay bias that there must be something “wrong”, inferior or disordererd” with being gay) researchers are prone to say — “aha! These two things seem to be related, therefore one must cause the other”.

    NARTH seems to be particularly prone to this sort of logical fallacy.

  5. @Michael,

    You seem to be suggesting pthat there is something about being gay (in and of itself) that makes gays more vulnerable to mental illness. I disagree.

    Actually,no, I am doing no such thing. I am not in the position to suggest that at all. I only am responding with a reference since the topic came up some posts back. I recalled that the researchers involved in the study concluded with two points, one of them that ,” future research needs to address the inadequacies in the measurement of both sexual orientation and suicidality in population-based samples.”

    There are studies going on as we speak, I believe, probably many. Studies with better controls and population samples may provide more “trustable ” data.

    Michael, I realize your fear, but one does have to maintain some distance here. I think what scientists, including “hard scientists” might be wondering is if there is a biological/neurological component to SSA are there correlations to other brain functions?

    The question about depression is often asked as it relates to men vs. women as well. Do women simply seek out help for their depression more than men? Or, do they experience more stressful life circumstances than men? Or, are women simply biologically more susceptible to depression than men? Researchers are busy with the differences, therefore between male/female on this topic.

    Also, they are researching the differences in depressive episodes and reactions between adults and adolescents.

  6. Although Michael, there is less depression and suicide reported in balck americans. May be underreported or could be cultural influences.

  7. Michael,

    I think that when science will have some definitive answers on the essential factors, both parties will have something to chew on. As I said, I don’t assume one party is completely right at the expense of the other. On the contrary, I think the better the research will get, the more dots will be connected, and that will provoke mixed reactions to both parties.

    I think these stuides are still examples of the “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” fallacy. Correlation does not equal cause. You seem to be suggesting pthat there is something about being gay (in and of itself) that makes gays more vulnerable to mental illness. I disagree.

    Every theoretical possibility must be examined, in my opinion. I pointed at this possibility since the brain studies which showed some components of the stress system were similarly shaped in gay men and straight women, which explains why they are similarly affected by or at higher risk for some mental health problems. The dots seem to start to connect in this direction:

    Sexual Orientation and Psychiatric Vulnerability: A Twin Study of Neuroticism and Psychoticism

    Brendan P. Zietsch, Karin J. H. Verweij, J. Michael Bailey, Margaret J. Wright and Nicholas G. Martin

    Published online: 9 July 2009.

    Abstract

    Recent evidence indicates that homosexuals and bisexuals are, on average, at greater risk for psychiatric problems than heterosexuals. It is assumed with some supporting evidence that prejudice often experienced by nonheterosexuals makes them more vulnerable to psychiatric disorder, but there has been no investigation of alternative explanations. Here we used Eysenck’s Neuroticism and Psychoticism scales as markers for psychiatric vulnerability and compared heterosexuals with nonheterosexuals in a community-based sample of identical and nonidentical twins aged between 19 and 52 years (N = 4904). Firstly, we tested whether apparent sexual orientation differences in psychiatric vulnerability simply mirrored sex differences—for our traits, this would predict nonheterosexual males having elevated Neuroticism scores as females do, and nonheterosexual females having elevated Psychoticism scores as males do. Our results contradicted this idea, with nonheterosexual men and women scoring significantly higher on Neuroticism and Psychoticism than their heterosexual counterparts, suggesting an overall elevation of psychiatric risk in nonheterosexuals. Secondly, we used our genetically informative sample to assess the viability of explanations invoking a common cause of both nonheterosexuality and psychiatric vulnerability. We found significant genetic correlation between sexual orientation and both Neuroticism and Psychoticism, but no corresponding environmental correlations, suggesting that if there is a common cause of both nonheterosexuality and psychiatric vulnerability it is likely to have a genetic basis rather than an environmental basis.

    Arch Sex Behav

    DOI 10.1007/s10508-009-9508-4

  8. It seems it’s not a question of environment as much as a natural outcome from the interplay between society and certain vulnerable individuals.

    You are making my point, Evan. Any marginalized and despised minority is apt to experience more depression and more stress. That only makes sense.

    I think these stuides are still examples of the “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” fallacy. Correlation does not equal cause. You seem to be suggesting pthat there is something about being gay (in and of itself) that makes gays more vulnerable to mental illness. I disagree.

    @Carole:

    Several recent studies have found a higher lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts in homosexual males compared with heterosexual control subjects or population rates.

    See my comments to Evan.

    Black slaves probably got depressed a lot.

  9. Michael,

    In support of my argument, here is the abstract of a study from last year, published in Behavioral Genetics:

    Genetic and Environmental In?uences on Individual Differences

    in Attitudes Toward Homosexuality: An Australian Twin Study

    Karin J. H. Verweij • Sri N. Shekar • Brendan P. Zietsch •

    Lindon J. Eaves • J. Michael Bailey • Dorret I. Boomsma •

    Nicholas G. Martin

    Abstract

    Previous research has shown that many heterosexuals hold negative attitudes toward homosexuals and homosexuality (homophobia). Although a great deal of research has focused on the pro?le of homophobic individuals, this research provides little theoretical insight into the aetiology of homophobia. To examine genetic and environmental in?uences on variation in attitudes toward homophobia, we analysed data from 4,688 twins who completed a questionnaire concerning sexual behaviour and attitudes, including attitudes toward homosexuality. Results show that, in accordance with literature, males have significantly more negative attitudes toward homosexuality than females and non-heterosexuals are less homophobic than heterosexuals. In contrast with some earlier ?ndings, age had no signi?cant effect on the homophobia scores in this study.

    Genetic modelling showed that variation in homophobia scores could be explained by additive genetic (36%), shared environmental (18%) and unique environmental factors (46%). However, corrections based on previous ?ndings show that the shared environmental estimate may be almost entirely accounted for as extra additive genetic variance arising from assortative mating for homophobic attitudes.

    The results suggest that variation in attitudes toward homosexuality is substantially inherited, and that social environmental in?uences are relatively minor.

    Behav Genet (2008) 38:257–265

    DOI 10.1007/s10519-008-9200-9

    The entire study can be freely accessed here.

  10. I think the last paragraph addresses two key issues: 1) non-societal factors

    2) more study, better studies needed–(I haven’t yet read the link you provided, Evan)

    Sexual Orientation and Suicidality

    A Co-twin Control Study in Adult Men

    Richard Herrell, MS; Jack Goldberg, PhD; William R. True, PhD, MPH; Visvanathan Ramakrishnan, PhD; Michael Lyons, PhD; Seth Eisen, MD; Ming T. Tsuang, MD, DSc, PhD

    Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1999;56:867-874.

    Background Several recent studies have found a higher lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts in homosexual males compared with heterosexual control subjects or population rates. These studies used either convenience samples, most without controls, or population-based samples in which confounding factors such as depression and substance abuse were not measured.

    Methods This study used twins from the population-based Vietnam Era Twin Registry, Hines, Ill. An analytic sample of 103 middle-aged male-male twin pairs from the registry was identified in which one member of the pair reported male sex partners after age 18 years while the other did not. Four lifetime symptoms of suicidality as measured by the Diagnostic Interview Schedule were analyzed: thoughts about death, wanting to die, thoughts about committing suicide, and attempted suicide. A composite measure of reporting at least one suicidality symptom was also assessed.

    Results Same-gender sexual orientation is significantly associated with each of the suicidality measures. Unadjusted matched-pair odds ratios follow: 2.4 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-4.6) for thoughts about death; 4.4 (95% CI, 1.7-11.6) for wanted to die; 4.1 (95% CI, 2.1-8.2) for suicidal ideation; 6.5 (95% CI, 1.5-28.8) for attempted suicide; and 5.1 (95% CI, 2.4-10.9) for any of the suicidal symptoms. After adjustment for substance abuse and depressive symptoms (other than suicidality), all of the suicidality measures remain significantly associated with same-gender sexual orientation except for wanting to die (odds ratio, 2.5 [95% CI, 0.7-8.8]).

    Conclusions The substantially increased lifetime risk of suicidal behaviors in homosexual men is unlikely to be due solely to substance abuse or other psychiatric comorbidity. While the underlying causes of the suicidal behaviors remain unclear, future research needs to address the inadequacies in the measurement of both sexual orientation and suicidality in population-based samples.

  11. Reposting in an epic thread (already 929 comments):

    @Michael

    OK, but the deviI is in the details. We can come up with principles that sound fair and considerate, but may not fit the reality in the street. For instance, policy changes could address the problem of stigma but may not make people act less noisy or assertive, which could cause withdrawal or too much stress to people with the genetic markers I mentioned. It’s been a few decades since politically correct policies have been put into place in the US and Europe and the culture has accommodated gay and lesbian people to a greater degree than before, but the findings from scientific research continue to point to this reality I mentioned. It seems it’s not a question of environment as much as a natural outcome from the interplay between society and certain vulnerable individuals.

  12. @anyone

    Word of advice: don’t use “deviI” in comments.

    Don’t ask me how I managed to do in this one…

  13. Michael,

    OK, but the devil is in the details. We can come up with principles that sound fair and considerate, but may not fit the reality in the street. For instance, policy changes could address the problem of stigma but may not make people act less noisy or assertive, which could cause withdrawal or too much stress to people with the genetic markers I mentioned. It’s been a few decades since politically correct policies have been put into place in the US and Europe and the culture has accommodated gay and lesbian people to a greater degree than before, but the findings from scientific research continue to point to this reality I mentioned. It seems it’s not a question of environment as much as a natural outcome from the interplay between society and certain vulnerable individuals.

  14. The question is: if both homo/bisexual orientations and risk for mental health problems are associated with genetic factors, is change necessary?

    I don’t know if I would say “necessary”. As a therapist, I would treat the mental health problem, but I would not try to change the sexual orientation. I would also not think that by resolving one thing I could (or should) fix the other.

    Just because two things are related (or both have genetic components) doesn’t mean they cause one another — or that “change” is “necessary”. We might find, for example, that both homo/bisexual orientations and left-handedness were “associated with genetic factors”, but it would not follow that we should “change” either thing.

    In the case of the possible sexual orientation/mental illness correlation, I would advocate that we reduce the social stigma against gays first — and then see their overall mental health doesn’t get better. When people feel welcome in their culture, their mood tends to improve.

  15. I meant “a non-heterosexual orientation and vulnerability to stress.”

    This question is interesting because no one seems concerned with examining the situation in which each party is right about one thing that the other rejects and how would that reflect on the issue of change.

  16. Michael,

    The question is: if both homo/bisexual orientations and risk for mental health problems are associated with genetic factors, is change necessary?

    You know it’s like, what if it’s not society’s directed actions or attitudes against a minority that are causing distress but society’s naturally noisy functioning as it is? And if, in this case, genes would be responsible with such vulnerability, who should change: society should be taught to “keep it down” not to disturb vulnerable people, or vulnerable people should have the option to get the help they need to adjust? The question assumes that such genetic factors exist and that they cause both a non-homosexual orientation and vulnerability to stress.

  17. Evan, I argue that “therapy is unnecessary” because gayness is not an illness. On the other hand, if SSA persons want help in not acting on those attractions, resolving underlying trauma that may be fuleing some of the attractions (or help in not “identifying” with the attractions) they have every right to seek such help.

  18. Evan: I don’t know if I got all of the above, but this I have a bit of trouble with:

    According to many scientists, there is a clear association between a marked expression of femininity in men and mental health risks and problems.

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc? We have to be very careful here. These “markedly feminine men” may have increased “mental health risks” due to the extreme cultural stigma directed against such persons.

  19. carole

    The comment and questions are addressed to you too. I see you and Katie were both involved in questioning Michael on the issue of femininity.

  20. Katie, Eddy and Michael,

    Re: femininity in men or their attitude to femininity, whether or not they’re gay. Sorry, Warren, if this brings the discussion back to issues not directly the object of this topic. —

    Your exchange on femininity & men made me think about that from another perspective. Sure, this idea of genders being mixtures of opposing dualities is not new culturally, from the Eastern symbolism of yin & yang (the yin within the yang and viceversa), the Indian mandalas combining squares and circles as opposing principles, and up to Carl Jung’s theory on animus and anima as unconscious mirrors of masculinity and femininity in women and men. Each culture found a way to deal with that using strong symbolism to “exorcise” an otherwise meaningless reality. There’s even a hint on that in the Christian creation myth with Eve’s creation from Adam’s rib (some read that as an indication of Adam’s originary hermaphroditism).

    Returning to the present, now this theme of the woman-inside-the-man and the man-inside-the-woman is dissected from a scientific point of view, with a possible bearing on medical interventions. It’s not just the basic curiosity about sexes and what makes them different and fascinated about each other (breasts for men or deep voices for women), which we see in recent research on attractivity and sexually dimorphic traits. As Katie said, and I wrote a few times before here, sex in the sexual sense is a modern obsession and this explains why it has become so important to colour one’s identity based on sexual “orientation.” But besides the basic curiosity and the specificity of our age, there is the issue of what is normal and how society deals with what is rejected, including by the focus on mental health.

    Most of the people who have been hovering around this blog, contributing or not to the dicussion or simply interested in the related research are familiar with the consistent findings on the link between cross-sex traits, behaviours, brain patterns and sexuality, but also between these and mental health risks.

    According to many scientists, there is a clear association between a marked expression of femininity in men and mental health risks and problems. Check out what a group from the Stockholm Brain Institute declares as its main interest and objective of research:

    • to elaborate possible implications for the uneven gender distribution of several neuropsychiatric conditions.

    • To analyze possible cerebral substrates for gender dysphoria.

    • To find biochemical markers for the cognitive and emotional dysfunctions resulting from chronic stress.

    In layman’s terms, they want to deal with “too much femininity/masculinity” in a member of the opposite sex, because that is associated with serious mental health problems. Usually, these extreme conditions are the tip of a hidden iceberg.

    Since Katie and carole brought the subject of autism, reversed sexual dimorphism is considered as a suspect in this case too:

    Recent findings of sex differences in structural volumes, grey/white matter partitions, functional connectivity and patterns of cerebral activation suggest that the skewed sex distribution in several common neuropsychiatric conditions (affective, autistic disorders, ADHD, schizophrenia) may be attributed to sexual dimorphism of the brain

    Which brings us back to the subject of therapy or other interventions used to recuperate particular individuals troubled by illness or by a degree of sex atypicality that has a negative effect on the quality of their lives.

    I wonder if scientists find genetic foundations for these reversed gender traits, how could the subject of “change” in the area of sexuality look like, considering that it would correlate both with sexual orientation and mental health risks. Simply said: what if both are genetically based, would that change the debate on the possiblity of change or its usefulness? If a man or a woman has genes that make him/her more likely to be attracted to the same gender and be at risk for mental health problems, could Narth or a similar organisation help them using therapy or should they need to change at all?

    Because this organisation argued that they don’t expect genes to play an important role, therefore therapy should be able to deliver according to their theory.

    On the other hand, those who advocated for the gay side and for innate factors that determine to a significant degree sexual orientation would be, at least partly, confirmed and would argue that therapy is unnecessary.

    What if each is wrong about one and right about the other, would that change significantly the debate on change?

  21. The Holy Spirit really hit me up side the head a few days ago — and your thoughtful explanations and disarming self-disclosure did the rest.

    Well, Michael, you ain’t the only one the Spirit’s “hit upside the head.” I speaketh for myself only. Never had to deal with nuns, fortunately. I did have a slightly sadistic first/second grade teacher. 🙂

  22. @Warren:

    Many think it is only the gay activists who find fault because they don’t like what they say – but all too often gay advocates are basically on target when it comes to NARTH. I am a religious and social conservative and I think when NARTH stretches data and misrepresent the facts (e.g., “New scientific research!”), they hinder the cause and potential help people need.

    I really appreciate that. Some think it’s only us “gay activists” who think their “science” sucks.

  23. Religious nuts, secular nuts, gay nuts, straight nuts — I think we’re all just nuts.

    Sometimes, I identify as a nut. Sometimes, I don’t.

  24. @Debbie:

    Michael, I promise you I will do everything I can to redirect the conversation and try to dispel the confusion (I am trying already, actually). No promises as it is a big ship to turn around. But I will work at it, darn it. How’s that

    Perfect 🙂

  25. Words can’t fully express how much I appreciate this new tone…how we’re able to speak from different viewpoints and learn from each other rather than simply tear each other down.

    Thanks, Eddy. You are welcome. I think that you will see that it is a lasting change on my part — no more dread and foreboading. The Holy Spirit really hit me up side the head a few days ago — and your thoughtful explanations and disarming self-disclosure did the rest. Suddenly, you seemed almost human… 🙂 (just kidding ya…)

    Or maybe it was the nuns… 🙂

  26. What’s this??!! A hundred choruses of kumbaya whilst I was down lounging at the pool???!! Cool!

    Lotsa good reading when I got home. I appreciated that. LOL. It made me think back to the time…not long ago at all…when I’d see a pageful of new post notices and work through them with a feeling of dread and foreboding. Words can’t fully express how much I appreciate this new tone…how we’re able to speak from different viewpoints and learn from each other rather than simply tear each other down. This isn’t my website but I have a strong attachment to it and it’s so exciting to see that it might actually be able to live up to its potential…just when I was losing all hope that it ever could.

    Special thanks to Michael who has contributed mightily to this change of tone. And thanks to all who caught the spirit of kumbaya and worked to bring a more cordial and responsive tone to their comments. (Don’t lose that link, Michael…we might need it again someday.)

  27. Michael, I promise you I will do everything I can to redirect the conversation and try to dispel the confusion (I am trying already, actually). No promises as it is a big ship to turn around. But I will work at it, darn it. How’s that?

  28. Michael et al, my impression is that Alan Chambers has done a pretty decent job with getting it right as regards what change means and doesn’t mean in his latest book

    Debbie, I have talked with Alan and have read his book. Yes, think he has done a better job of this than previous EXODUS leaders. He told the LA TImes he didn’t think he had “ever really met an ex-gay” (I think he meant in the completely non-SSA, redirected sense you described.)

    He also said he didn’t care for the term ‘ex-gay’ because it was “mainly confusing” (I think he meant that he realized that it could — and often has — given the wrong impression.)

    He suggested “officially retiring” it bcause it didn’t “really describe what the ‘change’ process is all about…”

    So yes, I think he has done a better job. Of course, soon after this he resumed calling himself a “former homosexual” — which only perpetuated the confusion.

    Too bad we can’t drop the labels altoghter and say, “I have experienced big changes in my life since accepting Christ” — and then go on to describe those changes.

  29. @ Debbie:

    But I am much more likely to embrace the concept of a changed life in the reborn or healed spiritual sense than in the psychodynamic, “cured” or redirected sense.

    Me too.

    If a gay person “comes to Jesus,” that’s a hallelujah moment, regardless of what happens with his or her struggle with SSA.

    Preach it, sister! 🙂

  30. Michael et al, my impression is that Alan Chambers has done a pretty decent job with getting it right as regards what change means and doesn’t mean in his latest book, FWIW. I think more important even than worrying about the term ex-gay is dropping the slogan,”Change is possible” for something that better qualifies “change.” We don’t need cutsy slogans. We need open hearts.

    I see NARTH as quasi-Christian, but I have only talked with Linda Nicolosi, in all honesty. I have read lots of the same stuff others have on their site and elsewhere, and I have seen troubling things.

    Change IS possible for a variety of predispositions and life choices that send us down a particular road. But I am much more likely to embrace the concept of a changed life in the reborn or healed spiritual sense than in the psychodynamic, “cured” or redirected sense. If a gay person “comes to Jesus,” that’s a hallelujah moment, regardless of what happens with his or her struggle with SSA.

    I come back to what Wendy Gritter says: essentially, don’t put second things first or first things second.

  31. Was Jesus affiliated with the religious right or the political elite or influential?

  32. I agree – no political affiliation. But then they always come in with their trump card of the “GREAT COMMISSION” Argh!!!!

  33. Thanks, Warren. I agree.

    NARTH continues to stretch the data and in their rhetoric advocate – “Change is possible.” It probably is for some subset of same-sex attracted people, but the kind of change that they promise has not been proven to be generalizable.

    This is one of the big reasons I wish EXODUS would drop all affiliation with NARTH — since NARTH’s “stretching data” about “the kind of change that they promise” may give the impression that EXODUS is doing the same. To a great extent, is true that you are known by the compnay you keep.

    This was one of the main reasons why early EXODUS leaders deliberately and firmly avoided such an association. Even as an ex-gay, I had this objection about NARTH. The “science” was bad. Nothing NARTH has done since has changed this impression

    I still think EXODUS would be well advised to remain basically un-affiliated and should take no offical political positition — in the manner of AA:

  34. Thanks, Concerned. I will also try to “work at listening to what another is saying rather than attempt to justify the choices that I have made for myself.”

    I admit it. I love a good debate. Sometimes the “war of words” — at least on my part — has been to “win points”. I may have given the impression that this was all I cared about.

    But I really hope, that by challenging each other and clarifying our meanings — and sharing our journeys — we will be able to clean up false impressions and understand each other more. And for those of us who are Christians, reflect Him more clearly.

    For example, when Wendy Gritter called on EXODUS to address “the preception that we have been lying” (about orientation change), I think she was right on target. It saddened me that EXODUS seemed to do very little to put her suggestion into practice.

    Like it or not, this preception of ex-gay dishonesty has been one of the biggest “impressions” about ex-gays and “change” ministries — and probably the biggest conflict between EXODUS and its critics.

    So, one might ask, why has their been a wrong impression about this for so long? Maybe it’s EXODUS’s fault. Maybe some of them were not being honest with themselves and others. Maybe they did indeed lie.

    Maybe, others, in their enthusiam, told their truth but used language that “over-stated or “hyped” — forgetting that not everyone speaks “christianese” 🙂

    And maybe, EXODUS’s critics were just trying to “stir up some trouble” and discredit EXODUS (wanting to make EXODUS look dishonest) and did not really care to listen to ex-gay voices (like Eddy’s) who readily admit that they are still SSA. Maybe they really thought EXODUS was lying.

    My guess is that it is BOTH.

  35. PS – JR – NARTH continues to stretch the data and in their rhetoric advocate – “Change is possible.” It probably is for some subset of same-sex attracted people, but the kind of change that they promise has not been proven to be generalizable. I am a conservative but that is not synonymous with pushing change as the sole righteous aim.

    See this page for more on my approach.

  36. What the culture sees is that you guys are about reorientation. We shoot ourselves in the foot when we put second things first.

    A profound observation from Wendy.

  37. Jr – If you want to get the history, you might want to put NARTH in the search engine and see prior posts. I was concerned about the dominance of reparative therapy concepts long before 2006 but not attending the 2006 conference was the defining moment I believe.

    Lots and lots, hard to know where to start. Axe to grind is too strong a way to put it though. My beat and interest is sexuality policy and research in the evangelical tradition. NARTH has influence in that world way beyond its size and competence. Many think it is only the gay activists who find fault because they don’t like what they say – but all too often gay advocates are basically on target when it comes to NARTH. I am a religious and social conservative and I think when NARTH stretches data and misrepresent the facts (e.g., “New scientific research!”), they hinder the cause and potential help people need.

  38. Eddy and Michael,

    I too am sorry for the times I may have shown any disrespect to those who were only trying to share with us their experience. When it comes right down to it that is the only experience we can really judge and that is difficult sometimes. I believe that the “war of words” is never constructive, but a spirit of cooperation does allow us all to feel that we are heard. That to me is the real message of Christianity. I will work at listening to what another is saying rather than attempt to justify the choices that I have made for myself, but I do expect the same in return.

  39. Philippians 1:15-20 (New International Version)

    It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. .

    I fear that I have “stirred up trouble” — and have not reflected the love God shines on me.

    Paul goes on:

    But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

  40. Reading some of the comments here, it does seem like Dr T has an axe to grind with NARTH. Granted, they haven’t gone about things the best way (who knows why), but you cannot ignore the fact that their views have been stonewalled (no pun intended) by the APA-dominated mainstream for a long time.

    Maybe it’s their own fault. Maybe they burned too many bridges. Maybe everybody in the group has their own agenda.

    But aren’t Mr T and NARTH essentially on the same side here, as advocates for Ex-Gays?

    How did things go sour between the two?

  41. Eddy said:

    To many, we ‘ex-gays’ are misguided fools playing up to the outdated notions of other conservative fools and wasting our lives in the process. And, to many ex-gays, ex-ex-gays are deluded and have given up on ‘the Truth’…in danger of Hell.

    I agree. And I apologize for adding to that contentiousness and polarity. I do not think ex-gays are fools or that they are wasting their lives. I never have.

    Eddy asked the right question:

    Would an outsider, neither identified as ‘ex-gay’ or ‘ex-ex-gay’, be able to find evidence of a living Savior in our dialogues?

    Probably not. I will try to do better.

  42. Still getting the hang of the “block quote”. Hope you can see who said what.

  43. Wendy Gritter, at the 2008 Exodus Leadership Conference, gave the keynote address — introduced by Exodus President, Alan Chambers. Mrs. Gritter is leader of the New Direction ministries in Canada: (I think she has since dropped her affiliation with EXODUS)

    …when we look at those who now have their stories on the Beyond Ex-gay website…we also ought not to be patronizing? There can be this subtle sense that ‘you just didn’t try hard enough….but see, we did.’

    What would it mean to stop seeing the gay affirming church as our enemy? How can we engage relationally with those who have come to different theological understanding than we have? I think we need to relinquish a defensive posture that would focus on what we are against instead of what we are for.What the culture sees is that you guys are about reorientation. We shoot ourselves in the foot when we put second things first.

    It was Wendy who called on EXODUS to “…humbly and transparently deal with the preception that we have lied”.

    Warren commented:

    The mission of New Direction is “creating a safe place for same-gender-attracted people to journey towards wholeness in Christ.” The focus of New Direction appears to be much more focused on Christian ministry to same-sex attracted people as opposed to mediating change of sexual orientation.</blockquote>

    And I commented:

    I know I am speaking for many, many “ex-gay suvivors”, and I can assure her, that “sense” is not so subtle. Frequently, it’s downright belittling, hostile, rejecting and abusive. People are routinely shunned when they don’t “change” — with devastating emotional and spritual effects. Some become hopeless, even suicidal. EXODUS turns a deaf ear to such folks.

    As I said, no one likes to feel discounted — and I have been guilty of doing this. Again, I sincerely thatnk Eddy for his explanations, for his humility and especially for his transparency. I now do not think he ever intended to mislead or discount anyone. I misjudged him — and I am truly sorry.

  44. I believe much has been said ‘in the heat of the battle’ that would have been said differently if the individual’s involved did not see themselves as ‘at war with one another’. I believe some of the hurtful things that Michael cited would still be said–especially to those who were once ex-gay ministers. While I understand it, I do regret it. There is only one righteous judge…only one who sees all and knows the heart. Even when we think we see clearly, we may, in fact, be blind to something that God sees.

    I don’t think there is one among us who doesn’t, at times, judge. But, if we fully comprehend that as human judges we are capable of error, that might teach us not to pronounce those judgements. It might also teach us not to act and respond to others as if our judgements are true…to hold open the door of possibility that perhaps we are wrong in our judgement.

    Those who identify as ‘ex-gay’ should refrain as much as possible from speaking words of judgement. At the same time, those who are ‘ex-ex-gay’ should try to avoid confrontation with those who are ‘ex’. If they are fully convinced that, in God’s eyes, they are walking the path He has chosen for them, why demand an absolution from Exodus or ex-gays? (If I know that my Christian brother feels that gambling in all forms is sin, do I continue to throw bingo in his face demanding that he accept my point of view?)

    It is very difficult, no matter which side of this issue you are on, to reckon with the judgements (either spoken or unspoken) from the other side. To many, we ‘ex-gays’ are misguided fools playing up to the outdated notions of other conservative fools and wasting our lives in the process. And, to many ex-gays, ex-ex-gays are deluded and have given up on ‘the Truth’…in danger of Hell in the eternal life that we believe follows this one. One statement seems to outweigh the other with its eternal consequences but, at the bottom line, both sides believe some pretty negative things about the other. The real question is: Will the gospel itself be advanced if we focus on our differences? Would an outsider, neither identified as ‘ex-gay’ or ‘ex-ex-gay’, be able to find evidence of a living Savior in our dialogues?

    My apologies for going uber-Christian on that one. I continue to forget that there are people with unwanted SSA…people who have decided to separate from a homosexual identity…who do so with motivations other than religious. We don’t hear their voices often enough. Perhaps now that our tone of discussion has improved, some of them may be drawn into our happy mix.

  45. Not only was the “ex-gay” way not possible or healthy for many of us, but when we have identified as “ex-ex-gays” or “ex-gay survivors”, we have been told that we didn’t try hard enough, didn’t pray enough, didn’t love God enough — and were not really “Christians”. Talk about feeling discounted.

    Michael,

    I am so sorry for any and all of this. Jesus would not have done this and neither should anyone else have.

  46. oops – forgot to end the block quote – my response to him begins after I address the comment with his name

  47. I am sorry if I made ex-gays feels discounted. Truly, that was not my intent. I have felt, at times, that they were being less than truthful about “change” — and that many folks have been hurt by the misunderstanding of what “ex-gays” were claiming or what “change” they should expect.

    Michael,

    I know that was not your intent – you have sought to be fair and never considered yourself above apologizing if you felt you hurt someone. I can only hope I have that kind of goodness in me and have extended it to you and others.

    I can certainly understand your experience and observations about how some have been less than truthful about change. For some, they have mis-stated the facts in an effort to bolster a belief that was yet to be realized. This was unfair and had a deleterious effect on many. I am sorry for anyone who was affected in this way – they deserved better and hopefully, as facts come out and people are more forthcoming in the truth, this will happen less and less. The people I know who have made changes in their life did so out of a personal desire and in a quiet way without fanfare.

  48. Not only was the “ex-gay” way not possible or healthy for many of us, but when we have identified as “ex-ex-gays” or “ex-gay survivors”, we have been told that we didn’t try hard enough, didn’t pray enough, didn’t love God enough — and were not really “Christians”. Talk about feeling discounted.

  49. From the Beyond Exgay website:

    Certain people who currently identify as ex-gay say they are content as such. We don’t seek to invalidate their experience. For us such a lifestyle was not possible or healthy.

  50. It is such an articulate way to describe what so many of us feel and what should never be discounted just because others do not feel the same way

    I understand and I agree. I am sorry if I made ex-gays feels discounted. Truly, that was not my intent. I have felt, at times, that they were being less than truthful about “change” — and that many folks have been hurt by the misunderstanding of what “ex-gays” were claiming or what “change” they should expect.

    “Ex-gay Survivors” often share that painful sense of disappointment and failure when they failed to become what they thought “ex-gay” meant — and I don’t think their intent was to discount ex-gays.

    When they have tried to describe their “Christian SSA” experience, many have been discounted as “Christian”. I know I have. They, also, have felt discounted. http://beyondexgay.com/

  51. Correction, it was Wendy Gritter, not Alan Chambers who said”

    “EXODUS needs to deal with the perception that it has lied”

    I am sure by now that people are sick of me hammering the point, but to avoid that impression, I think it is important to note that “ex-gay” should not be taken to mean “no longer SSA and now OSA instead.” Some have been bitterly disappointed (and felt misled) when they assumed it did.

  52. Eddy: This (the above) is a marvelous piece of writing. It makes total sense to me. All of it. Thanks. I think I already knew all of this, but no one who identifies as “ex-gay” has ever described it so well. Great job.

    Michael,

    I completely agree. This is why it is so important for people to understand, through clarification, what a label or term means or how it relates to each individual. Our society can continue to assume or seek to clarify, depending on what our personal motiviations are. IMHO – one leads to civility and the other one leads to destruction. This matters when we have the ability and willingness to look outside ourselves.

  53. @Eddy:

    For some reason, I think they’d have less objection to “I’m a Christian with SSA” than with ‘SSA Christian’.

    That’s fair. I understand your objection to using it as a noun. I will try to say “Christians with SSA”. I will let “ex-gays” clarify what they mean by that term, and if it gets foggy — or seem to imply that they no longer have SSA or are now heterosexually attracted instead — I will refer them to Eddy’s clarifications.

    I really appreciate Eddy’s efforts to make it clearer. Some time ago, an EXODUS conference was advertized with the claim of “sudden, radical and complete change” and “freedom from homosexuality”. After this, Alan Chambers asknowledged, “we need to humbly and directly deal with the impression that we have lied.”

  54. Eddy,

    I also want to thank you for the post last night at 11:07. It is such an articulate way to describe what so many of us feel and what should never be discounted just because others do not feel the same way.

    It is interesting to note that much has been accomplished in the way of communication between the individuals here who have chosen to listen and seek to understand. The entire tone changes and the environment becomes safe for effective communication. Agreeing is not the goal – understanding is.

  55. Debbie,

    Religious nuts, secular nuts, gay nuts, straight nuts — I think we’re all just nuts.

    K.

  56. And, Debbie, I believe you earn extra stars for your foray into the blog archives. With our history of never quite staying on topic, I’m amazed that you actually found some worthy nuggets back there.

    Frankly, Eddy, it made my day. I am history buff in many aspects of the word. And my journalistic forte is having an inquisitive mind. I love to learn and I love to explore old worlds and new.

  57. Debbie-

    Well said.

    And I hope I made this clear. I agree completely with Michael’s statement that Debbie quot ed at the end of her post; my only reservation is that so many of the ex-gays have a distrust of psychology primarily because psychology seems to have, at the least, ignored them and , at the extreme, disparaged them. It’s the words ‘paradigm’ and ‘incongruent’ that, while true, would likely give them pause.

    I envision them echoing the complaint that Michael has frequently made: Why don’t they just use plain English? Why don’t they speak in a language we can all understand?

    For someone to be engaged in discussions such as these, an understanding of 3 and 4 syllable words is almost a requirement but so many who identify as ‘ex-gay’ simply have an experience. They aren’t the leaders, the ministers or the counselors and their experience doesn’t demand that they be versed in psychology or even that they have a command of the English language. Much like those poor squares on my graph paper, I feel the need to present a resolution that doesn’t leave them out.

    And, Debbie, I believe you earn extra stars for your foray into the blog archives. With our history of never quite staying on topic, I’m amazed that you actually found some worthy nuggets back there.

  58. As regards the change in tone here, I like it.

    On the “ex-gay” term and the gyrations historically that the early Exodus organization went through to come up with a term: Here is a comment Michael offered from three years ago on this blog about the genesis of the “ex-gay” moniker:

    It was adopted “to represent the FAITH that one COULD (with God’s help) change over TIME. This was in keeping with the “name-it-and-claim-it” school of thought that was so prominent during the neo-Pentecostal movement of the time. It wasn’t what we WERE — it was what we WANTED to BECOME.

    I wasn’t there for that discussion (Eddy, you will remember it well, no doubt), but I’ve read it with great interest as it provides a window into the history of Exodus. Recovering Gay Christians was another term considered at the first Exodus conference in addition to ex-gay.

    Warren said this then:

    The term gay is a socially constructed term that has no meaning about sexuality other than what the culture gives it. Given that gay is a socio-political label, then to say I once was gay and am not now, say more about your former identity than your inner life.

    He also said the term was “not as descriptive as many would like it to be.”

    Eddy:

    I think ex-gays would have no trouble being honest and forthright if we could avoid terms that can be so easily misconstrued. Both “homosexual’ and “gay” imply that you’re doing it or that you’re wanting to do it. This is why the ex-gay won’t cave on the use of these terms. Saying however that I’m SSA (same sex attracted) is different…it does not imply doing it; it does not imply wanting to do it…it just says what is…that I have these attractions. It’s way more neutral because it isn’t implying something that isn’t true to everyone it’s being applied to.

    Yes, well said. I am not married to “ex-gay” or any particular term. I sometimes qualify it when I use it, but we have to use something in the meantime if we are discussing the issues, which I do on a regular basis.

    And Michael, I think this is equally valid:

    Eddy, would it be fair to say that “ex-gay” is more of a “paradigm shift” than what folks might call a “change in sexual orientation”?

    I ask because it seems that ex-gays don’t “identify” as gay — even if they have only SSA. For these folks, “gay” denotes something that is incongruent with their way of thinking, believing and behaving. Would this be fair to say?

  59. I just think we’re caught up in an historical epoch that views our sexuality as more fundamentally tied to our Being than most anything else.

    With this, I agree, Katie. The rest of your assessment in that post? That’s a stretch, as I and a host of others see it. The “host” I refer to are those the more liberal-thinking, extremely open-minded church-rejecters tend to call religious nuts. Well, I guess I’d have to plead guilty as charged. I am a complementarian Christian who believes that heterosexuality is intended to be the norm and that males and females are meant to have separate and distinct functions while being viewed together as the whole image of God.

    That does not negate the compassion I feel for those affirmed gays who disagree, even the Christians among us like Michael, whom I have grown to appreciate deeply through this blog. I also appreciate the perspectives you bring to this discussion, Katie.

    I like it when we can respectfully disagree here on something without resorting to ad hominems. I’m sure Dr. T likes that, too.

  60. I think we watch the hetersexual parade everyday – in the streets, on tv, at the office etc…

  61. And a similar debate happens in secular circles re: SSA vs. gay vs. how to define one’s self — sexual attractions? Or commitment and love of wife and children?

    I just think we’re caught up in an historical epoch that views our sexuality as more fundamentally tied to our Being than most anything else.

    And the straight vs. gay thing is taking place in an environment in which it’s assumed heterosexuality is the norm, the taken-for-granted, that which needs no research, etc….

    So is it little wonder that when a person feels some attraction to the same sex, their focus of concern is there — do I come out? Do I stay in the closet? If I do come out, does this imply insuring my right to celebrate my sexuality? Etc….

    Imagine a heterosexual parade. Almost all of us would find it offensive, including myself, though there’s no rational reason to feel this way that I can think of. It’s just the outcome of taking heterosexuality as normative — rather than it’s own developmental triumph, just as homosexuality can be.

    K.

  62. Michael–

    Although I think it would probably float, it struck me when you said ‘SSA Christian’. I had an immediate sense of the box…of the label; of the pre-eminence of sex as a self-definer. And an awareness that it did not speak to the attempt at separation. The fact that it’s a label coupled with the fact that it’s an incomplete label is what might tip the scales.

    My gut says that even turning the phrase ‘SSA Christian’ around so that it’s not a noun/label would ease the discomfort some would feel. For some reason, I think they’d have less objection to “I’m a Christian with SSA” than with ‘SSA Christian’. And, I don’t think it would ever replace their need for a term that addresses the separation issue whether it be ‘ex-gay’ or a new construct.

    By the way–

    When I was addressing a waiting period before embarking on that new thread you suggested, it wasn’t you I was concerned about. We do have a few prominent–but intermittent–bloggers who haven’t been around since the ‘kumbaya wave’ started. I’d want to see if they can embrace the change.

  63. Oh my gosh!!!

    There’s an article on yahoo news about the deterioration of the Y chromosome. NOW I understand why men are so concerned about their penis — they’re literally fadeing away 🙂

    Carole,

    I don’t have any grounding in claiming that the focus on epigenetics seems the way to go, because I’m not sure why the focus on epigenetics is really a new science rather than merely a new interpretation or emphasis.

    But it sure seems to me to be the way to go, but only because it matches up with my own intuitions.

    K.

  64. Eddy and Michael,

    I like the discussion and respect you are showing each other. I know the discussion has focused on the term exgay for some time now, but for me the there gay seems to have so much political baggage attached to it and it is for that reason that I have felt much more comfortable using the SSA identification for 4 or 5 years now. I feel this really describes my own experience much more honestly.

    I too have had a tremendous problem with the anti-religious view of many gays. I do not feel this was fair and it was definitely not non-judgemental.

  65. So for discussion purposes, maybe we should agree to use “SSA Christians” — and then go on to clarify, if need be, whether or not we think it’s sin, whether or not we are talking about a change from gay to straight, etc.

    Because without your definition and clarifications, I think we can both agree “ex-gay” can be misleading (or at least, vexing and provocative) — even if that is not the speaker’s intent.

  66. Eddy: This (the above) is a marvelous piece of writing. It makes total sense to me. All of it. Thanks. I think I already knew all of this, but no one who identifies as “ex-gay” has ever described it so well. Great job.

    Still SSA, but living and striving for a different life.

    I do think “paradigm shift” fits. If you think something is sin, that’s what repentance seems to mean. You and I just disagree on whether or not it’s always sin.

  67. Michael–

    I think what you are saying about the paradigm seems to fit but I’m reluctant to use a word that isn’t easily understood by the many lay people who might follow the gay/ex-gay debate.

    The definition of ex-gay that we seemed to agree on says it far clearer than the paradigm. I think we should put it out there for consideration. It does seem like it would go far towards eliminating confusion. (I just don’t think it needs our names attached. But, even that I’m willing to discuss.)

    I also want to redirect you to the concept of ‘identity’. For some reason, it is a point that people seem to nod to but not really grasp and, IMHO, it’s really at the center of the controversy. Identity is key…it’s fundamental to a new Christian; they are breaking away from their identification with the world and they see themselves as part of a whole new way of thinking. So, in this level of newness, they reject all of the old labels. That’s their first objection to being labeled as a homosexual. It’s an old label…it goes to something they used to do, used to identify with…and, they feel it’s a sin, they don’t want to label themselves by the name of a sin. That would be disrespectful to the God who freed/is freeing them from that sin. (We’ve got to step away, for the moment, from ‘is it or isn’t it’…to them it is and they are stepping away.)

    Their second objection is that psychology and religion would define a homosexual differently. Psychology’s definition includes behavior, desire and attraction. Religion only speaks to the behavior and attractions that are toyed with. So, psychology includes a lot more people in its definition than religion does. For the ex-gay, if they are not doing it and don’t plan to do it and aren’t playing around on the edges by purposely flirting with temptation, then they simply are not guilty…the label does not fit. A homosexual is someone who does homosexual things and/or is dominated by homosexuality. Like a liar is a person who lies…not one who considers lying but then doesn’t. They really aren’t playing a word game…they might not be straight but neither are they gay or homosexual.

    Most recognize psychology’s definition but see that it is in conflict with the bible definition and choose to identify, if they have to identify at all, by the blblical one.

    Further, because they identify with this new mindset, many object to labelling themselves by any label. The very act of labelling gives a certain power or creedence to the label. To label myself by a sexual label gives sexuality a pedestal position in my thoughts. (I’m always amused when someone tries to ask a conservative Christian what ‘sign’ they are…it’s a label they just won’t take. it might be true to the questioner’s reality but it does not fit the conservative Christians.)

    Beyond that, some strenuously object to the label because they sense they are being used to advance ‘homosexual causes’ some of which seem to be very anti-Christian. Most, at least for a time, seek a neutral zone where they are neither advancing a cause or detracting from it. I personally was offended because it seemed gays wanted to count me among them statistically but then, when it came to my issues of wanting to explore ex-ness, they didn’t just ignore me…they fought me.

    I think ex-gays would have no trouble being honest and forthright if we could avoid terms that can be so easily misconstrued. Both “homosexual’ and “gay” imply that you’re doing it or that you’re wanting to do it. This is why the ex-gay won’t cave on the use of these terms. Saying however that I’m SSA (same sex attracted) is different…it does not imply doing it; it does not imply wanting to do it…it just says what is…that I have these attractions. It’s way more neutral because it isn’t implying something that isn’t true to everyone it’s being applied to.

  68. Then you responded that yes, men who have been sexually abused often experience such feelings.

    I don’t know if I said “often”. I think I said that the idea was reasonable. Most gay men I talk to have not been abused. Abuse vicitms I have counseled identify as stragith, bisexual and bi. You couldn’t predict based on the abuse.

    I just find it interesting considering how involved even unmarried gay men are with women.

    I will have to think about this. I am very involved at my church where most of the members are women. My only child is a woman. My only grandchild is a boy. I feel very involved with both. I have a lover and am very involved with him. I have one brother and one sister. Apart from these folks, I am not much involved with women — or gay men. The bars here have both.

    So Eddy might say what he did about his penis, his feeling about it. And he’s decided to keep it.

    I have decided to keep mine too. They have always seemd more beautiful and easier to maintain… 🙂

  69. Michael,

    Sorry, I’m being too cryptic.

    I’m writing before I’ve completely formed the thought.

    Let me start over:

    Eddy wrote what he did, then I mentioned that Rob could have written the same thing.

    Eddy has not been sexually abused. Rob has.

    Then you responded that yes, men who have been sexually abused often experience such feelings.

    But again, Eddy has not been sexually abused.

    It’s that his story about his feelings are very, very, similar to the feelings of the men who have been sexually abused express.

    It seems to me that trauma — or mental illness as well — highlights human experience. Makes it more stark for a variety of reasons, not least of which is because, in the case of mental illness, the normal filters come down….

    Whether it’s a confusion that the voices in one’s head is coming from outside of one’s self — or that the voices coming from outside are a part of you. Again, picking up on stark experience — and setting aside the nuances.

    I don’t think sexual abuse creates a NEW internal set of problems — it makes potential ways of experiencing the world more stark.

    So Eddy might say what he did about his penis, his feeling about it. And he’s decided to keep it.

    Someone with a trauma background may have the same feelings — only much more intense and perform a self penilectomy. The feeling are different in kind, but in degree.

    And among the sexually abused “bisexual” men the theme of the whore/madonna complex is huge — they just get stuck there in a massive way.

    And another observation: On the support groups for “mixed orientation couples”, most men say they’re bisexual. And of those who do, most seem to be so (while others seem like married gay men to me). And among those who seem bisexual, their focus is exclussively on their gay side — internalized homophobia, just what they might want from a man (most are pretty confused about the matter, otherwise they wouldn’t keep repeating themselves ad infinitum for years and years), etc…

    The NEVER, and I mean NEVER, turn their attention to their feelings about women — or more specifically, to their internalized heterophobia.

    It’s ALL about internalized homophobia.

    Rarely do you get the guys to address their feelings about women.

    I just find it interesting considering how involved even unmarried gay men are with women.

    Yes, straight men often ignore their women in favor of their buds — until their wife leaves them, then all kinds of huge emotions come to the surface.

    K.

  70. @Katie:

    I know gay men run the gamut regarding their feelings about women — from worshipping Cher to wishing they could create an all-male world.

    This is true. We do run the gamut. Somedays, I wish it were all female. Somedays, it’s the opposite. Depends of which gender irritated me the most that day… 🙂

    It strikes me that gay men are very much involved with women in one way or another — through either love or hate, or emulation or expulsion

    .

    Interesting. Do you see this more in gay men than in straight men?

    But it’s at least counter-intuitive that so many gay men would be so involved with women.

    Why “counter-intuitive”? I don’t understand…

    Considering that gay men can arrange their lives so that they have minimal daily contact with women, they seem awfully involved with women — even if only in thought.

    I don’t know if I understand this either. Half of the people I encounter everyday are women – even at the local gay bars. I like being around both. I am curious. Do you see straight men as being less inloved with women? Wouldn’t that be counter-intuitive?

    BTW: I have often been struck by how little time is spent or how little interest many straight men have towards women. Many seem to have litttle tolerance for females and only want to relate to them when the mating urge is strong. Otherwise, they prefer the company of their “buds”.

  71. And I understand the hetero men run the same gamut.

    But it’s at least counter-intuitive that so many gay men would be so involved with women.

    In poetry written by gay men, there’s often a Sprite, or Wood Nymph, or some other female figure involved.

    And lots of slang words in gay culture which refers to female bodies, etc….

    And gay men who marry women — and who find upon divorce that they would prefer to marry a woman again.

    Drag Queens, and other types of Queens, Fag Hags, sexual slang, etc….

    Considering that gay men can arrange their lives so that they have minimal daily contact with women, they seem awfully involved with women — even if only in thought.

    K.

  72. Eddy,

    Thank you for your generous response to my question about adversion to opposite gender sex. Katie said it fit Rob’s story and I know many individuals who have told me similar things. I appreciate your openness in sharing what is such a personal issue. I’m going to read it a few more times before commenting on it more. Do you or Dr. Throckmorton or anyone else know if any studies have been done or are currently being done to directly address this particular issue?

  73. Michael,

    Set aside CSA for a moment.

    I know gay men run the gamut regarding their feelings about women — from worshipping Cher to wishing they could create an all-male world.

    But it is at least peculiar that SOME gay men should worship women — whether through following Cher across state lines or dressing in drag, or being attracted to men who dress in drag.

    It strikes me that gay men are very much involved with women in one way or another — through either love or hate, or emulation or expulsion.

    And yes, some just hang out with folk and then go home with their lovers.

    K.

  74. Katie: I think this is right on the money:

    The caveat being that it might be the case that those who share a similar story also share a similar discomfort with sex/relationships, no matter their orientation.

    As a therapist with many abused clients over these past 30 years, this has been my experience as well.

  75. @Katie:

    Think this might be why, in part, so many gay men do worship women?

    Is that true? Do we? Some gay men seem to worship women, others can’t stand them. I am somewhere in the middle. I don’t sort females in that way.

    I am more apt to sort according to “nice” or “bitch”, just as I do “cool” or “a***hole” for guys. (Not proud of that, but I admit I do it…)

    Most of us like some women and dislike some others. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with whether or not we have been abused.

    I suppose abuse may explain some of it for some people. Personally, I think it has more to do with the women they have encountered and the attitudes they may have picked up from the culture at large.

  76. Eddy, would it be fair to say that “ex-gay” is more of a “paradigm shift” than what folks might call a “change in sexual orientation”?

    I ask because it seems that ex-gays don’t “identify” as gay — even if they have only SSA. For these folks, “gay” denotes something that is incongruent with their way of thinking, believing and behaving. Would this be fair to say?

    The term “paradigm shift” has found uses in other contexts, representing the notion of a major change in a certain thought-pattern — a radical change in personal beliefs, complex systems or organizations, replacing the former way of thinking or organizing with a radically different way of thinking or organizing. — Wikipedia

  77. Eddy:

    Michael–I too have enjoyed the more open discussion we’ve been able to have. But I do have my cautious side. Let’s give it another week or two–another testy topic or two–to see if we’ve got ongoing and complete consensus on the kumbaya.

    I understand. I don’t blame you. I think I am beginning to you better now as Eddy, as a person. Your self-disclosures are making it really tough to dislike you. Damn!

    I think I was debating a “position” not taking the time to get to know the people here. In doing so, I have missed a lot. I think you will see that the change is real. Meantime, the nuns are very patient. 🙂

  78. And among the hetero guys who have been sexually abused — similar story, only women themselves get divided into the whore and the madonna.

    Michael,

    Think this might be why, in part, so many gay men do worship women?

    K.

  79. The thing that strikes me is that without exception on the support group for sexually abused men their story sounds similar — not exact — as Eddy’s.

    He mentioned all the highlights, though.

    Post after post after post — hundreds and hundreds and hundreds.

    The story is remarkably similar.

    The caveat being that it might be the case that those who share a similar story also share a similar discomfort with sex/relationships, no matter their orientation. And if someone feels discomfort, they’re 1) more likely to see a therapist 2) or seek reparative therapy and 3) more like to wonder deeply enough about themselves to come up with a story of any sort.

    So this is the story that gets told far more than any other story, but all the other stories might just be waiting to be said.

    But again, Rob, my fiance, could have written Eddy’s story. And so with any other guy who cares to construct one at all on the other support group.

    With, of course, some individual emphasis being placed here or there….

    I think it was either Ann or Mary who said that people are seeking safety… seems like it to me.

    K.

  80. Michael–

    I too have enjoyed the more open discussion we’ve been able to have. But I do have my cautious side. Let’s give it another week or two–another testy topic or two–to see if we’ve got ongoing and complete consensus on the kumbaya.

  81. This very long, sometimes contentious and nasty discussion (mainly my fault, I fear) has been an exhausting, envigorating and enlightening experience.

    In addition to the great topics and threads, I think Throck should have an “open forum” feature always going — so folk could just drop in and chat.

    Just look at all the topics we have explored on this one. Much more interesting than NARTH’s old journal could ever be.

  82. Your friend evidently felt he couldn’t hide who he was in a male’s clothing.

    Sad, but true Carole. He did get better, though. I finally enouraged him to sing — in his own voice and without the dress. He got great feedback from the audience — some of whom had only known his drag persona. He blushed and beemed.

    Over time, he seemed to feel more comfortable with his maleness — and his drag act got even better.

  83. @MIchael,

    Reminds me of how the students who are often the quietest, the ones the teacher had to work hardest at drawing out, are the ones who volunteer first for roles in reading a play, and they lobby the hardest for certain roles too, the roles most opposite their own outward persona. It was easy to see how the shyest of kids (at least shy in a classroom setting) felt safe in a fictional role.

    Your friend evidently felt he couldn’t hide who he was in a male’s clothing.

  84. @Carole: Just as with anything else, there are multiple and individual reasons for why people behave as they do. I guess that is true of almost any human trait.

    Wearing a nurse’s uniform brought out the “Edith” in me. Leather vest and boots reveals a confident, sexy top guy. Tux brings out the suave and sophisticated Romantic. Boardshorts bring out the Dude.

    I had a good friend named Rob. Extremely introverted man. No self-confidence at all. Could not get him to sing Karaoke even though he had a fine voice. One night at the drag show, a very sultry, sexy, extroverted, funny drag queen sat on my lap and sang directly to me. Wow. Then, she whispered, “Mike, it’s me. Rob.”

    I was floored. Rob later explained that dressing as an extroverted, sexy woman was the only way he knew to get out of his own skin and just cut loose.

  85. @Michael,

    Thanks for the explanation of drag. I do indeed understand the humor behind most of it, I think.

    I asked if for some drag was a fantasy fulfilled and you said that for some, yes.

    It was Bailey who offered the argument that many transsexuals were not women trapped in the body of men as they argued, but rather gay men at the extreme edge of femininity, gay men who preferred being women to being men. The trans community wasn’t too happy with him.

  86. The Nuns…..

    I was raised in a heavily Catholic community and many close friends were Catholic. I kind of miss seeing those nuns in their habits. Perhaps it’s just my nostalgia for childhood.

  87. @Debbie:

    Heartwarming to see the tenor of the discussion now. Awww. Makes me want a group hug. I have been charmed into this little community. Thanks for letting me hang out here when I can.

    I swear, it was the 44 nuns who turned it around for me. 🙂

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdO3R5MlbxA

    Watch carefully. I think a drag queen snuck in to make it 45.

  88. @Eddy:

    I could somehow relate to the penises since I had one of my own (still do, by the way)

    Glad you clarified that — not that I was worried or anything. 🙂

  89. @Eddy:

    In the drag shows, the overall tone seems to be more a worship of women than a mockery. Spending hours to get the Barbra look., etc.

    Great observation. I agree.

  90. Also @ Carole:

    No offense intended, but is it a secret desire to be able to act like, dress like a woman? Thus, is this a fantasy fulfilled kind of thing?

    For some people, yes. For others, it’s just part of the show — and some of the guys full off the fantasy with remarkable talent. I have seen Joan Rivers, Madonna, Better Midler, Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, Liza MInelli, even Janis Joplin portrayed with mind-boggling realism. I have also seen a lot a bad drag, too, where the actors didn’t even bother to learn the words of the song they were lip-synching.

  91. Also @ Carole:

    Why aren’t they making fun of the male world that rejected them, the masculine world into which they are not welcome and into which they do not fit?

    Believe me, we mock the male sterotypes, too. Like I said, it’s all fair game. Is there some misogyny in “our world”. Sure. It’s in the straight world, too. But we know the camp humor is all in fun. As I mentioned, lots of (presumably) straight women attend these shows.

  92. @ Carole:

    I guess my question really boils down to why is femininity made fun of —is there something unspoken going on here? An “insider’s” thing?

    I think it must be. When I jokingly call my gay buddy “girl”. I am making fun of him, not women. I am not insulting him. I am ribbing him. It’s affectionate.

  93. @Eddy

    Like Katie said, thanks for sharing your own story. There indeed may be many ways SSA develops. Hard to know at this point.

    I also have to say it’s a story that reflects my mother’s friend. I was a really young child when my mother explained to me that her friend was “different” as she put it to me. I guess it was one of the first talks about sex or sexuality that my mother ever gave me.

    As I got to know her friend (we only saw him about once a year when he visited around the holidays) I learned that when he was five, his mother left his father for financial reasons, taking him and two younger sibs. She was a beautiful, self-sufficient, and talented woman who wanted her kids to experience an area that offered more in the way of education and the cultural. She was soft-spoken, but she was a “steel magnolia” type. She settled in the area in a town in which she and the kids moved from one boarding house to another. To the son’s joy, their father came to live with them when he was about 6, but months later left, for good, and never again offered any financial support. The boy used to lie and tell his friends his dad was at sea in the merchant marines. The kids were taken to church every week and the boy, very bright, and like Eddy, very attuned to the feelings of others, seemed to take it all in, especially the lesson that he must love everyone and share everything. When he shared with some of the kids at school, they weren’t above taking advantage of his good nature. Since his mother was working, he became responsible for taking care of the younger sibs. and the house. As he grew a bit older into adolescence, his mother even deferred to his decisions. He became her problem solver too.

    At some point in his very young life, they lived for a time in an area in which prostitues and sailors got in on. He saw and heard a lot. My mother often wondered if his view of women was formed by seeing that into the simple black and white: “Mothers=good, proper women, not women you are supposed to touch,” vs. “prostitutes=sad women, but women who did vulgar things, women you wouldn’t want to touch”. Mom thinks he thought of the drunken sailors and dock workers who visited the whores as “men who use women=bad”. She attributed his manners to not only his mother’s training of him but also to his idea that may have been gleaned from seeing the whore/John interactions: “women must be treated with respect or else you are a bad man.”

    It was mom’s belief that he must have equated sex with women as a violation that was a bad thing, based on his family and religious training so that he saw sex with men as the alternative because men could take care of themselves–sex with men didn’t have to be seen as a violation of anything at all. She also thinks that while he loved his mother and sister/brother dearly, he may have deep down resented having to give up part of his own childhood to act as the father of the family. He did get married, but it didn’t last. When I grew older, she wondered aloud if he might not have been approached by men or druken sailors at a very early age.

    Yes—this sounds exactly like a NARTH explanation of how a man develops SSA, but Mom was just trying to reason things through for herself, and back in those days I don’t think people gave much thought to SSA being innate or biologically determined. Funny, but many years later, when one of her friends had one gay son and one bi-sexual out of three sons, Mom decided it had to be innate.

    So, it’s easy to see how some began to argue for a certain etiology, but without the data to validate the findings they (like NARTH) claim, and because they twist data and cherry pick the findings of research, they simply undermine their credibility. That makes the other “side” and yes, there is definitely another “side,” dig in too so that science doesn’t look at all the possibilities. There is a lot of politics on both sides determining “research.”

  94. @Eddy,

    The old question of inherent traits leading to behavior vs. traits which are developed through/by environmental influences leading to behavior is entering new phases of research, reaching beyond the old confinement to the field of psychology and into the field of biology.

    This article struck me as one that illustrates the possiblity that we might one day get some definitive answers to just how experience regulates biology and then how that biology regulates, influences, or directs behavior. The article about child abuse and suicide deals with epigenetics and one example of it, methylation. It’s much too early to know if indeed it’s experience that shuts off certain genes or not, but one way or the other, we’ll learn interesting things from the new field.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507084001.htm

    The UCLA study, looking to see if certain genes in SSA people have been turned off by methylation is now in progress. If they should find positive evidence of it, I would imagine the next question they’d ask is, ” What causes methylation in any of us.” It’s it pre-coded in the womb, in our genes, or is it a response to something, and if so, what?

  95. Thanks, Katie,

    Your comment reminded me of another aversion. It ties in with that Catholic ‘respect’ thing. The learning re a woman was that she was a responsibility, that sexual and/or emotional involvement carried responsibilities with it…don’t go there unless you are prepared to pay the price.

    Ironically, there was no prolonged talk about homosexuality but logic said: men are men, equally responsible, therefore sex with a man carries no baggage. No need for that follow up phone call to say “I had a good time, how about you”, no flowers or greeting cards (well, not unless it turned serious)…just ‘no strings attached’ sexual good times in contrast with “what if she gets pregnant…are you prepared for 18 years of fathering and support?”

  96. Yikes, it’s hard not to fall into using too wide a brush — I meant a lot of bisexual men who cannot form any relatively stable attachments. Just flit from fear to fear to fear.

    But having both options availabe can be adaptive flexibility, just as hetero and homosexuality can be. But isn’t always.

    And, it seems to me that heterosexuality arises out of the same sort of thing — we just accept it and move on, much like gay men do.

    But that’s just my belief. Why do I believe it? Because lack of conclussive evidence allows me to rationally believe it. And since it does, I choose to believe it because it makes me happy.

    K.

  97. P.S.

    And I think people make a mistake in assuming that a person who was sexually abused has nothing to say about more “normal” sexual development. We can only express being psychotic within the confines of being human. What’s in “them” is also in us.

    K.

  98. Eddy,

    THIS is the story I keep getting from men — from bisexual men, that is.

    And also some homosexual men who know the story, and go — Yep, that’s my feelings, my thoughts and fears and hopes. And being with a man allows me to move beyond the hangups and live life.

    Bisexual men, on the other hand, just seem to get stuck — giving a little to women, a little to men — and getting little in return. But at least it doesn’t call for putting one’s self at risk of final rejection.

    Thanks for being so open, I’m sure that took a lot.

    And there are a small number of women who can embrace your story — even if you’re no stud and never will be 🙂

    K.

  99. Ann–

    I’ve always wished there was more research on this facet. I had strong aversions to the notion of sex with the opposite gender. (Clumsy way of saying that I liked girls just didn’t want any part of them sexually.)

    I’ve only been able to pick up anecdotal clues from my own experience that may or may not be telling. Things that seemed noteworthy are:

    1) My Catholic schooling was very strong on ‘respect’ for women and that ‘sex’ was a bad thing to be involved in. (Remember that they were teaching 7th and 8th graders with newly raging hormones some framework for restraint.) They didn’t give us the downside but not the upside.

    2) I tie that in with my hyper-compassion and ‘oh so good’ side and think that I likely took the message too personally.

    3) I had living and breathing examples of heterosexuality gone astray. The guys were, quite frankly, pigs and the women were without brains or morals. I still fight that imagery.

    4) I also had an early exposure to hardcore straight porn. Penises, vaginas, shaved and exposed parts. All of it was both alluring and frightening at the same time. I could somehow relate to the penises since I had one of my own (still do, by the way) but the boldness and lustiness of the females was intimidating.

    5) It was also vulgar. But I didn’t know that. I mean wasn’t it just a real picture? I had no understanding that, out of context, a picture could be very vulgar and transfer messages beyond ‘this is what it looks like’.

    6) It also seemed that the men that the women wanted were all of a type far different than me. I concluded on one level that no woman would want me and therefore I wanted no woman.

    I have over the years lost most of the gag response to sex with a woman and occasionally (but not enough to warrant calling myself ‘straight’ by any means) have had sexual thoughts and sexual response to hetero imagery. LOL. They are so few that I can remember most somewhat vividly.

    1) I responded to Olivia Newton John in “Grease”…I think knowing that there was an essentially ‘good girl’ under that skintight black outfit she wore at the end…I think that did something.

    2) Inexplicably, I responded to Jane Fonda in “Coming Home”. The image of her naked backside…the flare of her hips shouted “I am woman”.

    3) A girl from my church who was about my size and very ‘cute’ as opposed to ‘stunning’ or ‘ravishing’. Something in the way that she responded to me with a bit of dependence and trust seemed to stir up desire in me.

    4) Another girl in Bible school, also short but a definite ‘babe’. In fact, I formed an instant dislike to her. Then, while jogging one day, she tripped on a speed bump just outside my apartment. I helped her up, helped clean up the abrasions on her hand, gave her a bandage and, by morning, could think of no one but her. Dated her several times before she quit school and moved away.

    There was some sort of reunion later in the year. As I was getting out of my vehicle, she was getting out of hers…accompanied by her twin brother. My first thought was ‘they’re gorgeous’ but, unprovoked, the next thought that occurred to me was “I’d rather be her man than his woman”. (Folks, remember this is anecdotal from my personal experience…I am not making statements on behalf of all gay or all ex-gay people.)

    5) Then, when I had been in the ministry for awhile, I actually read a few Christian books on marriage. A number of responses to the reading…one of which was that I realized how impersonal and objectified my female imagery had been. But, the wholesome picture of two becoming one, of sex being a coming together rather than a performance, of the reality that it likely ain’t going to be perfect the first few times you try it…all of that led to the first heterosexual sex dreams I can remember.

    That wasn’t enough to base a marriage on though. I’ve come a long way from my aversions but I’m not exactly raging with desire. I’m not sure that ‘raging with desire’ is even what’s called for in a marriage and I remain somewhat open to the possibility without pursuing it in any way. I’d say the odds are around 99% that marriage is not in my future but I can envision a few slow dances and maybe even a kiss or two somewhere down the road.

    Another one for the aversion side: I also have this somewhat victorian mindset. I can somewhat picture the slow dances but I can’t envision the kisses without it being part of an ‘engagement leading to marriage’. Kissing just for fun, either homosexually or heterosexually, is foreign to me.

  100. hmm.. part of my post got erased. but you get my drift, hopefully

    I like asparagus, not tomatoes — big deal.

    If I couldn’t IMAGINE being a person who is capable of liking tomatoes, then that’s more strange. Especially if such an imagining causes me a phobic reaction.

    K.

  101. Ann,

    I have the same question — sort of.

    I don’t find it mysterious why a person would find it not to their preference to actually have sex with someone of either the opposite or same sex. I think attachment to our prefernces is enough to explain this. I’m far more attached to OES like tomatoes without an adverse reaction. I can imaginatively get what those who are tomatoe lovers might like about tomatoes — their color, shape, the way they’re firmly soft in one’s hand, they’re juicy, etc…. I can even envy those who can enjoy a tomatoe, and wish I could too.

    So for me, it isn’t so much about our preferences, our personal like or dislikes, but the inability to even imagine one’s self as the type of person who likes what we don’t — and especially when a phobic reaction to such imaginings is involved.

    K.

  102. Narth describes possible reasons why same gender attraction can develop and become a preference that seems, for those experiencing it, an identity they either feel comfortable with or stuggle with. Has any research or study been conducted to determine the other component to this – the expressed disinterest in, or in some individuals, adversion to sexual thoughts, about the opposite gender? I can understand attractions, regardless of how they occur or with whom, however, it would be interesing to understand why an individual would be adverse to sexual thoughts or relationships with the opposite gender to the point that it is avoided. I am particularly interested in the sub-category of this with those individuals who consider this a stuggle that is unwanted or a conflict with their values, rather than those who are content with it. If there is information currently being conducted or has been conducted on either, does anyone know?

  103. Eddy,

    That’s what it seems to me — to some degree, and generally speaking — in regard to either an edge or something more akin to worship, or …. whatever it is.

    And I like what you said in regard to bias. I find it interesting that when there’s a lack of knowledge one way or the other, what people choose to believe, why they’re emotionally attached to this belief rather than another.

    I find it can lead clear the air and open up new possibilitie when everyone admits why they have an emotoinal attachment to their beliefs. I’m attached to some of my beliefs simply because they make me happy, while believing something different would make me less happy.

    K.

  104. Heartwarming to see the tenor of the discussion now. Awww. Makes me want a group hug. I have been charmed into this little community. Thanks for letting me hang out here when I can.

  105. Sorry–somehow I hit something that cause my comment to send in mid-sentence.

    It was going to say ‘Peace sign, love beads, and flowers in the hair helped to complete the look.’.

    Carole,

    I think I get what you are saying but I see validity in Michael’s response as well. Still, though, there does seem to be a ‘dark edge’ to some drag…I think more when thinking of public parades and such…that actually seems to be a put down of women. In the drag shows, the overall tone seems to be more a worship of women than a mockery. Spending hours to get the Barbra look., etc.

  106. I can see LynnDavid’s point re the possiblity that ‘malakos’ may have been translated. Re ‘arsenokoites’, my understanding is that it was two root words put together. The first half of the word meaning ‘man’ and the second half ‘to bed for the purpose of sex’…it’s the same root word as for our word ‘coitus’. There didn’t seem to be any part of the word that hinted at prostitution.

    I am no greek scholar though, admittedly, my bias would be more than likely to influence my interpretation. (One of my favorite sayings is ‘Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re NOT out to get you. The fact that I have a bias doesn’t mean I’ve got it twisted; it just means its possible.)

    I’ve been enjoying the ‘discussion rather than debate’ mode and hope we can get a little more practice at respectful discussion before attempting to embark on a journey into the murky waters of translation and interpretation.

    Michael–

    ‘Hippy Chick’ was nothing special. I invented the costume when I was in Recreational Therapy at a nursing home. Needed something quick and easy (and cheap)…oh and it had to be able to be labeled (ironic, huh). Oh, you’re a doctor, you’re a nurse…who or what are you? ‘Hippy chick’. Pe

  107. Michael,

    That was a very nice thing you wrote re: continued participation.

    K.

  108. I would imagine dressing up as a woman expresses he wish to dress up as a woman, whether it’s a straight guy or a gay guy.

    What I find interesting is gay men who are specifically attracted to male cross dresses — not drag actors — but the more permanent cross dressers, or to men who are distinctly feminine looks and behavior.

    Our gender choices seem nearly as interesting as our sexual ones to me.

    K.

  109. Eh… felt compelled to post……

    Eddy…. As I understand it, ‘arsenokoita’ likely refers to your, by our definition, straight guy who has sex with a man as a man…i.e. he’s dominant and assumes a typically masculine role. ‘Malakos’, meaning ‘effeminate’ likely referred to one who always assumed the feminine or receptive role in a homosexual liaison and may have been a homosexual male prostitute. The context isn’t totally clear. Lots of questions have been raised. But I do doubt that the notion that ‘malakos’ referred to ‘camp drag’ has any substance.

    Some years ago I searched online Greek lexicons through Tuft University’s Perseus system. Generally malakos simiply means ‘soft.’ The only time malakos ever referred to “effeminate” was in reference to music or somewhat more close to the behavior of men was a reference to cowardly. Considering that Paul was writing about morality there, the lexical references to morality simply translated it as ‘morally weak’ or ‘lacking in self-control.’ As such the word would not at all refer to anyone of homosexual orientation in the specific, but more in general to all persons. The use by some translators of the Bible as a reference to homosexuality is probably wishful thinking.

    The word arsenokoitês more than likely does means a male prostitute. But since Paul or his scribe made the word up and no one else has ever used it (except to quote the Bible), who knows?

    . . .

  110. Don’t misunderstand–I don’t take the spoof personally, but drag has a very long history. Yes, straight men (Berle was straight) use drag for laughs and people in our culture have always thought it pretty funny to see men dressed as women.

    That’s not the crux of my question, though. When you really start thinking about it, I really doubt the same dynamic is in play when gay men do it.

    I guess my question really boils down to why is femininity made fun of —is there something unspoken going on here? An “insider’s” thing?

    The worse insult a straight man can receive is to be called “a girl,” “girly,” etc. It suggests physical and emotional weakness, and at worse calls his masculinity into question. That is why Hope and Berle and others got such laughs–because they allowed themselves to be seen that way. It’s also the reason it used to be acceptable and funny for the members of the high school football team to dress up with wigs, to don skirts, and to wave poms poms at the school’s most. It was important rally of they year–the homecoming rally. It was funny because no one questioned the big jocks’ masculinity .

    So–fast forward to a group of men, gay men, who unlike those football players, have had their masculinity called into question most likely, and by males, most likely–so why would it be the feminine model they choose to mock,even in good fun (and some are not in good fun for all satire can get pretty dark).

    I am not offended–from a cultural standpoint, a human nature standpoint, since we have been talking a bit about sex roles, this sounds counterintuitive as I reflect on it.

    Why aren’t they making fun of the male world that rejected them, the masculine world into which they are not welcome and into which they do not fit?

    Is there some misogyny among some. If so, I would wonder why.

    Or, is there a desire among gay men to find “safe places” where they can dress as women. No offense intended, but is it a secret desire to be able to act like, dress like a woman? Thus, is this a fantasy fulfilled kind of thing?

  111. My own recurring Halloween Costume has been ‘hippy chick’…some see Mama Cass; others see Janis Joplin…so I let her be just ‘hippy chick’

    .)

    LOL! That I would love to see… 🙂

    @Carole:

    Why is it, can either of you explain, that in the gay man’s world there is an interest in or a need to mock/spoof/ any form of femininity or women?

    Ah, C’mon… Lighten up. 🙂 It’s acting. It’s comedy… Drag folk are wonderful people. They’re spoofing the sterotypes, not women. At local gay bars.I have enjoyed lesbians “spoof” gay men — often they were hilariously on target. We also spook Rush Linbaugh, Obama and and, leather queens and — any sterotype is fair game. We spoof the spoofable.

    It’s not just a “gay” thing. Straight men spoof women. (At least, I don’t think Bob Hope was gay). And locally, more young women than men attend these drag shows — and these seem to be straight women, often with either boyfriend or husband in tow.’

    The best shows are female impersonation — we have a guy locally who does a spot-on “Lucy” in the “Vita-meata-vegemin” bit. Very talented guy. Raises money for AIDS charities. Honoring Lucy. Not mocking.

    Others are just plain silly, making fools of them selves, not women, like the 300 pound guy at “Ripples” who does Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” choreography perfectly. Amazing! It’s theater. It’s show biz.

    But I agree with Eddy, when any kind of spoofing becomes a mockery of traditional femininity in a maliscious or demeaning way, it has gone too far.

  112. @Eddy, Michael,

    Thanks for the comments.

    Eddy said,

    besides affectations that we purposely take on, there is the realm of unconscious modeling. You watch a few too many femme fatale movies and find yourself holding a cigarette just so and delivering dramatic goodbyes.

    And since you both have posts mentioning drag —

    From Michael on “Edith”

    She would resist any and all efforts to label, classify or define her. But she loves to “dirty dance” after a couple of vodka gimlets.

    and from Eddy

    It makes me wonder whether ‘drag’, which is intended to be a spoofing, sometimes a mockery of traditional femininity,

    Why is it, can either of you explain, that in the gay man’s world there is an interest in or a need to mock/spoof/ any form of femininity or women?

    Other women and I have wondered: one would think that it might be the world of men, “traditional masculinity” that would be the target of men who felt different from the “average Joe”. After all, it is these straight men, not women, who were most likely to have teased, bullied, isolated gay boys and it is girls and women who were most understanding.

    Thus, the drag and the camp, it seems to me are especially cruel to women in many ways.

    What am I missing here? It has never made sense to me.

  113. As I understand it, ‘arsenokoita’ likely refers to your, by our definition, straight guy who has sex with a man as a man…i.e. he’s dominant and assumes a typically masculine role. ‘Malakos’, meaning ‘effeminate’ likely referred to one who always assumed the feminine or receptive role in a homosexual liaison and may have been a homosexual male prostitute. The context isn’t totally clear. Lots of questions have been raised. But I do doubt that the notion that ‘malakos’ referred to ‘camp drag’ has any substance.

    I’ve always been very tolerant of drag and amused by it but something in tonight’s descriptions seemed to shout that it was meant to be a perversion…a twisting. Surely that’s where the humor is. But what struck me was a reminder of a book I’d written before I ever entered ministry. I wrote the book–a children’s story–and another man did the illustrations. I had a female rabbit character in the book named Jenny. Of all the illustrations he came up with, Jenny offended me. His artistic portrayal of her made her look, to my mind, a tart rather than the innocent and demure Jenny I envisioned. As creator of the character, I was offended by his portrayal. It makes me wonder whether ‘drag’, which is intended to be a spoofing, sometimes a mockery of traditional femininity, might not be offensive to the Creator of women.

    It’s so difficult to fathom in our day of ‘openness’ and ‘permissiveness’ whether we’re evaluating things from an earthly standard or God’s. Whether that earthly standard has been unduly influenced by the Prince of Darkness…whether the ‘God standard’ isn’t overzealous conservative Christian thought. So, I make no conclusions or judgements, I simply wonder aloud. (My own recurring Halloween Costume has been ‘hippy chick’…some see Mama Cass; others see Janis Joplin…so I let her be just ‘hippy chick’.)

  114. IKatie: I have been looking at a lot of things wrong. I was thinking this was a “fight”, a contest — and all of you showed me it’s a discussion, a round tabl — more like a panel discussion than debate..

    Thanks to all of you — Mary, Katie, Ann, David, Warren Timothy, Evan, Concerned, Carole and Eddy (AKA exgaydude) — (did I miss anyone?) — for allowing me continue to participate — in spite of my pig-headedness. And I mean no offense to pigs… 🙂

  115. Michael,

    See? It’s all so simple. You were just looking at things all wrong 🙂

    K.

  116. @ Katie”

    It’s good to know that you’ll never be alone because you’ll always have a lady friend. So I guess when you have sex with yourself you’re straight.

    I’m straight? Wow! Finally! And I have Edith to thank! And after all those years of trying to become ex-gay… 🙂

  117. Eddy,

    I am stupefied that a teacher didn’t pick up on your “Which one do I swing at?”

  118. Eddy,

    From what I understand, the odds of loosing sight in one eye over the age of something like 5 years, is extraordinarily rare — to non-existent.

    K.

  119. @Evan,

    1.) That’s the kind of guy teenie-boppers, pre-adolescents, go for–he is androgynous, thus sexually unthreatening for the very young girls. There are, I know some college-aged girls attracted to that hypo-masculine look.

    2.) The hypermasculinity exhibited by gays was noted in California going back to the Venice muscle Beach guys (like Arrrrrhnold)—what was that, the late 60s or 70s? Most or at least a lot of those guys were gay.

    Stereotype or not, women always felt that a guy that paid too much attention to his looks or at least dressed to draw “too much attention” to himself or to development of his body (unless he was an athlete working out) made his sexuality suspect. That kind of behavior was viewed as vanity, a woman’s purview! Things have changed a bit but only a bit.

    Commercials/advertising promote the 6-pack abs look, but not too many non-jock males actually make a serious attempt to achieve it. They see it as the Calvin Klein underwear boy look and it screams gay to them.

  120. @Michael,

    Like my good friend Rob said regarding fem behavior, “After all, all gay guys have their gay moments!”

    I understand your “possibilites,” but in thinking about kids under 14, it’s likely #1 and #3 (modeling someone in the family, maybe?)

    Mostly it’s interesting to me from a neurological perspective. That gay boys grow up into gay men who find a cultural niche that sometimes mocks by engaging in high or low camp or through farcical enactments (Edith!) is not surprising.

    However, the behavior of young boys who are still years from finding “their tribe” or their “family” raises questions about brain differences between SSA kids/OSA kids.

  121. I did have surgery as well but it wasn’t until I was age 13. The results of the surgery were not as good as they hoped and, without my glasses, the lazy eye will immediately drift off to the corner. Even with my glasses, if I’ve been under a lot of visual strain, it can drift just slightly off center.

    Same thing happens to me, Eddy, when I am fatigued. I wore the patch when I was little before my parents opted for surgery. I have had issues with depth perception, but I don’t sweat it. I can shoot as straight as an arrow, so it can’t be all that bad. I like sporting clays, FYI. Gonna get to indulge that little passion next week. I also was an expert marksman in the Marines.

  122. Michael,

    It’s good to know that you’ll never be alone because you’ll always have a lady friend. So I guess when you have sex with yourself you’re straight 🙂

    K.

  123. Eddy,

    I used to live in fear of Jason going blind in one eye. So I would periodically take him to different vision experts, because how to deal with strabismus is contraversial, and so you get different therapy recommendations.

    So… eventually I took him to Bascomb Palmer, one of the world’s leading vision clinic’s.

    Finally, I was told the scoop about going blind: The numbers of people who loose vision in one eye over the age of 5 or 7 is extraordinarily small. Can’t remember the exact age.

    But it’s young, younger than Jason was when I took him at age 8.

    So the odds of you going blind at your age is pretty much non-existent.

    Jason plays a huge amount of video games. I’ve been told that it’s actually very good therapy for him. Wew, less guilt on my part that I’m not more restrictive about his video game habits.

    Katie

  124. One more thing about my alter ego, “Edith” — she is a difficult one to categorize. She has pushed sexual feelings so far down that she is hardly aware of having any. She fell in love with a man once, but he left her shortly before they were to be married — for another man.

    She is a a very private person usually. She does not think of herself as gay, straight or bisexual. She is too busy as a public health nurse to think about such things. She would resist any and all efforts to label, classify or define her. But she loves to “dirty dance” after a couple of vodka gimlets.

  125. I’m not quite sure how we took the detour re my lazy eye condition but I am glad we did. Thanks, Katie, I did a little research and it seems clear to me that I do have strabismus. I doubt that it will change anything but it is good to know.

    I did have to wear an eyepatch occasionally as a young teen. (You can bet there were no feelings of awkwardness about that. 🙂 ) And, I bought one a few years ago that I occasionally employ when I feel that the lazy one isn’t even stepping up to his usual duties. The other night, after the intense two days online, it took about an hour or two for me to regain normal focus. My eyes could do it at the computer but then when I changed the field of vision…outside, street signs, neighbors faces, etc….it took them awhile. Most of the time, though, I forget that I have a problem.

    I got two good things from the articles I read. 1) It explained my issues with depth perception and now I’ll be more forgiving of myself when I parallel park and find that I’m 2 feet from the curb and 3 feet from the car behind me. 2) I’ve had a vague memory of over-hearing my eye doctor tell my mom that I could go blind in one eye. And it’s been a recurring source of fear and dread. Now, I think I understand what I overheard better…and don’t need to live in fear that I’ll wake up some morning blind in one eye.

    Debbie–

    I did have surgery as well but it wasn’t until I was age 13. The results of the surgery were not as good as they hoped and, without my glasses, the lazy eye will immediately drift off to the corner. Even with my glasses, if I’ve been under a lot of visual strain, it can drift just slightly off center.

    LOL. I do have some rather odd perspectives on life. I still don’t consider this eye condition as a disability. The brain processes fascinate me and I wouldn’t have known of them if I didn’t have the condition. (That trick with the line and the dot…where most people’s brains will merge the two…I found that fascinating.) The peculiarity of not being able to use binoculars (unless I close one eye) oh–and trouble with those ‘hidden image’ posters that were so popular about 10 years back. Every once in a while, I could actually see a hidden image but usually, even though I understood the concept, I simply couldn’t see them. Oh, and the illustration of miscommunication in my ‘which one do you swing at’ is priceless as a life lesson.

  126. Here’s a little trick you may not have considered re the porn image memories. Remember that the people who appear in the porn are real and that they’ve likely led some rough lives, likely don’t have too many people praying for them. Next time a porn-image memory pops up, begin praying for the people behind the image.

    Thanks, Eddy. That’s a good suggestion. Fortunately, they don’t come up as much these days as they used to. Time does help.

    Carole, I have seen studies suggesting that women are more into porn these days than we tend to think. I wouldn’t say I had an addiction, and I have very rarely seen Internet porn as my problems went back to pre-Internet days. It took a lot more to view porn before the Internet explosion, thankfully.

    Eddy, as regards your possible lazy eye problem: I am quite familiar with this condition as I was born with it. I had surgery when I was four on both eyes. My vision was 20/20 for a long time and I wore ugly bifocals until I was 15. Didn’t need glasses again until middle age, for reading mostly. I can’t look through binoculars worth a toot either, and my right eye is still dominant. I always thought lazy eye was a congenital condition that showed up early. Maybe not. My cousin had it and did not have surgery. She is legally blind in her weak eye.

  127. BTW, Some gay men speak of their alter ego — or “drag persona”. MIne is “Edith” the public health nurse. I dressed up as her once for Halloween.

    Poor Edith. She is sexually uptight — Republican — and she has hair problem — but she is sweet and caring. People like her — in spite of the chest hair and 5 o’clock shadow. On the dance floor, she cuts loose.

    I like her. Sometimes, a costume helps you discover parts of yourself you didn’t know you had.

  128. The question seems to be, “Why would anyone violate a cultural norm (like masculine/feminine) – and risk punishment, even risk their lives — if they could help it?”

    Here are some possiblities:

    (1) Some can’t help it. They may just have a stature, voice or facial features that people tend to think of as “girlish” or “feminine”.

    (2) Some don’t want to help it. Some enjoy making a statement, or attracting attention. Some are activley challenging cultural norms, trying to change them. Some like the shock value.

    (3) Some of it you just “absorb” without realizing it. I stayed two weeks in Alanta. When I came back, some folks here commented on my accent — and asked if I was doing it “on purpose”. I also had developed a liking for catfish and hush puppies.

    (4) For some, it is theater. They do it for comic effect — even I do it for that reason. It’s “camp”. Think Paul Linde on Hollywood Squares — or Milton Berle in a dress.

    I am sure there are many other variations. And we should keep in mind that concepts like “masculine” and “feminine” are largely defined by culture — and time. “Manly” men in some tribes wear the make-up and extravagant adornments to attract the most “feminine” females. “Manly” men used to wear powdered wigs and stockings.

    Which is why I have always had trouble with Paul’s condemnation of “the effeminate” and “homosexuals” in First Corinthians chapter 6. Partly based on this passage, some are CERTAIN that God will send unrepentant gays to Hell, but they can’t really tell you why the “malakoi” (effeminate) should burn. When you ask, they kinda give you a blank stare…

  129. Strabismus is just an eye thing. But it’s a little different than lazy eye — or sometimes it’s meant to refer to the same thing.

    But you probably should look it up. It’s kind of interesting.

    There’s a whole movement out there advocating visual therapy based on thinking about strabismus (often called lazy eye).

    Strabismus is a brain-based thing.

    Lazy eye is more about the muscles in the eyes.

    K.

  130. LOL. It’s been diagnosed as lazy eye…never tested for the strabismus thing…yikes, now I’ll have to look that up. Maybe I have both!

    But, the lazy eye for sure! If I take my glasses off, my left eye immediately takes a turn for the corner.

    Re balance. I like to think that I’m spiritually balanced…nah, I get what you’re asking. I think I’m normal there (or close to the norm). When I first mount a bike, I’m not as sure as most. Couldn’t just leap and go…have to steady it until I get one foot securely planted on a pedal and still start our wobbly. But I can walk a curb or a railroad track for a reasonable distance without losing it. I think I managed a rail for about 130 steps before losing my footing. (Yes, I do play such games as an adult.) No trouble whatsoever with the diving board at the pool.

  131. Katie–

    If I don’t watch out these musings could send me on a serious detour of introspection. What I was famous for was being this ‘tiny adult’. (I was also hyper-short…even now, I’m only 5′ 1″ but that was after the growth spurts of my teen years.) But I digress. Even at 6 to 8 years old, besides devouring every book that I was allowed to get my hands on, I was known to knock on an adult neighbor’s door ‘just to chat’. (Don’t get weird images…it was several and they were all known to my parents.) And they humored me. I’d have all sorts of ‘meaning of life’ questions.

    As a teenager and part of a church group, several of my friends made an issue of the fact that I never looked anyone in the eye…as if I was always looking just over their shoulder at some imaginary person behind them. I don’t know why it never occurred to me that that might have been connected to the lazy eye. I assumed it was some deep-seated insecurity playing out and worked like hell to correct it. (Now I’m wondering if I wasn’t accidentally looking from my lazy eye and somehow shifted the intensity of focus to the good one.) LOL. And after all these years, does it really matter?

    Re: gay men and femininity

    I don’t have any conclusions but

    1) we sometimes brand things as ‘feminine’ simply because they aren’t ‘masculine. A limp wrist, for example, is actually neither masculine or feminine.

    2) some, but certainly not all, feminine physical traits on gay men are affectations. Yes, they could set us up to be bullied or harassed but they also helped us to connect with other gay men. Often the hoped for connection (not necessarily sex, just connection with like-minded people) outweighed the harassment risk.

    3) besides affectations that we purposely take on, there is the realm of unconscious modeling. You watch a few too many femme fatale movies and find yourself holding a cigarette just so and delivering dramatic goodbyes.

    There’s obviously so much more to the issue of gays and feminity but I thought I’d add these musings to themix.

  132. Oh, Eddy, do you have lazy eye, or strabismus?

    When I read it again, it sounds more like strabismus.

    The bike riding, etc…

    How’s your balance now?

    K.

  133. Eddy,

    It’s been sort of interesting with my son, Jason.

    The professionals I like the most don’t think he has a learning disability at all.

    They think it’s more physical, including the strabismus, and that his physical disabilities are interfacing socially in a way that mimics developmental dissabilities, like Non-Verbal Learning Disorder or Asperger’s.

    And also because he’s very smart and so has interests which are unusual for his age. Just to brag, he’s currently watching a college level lecture series on dark matter and dark energy.

    I sort of watch it with him, just to get the drift.

    If I have a question, he explains it to me.

    So he seems like an Asperger’s “little professor”, but doesn’t have the typical obsession with routine, is more gregarious, etc….

    But physically and in vocabulary he seems Asperger’s.

    Overall, I think the strabismus effects him the most. Not only because he misses social cues, but also because when he looks at people they don’t feel he’s meeting their gaze, which can be very off-putting.

    But, like some of the debates here, the debates surrounding learning disabilities, how to classify who, etc…. is no easy task. And not yet a science, there’s still a lot of art involved.

    K.

  134. I posted an image in the post above, but it didn’t get displayed.

    ..Meh, Warren keeps IMG tags locked.

  135. @Michael

    I have a parable on this. Before Michael Jackson rose to stardom in the 80’s, many black artists were complaining they didn’t get enough exposure on TV (especially MTV). His success created a breakthrough for black artists then, but for some reasons he gradually changed the colour of his skin. For someone with worldwide exposure, that was very significant. Even if what he claimed was true (that he had a skin condition), I think many perceived him as the pop superhero who went beyond his nature to look like he was white. It seemed like a feat worthy of a pop superhero figure, who couldn’t be tied down to ordinary rules.

    What happened more recently is that with Obama’s ascent to power in your country, perceptions changed and, according to some opinions, we enter in a post-racial era. The game changed and Michael Jackson was left in the offside.

    A similar reversal takes place in what is considered typical for a straight and what not. In my generation, which is more dramatic and primarily communicates using emotions, going out of your way to look masculine is a sign of gayness.

  136. @Michael,

    Some thought before I go–still thinking about your observation. It raises the interesting question about how any of us, male or female, gay or straight, learn to walk, talk, gesture, speak, etc. How much of our mannerisms are due to our modeling other people’s behavior, how much due to other factors, or to no factors at all. I have not read any research about this and don’t really know how much behaviorists have even studied it.

    I do know that my son went through several phases where he imitated everything his daddy did. As we sat at the dinner table, my husband and I often stifled our giggles as we saw our son staring at the way my husband sat. When my husband said something, a few minutes later, my son repeated it…that kind of thing. I used to watch him walk behind his daddy trying to walk the way my husband did.

    I am sure we all remember in elementary school, the girl in the class who ran “like a prissy girl.” We had games organized by the teacher–you know the one where the kids are put into teams and they stand in a line, awaiting their turn. They had to race down the blacktop to pick up an Indian club, one at a time, and run it back toa teammate. Simple–fastest team wins. Now, even the girls in the class had to bite their tongues to not criticize the girl who ran with feet and legs flapping off to the side, arms bent at the elbows, with palms skyward. We just didn’t understand how that could be perceived as a natural way to run. It’s not that we were upset such a girl was slow–we just couldn’t believe that that way of running came naturally. It’s as if we believed (and maybe we were right, I don’t know ) that she wanted to run that way. Who knows?

    So, I was thinking about what my cousin, who spent years teaching second and third graders and sometimes fourth graders said–many (certainly not all) of the boys who she knows later were gay boys, had problems with large motor skills at a very young age. She thinks that is the reason they didn’t like physical activities at that age–not that they weren’t interested in such simple things as running and the games associated with running, but that they simply weren’t good at it yet. They had not yet developed large muscle co-ordination.

    I just throw that out as an observation with no conclusions.

  137. Katie–

    It was weird that I never thought of my eye thing as a ‘disability’ or considered other ramifications…but it took me years to learn to tie my shoes. Now that you’ve mentioned it, I’m wondering how my focus issues played into this. It might also explain my slowness or apprehension re thinks like bike-riding (I was 12 before I learned how) and driving (late 20’s). I’m now wondering if my vision issues, while mostly corrected, aren’t aggravated by fast-movement…focus gets messed with.

    An optometrist finally explained to me one of the dynamics of lazy eye. You can correct both eyes to 20/20 vision but they don’t. The brain learns to ‘see’ with the good eye and to ‘supplement’ with the lazy eye. So, if you’ve got uncorrected lazy eye, they’ll weaken prescription for the lazy one to ensure that it doesn’t try to dominate perception. Since the brain is pretty amazing, most of us wouldn’t even notice this difference. With me, I notice mostly on that one eye test where they put a red line in front of one eye and a red dot in front of the other and they want you to tell them when they cross. My brain NEVER crosses them. It’s either/or. I also can’t use binoculars worth a hoot. My vision keeps wanting to focus from one side or the other but won’t put the blended picture together.

    Debbie–

    Here’s a little trick you may not have considered re the porn image memories. Remember that the people who appear in the porn are real and that they’ve likely led some rough lives, likely don’t have too many people praying for them. Next time a porn-image memory pops up, begin praying for the people behind the image.

  138. @Michael,

    I asked,

    Was the kind of fem behavior of some gay men in the past purposeful affective behavior (ie, an act?) and if so why was it adopted at all considering its high risk?

    I meant “purposeful affected behavior”…

    This typing problem is driving me crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’ll check in later…it’s off to lunch.

  139. @Debbie,

    From what I have read, it’s unusual for women to be interested much in porn. It’s unusual for them to get addicted for sure.

  140. @Michael,

    So, your comments provoke an interesting question or two:

    1) In previous generations of gay men (say, in this country) was behavior that we normally call a bit “feminine” (not just interests, but behaviors such as gestures) an act of sorts that a gay boy who had become a man developed in order to distinguish himself from straight men? That seems unlikley since such behavior often caused danger in the male straight world.

    2) Bailey and others have identified gender-atypical behavior as a child as a predictor of later SSA. So, if the guys you saw at the beach were not exhibiting any of the behavior that evidently you and your partner associate with gay men, then my question would be

    —Was the kind of fem behavior of some gay men in the past purposeful affective behavior (ie, an act?) and if so why was it adopted at all considering its high risk?

    OR

    –Was the kind of non-fem behavior you witnessed yesterday an act?

    OR

    –Could there be biological reasons for the difference? (I know….no one really has the info necessary to answer this one

    Anyway, the observations raises very interesting questions? What’s your take?

  141. I stopped by this old thread for a bit. Curiosity, I guess, and I had a little more time today than I’ve had recently.

    Carole, I was particularly interested in some of your comments. I wonder, for instance, about your musing on porn, gay or otherwise. It may be generationally different for women, as you allude to. But I have to tell you I was one of those women who did get sucked into it (all kinds) for a while. I don’t know how representative of others I am, as I have not polled folks on this. Nor would they all answer honestly, I think, if I did ask.

    If I could have a do-over of one thing in my life, I’d pick the porn phase. Highly damaging and so very hard to wipe those images off your memory. Way harder than (mostly) forgetting an actual liaison.

  142. I agree.

    As soon as I wrote the thing about more gays into antiques, I started to wonder, “Is this really my experience?” .

    And you know what? I really don’t know when I really think about it. I can say this, antiques attract a flamboyant crowd, both straight and gay, so maybe it seems there’s more gay because you just remember them more due to their flamboyance.

    What grades did you teach?

    K.

  143. Too much to catch up on. Just wanted to say that even though I think it’s reasonsable that some people may i”dentify” as gay or engage in gay sex because of some sort of “maleness deficit” (that has become sexualized), I don’t think this explains all or even most homosexuality.

    Maybe we should be talking of “homosexualities” (plural), not “homosexuality” — since there seem to be so many variations and possible explanations for them. There are degrees and types. No one explanation fits all.

    BTW, yesterday at West Street Beach in Laguna (the “gay” beach), we were watching the (presumably) gay guys who were taking in the sand and surf. Many hotties, but no stereotypic “gay” behavior in sight!

    In dress, language and behavior, it seemed as though these boys were making a deliberate effort to not appear “gay” — even at a gay beach. In other words, no effeminate behavior allowed.

    My lover, Scott, commented that “Straight is the new Gay”. I know guys have had tried to “cover” in the past, but this seemed to be something new, more obvious, for this generation of gays.

    For this generation, it’s the appearance of being gay, not actually being gay, that is the issue. No one seems to care if you are gay — as long as you are a “dude”. Being a “straight” gay is more acceptable and more attractive to other “straight” gays.

    I think Scott and I are going to get a couple of T-shirts made: “Straight is the new gay”… 🙂

  144. Katie,

    People have different experiences. For instance, Eddy said something about gay men being more creative. You replied that when you taught Creative Writing (or Lit.?) that you didn’t find that to be so.

    But in my experience, gay men are highly over-represented in the visual arts and the world of antiques.

    My dancer friends make the same observation.

    Same with my friends who were/are involved with acting, etc….

    I mentioned that in my years of teaching I wouldn’t say they were “more creative.” I added that this personal reflections were definitely not scientific.

    Here, more specifically, is what I observed: for most of my career (not the last decade) students were tracked by skill level. My area was English –literature, composition, speech, etc. Of course, in some classes such as calculus or the honors’ or AP courses in any discipline, the very nature of the courses retained the tracking aspect. Thus, yes, I taught many courses in which all the kids were bright and had high skills, but I also taught many in which the kids were slow and were lacking in skills.

    Gay kids performed as did their straight cohorts. The work of the bright ones in high level classes could not be distinguished from the work of the straight ones in high level classes. Similarly, the work of the slower ones could not be distinguished from that of the slower ones in the lower level classes.

    Electives such as drama and art classes? Yes, you found a higher % of gay kids in those electives than you did in the electronics, shop, or phys ed electives. In the drama department, you’d see kids that were probably gay in higher percentages than you’d find them in the other departments.

    So? What do my observations tell me? Who knows? Probably nothing much because it’s not a scientific sample. Up above, we were speaking anecdotally. Obviously there were gay kids we didn’t identify so there’s a number that are not even accounted for in my anecdotal evidence.

    However, if I had to guess, I’d say that it’s like it is for all minority groups: we tend to remember those who stand out, whether it’s for good behavior or poor behavior, whether it’s for top-notch work or really rotten work.

    I think there’s a tendency to see gay teens as involved in certain fields because in those fields they are allowed to express themselves (drama) and are thus more likely to be recognized. The gay kid sitting in the middle of the room in a middle level math class is not likely to be remembered or even recognized.

    Then too, certain fields are more welcoming of what is often called “eccentricity” so one could make a point that certain fields are appealing and welcoming to a kid who feels different more than other fields are perceived to be. I wonder how many gay boys were scared off from some of our other electives because they perceived they’d not feel comfortable there?

    For example, at our school, at one time there was a very good selection of classes in metals and plastics. Kids got to build things. The teacher was top-notch and the money was flowing–thus materials were easy to come by. (No more). The classes combined the technical with the creative, and many of what I would call “jock types” took the classes because they could build their own kayaks and canoes although there were other choices for projects. The kids in the metals classes created beautiful sculptures, but again, the class was popular with the “jock” culture as well as with others so I wonder if some gay boys nixed those courses ? A possibility.

    When it comes to performance, kids who perform at a high level, whether it’s in math, drama, music, writing, sports, are the ones who are noticed, and all the ones who are non-exceptional? Forgotten.

    Females went into teaching and nursing for over a century. How much of that was because of lack of ability in other areas? How much was due to societal/cultural restrictions that didn’t allow them to explore other fields? How much might be the result of “natural inclinations” or cognitive functions specific to females in general?

    Why did so many girls eschew sports and simply sit in the bleachers as children, watching alongside their parents as their brothers played ball? Because–there were no avenues for their participation. Today, my neighborhood park is filled with as many little girls and teenagers playing soccer, T-ball, softball

    as boys. Why? They have felt welcome. They have been encouraged from a very young age.

    To date, our measuring devices and data from such devices do not allow us to conclude much .

  145. Debra and Evan,

    I don’t care who’s right, I just really enjoyed the discussion.

    If anyone wants to debate the difference between the genome and the epigenome, go for it.

    I’d love to hear.

    K.

  146. @Lynn David

    The deeper we go into this subject, the more we can see that there is no definitive knowledge on it. It’s a shaky ground that doesn’t permit any conclusions on whether there is any link between bonobos’ sexual behaviours and humans’ or not. It is probable that the western chimp separated from the common ancestor some X thousand years, it is probable that there was no gene circulation between them, and so on.

    You could have said what you said above and not demanded that the common chimp is closer to humans than bonobos, which we do not at this time know. You obviously had a reason for saying it.

    The reason was that that was what I remembered it was the case, last time I checked (next time I’ll check before I write). I don’t spend my time checking each day the state of knowledge on chimps and bonobos.:) I remembered that scientists believed the common chimp to be closest to humans. As we got deeper with the arguments and I checked the info, a more complex picture emerged: unbeknowst to me they finished sequencing both genomes and they already did a genetic comparison between humans and common chimps. I could say that this is the evidence we are evolutionarily closest to (but still far from) the common chimps, because the evidence is lacking right now for the humans-bonobos comparison. But we have to wait and see what a complete analysis, one that would include bonobos, will reveal. It’s still odd that two so closely genetically related species from the same genus have such different sexual and aggressive behaviours. What is more — they are evolutionarily more distant from humans then they are from each other, but people in this debate use them as an example supposed to be revelatory of human behaviours.

    Do you think all behavior is genetically programmed in animals but not in man?

    Not in the case of complex behaviour. Not even the much-studied rodents have 100% genetically programmed sexual instincts – it’s the sexually naive that use only pheromone sex discrimination, the more mature specimens learn to rely on other cues too. So that smell-based error-free system seems like a default program, put in place in case a mouse is unable to properly identify members of the opposite-sex and reproduce. But mice, chimps and bonobos don’t have adolescence, right? That’s one big difference right there. Humans take a longer time to develop and after that the outcome is still open-ended.

    Let’s not get too focused on this… I think we both agree there is not enough information to use the bonobo argument either way, OK?

  147. Eddy,

    I’ve been thinking about how such a little thing like double or tripple vision can impact upon someone.

    My son, who’s nine, has strabismus (where the eyes don’t track at the same time). As he gets older, he’s more capable of controling it. But he grew up with a lot of double vision.

    He’s been diagnosed with various developmental delays/learning disorders — from Asperger’s, Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, Sensory Integration Disorder, etc…. He doesn’t seem to fit any of the boxes, so lots of diagnosis depending on who sees him.

    He’s doing great though. In his case his prognosis is very good.

    He just may never learn to tie his shoes.

    Very poor fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination. Yet he’s super good at video games and playing the drums. It seem it’s sort of like a person who stutters yet can sing.

    It’s amazing to me how greater awareness of learning disabilties are changing things. He’s certainly a potential target of being teased, but his class mates just seem to accept that he’s different, with different strengths and weaknesses.

    He does, however, get asked if he’s from Britain. Which is sort of funny.

    K.

  148. Warren ,

    I asked an IT friend of mine what the yellow triangle in the lower left hand part of the screen with the notation “done but with errors on page” means. She said: “The little yellow triangle in the right bottom corner of your browser is indicating that there is an error in the JavaScript code on the page you are viewing. It’s not harmful to your machine. It may explain the difficulties you are having trying to type though so someone should notify the webmaster.

    Can you tell your webmaster? I am having to type on an email account, then cut and paste onto this blue typing box.

  149. There are many myths in the popular culture, encouraged by some in the gay community, which are similar to those described above. Some of these may have been encouraged by the scientific community.

    The scientific community should be better than this.

    Narth should set the standard for dealing with the distorted myths encouraged by those who hate people with SSA.

    It should set the standard by being scientific.

  150. My generation is more apt to think we’re still fighting Victorianism, and that freedom equals freeing our sexual impulses.

    It doesn’t seem to me that my nieces and nephews worry so much if they’re stuck in Victorianism — doesn’t seem to be an issue, or at least much less so.

    Just my impressions.

    Carole,

    People have different experiences. For instance, Eddy said something about gay men being more creative. You replied that when you taught Creative Writing (or Lit.?) that you didn’t find that to be so.

    But in my experience, gay men are highly over-represented in the visual arts and the world of antiques.

    My dancer friends make the same observation.

    Same with my friends who were/are involved with acting, etc….

    Why we would have such different experiences of the matter, I have no idea. But my recent involvement in sexually abused adults wouldn’t explain such difference.

    I’m trying to get an impression of over-representation in the language arts…. Sure, there are gay poets and novelists, but I have no impression one way or the other if they’re over-represented in the way they seem obviously to be in the more visual arts.

    K.

  151. And from what I can tell in the present teens, early 20’s generation, is that among the kids who value doing well in school (which has it’s own coolness now), choosing to not be promiscuous is cool, and needs no further justification, either religious or political.

    And not just for the girls, but the boys as well.

    At least to a higher degree than when I was growing up.

  152. And in part what I meant, isn’t a political stance taken by this or that generation…. Or liberalism vs. conservatism.

    But the fact that, for instance, my generation grew up with porn mags in every 7-11. Your generation saw women fighting for “sexual freedom”, my generation experienced more profoundly the double edge sword of the freedom, where if you don’t say “yes” you’re a looser.

    My generation of women have, to a large degree, felt compelled to view porn at least sometimes if for no other reason than to insure their ‘coolness’, or not express their differences with men.

    My generation of women was more prone to count the scalps of their conquests, much like it’s assumed all men do.

    It seems to me that your generation was more about fighting for the right to do such things if one chooses.

    My generation wasn’t sure it was a choice or not to express as many sexual impulses as possible, but a necessity to prove they fit in.

    Etc….

  153. Carol,

    I trust Rob as much as I’d trust a completely straight guy not to go have sex with someone else.

    My concern isn’t so much about cheating or not as being content or not, and not just in the sexual realm — but in a variety of ways.

    Coherts — I suspect we might just have different coherts, or different people with whom either of us has talked intimately. And no, I don’t mean my coherts are the sexually abused, but my unabused friends as well.

    I suspect our differences are more along the lines of the latest exchange between Lynn and David.

    And also your greater knowledge of science.

    For instance, Me? I just speculate, with no ability to ground such speculation, that if what physicists are saying about dark matter and dark energy is true, then there’s a limit to human knowledge built into the structure of the universe itself.

    Again, however, I have no ability to actually debate the specifics of dark matter and dark energy. My 9 year old son understands it better than I do.

    K.

  154. @Katie,

    Forget everything else.

    Bottom line: Have you been essentially “studying” human sexual reactions/practices, etc. in order to make sense of your fiance’s sexual problem? In order to determine if he can ever in his eyes and yours “get well sexually”? In order to determine the wisdom of your decision to marry him?

    Because if so, it appears you have tied yourself up in an academic knot.

    What you want to know is if the guy you love is one day going to go out and have sex with someone else, sex with a man, right?

    Has he been faithful for the 4 years you’ve been together? Does he want anyone else? Can you be happy with him AS HE IS? Do you trust him? Does he trust himself?

    No amount of digging for psychological explanations of his mind-set can answer those questions for you.

  155. Evan….. Just a small fraction of genome differences ==> huge behavioural differences between chimps and bonobos.

    Huh? Do you think all behavior is genetically programmed in animals but not in man?

    A bigger difference between chimps and humans ==> how much relevance would have the comparison between their sexual behaviours?

    I consider socialization and some behaviors to at times have its own ‘evolutionary path’ outside of that demanded by genetics.

    That’s why it’s a stretch to use comparisons between non-human animal behaviours and human ones.

    So the work of Jane Goodall and others is totally ridiculous?

    You could have said what you said above and not demanded that the common chimp is closer to humans than bonobos, which we do not at this time know. You obviously had a reason for saying it. As far as a genetic trigger for a homosexual orientation goes, that could be turned off and on as species evolve for any of a number of reasons. Being closer to another animal which does exhibit homosexuality doesn’t necessarily mean that another species will also exhibit homosexuality (meaning have a homosexual orientation extant in the species).

  156. @Evan,

    That’s why it’s a stretch to use comparisons between non-human animal behaviours and human ones.

    Yes, I think David pointed this out many posts ago. I was reading some literature that pointed out that while all the great apes share more than 90% of our DNA, that is virtually meaningless when we are looking for data that helps us understand human behavior. The point was impressively made by pointing out the DNA that natural siblings share: look at how different they are from one another.

  157. But I think I might be of a younger generation from you, one that might be more willing to express their desire to turn the tables and let men be “submissive” for once.

    Have to disagree with you here. Because of my former profession, I still spend a whole lot of time with people much younger than I. They share a lot.

    Where I do think we differ is in our cohorts, and it seems to me that much of what you see may be in the process of being shaped by your involvement in the world of the sexually abused.

    In addition, I know that where I live is abundantly more open and liberal in both action and thought than the rest of the country. Do you really think that what you have been saying in this thread would be accepted as the norm of thinking about sex, sex roles, etc. among 20-somethings in the vast middle of the country, even among the college-educated, in places, like say, Springfield, Ill or Tulsa, Ok or Scranton, Penn. or or Dubuque, Iowa or Bowling Green, Ohio or Reno, Nev. etc.?

    I find what you are saying to be at the center of psych courses or fem studies courses in universities like UC Berkeley with which I am very familiar since it’s close by.

    Also, I’ll add that it was my generation that first called for men to find their “feminine sides” and to involve themselves in child birth and child-rearing in ways their fathers hadn’t.

    Again, hope you don’t take offense.

  158. I was at the beach and missed all of this. Had too much fun to think now. Will catch up tomorrow…

  159. Katie,

    So I’m not sure that if we’re not threatened, then we’d experience homophobia.

    Well, if you think about it, the fight or flight instinct is our most basic and it involves physical fear and psychological fear. So yes, one could liken a refusal to watch such acts a flight from what they know they find distasteful. That leads to the question of our “hard-wiring” (for lack of a better term).

    To watch something one finds repulsive is not against our nature. I think you complicate things too much. Watching someone on Survivor swallowing a live insect is repulsive to many, including me. Not too complicated.

  160. Evan….. The bonobo genome sequence has just been finished this year in March, at the Max Planck Institute, so it might take some time to have a genome-wide comparison between humans and bonobos and compare it with the human-common chimp analysis I referred to, because there are genetic differences between common chimps and bonobos too (doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030066, see Table 3).

    So you mean this statement of theirs concerning Table 3?

    A particularly intriguing feature of the allele frequency differentiation results is that the allele frequency differentiation between bonobos and western chimpanzees is higher than that between bonobos and central or eastern chimpanzees (Table 3). This likely reflects greater genetic drift in the western lineage since divergence, as has also been suggested by an analysis of resequencing data [17].

    Western common chimps are therefore the ‘odd chimp out’ as not being closer to that chimp ancestor which was more akin to man (and according to some researchers, interbreeding with that line which led to man). It is the central and eastern band and even the bonobo which is thus closer to that ancestor. So?

    And as I stated the genomic difference between bonobo and common chimps (all such chimps?) is only set at 0.3%. The western common chimps differentiated from other common chimps about 500,000 years ago, the rest – eastern and central bands differentiated about 250,000 years ago. Bonobos differentiated about 800,000+ years ago. Or is it that the common chimp left the bonobo? The bonobo may be a more ‘ancient’ form of chimpanzee and thus closer to man. The genome should tell.

    .

    However it seems to me that all species, subspecies of Pan are pretty much our closest relative, and differentiating between them is nit-picking. I suppose you offered this up because you might fear the idea that early homoninas (humans – homonins other than Pan and Gorilla) might have been socialized like the bonobo.

  161. @Katie,

    I have never seen lesbian sex–never even occurred to me to think there was such a thing as lesbian porn. Thinking about it, I guess I have the same reaction to thoughts of it as my husband has to watching a snippet of gay porn–no thanks.

    BTW, yes, it does involve a revulsion–I don’t call that “homophobic” or “gynophobic” as we commonly think of the layperson’s use of the terms but perhaps you do.

    I have to admit that I don’t understand half of what you say, no disrespect intended at all.

  162. Lynn D

    Just a small fraction of genome differences ==> huge behavioural differences between chimps and bonobos.

    A bigger difference between chimps and humans ==> how much relevance would have the comparison between their sexual behaviours?

    That’s why it’s a stretch to use comparisons between non-human animal behaviours and human ones.

  163. Ann,

    Sometimes I think that to articulate the sexual journey in a christian atmosphere is stifling and gets in the way of healing and discussing in conferences or seminars the strategies for healing. Thankfully my therapist is a couples counselor – I’m sure she has heard a lot. (eyes rolling)

  164. Carol,

    If I stand back as an observer, I”m either somewhere between intrigued and bored by lesbian sex.

    It’s only when I get real up close, bring my self or identity, in a personal way, that I have a phobic response to lesbian sex.

    It’s like the difference between standing 10 feet away and 1 foot away.

    Prior to my experience with Rob, I never had experienced a homophobic response.

    Lesbian sex was boring, gay sex was pretty darn interesting, and straight sex was exciting.

    But no homophobic response.

    I’ve noticed that lots of women who find out their lovers are really bi/gay go through a period of their own sexual identity crisis, and this gets expressed through homophobia — panic, fear, disgust, etc… as in phobia 🙂

    And most of the women weren’t in touch with homophobia prior to this.

    So I’m not sure that if we’re not threatened, then we’d experience homophobia.

    But it does seem to me that the low level reaction of – yuk might sometimes indicate that, if threatened, there’s a potential for more than – yuk.

    And it doesn’t seem to me that you NEED yuk in order to structure exclusivity.

    Merely strong attachments COULD structure exclusivity. Like right now I’m exclusively interested in sex with Rob. Not because I find Fred yuky, but simply because I’m positively attached to Rob.

    Why wouldn’t sexual exclusivity be more like this?

    I don’t know Carole, think more’s going on than the natural outcome of either exclusive OSA or SSA. Like the NEED to insure structure, guard the boundaries.

    As far as where I’m coming from since you assume I’m behind the times both scientifically and psychologically: I have nowhere near the science background you do. And when I do read science, I manage to catch the drift, not the details.

    As far as psychology, I like attachment theory and relational theory, especially the really good writers. I don’t tend to read it as science, but more like poetry, or a novel.

    I like a lot of the older psychoanalysts too, for similar reasons. Andre Green can move me to tears. Is he right? For me, that’s like asking if Sylvia Plath is right.

    And oh, there’s some small number of women who find gay men very exciting, think they have a well developed inner gay man themselves.

    And in my experience, lots of women find images of gay sex intriguing because it breaks the boundary of men being “submissive” and penetrated.

    But I think I might be of a younger generation from you, one that might be more willing to express their desire to turn the tables and let men be “submissive” for once.

    Most just don’t want THEIR man to be gay 🙂

    K.

  165. That’s what I was saying, Lynn David:

    The bonobo is the dwarf chimpanzee, the sex-crazed one. The other one is the common cimpanzee, which is more aggressive and less sexual. Only the first one is known to use sex to negotiate social relations. Until now, there is only preliminary evidence from genome analysis that humans are closest to the common chimpanzee (doi:10.1038/nature04072). The bonobo genome sequence has just been finished this year in March, at the Max Planck Institute, so it might take some time to have a genome-wide comparison between humans and bonobos and compare it with the human-common chimp analysis I referred to, because there are genetic differences between common chimps and bonobos too (doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030066, see Table 3).

  166. Katie Cannon….. seem to remember reading something by one person who’s done genetic studies on Chimps and Bonobos, and they seem to be saying that they’re so closely related that they should be thought of as more along the lines of different races than species — I think this is what they said anyway.

    I don’t doubt it. I have seen them described as ‘subspecies’ by other researchers. The definition of a species is a homogenous, interbreeding group of individuals. Since the two species of Pan are separated by the Congo River which they cannot cross and they have rather different socialization, they easily fit into the definition as separate species.

    The races of man are much closer genetically, virtually the same, because of a possible bottleneck (there are other ideas concerning this) that occurred in the development of Homo sapiens about 50-60,000 years ago when the population was thought to have been decreased perhaps a few thousand individuals. The species of Pan are thought to have separated much further back than that (800,000 years ago).

  167. Lynn David,

    I seem to remember reading something by one person who’s done genetic studies on Chimps and Bonobos, and they seem to be saying that they’re so closely related that they should be thought of as more along the lines of different races than species — I think this is what they said anyway.

    Anyway, is their relationship something more like this?

    Katie

  168. Evan…. Bonobos… Are not our relatives. They are more distant from us than chimpanzees, and chimps are not very sexual. Try finding some evidence that chimpanzees have same-sex behaviour. I never heard of that.

    .

    I meant the common chimpanzee, not the dwarf one..

    I don’t know where you get that. Bonobos (Pan paniscus) are a chimpanzee (genus Pan), common chimpanzees are Pan troglodytes. The two species split about a million years ago, if I remember right. The Congo River which separates them and is thought to be about 1.5 my old (chimps don’t ‘normally’ swim). Bonobos and other chimpanzees have similar genetic relatedness to man and both are our closest animal relation (94%+ or 98%+ depending on who you read and bonobos differ by 0.3% from common chimps).

    .

    I’m not sure what you meant by the last statement.

  169. It seems this thread has gotten quite far afield…

    Narth is not even part of the conversation.

    What is part of the conversation, interestingly, has been certain gay affirming myths: from animal models of sexual behavior to reference to a Greek superclass that may have exchanged political and training experience for sexual favors.

    There are many myths in the popular culture, encouraged by some in the gay community, which are similar to those described above. Some of these may have been encouraged by the scientific community.

    The scientific community should be better than this.

    Narth should set the standard for dealing with the distorted myths encouraged by those who hate people with SSA.

    It should set the standard by being scientific.

  170. @ Lynn David,

    Thanks for reminding me of what you actually said.

    I am responding a bit for emphasis sake…not on your mischaracterizations per se.

    Animal sexual behavior has often been likened to human love…

    The examples cited (bonobos and hummingbirds) have nothing to do with courtship, emotional bonding and so on; necessary requirements for healthy, adult human love.

  171. Warren….. I have good glasses. And once you get to know your backyard and wildlife there (lizards, snakes, chipmunks, flying squirrels, red squirrels, coons, birds of all kind, and the occasional wild turkey, fox, coyote and deer) then you know how to spot them. I just wish they were as good. I almost got hit by a hen turkey one fall that was flying about 6 feet off the ground along the back of the house.

  172. @ Katie:

    The traditional Athenian homosexual relationship involved an older man (the erastes, or “lover”), and a younger boy or man (the eromenos, or “loved”). These names are modern; the Greeks did not distinguish them so precisely. The younger partner would be anywhere from 13-20 years of age. The erastes would court the young man with gifts and admiring words. The eromenos would become enamored with the older man’s wisdom and experience, but would never take an active role in the relationship. The eromenos was always the one sought, the one pursued, the one penetrated. K. J. Dover has likened the eromenos to the role of a young Victorian woman, who was never supposed to initiate courtship or sex, but simply be an object of admiration and desire. Together, the two would form a mentor-pupil relationship. This could have practical benefits, as the erastes could educate the eromenos in politics and civic life, and use his connections to ensure the eromenos would find success when he got older.

    This is probably a sanitized version…if you were of a lower political class and were chosen by one of the elite, the benefits of submission could be extraordinary.

    This relationship was largely exclusive…going outside the relationship was punished legally (similar to prostitution).

    The younger routinely left the relationship when older to form opposite sex bonds.

    This was a relationship primarily initiated by the richer classes.

  173. David Blakeslee…. Your hummingbird observations are interesting…but might also be reflections of anthropomorphizing.

    Male dogs exert dominance over other male dogs through sexual posturing…again, this is about aggression…

    not love.

    And just where did I say love? I digressed with one comment just to speak to my own feelings at the time. However I pointedly said it was appeasement/food acquisition/peace-keeping sexual behaviors that occurred between a dominant male ruby-throat and both sexes. It was those behaviors Michael mentioned concerning bonobos and I simply mentioned they happen in another animal also. If you read what ornithologists say about this behavior in hummingbirds it is much the same. My guess was at that time and still is that the stab move to the eye was to destroy the breeding possiblities of the other bird by creation of a flaw which a female would then see make the other male an unworthy mate.

  174. Has anyone every noticed (in their years of sexual experience) how sexual fads and fashions seem to come and go?

    Mary,

    I certainly have.

  175. @Eddy,

    Yep, you are sooooooooo right about two women, two attractive women together and a straight man’s reaction to that.

    I finally was able to understand it when my son, of all people, explained it:

    “Mom, it’s cuz we imagine ourselves in between them…or something like that, you know? We put ourselves into that scene. Get it?”

    I got it. Finally. And I understood why that works for men–because they see butts and breasts and hair and skin and body parts and not people who mean something to them. They can separate the act(s) from the people in the act. Culture and biology allow them to.

    I actually think that women can feel the same way if they’ve gotten the “slut” image out of their heads. However, once they achieve that (and I think many women of a younger generation have), women still don’t like the idea that one nude man might even be in the same room with another nude man because it makes the men seem gay. Does that make sense? And a guy that is gay doesn’t appeal to women. Once we think of him as gay, he loses his erotic appeal.

    So, two guys pleasing a woman is not an uncommon fantasy for many straight women, but it takes some mental gymnastics to keep the guys apart.

  176. @Evan,

    I just said the “Eww” factor was “understandable.” Both OSAs and SSAs share the “Eww” response, men and women alike. We have spoken of it on this blog before.

    I’ll let you in on a little secret, although as a young, hip man, you may know this anyway. Curiosity is such that all but the most prim of women over a certain age in this country, I think, have seen straight porn out of curiosity. It’s my experience that what they say about porn and women is true–we look, we see, we are interested briefly because we have heard of it, because it’s “taboo” and like all which is taboo, we want to see, but after that–what the heck is the big deal? It’s just boring very quickly–all the same. Our response is, “Go figure men.”

    My mother would be 92 if she were alive. She wanted me to rent an “X-rated ” video for her (this would have been when she was about 74) so she could see what the heck porn was. I did. She laughed her head off. I had fun watching her laugh.

    My sister, now over 70, and excrutiatingly “prudish” (not like Mom), got curious after she got a computer several years ago. She asked about porn. I told her she could get it on her computer. We typed in something, got it. She screamed, then spent over an hour looking, then by the next day was bored when she typed in the site again. “How stupid, ” she said. That was it.

    Since the advent of the internet, I would suspect many women have seen gay porn as well. My friends and I typed it in one day just to see. In unison, our reaction was, “Ewwwww, gaaaa-ross” yet we did watch for a while. After a short time, it’s like watching anything to which you are not accustomed–it’s titillating at first, if only for the shock value, then very boring. It’s like what you are seeing is not actually real, you know? The guys didn’t seem real and what they were doing didn’t seem real to us. They weren’t still photos either, but videos of actual acts.

    No wonder porn dehumanizes–it relies on something personal being strutted around so that the personal is no longer with dignity. Maybe that’s why we laugh. There is no dignity to any of it. I think most women look at porn the way they view cartoons and cartoon figures–stupid. Men and boys like cartoons. Go figure.

    Well, that’s what the researchers have found too about women and porn, right? We don’t really get addicted to it the way some men do. Men love the visual. They can get in the mood in an instant–not so with us.

    I am not sure, but maybe we women manage to construct the images we like in our heads, but whatever the reason, for most of us, porn is just like eating a piece of cardboard after a bit of a look. It’s without taste, unstimulating, and most often just downright funny! We laugh. We laugh at the men and how proud they seem of their organ (always a source of humor among women when we are not in the mood,) and we laugh at the women in the pics, and we laugh at the horrible scripts or situations or whatever you call them. I don’t mean to put anyone down or to insult men because I love men, but most women laugh at porn and the people in the porn. I suppose there are some women who, for the sake of their men, pretend to like it, and I guess there are some who like it, but not that many, do you think?

    Oh, forgot….when our computer lab at school was finally up and running years ago, but before the school district got the ability to block websites, the boys in the computer lab would often forget to log off the porn sites they had discovered. Someone who would use the computer next would find the sites. It was very common for my 16 and 17 year old females students to call me over to “look!” Sure enough, porn, and the girls’ reactions? Laughter and “God, guys are stupid!” LOL.

    When it comes to sex, the human mind is very curious. So, I just wanted to explain the diff. between curiosity, intrigue, and that which actually stimulates in a positive way–for most women.

  177. MIchael Bussee

    On the bonobo comparison. We humans have a threefold bigger brain then bonobos and it’s not just physical size difference (they’re lighter), but we’ve got four times more gray matter. That says a lot.

  178. Katie,

    I’m not a geek. Last time I considered pursuing some studies in a brain-related field, I fell asleep watching a young woman psy-reseacher doing an experiment. She had so much patience to go through all the elaborate protocols. ..I fell asleep. I was mostly looking at her, tbh.

  179. Okay, just so I’m consistent: …Evan, it’s Eddy (like a small whirlpool) not Eddie. I’d sure hate to have dominion over Ed, Eddy, Eddie, Edward and any other derivative of my name. Here on the blog, I’m Eddy. 🙂

    i did a fast read this evening through the comments that popped in whilst I was lounging at poolside. One comment caught my eye in particular:

    Yes, perfectly understandable that a heterosexual reacts that way to thoughts of homosexual sex and perfectly understandable that a homosexual reacts that way to thoughts of heterosexual sex.

    I think this one might need a qualifier. Many a straight man will claim to have the yukk reaction to homosexuality but really only means two guys together. Pop in a video of two women ‘going at it’ and the yukk factor will likely not surface. It seems it’s not a reaction to ‘the unnaturalness of homosexuality’ as they would claim but rather some insecurity about their own penis somehow being threatened in a male/male homosexual act. (Count this as just another observation with an unfounded (but possibly correct) conclusion attached.)

    Katie–

    My one brother (still single, BTW) has that aversion to tomatoes too! He can do spaghetti sauce, lasagna, catsup, etc. but can’t get a fresh tomato anywhere close to his nose or mouth. This was great news for me…a lover of tomatoes. We’d get homegrowns every August from my uncle and that simply meant more for me.

  180. Michael Bussee

    Bonobos… Are not our relatives. They are more distant from us than chimpanzees, and chimps are not very sexual. Try finding some evidence that chimpanzees have same-sex behaviour. I never heard of that.

    Anyway, bonobos are not just pansexual (pun intended), they are unusually sexual. Human sexuality might be less special than we think, but not easily comparable to that of other species.

  181. Eddie — Thanks. I was still working in politics at the time when I arrived on this blog and I was used to debating policy-related topics, which was the reason why my comments were formal in style.

    Once I became a regular here, it got more relaxed.

  182. @carole

    No one proved that straight men and women are disgusted by the prospect of same-sex acts, whether it’s only about watching or getting involved in it.

    On the contrary. Some evidence shows that both straight men and women don’t feel disgust, but they’re not enthusiastic about it (especially men).

  183. I think I am the only Carole here.

    Ah, I think that because I mentioned neurotransmitters I threw you off.

    They are just brain chemicals that tranmit and regulate (more, less, etc.) certain brain signals. For instance, a neurotransmitter that is in the news a lot is something like serotonin which, in ways we do not really understand, is involved in the regulation of mood. Another is hypocretin, which regulates sleep in some way. Narcolepts lack the neurons that make hypocretin or they lack enough neurons to make enough of it to keep them awake. Narcoleptics are people who share the same HLA type, and just last month Stanford researchers confirmed after ten years of suspecting it, that narcolepsy is an autoimmune problem. Now, researchers want to find the triggering mechanism for the immune reaction.

    So, chemicals like this are produced by specific brain cells–again, we know only a tiny bit about how they work. It’s not a stretch to say that our personalities, in large measure, are the product of our brain chemistry, right?

    So, while I did mention that I felt that neurotransmitters will be shown to be involved in sexual attraction, that does not have to implicate pathogens. We all have these brain chemicals. How they work is the mystery. New technology is changing rapidly the speed of our discoveries.

    Brain chemicals (how and where they are produced, in what amounts, and how they get from one place to another) is one big thing researchers are studying. They’ve been hoping it leads them to the understanding of depression.

    At one time researchers were convinced that hormones HAD to explain the difference between SSA OSA men, but researchers have not had success so far in establishing what they thought would be “differences.” They are still looking. Those who thought they’d find hormonal differences in adult OSA men and adult SSA men, haven’t so they have been looking at possible differences in hormones in the womb. So far, no answers, really.

  184. Ah, so the same thing with heterosexuality? The ablation of cells?

    Lol, And I have no idea what that is — wish I did though.

    I love science geeks.

  185. Katie said,

    The issue is actually moot because I was wrong in thinking you postulated a potential pathogen to explain no OSA in exclussive SSA.

    On other threads, yes, when we have discussed the etiology of exclusive SSA in most men, I have said I do believe the ablation of cells makes the most sense, but in today’s discussion, we have been examining a different psycho-social explanation for some individuals.

  186. Carol,

    No, I don’t think so. Like I don’t like tomatoes, I feel disgust at the thought of eating one, sure — yuk.

    But I don’t feel threatened, or feel disgust, just by looking at one.

  187. But let me clarify — I’m addressing feelings of fear, or panic, or more disgust than is warranted by simply preferring to have sex where a person prefers.

    K.

  188. @Katie,

    Yes, the “Ewwwwwww” factor, the “yuck” factor?

    Yes, perfectly understandable that a heterosexual reacts that way to thoughts of homosexual sex and perfectly understandable that a homosexual reacts that way to thoughts of heterosexual sex.

    If each didn’t react that way, we’d all be bi-sexual, right?

  189. Carol,

    I agree.

    But I’m really addressing feelings of panic, which not all, but some, people feel.

    But that’s not really the issue either.

    The issue is actually moot because I was wrong in thinking you postulated a potential pathogen to explain no OSA in exclussive SSA.

    But it seems I was wrong about that.

    K.

  190. @Katie,

    I feel compelled to add an addendum to a previous post:

    Not only do I feel that a heterosexual person is NOT “homo or gynophobic” because he/she doesn’t desire sexual contact with a member of the same gender, I also do NOT feel a homosexual person is “heterophobic” for not desiring sexual contact with a member of the opposite gender.

    If you do, then I’d have to say you and I are waaaaaaaaay apart on biology as well as psychology.

  191. No, I don’t think, alla Freud, that we all are secretly lusting for both sexes.

  192. No, I’m not using it in a way to describe lack of lust.

    I’m using it in a way to describe feelings of panic.

  193. Oh, I’m sorry, I could have sworn you mentioned something about potential pathogens to explain no OSA….

    But I’m not talking about the preference to have sex with the opposite sex in an exclussive way.

    I’m talking more about the more phobic response have when contemplating doing so: the grossed out, icky feelings, many people get.

    K.

  194. @Katie?

    Where did you get the term “homophobic barrier”?

    Do you believe that most homo sapiens are “wired” biologically to lust after members of both sexes? (I used the word “lust” on purpose because it strips away things to their core).

    Because if you do, forgive me, but it sounds as if you are lost in the silly Freudian notions, even the Kinsey notions of a different era.

  195. But I would imagine a goodly number had some OSA, and the “don’t look her in the eye” rule probably had more to do with Medusa’s head floating about…. 🙂

  196. @Katie,

    Are you suggesting that heterosexual homophobic barriers are also potentially caused by a pathogen?

    1.) No. I’ve not been talking about pathogens at all. The discussion has been about how we can’t discount in every SSA person their individual reaction to very individual stimuli. (ie Eddy’s story in his comments)

    2) As to “heterosexual homophobic barriers”…. I don’t know what you mean by this phrase. If you mean that in some cultures men are not encouraged to show love/warmth to one another in the form of non-sexual hugging, etc. then I understand.

    On the other hand, if you mean that a heterosexual man is “homophobic” in not desiring another man in a sexual way, then I’d take issue with your use of the word “homophobic.” (Same for women not wanting other women in a sexual way).

  197. But the standard of no OSA leads, it seems to me, back to no SSA in heterosexuals — or the homophobic barrier.

    Is the homophobic barrier psycho-social, or a result of a potential pathogen?

  198. Carol,

    But when I read about Greece, it’s not at all clear to me that the men either did or didn’t have OSA.

    Considering the little we know about it, it might be the case they didn’t, or not much. Again, just speculation because we don’t have enough info.

    But to the extent that there’s documents left regarding heterosexual relations, then the men preferred have sex with women doggy style and not seeing her face.

    Conversely, homosexual sex was to be done face to face, or in a spooning position so that eye contact could be achieved.

    I’m not saying this settles the matter, because we certainly only have the documents we have — which is only a small number of Ancient Greek documents.

    K.

  199. @Katie,

    And more than that, if the cultural practices of Ancient Greece creates a murkey lense through which to see more natural sexual expressions, then what makes our culture less murkey?

    One way of not making the waters murkey is to just focus on whether someone has OSA or no-OSA. That removes a lot of incidental circumstances that are cultural (upper class, poltically powerful Greek men) or situation-specific (men and women in the US prison system, boys’ boarding schools).

  200. Mary,

    I’m not old enough to remember, but I believe that bisexuality was rather popular with 70’s rock stars.

    David Bowie did.

    Lou Reed seems to have just made it look like he did to fit in 🙂

    K.

  201. Has anyone every noticed (in their years of sexual experience) how sexual fads and fashions seem to come and go?

  202. And more than that, if the cultural practices of Ancient Greece creates a murkey lense through which to see more natural sexual expressions, then what makes our culture less murkey?

    K.

  203. Thank you David. Many people overlook that customs and culture are very different.

  204. Greek same sex practice is nothing similar to current same sex behavior practice.

  205. This group has probably covered this ground, but for those who think the low numbers of homosexual men (or SSA) indicates that there must be a strong pre-natal influence, does the fairly widespread SSA practice of at least upper class Greek men fit into this?

    Or is it assumed that if the culture supposedly doens’t encourage homosexuality that then you get to see the real stats on inborn homosexualtiy?

    Or something like this?

  206. Carol,

    And oh, yeah, I get what you say about sexual abuse, it’s an obviouse Mac Truck into the side of sexual development, no matter what pre-natal forces might be at work.

    And as just a note: Rob has two severly Autistic siblings as well, so he might be more pre-disposed to Autistic withdrawal, etc…. than others as well.

    K.

  207. Consider that I ‘felt the pain’ of those neglected squares and regretted the ’shunning’ of the color ‘orange’. Now, put me out in the real world…of classroom, of home and family. Was I perceiving hurt when none was intended? Was I oversensitive? Was I more guarded and cautious? Did I have a tendency towards brooding and introspection? Towards being analytical and observant?

    Eddy,

    Yes, a sensitive temperment can respond to any given set of circumstances in a different way than those who do not have the same kind of temperment. Put out in a world they are not ready for and the responses can be painful. I like your story about the neglected squares – am not surprised either. I still put the dvd player on pause before shutting it off so it won’t “feel” abruptly rejected.

  208. Sorry about the typing errors, I’m tired today and can’t get my fingers to work.

  209. Carol,

    Sorry, but I’m trying to get clear on just the pathogen thing:

    If a pathogen might explain a homosexual’s man heterophobia, then wouldn’t the same possibility exist in a heterosexual’s homophobia?

    K.

  210. @Thanks, Mary. Do you have the same problem typing? Do you think WArren needs to fix something?????

    It’s making it tough to type/post. Other sites seem fine.

  211. @Eddy,

    When I contemplate the gay men I have known in my life (most of them either classmates of mine in school or students I have taught or men with whom I have taught–admittedly not a huge or diverse sample in scientific terms) I can say that I’d not call them necessarily more creative than others. I would say they were likely to be more sensitive than others in both a positive and a negative way in the same way that we view women in general. That is, “more senstive” describes both the upside of that sensitivity (care about the feelings of others more than most men appear to care) and the downside of that sensitivity (“drama,” excessive emotionalism, hypersensitivity to the point of ego-centered reactions to many common occurrences).

    So, yes..it’s really hard to know if my observations or yours are indeed accurate when applied to a larger sample and really hard to know if it’s a cultural rather than a universal thing (if it exists at all) or most importantly, if it’s a chicken or an egg thing.

    Your story about the orange squares had me laughing hysterically. I identify. Last month I devoted a half hour to bringing back to life a lady bug caught in the sticky web of a spider, a web on our trash can. My husband said she was dead. I won’t detail the story, but you have, I’ll bet, done the same thing. I was successful. There’s a tiger side of me, however. I think the lady-bug saver and tiger are in most people.

    As for lesbians, isn’t it interesting that I only “know” a few compared to the gay men I know: a couple of P.E. teachers I had in high school, one person with whom I worked (the print shop tech) who did her best to keep anyone who offered her cordial conversation at a distance, my best friend’s niece (who was engaged to a guy but who has had two lesbian relationships over the last five years) and one former teacher colleague who was not sexual at all until she met someone at the age of 50 or so. I always heard her talk badly about her dad, who abandoned the family. She didn’t trust men and made derisive comments about men in general (especially what I would term those who were “alpha males” but I got the impression she really had been let down by her dad and projected that distrust onto all men. I noticed that when men treated her in a gentlemanly fashion, when they teased her gently in a flirty way, she seemed mighty pleased. However, most of the time, I think she felt lacking in the attributes that she thought men wanted in a woman–sex appeal, beauty, etc.

    What I am saying is simply that I don’t know many SSA women. Interesting that the one I know best, my best friend’s niece, was born very prematurely, 6+ months. She refers to herself as “coming out of the oven half-baked.” LOL.

  212. Timothy,

    You may have noticed in these posts that not all dogs have four legs and a tail. Trying to fit all dogs into the same mold just does not work anymore. We’re not talking about shape shifting any ways. We are talking about people who think, feel, react, respond to their environment both internally and externally.

    Your analogy is looking pretty archaic in the discussion of sexuality. And just plain oversimplified.

  213. Carole–

    Well said. In case anyone hasn’t guessed already, I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, biologist or scientist by any stretch of the imagination. I was an english major, with a speech minor, who excelled in group dynamics, and later got an associates degree in ‘practical theology’ primarily so I could learn to manage some of the more troublesome sin issues of my own life.

    That latter journey had people reckognizing my level of ‘success’ or ‘victory’ and I reluctantly began to ‘peer counsel’ before ‘accepting the call’ to counsel and teach full time in an Exodus-affiliated ministry.

    Anyway, I often use words in their lay-person’s meaning (often the first or second definition that you’d find in a dictionary). Usually, this coincides with a psychology definition but, at times, I won’t even be aware that psychology or science has infused the word with a very specific field-related meaning. I always hope that my tendency to elaborate will demonstrate what I mean by the word I’ve used but I do appreciate when anyone points out a difference in meaning so that we can clear up any confusing from the get go.

  214. @Katie,

    I am not talking at this moment of pathogens at all–I was simply responding to the comments Eddy and Michael made about one possible way SSA vs. OSA could develop and the mathematical probabilities of Eddy’s particular explanation explaining a % of the SSA-population of the world.

    BTW, I know that you are particularly interested in understanding the sexual hang-ups of your fiance. I think that when we speak of people who have been abused, we must be careful to separate the factors that might have influenced their sexual development from a general discussion of OSA/SSA.

    Oh, I just noticed that in the lower left corner of my screen the yellow warning exclamation icon is dispalyed and says, “Done–but with errors on page.”

    That explains my problems typing–but doesn’t explain why Warren’s blog is not coming in as it should. Hmmmmmmmm.

  215. Eddy,

    Your lazy eye story brings me back to wondering about Autism and sexual experience.

    I’ve only read one paer or book, can’t remember which, about this.

    According to the author, many Autistic people are bisexual, not due to what we normally think of as dual attractions, but more out of a socially naive sense of “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”.

    According to her there’s also a lot of cross dressing for the same reasons.

    I can relate.

    K.

  216. Ann–

    That’s so very true…and I didn’t specifically address temperament. Your comment took me back to my ‘colored graph paper’ story.

    Consider that I ‘felt the pain’ of those neglected squares and regretted the ‘shunning’ of the color ‘orange’. Now, put me out in the real world…of classroom, of home and family. Was I perceiving hurt when none was intended? Was I oversensitive? Was I more guarded and cautious? Did I have a tendency towards brooding and introspection? Towards being analytical and observant?

    So, when dad said “Sorry, only the older boys can go” how differently did I take that than my more ‘mellow’ younger brother? When some tragedy played out on TV, did I internalize it and/or puzzle over it more than my brothers? And was anyone aware that I was taking things the way that I did?

    A personal theory of mine is that the gay world is top-heavy with men with artistic and compassionate temperaments. Of course, the debate would be which came first…did their inborn gayness lead to the temperament or did the temperament lead to the gay identity. Or neither, I suppose. No cause and effect relationship at all.

    This is somewhat related but goes more to difference in interpretation. I believe I’ve shared it before but not while we were experiencing such major kum by yah…anyway, I have a lazy eye but it wasn’t caught until I was 13. People, including my parents, concluded that I was ‘busy-minded’ and ‘clumsy’ because I’d bump into things and trip over things that ‘anyone could easily see’.

    Now, I didn’t know I had a lazy eye, either. I just assumed that what I saw was pretty much what everybody else saw. I wasn’t good at any sport but baseball was the worst. When a pitch came my way, I saw 3 balls stacked on top of each other. When fielding, I usually couldn’t see the ball at all until it was within 3 feet of my face. The kids would taunt me, of course. And I remember whining plaintively “which one do you swing at” (meaning which of those 3 balls that I see is the real one) to which they replied (ignorant of my visual infirmity)

    “you swing at the one that looks good.” “Smart Asses!” I thought. “They want me to get better at baseball but they won’t even explain the basics.”

  217. Carol,

    Are you suggesting that heterosexual homophobic barriers are also potentially caused by a pathogen?

    K.

  218. @Eddy,

    I’ll try typing this last point. (It’s a chore!)

    I am aware that “imprinting” as a function of human biology is a very controversial topic. I think that the social sciences use the word in ways many hard science people distain. Furthermore, those whose expertise is human biology are careful to point out the distinction between humans and other species. As one example, I am aware that they get upset by those who try to equate the term as it applies to human babies/toddlers and, say, chicks or ducks who are raised by humans.

    I take no position here–just pointing out what I have read.

  219. And maybe Carol, we simply need a place of loving connections, and have only two choices — a man or a woman.

    I have no doubt that I project onto women both the sins of my mother, but also my father.

    Why? Because I’m just too hypervigilent around them. Beyond this, it’s too difficult to explain.

    But I know my painting of tree X is a painting of tree X. How do I know? Because I recognize the reproduction of the form.

    K.

  220. And I didn;t have a phobic response to women sexually until I had resolved some of this stuff, so a pathogen would have to have incidentally hit at the same time that I consciously came to some conclussions.

    K.

  221. I am having a lot of trouble typing on this blog today. There is a huge lag time between my typing the letters and their showing up on the screen.

    Then, before I was done with my last post, out of the blue, the comment I was typing disappeared and reappeared on Warren’s blog w/out my even pressing the “submit.”

    These gremlins are driving me crazy so if you respond to me and see no response back, you’ll know why.

  222. @Eddy,

    This was not meant to be a model for all SSA

    I understood that. I do think there is wisdom in the notion too that “people go where they feel welcome or avoid that where they don’t feel welcome.” They tend to understand when they are either not welcome or not “like” others.

    A child, for whatever reason feeling “not welcome” or not “like others,” might find himself/herself identifying with those who are unlike the others that he/she feels different from. In that case, the child might construct an identity for himself/herself.

    I’d never exclude that some people are SSA because of personal experience because I am a big believer in “never say ‘never'” and whenever I “forget” that reminder, I recall what some Tibetan monks have demonstrated —the ability to lower blood pressure, respiration/heart rate,etc. Yes, the mind can do wondrous things.

    But, if a person were to go that route and self-identify as gay and/or ‘different from other males’, the self-identification could serve as a filter against hetero impulses.

    Maybe. I don’t know if in our brains there is a sort of “switch” (psychological or otherwise), that if one switch is “turned on” the other is automatically turned “off.”

    The research seems lacking in this area. I do think they will indeed find the cells devoted to making the neurotrasmitters that regulate sexual attraction, but that’s my bias.

  223. Of all the millions upon millions upon millions of people on earth, just think of the numbers of them who have felt the very same feelings of intimacy/security from a childhood experience that Eddy has described or those who have longed for a “male bonding” that Michael refers to. Yet, SSA does not develop in them.

    Yes, this is an ongoing observation and certainly true. Like other things in life, I think it is our temperment that determines how we respond to life circumstances. There are more than enough examples of people who grew up in the same family, had the same life circumstances, and yet responded completely differently to it which determined how they are now as adults.

  224. Carol,

    I am open to any and all possibilities, including pathogens, especially when it comes to the lack of sexual interest in the opposite gender. I think the scenario Eddy presented is one that cannot be ignored because we know it exists. The possibility of an interference in opposite gender attraction because of pathogens is extremely interesting and more than likely a consideration that I hope continues to be explored. I also think a vulnerability in one area could be the turning point that would feed into another area.

  225. I distinctly remember going through a process, up till about 23, where I wasn’t at all sure what it meant to be either a woman or straight or gay.

    The whole gender thing was something I had to consciously study. I’d go to the mall and study the manequins because I figured they wouldn’t mind being stared at, and because I didn’t have a clue what I should wear, no sense of style, no sense of what a woman should be, what costume to wear. So I’d just buy whatever was on the manequin, cuz I sure wasn’t going to ask a sales person and look foolish, or like I wantd attention….

    I’d look at girls, look at boys, and think about which way I wanted to go.

    Girls were just more scary. I couldn’t figure them out, never could quite fit in.

    So boys …. ok.

    And yes, I was also probably just plain more attracted to boys in an immediate sense.

    Maybe I had to think so hard about it because men too were scary. Afterall, it was my dad, not my mom, who was physically abusive.

    But that also made it easier for me to say: Hitting is not love. My dad does not represent love.

    My mom? Much more complicated, all the boundary crossing wasn’t as obviouse as a kick, so never could figure out the difference between love and hate. Only between love and brutality.

    So women make me more nervous.

    Men, as long as they don’t hit me, seem easier to deal with.

    Or something like this…….

    K>

  226. Carol,

    But instincts don’t seem to explain the phobic response.

    And getting rid of the phobic response, wouldn’t automatically make more people actively like one sex or the other more.

    And just because my experience of riding my first horse caused me a spiritual awakening, doesn’t mean it has to cause any other person on earth to have one to be true of me.

    K.

  227. Carole–

    Some qualifiers are certainly in order.

    1) This was not meant to be a model for all SSA but rather an example of how something non-sexual could morph into a sexual response. (My own bias is that there are many, many imprints–especially from mass media, particularly television and movies–that pass on messages of who we are, who we’re not, if we ‘make the grade’, if we don’t.)

    2) In this hypothetical instance there was an imprint followed by a deep and unmet deficit. There was also the instance of this deficit being met through a love and sex bonding. Followed by a self-identification conclusion. For any individual, there are variables. One might have the imprint and no deficit. Another might have the imprint and succeed at some non-sexual form of male bonding. Another might go the whole route, including sex with another man, but be aware that sex isn’t really what they were looking for.

    3) But, if a person were to go that route and self-identify as gay and/or ‘different from other males’, the self-identification could serve as a filter against hetero impulses. The brain is very powerful in this regard.

    An example: Michael and I had a brief exchange about my life at the pool. In my late teens, my sister in law’s one brother ‘took my breath away’ and was the object of a secret crush. He’s now more mature, more distinguished, more toned…appears shirtless in board shorts. Since we’re now kinda related, we even attempt to bond…smiles, handshakes, occasional hugs, chats. But a ‘no relatives’ filter in my brain shuts down sexual attraction. I think the brain of a man who wrongly identifies himself as gay could similarly shut down attractions or reinterpret them. His penis has been told that we’re not window shopping over here so there’s no point in getting aroused.

    4) In all of this, this is only one scenario. I think that polarization and overall awkwardness surrounding sexual issues has hampered both discussion and study. Even a very obvious question: What makes you think you’re gay? doesn’t get asked. If the question doesn’t get asked, then it’s pretty likely that the confusion (if it exists), never gets discussed. If never discussed, then never resolved.

    5) We’ve long been able to say that people have gotten married by mistake…both men and women, after being heterosexually married and raising children, come to a realization that they made a mistake, that they really weren’t straight (not like Michael’s situation where he was aware of the gay and was working at the ‘overcoming’ angle). It’s logical then to assume that the reverse might also be true…that some may misidentify as gay. Certainly, I believe the numbers would be way lower since there are numerically more heteros than gays and there is more actual support for going hetero than there is for going gay. In either scenario, though, I believe we learn things we’d otherwise miss when we examine the thought processes of these individuals who have changed their identification. The real trick is in managing our bias when we do.

    Sorry, I think this one might have gone off into ‘ramble mode’.

  228. It does NOT explain the LACK of attraction to the other sex.

    Excellent point, Carole.

    Of all the millions upon millions upon millions of people on earth, just think of the numbers of them who have felt the very same feelings of intimacy/security… Yet, SSA does not develop in them.

    Another excellent point. So, I strongly agree with with last one:

    My argument is not meant to suggest that this cannot happen, but it simply cannot explain why 96% of human beings are attracted to the opposite sex for they have had the experiences you mention.

  229. @Eddy and Michael,

    Eddy remarked,

    This is my musing only and clearly has connections to my bias but it does seem logical that if a person had an olfactory imprint–let’s say that ‘Aqua Velva’ or ‘Old Spice’ was an imprint from when they were held very closely by their father–so that fragrance, even though they may not recall when or how it got imprinted, triggers thoughts of security, love, intimacy. In some instances, it might be just a reminder of those feelings but, if the individual were experiencing a vacuum in those areas…if they were feeling insecure and out of touch, for example, the fragrance might trip more than a reminder; it might motivate them to seek out the source of that fragrance to get the security, love, intimacy.

    Michael added,

    I get the idea that that these things, coupled with a sort of “male-longing” –especially if the boy does not feel that intimacy — could become sexualized, and might contribute to a boy taking on a “gay” identity. Seems reasonable.

    Yes, the reason this particular interpretation of what might stir SSA in young boys does, indeed, seem “reasonable” because it is based on what is our understanding of psychological and emotional needs.

    I’d never suggest that in some % of boys/girls this might not be a contributing factor to attraction.

    However, much as, on the surface, the explanation sound incredibly “reasonable” to me as well, when scrutinized more carefully, the explanation has two big problems:

    1). It does NOT explain the LACK of attraction to the other sex. That is, if such experiences accounted for a large % of SSA, it does not stand to “reason” that it would exclude OSA. (ie, there should be, if this explanation worked, a high % of truly bi-sexual people.

    2). Of all the millions upon millions upon millions of people on earth, just think of the numbers of them who have felt the very same feelings of intimacy/security from a childhood experience that Eddy has described or those who have longed for a “male bonding” that Michael refers to. Yet, SSA does not develop in them.

    These experiences or the lack of these experiences are the stuff of childhood for ….well, for a % of children that simply does not explain the 2-4% of SSA-attracted children. In fact, I’d have to argue that these experiences are the stuff of childhood for almost every child ever born.

    My argument is not meant to suggest that this cannot happen, but it simply cannot explain why 96% of human beings are attracted to the opposite sex for they have had the experiences you mention.

  230. I get the idea that that these things, coupled with a sort of “male-longing” –especially if the boy does not feel that intimacy — could become sexualized, and might contribute to a boy taking on a “gay” identity. Seems reasonable.

    Wow – this is so good to hear – I especially like the words, “seems reasonable” – thank you Michael for being so open minded. Who knows where the research will take us, but until we really know, nothing should be ruled out.

  231. Eddy:

    I felt bad for all the neglected blank spaces and didn’t want them to ‘feel’ left out. I had already used most of the colors in my box–except for orange–so to make up to ‘orange’ for neglecting him, I colored in every remaining space in orange.

    That’s a very cool story. Eddy, I really appreciate these self-disclosures. You probably shared some before, but I breezed right by them, in my eagerness to pick apart your “position” and win some “points”. I think, that by doing so I missed a lot. Now, I feel I am meeting Eddy — the man — not just a verbal sparring partner. I could start to actually like you. Oh, no..!!!

    Eddy: It’s not compassion gone wild. It’s sweet. You had a pastor’s heart early on — a concern for the outcast. Ever think of goiig into ministry? 🙂

    Back to childhood memories of male-ness, and possible links to homosexuality:

    In some instances, it might be just a reminder of those (positive) feelings but, if the individual were experiencing a vacuum in those areas…if they were feeling insecure and out of touch…

    Yes, I can really see how that could happen, how unmet needs could become confused and sexualized. I am glad you said “in some instances” — otherwise, we would have to explain heterosexuality as emerging from that same vacuum, that sense of insecurity and feeling out of touchwith femaleness and our Moms. Who knows, perhaps, to some extent, it does.

    BTW, I caught that in an earlier post, you called me a “master-debater”. Wanted to let you know that I appreciated the compliment and the double-entendre. 🙂

  232. Regarding sex and aggression:

    If we return to Sodom and Gomorrah…it was not about homosexuality, but about dominance and using sex as a vehicle for aggression and control (humiliation).

    Kind of like dogs and hummingbirds.

    The argument from the Christian community is that sex is sacred…it has a specific purpose (to give earthly expression to the complexity and wonder of God) in an an act that has powerful creative potential.

    Arguing from Nature, from animal models and so on cannot do justice to this Christian model.

  233. My dad’s mom was Pennsylvania Dutch–complete with the bonnet. After returning to PA a few months ago, I began my quest to find those ‘true’ tastes I remembered…the perfect potato chips, the potato salad with just the right blend of mustard and mayo, chicken pot pie, pepper/cabbage (resembles cole slaw except dressing is vinegar, water and sugar mix), pepper/cheese (a spread: green pepper, extra sharp cheese and a touch of mayo to make spreadable), lebanon bologna (akin to summer sausage but not sweet…I thought the main spice was garlic but learned that I was wrong).

    The consummate miser (and now especially weight-conscious), I haven’t had a TastyKake since my return. Butterscotch Krimpets and Peanut Butter Tandy Kakes were my favorites. When I left PA approx 35 years ago, they were 25 cents; now more than a dollar!!

  234. @ Lynn David,

    Your hummingbird observations are interesting…but might also be reflections of anthropomorphizing.

    Male dogs exert dominance over other male dogs through sexual posturing…again, this is about aggression…

    not love.

    Again, animal models are interesting…but I think my brain and yours are much different than a hummingbird’s brain.

  235. Michael–

    But it’s good that your mom asked. We had a project when I was in first or second grade. We created our masterpieces coloring graph paper. Naturally, there was a lot of symmetry going on guided by the squares. Mine stood out though, resembling a Pennsylvania Dutch quilt or something, since I had colored in every block on the paper and had used orange for the bulk of the color…deemed an unusual choice.

    When questioned though, things weren’t quite what they seemed. In essence, my masterpiece was similar to the others except that when ‘done’, I felt bad for all the neglected blank spaces and didn’t want them to ‘feel’ left out. I had already used most of the colors in my box–except for orange–so to make up to ‘orange’ for neglecting him, I colored in every remaining space in orange.

    Compassion gone wild!!!

  236. To Ann:

    So how come I wasn’t invited too? Oh, I guess three would be too many to fit on the blanket.

    Nah. Scott and I would make room. As our pastor would say, “All y’all are welcome!”

  237. It does seem logical that if a person had an olfactory imprint–let’s say that ‘Aqua Velva’ or ‘Old Spice’ was an imprint from when they were held very closely by their father–so that fragrance, even though they may not recall when or how it got imprinted, triggers thoughts of security, love, intimacy.

    Ah, yes. Old Spice. I think lots of my imprinting was positive, not a lack of something. My uncle and grandfather owned the only barber shop in a small town in Northern Califionria. Very positive memories of visiting, the smell of talcum powder and brilliantine.

    The red chairs. The sports and hunting magazines. The buzz of the clippers. Baseball on TV. The “man talk” — sometimes kinda salty. (The only place besdies camping where I heard my Dad use four-letter words or tell slightly off-color jokes.) I felt at home with the “guys”. Homo-social.

    I get the idea that that these things, coupled with a sort of “male-longing” –especially if the boy does not feel that intimacy — could become sexualized, and might contribute to a boy taking on a “gay” identity. Seems reasonable.

    For me, It happend so early that it all seemed to flow together. The love of masculine sight, sounds and smells, the awareness of my own body, the discovery of sexual feelings. It just sort of unfolded — as I imagine it might for a straight boy and his feelings of attractions to girls. A sort of positive transference and identification. Never a “choice” — more like an awakening.

    Of course, I also loved the sterotypic “female” sights, sounds and smells. But the smells had more to do with food. 🙂

  238. OMG the food in Lancaster County. Those folks know how to cook.

    Michael,

    They most certainly do and the Amish people I met made the most positive and everlasing impression on me – I will never forget them and am looking forward to going back there in another month or so.

  239. As a gay boy scout, I do it up with style and preparedness. Sunscreen. Shade. Color-coordinated plates and napkins. Picnic of cold fried chicken, Indonesian fruit salad and home-made peanut butter cookies. And of course, board shorts

    So how come I wasn’t invited too? Oh, I guess three would be too many to fit on the blanket 🙂

  240. Toi Ann:

    Huntington Beach. Michael, One of my favorite places – have a good time and wear your sunscreen.

    Thanks, I will. As a gay boy scout, I do it up with style and preparedness. Sunscreen. Shade. Color-coordinated plates and napkins. Picnic of cold fried chicken, Indonesian fruit salad and home-made peanut butter cookies. And of course, board shorts. 🙂

    To Eddy: Your countryside sounds beautiful. I loved Pennsylvania and up-state NEw York: the woods, the rolling hills, the Amish country and the food. OMG the food in Lancaster County. Those folks know how to cook.

    To Ann, again:

    I had very humble beginnings growing up and will never forget the generosity of someone who gave me my first crayon box and how I felt – what I remember most though was how they smelled and to this day.

    Yeah, isn’t that great? Funny story on not reading too much “psychology” into something: My Mom taught school for 30 years. One little boy only colored with black crayon. My Mom was concerned — and asked him if he did this because he was sad. He grinned and said, “Nope. I ate the other ones…”

  241. Eddy,

    Your “musing” makes perfect sense to me and I have heard and seen this scenario in too many people I know to say it is just a bias. Along with all the other areas being researched, this paticular one, or ones similiar to it, cannot be discounted as a truth for some individuals.

    Would the hypothetical man in the above illustration have had any awareness that he ‘chose’ homosexuality? I think not. It would have seemed to him like an ‘aha’ moment….like he’d finally figured something out that explains so much and resolved so much inner turmoil and need.

    And if a man did not have this awareness, just imagine a child’s lack of awareness.

  242. Ann,

    Actually, I find my experiences reflected in a lot of men’s experiences as well, when they actually open up and talk — rather than hang out measuring penile response patterns 🙂

    K.

  243. Ann-

    This is my musing only and clearly has connections to my bias but it does seem logical that if a person had an olfactory imprint–let’s say that ‘Aqua Velva’ or ‘Old Spice’ was an imprint from when they were held very closely by their father–so that fragrance, even though they may not recall when or how it got imprinted, triggers thoughts of security, love, intimacy. In some instances, it might be just a reminder of those feelings but, if the individual were experiencing a vacuum in those areas…if they were feeling insecure and out of touch, for example, the fragrance might trip more than a reminder; it might motivate them to seek out the source of that fragrance to get the security, love, intimacy.

    If they’d follow that seeking to the point where they find a man to love them that much or to hug them that closely, the chances are good that it could lead to sex…even if sex, per se, wasn’t what they were looking for. Now, you’ve got some real confusion. You’ve got love and sex all twisted together in one experience–part of it very satisfying and gratifying, the other part a bit troubling. I would think that the conclusion they draw mentally after weighing the satisfying and gratifying against the troubling (if, in fact, they are even able to separate them in their mind) would likely lead them to self-identification i.e. I’m really gay or I’m really straight. That self-identification would then direct most of their conscious attractions and disattractions whether the smell was involved or not.

    Again, since my bias is that I don’t think it’s necessarily inborn but rather is learned, this is where my thoughts tend to go.

    Footnote: If this pattern is plausible, it is a very strong caution to conservative Christians who pronounce “It’s a choice! You made a choice!” Would the hypothetical man in the above illustration have had any awareness that he ‘chose’ homosexuality? I think not. It would have seemed to him like an ‘aha’ moment….like he’d finally figured something out that explains so much and resolved so much inner turmoil and need.

  244. Katie,

    I don’t think you would be too alone in your thoughts on sex, to a degree, if more women would share their’s – I admire you for your openess and appreciate your honesty.

  245. Ann,

    For myself, I’m pretty convinced that my homophobic barrier is at least mostly made up out of neurotic stuff relating to just too much boundary crossing when I was a child and a fragile sense of self, not just in my sexual identity, but more generally.

    For lots of reason, some of them getting back to TMI, like I can get aroused by imagining myself as a man making love to a woman, and, to a lesser extent, when I imagine myself as a lesbian making love to a woman. I only have a homophobic response when I maintain my identity as a straight woman making love to a woman.

    And while it would make sense to me that I might, in a non-neurotic way, never LIKE sex with a woman, like I don’t like tomatoes, it doesn’t make sense that I would have a phobic response — to either women or tomatoes.

    Also, my relationships with women have always been frought with difficulties. I feel awkward around them — to concerned I might say or do the wrong thing, etc… Hurt them in some way. As though I have the power to do so anyway?

    I’ve always felt more comfortable with men.

    So I get what some bisexual women when they talk about their fantasies of “soft” and “hard” objects. I’m much less afraid of either hurting “hard” men or loosing myself in them, than I am with women.

    K.

  246. Eddy,

    I certainly have experienced times where a certain smell can bring about a strong emotion or awareness in me that I have had before. It can almost be arresting as it stops you where you are and brings a certain memory that envelops you with a feeling or feelings. Is that “imprint” enough to determine who we are attracted to? And if so, is it at the exclusion of the other sex depending on the attraction? A side note that has nothing to do with sexuality – I had very humble beginnings growing up and will never forget the generosity of someone who gave me my first crayon box and how I felt – what I remember most though was how they smelled and to this day, I can be overwhelmed with emotion whenever I come in contact with crayons (usually in volunteer work with children).

  247. Ann–

    Not sure if this fits or adds but it occurs to me that there is one smell that is indelibly printed in my mind.

    It doesn’t matter what my mood is, if I step outside and detect that ‘spring rain’ smell, I’m immediately transported to ‘a happy place’. Somehow it’s connected to ‘freshness’, ‘newness’, ‘new beginnings’. I can’t recall the first imprinting but I know that this association has been with me since elementary school.

    Michael–

    I’m now living in what’s known as the Susquehanna Valley in Pennsylvania. (Warren’s across the state in a more mountainous region.) To a Californian, the ‘mountains’ that make this a valley would likely be regarded as ‘foothills’. They’re not that tall or expansive but they do add a nice touch to the northern horizon.

    This area is full of rolling hills, woods and fields. Over the years, the fields have been giving way to housing developments. The woods too. My brother lucked out. Their housing development was built on a hill. Their property is on the last street that could be developed. Their yard slopes down to the woods…where the descent is pretty dramatic with a small creek at the bottom. Thankfully, there are some geographical features that stymie the developers. (My one brother has noted that, around here, a cul de sac means that the developer encountered some geographical (or zoning) obstacle that prevented them from building even more in that direction.)

    My brother with the pool lives just 10 blocks away, as the crow flies. However, it takes a half hour to walk there and 5 minutes to walk or bike. (LOL. The bike time can match the car time because the bike can take advantage of a shortcut that isn’t yet available to cars.)

    The house I live in, our family home, is halfway up a hill. The street in front of our house is approximately even with our basement floor; the alley behind us is even with our second story roof. As a result, we have a front yard, a side yard, the lower back, the upper back and the way back. “Terraced’ might describe the layout but is really too nice of a word to give a proper picture.

    Katie–

    Naturally, I appreciate your point about labels. Rob is such a clear example of how labels (and identities) that are crystal clear to some have a totally different meaning to others. Whether the label be gay or ex-gay or bi or hetero, it’s entirely possible that the label isn’t a true fit or that the wearer of the label sees it differently. Depending on the nature of our relationship with the individual or on the significance of the dialogue we’re having with them, we sometimes need to ask ‘what do you mean by that?’

    If someone came up to me and said “Hi. My name is —- and I’m gay” (or I’m straight), I likely wouldn’t ask ‘what do you mean by that?’…I’d ask, “why do you think I need to know that?’

  248. Another question – how can instinct, if it is a factor in our sexual attractions, possibly be measured with any scientific accuracy if studied?

  249. how those with Autism experience their sexual orientation: What effect does “social blindness” have?

    Katie,

    I have also wondered about the role “instinct” plays, if any, as to who we are attracted to. On another note, one of my friends told me when he was in first grade, one of the other little boys was wearing some kind of cologne and upon smelling it, he (my friend) immediately became attracted to him and in such a way that from that point on, his primary attractions has been for men, usually older ones. Do these early experiences, that we are unable to put into perspective at the time, have the power to control who we are attracted to, especially at the exclusion of the other gender depending upon the attraction?

  250. Eddy,

    And I don’t mean to brush all forms of bisexuality with one brush. I’m really talking exclusively about concurrent bisexuality as opposed to merely having dual attractions, or practicing serial bisexuality, or even, developing polyamorous relationships. About the last one? All I can say is that it’s not my cup of tea.

    And I bring up examples like David – the gay id’d guy with no sexual attractions to men for a reason: There are those for whom the categories don’t fit. That’s one reason.

    And the other reason is that, while I do believe there’s innate stuff going on in us, I doubt that it has determined this guy’s experiences of his sexuality. I would imagine something else has.

    One thing I’ve always wondered about, like Ann’s question concerning the blind, is how those with Autism experience their sexual orientation: What effect does “social blindness” have?

    K.

  251. Lynn David and the Hummingbirds.

    Two things.

    1. You have incredible vision.

    2. Dom – Sub. Butch – Fem. Call it the Scott Lively effect. Keep an eye on those Dom birds lest they start organizing.

  252. Huntington Beach

    Michael,

    One of my favorite places – have a good time and wear your sunscreen 🙂

  253. Eddy,

    The guy who id’s as gay — oh, he can talk a lot about his feelings in regard to men, and they are basically as you describe. He can clearly state things like: I have a desire to just be held by a man, but no desire to have sex with one.

    And yes, it seems to me that he’s confusing gay with wanting to cry in a man’s arms.

    And because he does id as gay, I’ve asked him whether there’s any role at all he could imagine a man participating in that’s at all sexual. And since he says a woman’s participation is necessary, I’ve asked him about threesomes.

    He definitely does NOT want to watch another man have sex with a woman.

    MAYBE he’d like it if a man watched while HE had sex with a woman, he thinks there’s something to this….

    A males approval/affirmation of his own manliness?

    Could be.

    This guy, who’s name is David, is on support groups for mixed orientation couples. He’s one of the few men on these support groups who actually talks about his feelings and fantasies. Most just say they’re bi/gay and married — and how they arrange their marriages, like is it open to sex with others, or do they stick to “outlets”, like watching gay porn as a couple, etc….

    But most of the guys don’t actually talk about their inner feelings/fantasies.

    So it comes out in snippets and hints — like most bisexually id’d men say they’re attracted to women emotionally/romantically and only want sex with men, and most just want anonymous sex with men.

    And many want sex with men only with their wife’s participation in some way. Though most don’t identify this AS their fantasy. They view it more as an “arrangement”.

    On the support group for sexually abused men, on the other hand, many men recognize their desire to have a woman watch while they have sex with a man AS THE fantasy, not as an incidental.

    They’re more in touch with the triangular dynamic, more willing to explore it, more open about their feelings, thoughts and fantasies.

    More willing to question the ethical implications of making their wives into the Sprite which stays on the sidelines while their husbands have sex with a man who is nothing more than an object used to keep his wife at a distance.

    More willing to accept this as a fantasy, and keep it as such. Nothing wrong with fantasies, it’s what we do with them that counts, right?

    And I find on the support groups for mixed orientation couples that the sole focus is on the man’s homosexual aspects — his internalized homophobia, etc….

    They never turn their attention to their internalized heterophobia, I mean never. Even among the bi id’d men.

    It takes a big man to admit he has fears in regard to women.

    On the group for sexually abused men? Lots of talk about both their heterosexual and homosexual aspects. Fears in regard to both, hopes and dreams in regard to both….

    I once had a bisexual man say to me: “When you’re bisexual you have two choices, go West and join the parade, or go East and see a therapist” 🙂

    Katie

  254. @Eddy:

    Not a public pool. So much better. My one brother and his wife live next door to her parents who have an inground pool. Both backyards run together and end at the woods. Such an incredible refuge! I call it ‘the country club’. This afternoon, I watched 3 hawks lazily circling over the treescape.

    Occasionally, on the weekends, a few ‘hotties’ show up but they’re all family (her side…but still family).

    Sounds SO nice! What part of the country? I love yards that blend into woods. I have hummingbirds but no hawks. Tomorrow, seagulls. Taking my sweetheart to Huntington Beach in the morning. Picnic prepared, Bible packed — cuz we are studying Paul’s letters.

    There will be some “hotties” there to be sure. Mine, to start with. Something about a swimmer’s body, a nice smile, a cool pair of board shorts and a tan. Uber-hot. Can I get an amen? The board shorts make the man… huh, Scotters? Looking forward to a wonderful day.

  255. @David again. I wanted to make another comment about the “nature”/”morality” issue.

    Some have argued that homosexuality is not “moral” because it is not “natural”. Or because penises fit “naturally” into vaginas — and not naturally into mouths or anuses (which they do very well, by the way).

    it has also been argued by some here that homosexuality can not be “natural” (in the sense of serving some adaptive or survial purpose) because it does not produce offspring — and yet it does

    So, I do this with some apprehension — but here it goes — we are one again confronted with the problem of words — of definitions — of how we use words, how we understand them and how others understand what we might mean when we use them.

    We need to explain the words we use as best we can. And we have to go deeper than what occurs in nature to determine what moral might be. The “nature” model is simply not big enough.

  256. It is important that we ask what other people mean by the words they use. People can mean so many different things — especially with complex issues like attractions, identity and beliefs. This is the part I did not do, though I knew I should have:

    Eddy said, “I would leave the question right there and wait for his response.” Then I might remark, “Gee, I have never heard the word(s) used in quite that way before. They seem to have a personal or special meaning for you… Can you tell me more?”

    Instead, I pounded the guy over the head with the dictionary… I wasn’t listening.

  257. If possible, it would be great if you could say to him “Okay, to most people ‘gay’ means you have sex with people of your own gender. To most everybody else it means you at least want to have sex with people of your own gender. But that’s not true for you…when you say “I’m gay” what do you mean?”

    That is kinda like what I was asking about folks who call themselves “ex-gay” even though they are still SSA and may even be having some form of homosexually oriented sex. “When you say “I’m -exgay” what do you mean?”

    I think I didn’t ask it as nicely as Eddy has done here. And I didn’t really wait for the answer…

  258. @David:

    the fact that it occurs “normally in the animal world” does not mean it is a moral good.

    I completely agree. Iwas not trying to say that “occuring in the animal world” is equall to “morally OK”. That would be silly. Some females eat their mates, and some animals eat their children.

    I was trying to point out that in other primates besides humans, sex is not strictly hetererosexual and serves other functions besides procreastion — just like humans. I am not trying to “apply a model” to SSA.

    The morality issue is a completely different one.

  259. I’ve observed the same appeasement/food acquisition/peace-keeping sexual behaviors among ruby-throated hummingbirds in my own back yard. One dominant male hummingbird will ‘claim’ our hummingbird feeder and will defend it against both sexes unless he gets sexual favors.

    .

    The first time I noticed the same-sex behavior was a bit over a decade ago and I’ve seen it happen much the same way in many years since. That first time I’d just gone out our back door and noticed a male ruby-throat on the feeder. I didn’t think much about until another bird (the dominant male) came around the corner of the house nearly hitting me in the head, making a bee-line for the other male which took to flight from the feeder. The dominant male intercepted subordinant male and knocked it out of flight into the grass and then the dominant male immediately landed on top of the sub.

    .

    I was enthralled at what was going on and walked over to the birds, standing only a yard away. The sub male had his tail upturned as a female should, and the dom male was acting as if the sub were a female and they were rubbing their cloaca together and both excitedly flashing their ruby throats. This went on for about a minute; then their seemed to be a climactic point and the dominant male tried to stab the subordinate male in the eye with his long beak. That’s when I made a quick movement and startled the dominant bird and it flew to its favorite branch in the tree overlooking the feeder.

    .

    Even so, I think the beak went into the eye socket and I was fearfull for the subordinate male. But in a very short time it flew straight up and then over to the feeder and started drinking – seemingly just fine. I stood there watching him and I’d almost swear he looked at me like he knew I was gay, but I digress. I was sure the dominant male would make a run from his limb above the feeder at the sub, but he didn’t. So after about 8 minutes I thought maybe if I go inside it might defend the feeder. But the dom male just sat on its favorite branch and did not ever attack the sub male even though it fed for the next 20 minutes.

    .

    So it’s not just bonobos.

  260. Katie–

    Been pondering your friend that ID’s as gay. While the tentative diagnosis offered by a few on the blog is certainly plausible, I wanted to come at it from viewing him as sincere.

    If possible, it would be great if you could say to him “Okay, to most people ‘gay’ means you have sex with people of your own gender. To most everybody else it means you at least want to have sex with people of your own gender. But that’s not true for you…when you say “I’m gay” what do you mean?”

    Initially, I’d leave the question right there and wait for his response. A possible hunch is that he has some serious masculine identify issues…likely a strong sense that he is ‘different’ from straight males. I’m wondering if he’s got strong feelings for other males…feelings of need, of want, perhaps for affirmation, acceptance, hugs. Perhaps he views these feelings of need as atypical of a real man. And because the feelings hover very close to his sexual feelings, he may identify them as gay. (I had a client once who termed himself gay when, in reality, his intense need for men never went beyond a great big bear hug and the freedom to cry in another man’s arms. Oddly, he felt overwhelming shame and guilt for having these feelings.)

    Michael–

    Not a public pool. So much better. My one brother and his wife live next door to her parents who have an inground pool. Both backyards run together and end at the woods. Such an incredible refuge! I call it ‘the country club’. This afternoon, I watched 3 hawks lazily circling over the treescape.

    Occasionally, on the weekends, a few ‘hotties’ show up but they’re all family (her side…but still family).

  261. @ Katie,

    Animal models for human sexuality are fraught with difficulty; monogamous pairing is rare in the animal kingdom. Child rearing is long and arduous for humans.

    Human sexual behavior is sacred for rational reasons…in addition to the mysterious (unknowable).

  262. @ Michael,

    Sex with children is not a animal model that I think we should emulate as humans…the fact that it occurs “normally in the animal world” does not mean it is a moral good.

    I am surprised that the behavior of Bonobos is still a viable topic of discussion…indiscriminant sex with all members of a group, including young seems like the wrong animal model to apply to SSA.

  263. Michael,

    About the gay id’d guy w/no homosexual attractions:

    I’ve wondered if it’s not a matter of HOCD, so have asked him if he’s generally obsessive — but while he feels he’s perhaps a little excessive in some areas, doesn’t think he falls over into OCD.

    K.

  264. It appears pre-natal and post-natal factors play different roles for different people. Beyond that, the subject is still under study.

    Quote from Throckmorton

    I was just reading some old stuff on here and came across this quote. It’s admirably succinct.

    I’m far too wordy.

    K.

  265. I’m reminded of the famous Abraham Lincoln quote:

    If you call a tail a leg, how many legs has a dog? Five? No, calling a tail a leg don’t make it a leg.

  266. Sorry, David id’s as GAY, but doesn’t find men sexually attractive.

    In the above post I accidently said he id’s as straight.

    Maybe because he is…

    K.

  267. I am dating Rob. He is not married. Rob id’s as straight, but has a history of sex with men.

    I am not dating the other guy, David. He is married, and has never cheated on his wife. And sincerely believes he never would. David id’s as straight but doesn’t like the idea of having sex with one, cuz he likes women sexually 🙂

    So…. Rob — fiance, straight, has homosexual sex.

    David — not fiance, gay, doesn’t find men sexually attractive.

    K>

  268. I keep getting these two men mixed up 🙂

    Rob — married? Is David?

    Are you dating both guys? I am really confused. Forgive me. Maybe we could start with: “I am dating a guy named ________.

    He is ( ) Single ( ) Married.

    If married and dating me, the wive(s) s of the guy(s) ( ) know about me ( ) do not know…

  269. David Blakshlee,

    I don’t mean to say that Bonobos and humans are alike, was using them more like an analogy.

    What I do think we have in common is that our sexuality has purposes beyond the reproductive. But then again, so do lots of other animals besides Bonobos. Even if it’s still related to raising young in the case of animals, and even more free of reproductive (raising the young) in humans.

    And, it seems, in Bonobos too.

    I however, feel that as humans there’s an essential and unique quality to dyadic relationships rather than Bonobo bisexuality/promicousness.

    A fundamental drive (if all goes well) for what Buber called an I and Thou relationship, which I doubt Bonobos, as smart and as advanced as they are, have.

    K.

  270. Michael,

    No, I’m marrying Rob.

    The guy we are presently talking about is named David.

    I threw in a comment about Rob — in that in both David’s case and Rob’s I think that, in part, their “homosexuality” is driven by a flight from women more than a positive attraction to men.

    David, the guy who has never had sex with men is the gay id’d guy who has no homosexual attractions, and has never had sex with a man.

    Rob is my fiance, and has had sex with men.

    And don’t worry about getting too personal. I’m brave when I’m anonymous 🙂

    K.

  271. I think Rob’s homosexuality is largely driven to punish the women in his life as well.

    Maybe his “homosesuality” (which seems prety absent) is not what is driving him to punish women.

    Maybe it’s calling himself gay — to the women he says he loves, knowing very well that it stresses them .confuses them of breaks their hearts.

    Maybe he knows this works. Maybe that is how he punishes them. He may know that it hurts and confuses both of you — and do it purposefully. Deliberately. Even sadistically.

    Why does he tell her? Why does he tell you? And if he is not willing to tell her everything, it seems kinda selfish, dontcha think, to get mad at her that she doesn’t want to talk about his “being gay”. The anger sounds displaced.

    If he expects her to be open, he has to be. Which would break her heart more — to hear that he calls himself gay — or that he is having sex with you? Is he saving that for when he really wants to hurt her? And the whole truth about himself for when he really wants to hurt you?

    If my wife or lover told me that something I said really hurt them — broke their hear — , I might try not to say it — and choose to talk about it with someone else else instead. Not everything that is felt needs to be spoken.

  272. I think Bonobos have sex with their young, as well….

    Monkeys are not the best model for human sexual behavior…from harems to dominant males…to anxiety driven sexual behavior.

    Please…lets be smart about this.

  273. If his wife does not about you, are you certain you want to marry a man who could do that to a woman? Wouldn’t you worry that he might not be honest with you?

    If these questions are too direct, or insensitive or too personal, please forgive me. I do not mean to be hurtful.

  274. Katie: I keep getting confused. Am I getting this right?

    (1) This is the guy you are dating.

    (2) He is married. He tells you he’s gay and he tells his wife that he’s gay. It’s important to him that both of you know that.

    (3) He has no gay fantasies and no gay sex.

    (4) He only fantasizes about females.

    (5) He is angry with his wife — he says that’s because she won’t talk about it.

    (6) She is not aware that he is having this relationship with you.

    (7) If #6 is true, he is angry that she won’t talk about something important to him — talk openly without getting her heart broken — even though he is not willing to becompletely honest with her.

    (8) You are dating him.

    (9) It causes you some distress that you are dating some one like this — and you would like him to get his categories down..

    Am I hearing this correctly? Please help me if I am not…

  275. Which isn’t to say Rob has NO positive attractions — like positive male bonding, in a rather ungrateful, objectifying way.

    K.

  276. He’s not gay like you are.

    Bonobos and purposes….

    And sure, smells, reproductive drives, etc….

    But also purposes.

    K.

  277. I think Rob’s homosexuality is largely driven to punish the women in his life as well.

    It’s negatively driven, not positive attractions.

    K.

  278. Michael,

    Bingo — I think him feeling gay is really a covert way to punish his wife. It’s more about his heterosexuality than it;s about homosexuality.

    And I think this sort of stuff DOES play a part in our sexuality.

    It’s not all reproductive stuff.

    K.

  279. Michael,

    I don’t either. Really, he doesn’t either, he just knows he’s gay and is trying to figure out what that means for him 🙂

    He’ll sometimes concede that MAYBE he’s bisexual. But when he plays with the words, he just feels gay fits him more.

    And he’s a smart, articulate guy.

    Mostly I give him the benefit of the doubt that he knows himself better than I ever could, and so assume there must be a reason he has yet to be able to articulate.

    Though it also seems to me that maybe it’s a matter of dis-identifying with his heterosexuality for some psychological reason.

    And over-identifying with the fact he can notice when a guy is handsome.

    K.

  280. He worries how being gay will effect their relationship…. How it changes things, can they be happy together, etc….It breaks his wife’s heart that he’s gay, but she won’t talk about it

    Is he wondering what it would be like to have sex with a man? How it would eefect their relationship if he did? And why is he talking to his wife about this? What does he want her to understand? What does he want her to do about it, if anything. If it breaks her heart, why does he insist on saying it if he’s not doing it?

    He feels very isolated because she won’t talk about it, at times angry with her. So that causes strife.

    Perhaps he is angry with her to begin with — over something else — and needs to puniish her in some way by being isolative, or pushing her to talk about it. Does he know how helplessthis makes her feel? Why is he angry with her? Doesn’t seem fair. It’s his problem.

  281. Michael,

    No private, solo gay fantasies. A women must be involved, it’s crucial.He loves vaginas and the way women smell and feel. Seriously.

    Katie, seriously, he sounds straight. Stange that he identifies as “gay”. What does that term mean to him? In what ways does he think the terms applies to him since he has no solo masturbatory fantasies, is turned on to women, genitalia, etc.

    He wants to go man-watching. Why? What’s he looking for? Is he thinking of how it would be to see that particular man having sex with a woman? I don’t get it.

  282. And he’s turned off, even in private fantasy, by the idea of having sex with a man. Turned off. Doesn’t like the imagery at all.

    I’ve asked him in what way, then, would he like a man to BE involved…. He’s not sure, but he’s sure there’s something there because….. well…. he’s gay 🙂

    His wife finally conceded to go man watching with him, so they did. He pointed out the guys he thought were good looking, and she asked him if he would like to have sex with one of them.

    He had to explain to her that he’s not actually attracted to the idea of sex with men.

    But…. he’s gay.

    He worries how being gay will effect their relationship…. How it changes things, can they be happy together, etc….

    It breaks his wife’s heart that he’s gay, but she won’t talk about it.

    He feels very isolated because she won’t talk about it, at times angry with her. So that causes strife.

    But I have no idea WHAT they would talk about???

    Tee, hee.

    Katie

  283. Michael,

    No private, solo gay fantasies.

    A women must be involved, it’s crucial.

    He loves vaginas and the way women smell and feel.

    Seriously.

    It’s been the mirror image of you with Eddy.

    I’ve grilled this guy, probed, gotten very personal 🙂

    I have absolutely no idea why he id’s as gay. And he’s been out for 4 years.

    I know he must drive his wife crazy because he demands that she recognizes and accepts him as a gay man….

    And understand that, despite this, he’s crazy for her, is turned on by her, loves her vagina, etc….

    Isn’t this just too funny? Of all the weird things I’ve come across, this takes the cake.

    K.

  284. If I watch porn, it is straight porn, but I can’t be turned on if the man in the equation is unattractive. Does that suggest I’m watching only the man? Not necessarily – the act itself is what turns me on, and the woman’s involvement in that is crucial to the overall picture. Is all that internalized homophobia?

    Wow. Intersting guy, Katie. This sounds pretty “heterosexual” to me. Seems reasonable. I think most (mainly) hetero men would not want the guy to be ugly — or the women to seem bored — filing her nails or something..

    Like he said: “It’s the act itself “that turns him on. Doesn’t sound like internalized anything to me. I suspect that most people would rather watch a good-looking couple who are both “involved”.

    I forgot, did you say he had gay fantasies? If he does, does he ever focus on them exclusively — in solo masturbation? I think that those private masturbatory fantasies can reveal a lot — since it’s all in the head at that point.

  285. OMG! I jjust had a thought. What if, after all this wrangling over definitions, it turns out that there is onlhy one “sexual orientation” — and we are all really “bonoboseuxal?” Yikes! 🙂

  286. Fantasies… what are they made of?

    Evan,

    This was why I became interested in how blind people (from birth) visualize sexual desires and activity. If they are same gender attracted, what is it about that gender that they are attracted to and how/why would it exclude the other gender? What if they never heard what is preferred by society and chose their sexuality based on desire only – what do they feel to distinguish the difference? I think we would probably get a good answer if we also asked the same of opposite gender attracted individuals who are also blind. It is my limited understanding that any fantasy we have comes from something we have seen or can visualize – otherwise, where does it come from and what does it look like when we think of it – especially when it comes to objects of our desires and sexual activity with them? I understand touch and smell and taste but how is it visualized in blind people and how does it apply to their preference sexually and is it a lifetime preference?

  287. Michael,

    Remember me telling you about a guy who Id’s as gay but only like straight porn?

    Here’s his latest post:

    I don’t express my homosexuality in my marriage, other than being (just about)

    comfortable with the fact that my wife only now, after 4 years post-disclosure,

    acknowledges I am gay/bisexual but will not discuss it further.

    As for sexually (which is I think what you were referring to in your question),

    I am not turned on by gay porn, or have never allowed myself to be. Straight sex

    turns me on. The idea of doing it & fantasising about is much more of a turn on.

    If I watch porn, it is straight porn, but I can’t be turned on if the man in the

    equation is unattractive. Does that suggest I’m watching only the man? Not

    necessarily – the act itself is what turns me on, and the woman’s involvement in

    that is crucial to the overall picture.

    Is all that internalized homophobia? I’m not sure, but I hope it never changes.

    ———————–

    Notice he says: the woman’s involvement is crucial.

    Even when he doesn’t use porn, his fantasies involve a woman, not a man.

    Go figure — he’s gay. And no, after 2 years of writing with this guy, I still have no idea whatsoever why he feels he’s gay. None. Nadda. I absolutely can not figure out what the heck he’s talking about when he describes his attractions or fantasies or feelings.

    He just Id’s as gay….

    So when people say: “No one would want to be gay, choose to be…”…. Maybe this guy? 🙂

    Katie

  288. Eddy,

    You lockeroom/Victoria’s Secret post, I dont’ think we can draw a conclussion — except for those who experience life in this way. Then I think we can affirm their conclussions:)

    Even if all this turns out to be biologically determined before we were born.

    I can’t help but think there’s as much to learn about human behavior and experience in poetry as through science.

    And I noticed you mentioned that you feel more sexually attracted to men when you’re feeling low or anxious or depressed.

    I’m not sure, but I think I feel the same way — sort of. At least anxiety, as long as it’s not overwhelming and all-consuming — seems to make me horny.

    I think Evan mentioned some relationship…. did you?

    But I’ve noticed that this state isn’t one conducive to intimate sex. It’s more about anxiously demanding fulfillment. Not that expressing our more aggressive aspects is wrong during sex. But still, sex during these times just doesn’t seem to do the trick, though it feels like it might.

    K.

  289. And oh, I can get really mad at Rob for not viewing me as manly enough, when I veiw him as girly enough to satisfy his homo-eroticism 🙂

    Most women involved with bisexual men worry that their feminity can’t satisfy, I worry that my masculinity won’t be recognized and eroticised.

    I want to be hard and soft, passive and active, etc…. and recognized as such.

    I want to be ALL. At least in moments.

    I think most of us do.

    So I really think Rob should be able to sexually homo-erotically bond with me 🙂

    K.

  290. So now he can choose to either get his male bonding needs met through sex, or through attempting to sublimate through engaging in boxing and getting his brains bashed in…. gee, I’d choose sex any day

    Me too Katie!

  291. Ah, Bonobos….

    If you ever get around to reading Joe Kort’s page, he gives a long list of reasons why a predominantly straight man might have sex with men, and some of his reasons are pretty Bonobo-like.

    But if you think of Bonobos and contemplate all the reasons they might have sex with eachother, then the idea of a “straight” man having sex with a man falls out. Cuz we’d just all be Bonobos, and straight would be only the expression of our Bonobo sexuality within the confines of heterosexual expression.

    I think what most people who emphasize the variety of purposes sex might have mean when they say things like “straight men who have sex with men” is that if the ONLY reason, as valid and postive as it might be, for a man to have sex with men is to bond in a manly fashion, like how men bond over sports, then he’s expressing only a part of what makes up sexuality (all it’s potential purposes), and so is straight in all other ways than this one.

    So it might not be a case of arrested development, sexual splitting, using and objectification, etc… because the goal or desire is positive and life-affirming, but it also can present potential relationship problems if he wants to express all other sexual purposes with women:)

    So now he can choose to either get his male bonding needs met through sex, or through attempting to sublimate through engaging in boxing and getting his brains bashed in…. gee, I’d choose sex any day 🙂

    In a way, Freud thought we’re all bonobos, and that sexual orientation was simply how we organized our fundamental bisexuality, or Bonoboism.

    I lean more towards believing something like this. I can tell a convincing story of my bisexuality because that’s how I experience my sexualtiy — it’s just that I choose men for all my potential sexual purposes — even bonding with women.

    K.

  292. I found these comments from the above article fascinating:

    This is what makes bonobo sexuality so intriguing for animal behaviorists: they use sex not just for reproduction, as we expect nonhuman animals to do, but for a variety of nonsexual purposes. They bestow "sexual favors" (as we humans say) for appeasement, to gain food, to show affection and connection or to reduce stress.

    Bonobos suggest that our idealization of private, monogamous sexual behavior might be a relatively recent deviation from our evolutionary heritage. Indeed, our ancient ancestors, like bonobos, may have used heterosexual and homosexual sex on a daily basis to make alliances, trade goods and favors, establish friendships and keep the peace. If so, the breadth of human sexual behavior today needs no special explanation.

  293. Eddy: Enjoy the pool. And if it’s a public one, you have my permission to look. 🙂

    We should also consider that our ’sexual looking’…our fascination with the sexual parts of someone else from our own gender…is sometimes nothing more than checking out how ‘we measure up’.

    I wonder if it is male primate behavior? Do monkeys do it? Guys seem to do it automatically, instinctively, usually just a quick glance — sizing up the competition maybe? I don’t know. I just know it’s true. I used to think it meant that all guys were somehow gay.

  294. Yeah, I still don’t get why ‘they’ need us to work when we are busily solving the world’s problems right here. Just not fair!!!

    That said….I’m off to the pool. 🙂

  295. Michael,

    Thanks, yeah, that’s what the goal is, we’re getting there. Not there yet, but we’ve concluded that we’re definitely stuck with eachother, so better make the most of it.

    Eddy,

    I need to think about what you wrote a bit. Unfortunately this whole “I have to work to make a living thing” stands in the way right now.

    K.

  296. Re Victoria’s Secret and Men’s Locker Rooms. If we remember that our brain is our primary sex organ AND if we understand that our sexual ‘feelings’ are rarely just a biological urge, we should also consider that our ‘sexual looking’…our fascination with the sexual parts of someone else from our own gender…is sometimes nothing more than checking out how ‘we measure up’.

    If we feel that our own sexual goods are equal to or greater than the image we are looking out, we could have a sexual stirring motivated by confidence or power. Conversely, if we feel that we don’t measure up, we could have a stirring driven by insecurity or misguided desire. (With some males, the type of guy they were attracted to was secretly the type of guy they wished they could be.) Or, to keep up with the vivid imagery provided by the ladies, a man with a small penis might be orally obsessed with big ones…symbolically, in the brain, now possessing a big one.

    These are observations only…not conclusions. Still enjoying the climate of peace and tranquility.

  297. So I’m stuck in this silly place of insuring that Rob gets his categories more solid, even though that’s really not what I want….

    Forget the categories and just love each other. Honesty, love and faithfulness are what really count.

  298. Carol,

    What most radical left wing feminists mean by examples like women viewing Victoia’s Secret, is that it can be an expression of “psychic bisexuality” as opposed to sexual bisexuality.

    Yes, there are those who are either lesbian or bisexually id’d who go too far, or get too sloppy when talking about this, in that they imply that ALL people are potentially bisexual in the sexual sense, or have secret desires to be so, even if they’re unaware of it.

    But most are really addressing bisexual/bi-gendered identifications, and how these identifications influence our libido, or sexuality, broadly concieved, in most cases, because most people who talk a lot about psychic bisexuality and homo-eroticism, think that the sexual permeates all aspects of life — like Freud did. Everything is sexual, or libidinal.

    Like “Sex sells”, etc….

    I’m not for postulating experiences I don’t experience, or experiencing something behind my back. Just makes experience too murky a proposition for me.

    So when it comes to things like women viewing Victoria’s Secret, I go for saying things like, for some/many women it’s an expression of homo-eroticism, because for many women, appreciating a beautiful woman is erotic, or projectively identifying with a beautiful woman is highly erotic, and feeds into her erotic life generally, and including when she expresses that eroticism with her sexual object of choice.

    Being trapped by the language we have, I find it difficult to express some of my fantasies except through them. For instance, I definitely have lesbian fantasies which I take to my male sexual partners, because I’m straight. And without my lesbian fantasies, I wouldn’t be straight in the way I am. A man’s penis is a breast/penis to me. And if my projections onto him of having inner spaces, of being a vessel, soft and motherly, are rejected, then I don’t find sexual intimacy with him.

    Which I’m positive is why I was initially so hot for Rob — he doesn’t guard against being penetrated, he invites it.

    Ok, maybe too much, but maybe it’s not his problem, but mine — maybe I’m not secure enough in my own identity to withstand having a man who can also be a lesbian…. what would that make ME?????

    So I’m stuck in this silly place of insuring that Rob gets his categories more solid, even though that’s really not what I want….

    K.

  299. and I think, “Are those my only choices? Feels like they are trying to define my identity or something…

    Well, there you have it – if a man can feel like it is his idea or experience, it automatically becomes credible 🙂

  300. Don’t any of you be expecting me to post my email address for all the world to see. And I hope all of you will understand if I decline on emails and facebook. That’s way too much kum by yah for me. Got plenty enough right here at Throck’s.

  301. @Katie:

    It’s a sort of non-gendered moment, where all positions open up, and specified identity melts away. And then I’m more myself than before.

    I know the feeling. Pretty wonderful, huh?

  302. BTW: my email is [email protected]. I am on facebook, too. Would love to show off some of the pics of my Grandson, Caleb. I can’t help it. It’s what grandfathers do…

  303. still confused about ‘twinks’…makes me think of slender and underage

    Not confused. I think that’s pretty much the definition. 🙂 Yawn… I like my men with a little bit of grey… Hey, I am describing myself… 🙂

  304. I think the word you’re searching for might be “inter-penetration”, which is a state of mind, which has nothing to do with sexual position, doer/done, penetrator/penetrated.

    I’ve though a lot about my feelings re: inter-penetration, what goes on inside when I experience it, my fantasies and such.

    When I contrast how I feel when I reach the level of experiencing inter-penetration, it’s at once a much more complicated and more simple state — like the resolution of the One and the Many. Finding one’s self through the loss of self-awareness. A merging experience that locates the self.

    And I find that it’s a state of expressing various gendered identificaions and projecting them onto my partner, only to once again identify with them.

    It’s a sort of non-gendered moment, where all positions open up, and specified identity melts away.

    And then I’m more myself than before.

    It’s a dangerous place to go, and unfortunately with Rob I feel too strong a drive to insure the boundaries — Rob man, me woman…..

    It seems to me that surrender requires letting go of categories.

    K.

  305. I lost touch with most of the sexually specific lingo long ago. Never was sure what a ‘power bottom’ was; still confused about ‘twinks’…makes me think of slender and underage.

  306. Many ‘receivers’ were labelled as the ‘passive’ partner but were anything but passive. And many a top guy (especially in relation to oral sex) is not aggressive at all but prefers to ‘lay back and let the partner work’.

    We call that a “power bottom”, right? I have never liked that “passive/active” stuff. I always try to be enthusiastic — never think of it as work. People will ask, “Are you top or bottom?” and I think, “Are those my only choices? Feels like they are trying to define my identity or something… 🙂

    Might not wax too deep or poetic today.

    Hey, you can’t do it all the time. Have to let the old synapses rest. Me too. BTW, I wanted to say that I have always been impressed by the intelligence and speaking/writing ability of most of the ex-gays I meet. They seem to be a pretty deep and poetic bunch.

  307. I was thinking that in some ways, this blog is kinda like EXODUS was at the beginning — and may still be. A place for SSA folk (and others) to struggle with issues like spirituality and sexuality, to discuss, to challenge each other — yes even to argue sometimes — to try to find that balance we seek. Thanks for putting up with me and letting me take part. That means you too, Eddy. 🙂

  308. I’ve noted that I depend on pubic transportation.

    Thought that was what crab lice do… 🙂

  309. But if I ever really offend someone, just let me know. It won’t hurt my feelings, and I’d completely understand

    Katie: You are among friends. No harm, no foul.

    Back from Mass. I think I am becoming Catholic. Something about the stained glass, the quiet, the prayerful attitude. I’m kinda southern Baptist at heart, but I find myself crossing myself at prayer. Anyway — “The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all…

  310. Yeah, it’s always viewed as a bit strange on a job application when I’ve noted that I depend on pubic transportation.

  311. I can appreciate the mixed-feelings syndrome with regard to going public

    Quoted my own statement above to bring in a lighter moment. I’m so glad I checked my post before hitting submit as I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed “pubic” for public in the past. LOL.

  312. Katie–

    Your comment reminds me of an observation i made years ago. Some gay-identified friends were discussing who was passive and who was aggressive and it occurred to me that ‘giver’ vs ‘receiver’ (with respect to ‘the torpedo’…lol) was often more appropriate.

    Many ‘receivers’ were labelled as the ‘passive’ partner but were anything but passive. And many a top guy (especially in relation to oral sex) is not aggressive at all but prefers to ‘lay back and let the partner work’.

    Another reason for getting away from labels, especially when it comes to sex–which everybody pretends to be ‘cool’ about but where most of us still have some embarrassment. When I pointed out the distinctions above, my friends agreed but gave me one of those ‘you think too much’ looks.

    Not ignoring the rest of you…got a few distractions going on…some errands to run…calls to make…a new machine to toy with. Might not wax too deep or poetic today.

  313. Frankly, I’ve never hung out with religious people — this is as close to going church as I’ve ever gotten, so I’ve wondered how the TMI thing was going, and have been concerned I’d bristle someone’s sensibilities, but I just can’t figure out how to talk about sexuality issues without talking about sexuality issues 🙂

    But if I ever really offend someone, just let me know.

    It won’t hurt my feelings, and I’d completely understand

    No problem, Katie. You should hear some of the things we discuss in my women’s SSA group. I’m sure you can well imagine. Thanks for the e-mail. I’m glad you hang out here. Sometimes church is done better in places other than inside a sanctuary. 🙂

  314. Eddy,

    And personally, I think more women than men experience fluidity because women are taught to hold paradox more than men are. In part because we’re told to hold, period, more than men — and I mean hold emotions rather than externalize — to be the vessel rather than the torpedo, etc….

    And, yes, there’s probably some drive for women to be more like this because we hold babies in our bodies and then in our arms.

    Still, there’s also no doubt that we’re also trained to do so, and boys are more trained not to do so.

    I think one of the things that’s in play in at least some bisexual men is merely this desire to be the vessel, to take in, to hold, to passively injest. But because boys are taught that this desire is hatefully unmanly, then rather inner spaces, a hole develops and so they develop fantasies of needing to take in masculinity from those they percieve as more worthy than they.

    But, what do I know? I don’t.

    K.

  315. To Katie:

    Eddy and Michael, I’m so glad you two have made up

    Give us time. I am sure I will say something that will get us going again. But, I will try to do it in a mature and more loving manner. I will try. Expect progress, not perfection.

    More points of agreement:

    Buff bodies created in a gym don’t interest me. Neither does a GQ look. Immaculate grooming is a turn-off as is the leather look

    .

    I agree. The hyper-buff ones look like super-muscular mutant frogs or something. I have noticed that the large muscles do not necessarily mean that other things are… Well, you catch my meaning.

    And immaculate grooming… sometimes, yes. Freshly shaved, great haircut, clean nails, clean clothes — a bit of GQ style, yes. But a little bit of dirt and sweat is even better. I always think: “I bet he would clean up good!” 🙂

  316. And Michael, we have both the radical gay movement and the radical feminist movement to thank.

    Hopefully radicalism will soften into a more taken-for-granted thing.

    K.

  317. Eddy,

    I’ve run across women who would love to find a nice not quite straight guy to settle down with.

    Through my young niece I know a couple — he’s gay, she’s not, and they don’t seem to think this is a big deal at all — no oxymoron in a gay guy dating a girl.

    To me, what Warren is doing is getting guys to question an either/or position and to hold paradox. Sorry if I’m way off base here Warren….

    The qustion: what sound does one hand clapping doesn’t seem so strange to non-Western ears.

    I don’t know, but I agree with Evan that the younger generation isn’t going to experience such paradoxes like we do. It will just be life.

    K.

  318. Morning Eddy. Hope you slept well. I was up til 3. Felt compelled to read Paul’s entore letter to the Ephesians. Talk about conviction by the Holy Spirt — “speak the truth to one another in love…” I have not lived up to those words.

    Hey, I agree with you about leather:

    (A REAL biker in leather chaps might draw my eye but most men in leather strike me as ‘playing dress-up’.)

    I lost my chaps. Now I just have the boots and a vest. But that is enough. I like the “simple” leather look — A white T-shrt and good-fittiing genes will do –and yes, the black boots.

    But the “ove-the-top” leatherman with all the chains and studs and. stuff, not so much. I call it “hyper-masculine drag:” They might as well be dressing up in a frock and pearls. To each his own, huh?

    To my fellow bloggers: I think you will hear — I hope you will hear — a different tone from me starting today. I really don’t have much of any issue with Eddy. We actually agreee on tons of stuff.

    And now that I understand how he uses his language, I won’t have to push the issue. I will just say to myself: “He’s talking about a change in indentity — and that’s a big change — even if it’s not “straight”.

  319. Mine is posted all over creation and it hasn’t been an issue.

    I’m really glad to hear this – when I read some of the things written from Wayne Beson, Regan DuCassee, grantdale. etc., about you, I still cringe. You are far more generous than I am to be so tolerant and/or understanding when people write abusive things.

  320. Mary and Debbie, if you care — here’s my email:

    [email protected]

    Actually, anyone can email me. But I’m pretty bad at checking my emails, but I do get around to it.

    Eddy and Michael,

    I’m so glad you two have made up.

    K.

  321. Someone’s blogging, Lord, kum by yah

    Of all the verses I’ve heard over the years, I think ‘blogging’ is one I’d never heard but we can certainly go there.

    Thanks, Michael, I appreciate ‘the extra mile’ you went to in your last post responding to me.

    Thanks, Carole. What you described seeing in my posts is what I strive for and I’d get so perplexed when it wound up offending someone to such a degree.

    I don’t recall ever having the olfactory responses. (Whew! Michael and I weren’t cloned from the same egg. 🙂 ) I’m a visual responder. For me, it seems to be primarily a ‘blue collar’ look. I often wondered if mine wasn’t a mating response and that I was responding to some ‘provider’ imagery. I do have a domestic side. Buff bodies created in a gym don’t interest me. Neither does a GQ look. Immaculate grooming is a turn-off as is the leather look. (A REAL biker in leather chaps might draw my eye but most men in leather strike me as ‘playing dress-up’.)

    With regard to the opposite sex, frilly and/or fragile turns me off. So does an overly sexy look. (Tart!!!) I doubt that heterosexual marriage is in the cards for me but the type of women I respond to also have a ‘real’ image in my head. I used to refer to it as “Colorado Pretty”…a healthy, outdoors look without too much make up or cosmetic enhancement…breasts that are noticeable but that don’t seem inclined to burst through the clothing, hips with a slight curve but not a ‘bodacious booty’.

    And the eyes…a lively spark or twinkle in either gender gets my attention. Speaking of eyes, it would be interesting given what’s been discussed here to examine the American Indian culture. I understand that in a number of tribes, it is considered offensive to look someone in the eye. I think the belief is that looking someone in the eyes is stealing their soul…or something like that.

    Just an aside: Was a bit distracted yesterday by the turmoil ‘tween Michael and I and never noticed Evan’s slip into slang and jargon. When Carole (I think) provided her examples, it brought big smiles. LOL. Evan, I do remember when you first started blogging here. Your English was ‘immaculate’…even at times, stilted. Your foray into colloquial speech and usage is commendable!!!!

    I think the notion that the brain is our primary sex organ likely encompasses all of our varied attractions. Naturally, I see it as going to my ‘learned behavior’ bias. Something got imprinted that says ‘blue collar’ equals ‘real man’. Even a tad scruffy and a bit of a paunch fit in…which is another reason why I think ‘real’ has some sort of significance to me. It seems to make sense in my world. If I’m out and about feeling secure about myself, I scarcely notice anyone attraction-wise. But if I’m feeling down, confused, incompetent, scared…the attractions are more frequent and more noticeable.

  322. There is nothing against the posting guidelines about posting an email. Mine is posted all over creation and it hasn’t been an issue.

    But that is a personal decision.

  323. Is it ok to post my email address?

    Katie,

    I suggest that you do not post your email address. Most of the people who post here are wonderful but I have seen a few who have been abusive and would not want them to write me personally. Dr. Throckmorton can privately exchange addresses for those who request it.

  324. Is it ok to post my email address?

    I don’t mind, just don’t know if it’s against the rules.

    K.

  325. Debbie,

    Frankly, I’ve never hung out with religious people — this is as close to going church as I’ve ever gotten, so I’ve wondered how the TMI thing was going, and have been concerned I’d bristle someone’s sensibilities, but I just can’t figure out how to talk about sexuality issues without talking about sexuality issues 🙂

    But if I ever really offend someone, just let me know.

    It won’t hurt my feelings, and I’d completely understand.

    Katie

  326. Yep, this thread was about NARTH but I think it is more interesting than anything NARTH has got to say.

    I’d have to second that! Where on the planet can you observe and participate in a conversation like this one? The transparency and openness are astounding at times. Yes, some of it makes my Christian-girl TMI filter go bonkers, but it is enlightening and refreshing at gut level. (Katie, I may have to send you a private comment ;).

    Since I have stepped up my own level of transparency — it previously was related to anxiety and depression issues and that part of my past — I can appreciate the mixed-feelings syndrome with regard to going public.

  327. Wow Evan,

    That is an interesting question. From what I gather with Rob, if I could do the sexual acts with him that arouses him, I’m pretty convinced that, in his case, he’d have much more satisfying orgasms.

    I know he likes smelling me – and finds the notion of sniffing a man’s neck just for the enjoyment of sniffing leaves him cold 🙂

    About the whole straight women fantasize being possesed, maybe lesbians fantasize about being the possessor.

    Among the bisexual women who’ve talked in depth about their bisexual fantasies, a shift in these two roles seems involved to some degree, but what seems more involved is their perception and fantasies about “hard” and “soft” objects.

    Among the heterosexually married lesbian women, however, fantasies of being the possessor (or doer) seems more at issue, and the successfully married ones who feel steady attraction for their husbands seem to be married to guys who are willing to take on the passive role, not just overtly, but in the more nuanced ways as well — like letting their wives kiss them, rather than the other way around.

    With the bisexual men, the shifting states of doer-done seems to be very much at issue, and many express feeling like their penis is straight, but their butts are gay. When they’re feeling straight, they feel very attracted to their wives, some intensely so — love sex with them, etc….

    Then they experience a shift from active to passive, and obsess about being “taken” by a man. And no, for most of them, role playing with their wives doesn’t do the full trick. Even among the guys who seem pretty darn focused on the penis, and don’t experience men as a whole attractive in the way they experience women. They often say that a woman with a real, working, penis would be what they’d really like — but it’s a real penis they have in mind, not a toy.

    Rob? He seems more focused on the sensation itself, as some other men are as well. Still, there is the real penis thing going on as well.

    If Rob were a woman rather than a man, Freud would say it’s just penis envy.

    I read a very funny thing written by a psychologist on penis envy, and how Freud got it all wrong — it’s not women who suffer from it, it’s men.

    About the Amygdala as opposed to the hypothalamus: Like lots of people, Rob experienced sexual abuse at a very young age, young enough that the hypothalamus wasn’t fully on board yet.

    Anyway, off to work.

    K.

  328. One more…

    Both Katie and Lynn David asked me about this paragraph:

    I could differentiate between [arousal as a “subjective” state when someone feels in their brain that seeing something erotic gives them a “sugary” feeling] and [arousal as expressed in an erection which is not associated with brain arousal]. … It is possible to have an erection for a woman, without being brain-aroused.

    The first type is pure brain arousal, that only gives a pleasant subjective feeling without leading to erection.

    The 2nd would be one which leads to an erection without leading necessarily to orgasm.

    So, Katie, taking up your previous point, I wonder how would a scientific researcher classify someone who can get erections with one sex, but have stronger orgasms with the other. Which one would be considered arousal indicating orientation?

    That’s what I meant.

    I’m out!

  329. Katie wrote:

    I know I have full body orgasms. Well, when they’re good 🙂 I’ve never really thought about this, but I don’t when masturbating, then it’s very localized.

    But when it’s with a person I like (don’t orgasm unless I really like them, and I don’t care how good they are) then it’s full body, even difficult, sometimes to localize at all.

    I’ve heard many men express envy about female orgasms.

    Yeah, we straight men are doing our job, pretty much in a bovine way, focusing only on intromission. We’re getting ripped off. Women can have full body orgasms, and it’s still us doing all the work.

  330. carole

    Well, I never had pets, so I don’t know about this eye-to-eye communication. But I know women focus a lot on eye contact to guess whether they are impressed or not by a man. And I’ve noticed that they dilate the pupils (?) if they like what they see. It’s like they want to know if his eyes can penetrate hers. A matching of sorts.

  331. Evan,

    Okay, this is really OT, but thought I’d throw it in: isn’t it amazing that even an animal knows to look us (or a member of another species) IN the EYE?

    I mean, where is the “key” to that? Your cat and your dog and a baby are trained by the parent, one could argue, to look their parent in the eye. Yet, this behavior is species-transferred.

    The cat raised by its mother knows to look the human in the eye as well. The bear met in the wild looks the human in the eye as well. Amazing.

  332. To Eddy:

    Michael, I’m glad you were able to see and appreciate the sense of privacy I’m trying to hold onto. As I’ve said before, this blogspace is the only place I’ve ‘gone public’ since leaving the ministry some 15 or 20 years ago. And, when I started blogging here, it was with a lot of misgivings.

    I am sorry. I dod not realize that was what was going on. It felt like you were trying to back away from something you offered as a definition. I misjudged what you were doing.

    I appear to be a very outward and social being but I’m a very unique mix. Yes, I sing karaoke regularly but between songs I usually just sit by myself and mull over the song books

    I do exactly the same thing. I didn’t go tonight (my usual) because I knew I would just sit by myself and mull over the song books. On stage, I am a different guy.

    Even when I was in the ministry, I could comfortably speak to a group of any size or mix, had absolutely no fear or awkwardness around a microphone…but, once I stepped away from the mike, found it difficult to ask a group if I might join their table for lunch.

    Again, exactly the same. Exactly. Are we twins separated at birth?

    But–no one expects a hermit to be so loquacious or so matter of fact in the way they talk and write. Especially in writing, people read my ‘matter of fact’ and ‘let’s cut to the quick’ style as arrogance. They read anger and hostility when, in my own mind, I’m not wrangling with the other person…I’m wrangling with the words they’ve written.

    Are you describing both of us to a tee or what? Although, sometimes I really am arrogant, angry and hostlie. Really. Honest I am.

    Michael, I do realize that you didn’t realize that mentioning my full name here on the blog was a faux pas. It’s okay. It wasn’t that big a deal…but it really did freak me out for a time. It set off all my hermit alarms

    Again, I apologize for my ignorance in this regard. I should have asked if I could quote you by name.

    I’m ready for sleep!

    Good night, Eddy. I would sit with you and mull over the songbooks — that is if we had met in a different context. I understand you sing very well. Would be nice to hear.

  333. @Eddy,

    Especially in writing, people read my ‘matter of fact’ and ‘let’s cut to the quick’ style as arrogance.

    For the record, Eddy, I have always seen you as the very opposite, as someone who sticks to the questions and/or concerns posed, yes, but as someone who is very polite, one who welcomes real discussion, one who remains cordial, even in disagreement.

    Today, yes–a departure from your usual demeanor– but one can see that this has been a very, very long thread and you remained very “blog-professional” for a very long time.

    I think the rest of us can understand the heat.

  334. carole,

    Olfaction must have some indirect, blind, influence on sexual feelings, but there is no positive empirical finding on that yet. I would rather ask Warren about that case of the man treated for social phobia.

    If Warren finds the study/report that says treating social phobia/anxiety reduced same-sex feelings in at least one man, then maybe the same therapeutic intervention can be found to work in another man with a similar history. If it works once, maybe it works twice. It doesn’t have to work for anybody to be a validated result.

    The same intervention may be replicated in other trials, case by case, but this time using physiological measures of sexual orientation. I mean, take a few volunteers with a similar profile, measure their penis response to nude men/women or, better yet, also scan their brains and get them through therapy and check the results again, using PPG and fMRI.

    One reservation I have about this is that anti-anxiety medication has some side-effects related to sex (right?), so if the results are positive for some men, it might be argued that they have less arousal for men because their capacity for arousal has been reduced in general. A true positive result would be if the medication reduced subjectively-felt-SSA and physical arousal for men, while keeping whatever degree of arousal to women there is intact.

    The merit of this experiment would be finding confirmation or rebuttal, from a different point of view, to two brainscanning studies that showed some interesting differences between straight and gay men in the amygdala region.

    I hope Warren will find that report again. Maybe someone will try to replicate it in another study.

  335. And David, I like this as well…

    A Comprehensive Review of Same Sex Attraction: Biological Precursors, Environmental Triggers, Malleability and Adaptability.

    My view is that this covers several important bases, but even the title might go beyond the current data. I might stop at a comprehensive review of same-sex attraction.

    If NARTH did that and brought everything to the table, it would have been more credible.

  336. Hey, how y’all doin’?

    Yep, this thread was about NARTH but I think it is more interesting than anything NARTH has got to say.

    I’ll post the Binstock paper right quick here.

  337. @Michael,

    Thanks for responding to such a personal question.

    Yes, passivity in a boy is something another kid, often a “needy” kid, recognizes.

    I read not long ago of a study that found that bullies are themselves bullied. For example, if ta kid acts as a bully at school, it’s likely he has been or is bullied at home by a neighbor kid or, more likely, by a sibling or even a parent.

    There is, unfortunately, a pack mentality that operates in kids, just as in adults.

  338. @Evan,

    Don’t know if you missed my question in a post above, but since you were talking about the primal source, perhaps of attraction, olfaction…did you read the paper by Teresa Binstock?

    If not, Warren has it. Thought you’d be interested. It’s an hypothesis.

  339. carole wrote:

    Warren if he’ll send you the T. Binstock paper (or have you read it?)

    No, I haven’t. But Warren’s probably lurking and if it’s important he might post it some time. Anyway, he is due to appear and say something like: What’s up folks? This topic’s about Narth and… how ya’ll doin’? 🙂

  340. Hello all…

    I went out for the evening and then spent some time familiarizing myself with my ‘new’ karaoke machine that arrived this afternoon.

    Believe it or not, all of the wrangling between Michael and I did not take away my peace. (You would not believe the issues I’ve got going on at home that make the dialogues between Michael and I see tame.) Don’t know what it is…but even those haven’t messed with my peace. (Ann, Mary: I do appreciate those prayers anyway…need to keep the well of peace full to the brim!!!)

    Anyway, Michael, I’m glad you were able to see and appreciate the sense of privacy I’m trying to hold onto. As I’ve said before, this blogspace is the only place I’ve ‘gone public’ since leaving the ministry some 15 or 20 years ago. And, when I started blogging here, it was with a lot of misgivings. I do get involved in discussions where I feel Exodus is being misrepresented but mostly… I’m here for me…an individual with no board or ministry steering my conversations with a lot of questions and interests that don’t quite fit the ministry agenda.

    I appear to be a very outward and social being but I’m a very unique mix. Yes, I sing karaoke regularly but between songs I usually just sit by myself and mull over the song books. Even when I was in the ministry, I could comfortably speak to a group of any size or mix, had absolutely no fear or awkwardness around a microphone…but, once I stepped away from the mike, found it difficult to ask a group if I might join their table for lunch.

    Friends have labelled me ‘The Reluctant Hermit’ and ‘The Most Social Hermit You’ll Ever Meet’…but they do get it. They do the see the very private, hermit side of me. One of the main reasons I embraced karaoke in the first place was that I realized that, without it, I’d likely resort to “Hello neighbor” greetings at the mailbox as my major source of socializing.

    But–no one expects a hermit to be so loquacious or so matter of fact in the way they talk and write. Especially in writing, people read my ‘matter of fact’ and ‘let’s cut to the quick’ style as arrogance. They read anger and hostility when, in my own mind, I’m not wrangling with the other person…I’m wrangling with the words they’ve written. LOL. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes it does get personal. Today, I mostly stayed with my usual ‘responding to the words’ but there were a few instances (and I think it was obvious) that it got personal.

    Anyway, I’m rambling. (And I’m desperately trying not to say LOL)…but Michael, I do realize that you didn’t realize that mentioning my full name here on the blog was a faux pas. It’s okay. It wasn’t that big a deal…but it really did freak me out for a time. It set off all my hermit alarms. Thanks for agreeing not to use my name in public and for not using it here on the blog. I agree with you that I didn’t create that much distance between my blog name and my former public persona…but I felt that it was just enough distance to allow me to converse without being ‘that guy’ while still being able to speak matter of factly, as an insider, on Exodus related topics when necessary.

    I’ve heard the ‘incoming message’ beep about a half-dozen times while writing this. I’m hoping there’s nothing that calls for my response. I’m ready for sleep!

  341. Evan ~ Jul 13, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    I think that …Narth should try aroma therapy

    Why not? Nothing else seems to help. (Don’t pounce. Just joking…) Really. Just joking….

  342. FETISH:

    1. magical object: something, especially an inanimate object, that is revered or worshiped because it is believed to have magical powers or be animated by a spirit

    2. object of obsession: an object, idea, or activity that somebody is irrationally obsessed with or attached to

    3. object arousing sexual desire: something that arouses sexual excitement in somebody, e.g. an inanimate object or nonsexual part of the body

    Like any word, it seems to have many possible layers of meaning. In treatment, we sometimes think of it as something that has become so necessary for sexual arousal that it is causing distress or seriously imparing the idividual’s functioning.

    If it does not, I think we just tend to think of it as a preference — like attraction to blue eyes or good teeth.

  343. BTW, I am super-impressed by the breadth and depth of Evan’s knowledge and insight on these subjects. How old is he anyway? 🙂

  344. all the things you listed are also attractive to most of us women

    Interesting. Makes me wonder if I am somehow “wired” like a woman — to find the visual, tactile, oflactory, auditory and gustatory aspects of a man strangley and powerfully alluring. Sounds like a mating urge, huh?

  345. People, hold on, I answered Katie’s question about fetishes and just gave her my opinion based on what I know. I’m not an expert on fetishes/sexuality and don’t intend to become one. I could be wrong.

  346. Carole:

    I think that the things you have listed are not fetishes because you do not need them to experience arousal.

    That has always been my understanding, Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps anything we find attractive is a sort of fetish. I guess it depends on how one defines it. Oh no! Let’s not go there again…

    BTW, all the things you listed are also attractive to most of us women, all but the jock strap. (Well, depends…..HA)

    How about it ladies? Are you athletic supporters? I know lotsa straight guys like women’s unmentionables. 🙂

  347. To Carole:

    Smells that remind us of ….say, childhood. The smell of the first rain, for example. Every time I smell the first light rain…the smell of heavily waxed hardwood floors — Yes, I remember those too.

    I experience them as you describe the smell. I also like the smell of campfires, wool, citrus (I grew up around it), bread baking, bacon frying, Xmas trees, hot chocolate chip cookies. Incense in a Catholic church, the scent of flowers my great-grandma grew… So many. When my partner leaves, I enjoy the scent of his hair on my pillow.

    Michael, either yesterday or the day before as you posted a great deal, I googled you because you said you were heavily involved in an organization which you now regretted.

    I

    Yes, this is very true — but I would have regretted it less if it had stayed true to the course, remained a minisitry and stayed out of politics. That detour troubled me deeply. It still does.

    The ongoing affiliation with NARTH and the links (sometimes quietly removed later) to some (in my opinion) wackos and hatemongers also bother me. I think EXODUS needs to be much, MUCH more careful.

    Can I ask or is it too personal for I surely understand if it is….why kids do that to you? I saw you talking in a video and there didn’t seem to be a man who screamed “I am gay” in it. So, what characteristics do you think they saw in you that made them feel you should be the object of their scorn?

    You know, Carole, I really don’t know. It started early. Pecking order. Tuff Boys against sissies. I don’t think I acted in a particularly feminine way — maybe just sorta passive — like I would allow myself to be a target.

    One day in fifth grade, after a particularly brutal attack by a gang of the Tuff Boys, I remember promising myself that someday I would be a therapist or psychologist to figure out why bullies do it. I still don’t know.

  348. @Michael,

    I think that the things you have listed are not fetishes because you do not need them to experience arousal.

    BTW, all the things you listed are also attractive to most of us women, all but the jock strap. (Well, depends…..HA)

  349. @ Evan: I don’t know if what I am talking about really meets the criteria for a “fetish”. I am not sure. Tell me what you think.

    I don’t regard my attraction to men who are handsomely dressed and kinda hunky in appearance to be a “partial sexuality”. What about women who like well-dressed men — or men in uniform, or boots, or jeans — does she have a “partial sexuality”? Is her attraction to such guys a “fetish”?

    I don’t need the objects of clothing to experience sexual arousal. I am just as happy when he takes them off. It’s the guy IN the boots, not the boots. Or the boots by the side of the bed. 🙂 Or the scent of him at breakfast the next morning… Love Old Spice too, by the way. And sometimes even cigars — although I usually hate them.

  350. @MIchael and Evan,

    They say that our sense of smell is the most evocative–yes, we all can, like Michael, identify smells that remind us of ….say, childhood. The smell of the first rain, for example. Every time I smell the first light rain (it is light and thus brings up the smell of dust) I am taken back to my childhood. The smell of heavily waxed hardwood floors (a smell I can rarely find these days for even the new hardwood floors and the “waxes” smell unlike those of old) brings back a certain merchant’s store of my youth.

    Michael, either yesterday or the day before as you posted a great deal, I googled you because you said you were heavily involved in an organization which you now regretted.

    I read your letter of apology, as you termed it. In it, you said that as a kid you were teased, called names, bullied and from what you said (because there was a reference to how you felt about yourself at age 12) I took this to mean you had these things done to you before the age of 12.

    Can I ask or is it too personal for I surely understand if it is….why kids do that to you? I saw you talking in a video and there didn’t seem to be a man who screamed “I am gay” in it. So, what characteristics do you think they saw in you that made them feel you should be the object of their scorn?

  351. Like any partial sexuality, fetishism relies on conditioned response to a certain item that recalls the presence of the loved person’s body/gender.

    Interesting, Evan.

    My Dad never wore them. I have no childhood memories of them. They caught my fancy as an adult — after seeing gay guys in leather at leather bars. Wow. HandSUM!!! Break me off a piece of that.

    I may related the boots to my Dad’s gender on some barely conscious level. I did admire him and his easy masculinity. I wanted to be like that. Had nothing to do with trauma as far as I can tell. It had more to do with admiration and role-modeling. I wanted to be a man.

  352. @ Evan: I think this is probably right, which lends more support to the notion that SSA and OSA are somehow innate:

    if you want to understand how sex works in all mammalian species you gotta start from the base, the smell sense, the (blind) chemosensory perception, the oldest known modality to recognise sex in mammals

    Michael Bussee kept mentioning black boots… It could be about dominance and/or some strong olfactory cues.

    I have thought about this fetish (I have several) a lot. I think it is primarily olfactory and visual, not much related to dominance. I like wearing them. I like the feel of them. (I dig leather vests, too.)

    The dark color. The patina they develop over time. I have some balance problems so they make me feel “grounded”. I stub my toes less often. They are handsome, functional, male.

    YesI love the smell of leather. I will sometimes go into a country-western clothing store or boot barn — just to take in that aroma. I do the same thing at Starbucks, incense and candle vendors or at tobacco shops.

    Love the smell. I never wanted to see the movie “Scent of a Woman…” The whole concept left me uninspired — if you get my drift.

    The boots are masculine — in a very sterotypic way. I also like baseball caps, board shorts, jeans, work boots, jock straps and cowboy hats — tuxes and suits and uniforms. They all say “male”. Men are just very, very handsome — especially the really good-looking ones.

    In terms of fantasy, I have no desires to hurt or be hurt. (I was beat up too much as a kid). I don’t like bondage, humiliation or domination scenes. They scare the stuffings out of me.

  353. I got angry cuz I thought we had posted a very public definition — and then seemed not to want to “own” it. I know now that it was the privacy issue that crossed the line.

  354. @Mary (and Eddy).

    Michael – you used Eddy’s last name – that’s all…. You know what it is like to want to protect your privacy and then you do something like this

    .

    I am sincerely sorry. I really did not realize that using his last name was out of order or that he was trying to remain somewhat anonymous.

    I thought he had made it clear which “Eddy” he was — seeing as how he mentioned his involvement with EXODUS and Outpost several times — and recently made reference to his published works.

    I tassumed, I guess wrongly, that he just refered to himself as “Eddy” on this blog to be kinda folksy, friendly and informal. My mistake. I will not mention his last name again.

  355. @Evan,

    I don’t know much at all about fetishes except that men much more than women have them.

    The foot fetish, which I guess is a very common one, is curious. I mean, I accept that some men have such a fetish, but one wonders why. Why would one fetish, like that for feet of all things, be more common than another?

    What in common with one another would men with “foot-fetishes” have?

    And, do SSA men, as a population, have fetishes more than the population of OSA men or are fetishes just more indulged in the homosexual community because no women “must be consulted”?>

  356. No, no desire to have sex with my son.

    And his is what it feels like to me — other than just pure pleasure in looking at him.

    That, to the extent that self-esteem fuels the ability to experience erotic energy, then he’s a great source of self-esteem cuz he’s the best child on earth.

    And no, I don’t even get wet panties when I look at him. But personally, I think that’s due to appropriately internalized feelings of protection.

    But he does make my day brighter, and when my days are brighter I feel more erotically tuned into the world in general.

    In a non-specified-target sort of way.

    K.

  357. Yeah, that’s what it seems like to me.

    Thanks Evan.

    You’re a fount of information.

    How old are you?

    K.

  358. Of course, I understand.

    And know for sure that the erotic and the sexual aren’t the same thing.

    I feel erotic when I look at a painting I like, but don’t want to have sex with one.

    Music — erotic.

    Looking at my son — erotic.

    The painting provokes a sexual desire.

    The music stimulates desire of a sexual nature.

    The son? I believe you meant it’s your great love of your son that stirs a longing in you for a man. Like Michael said, you certainly don’t have “erotic feelings” for your son.

    (Either you misused the word there or you have feelings for your son that we don’t wish you to have) LOL.

  359. Katie said:

    You’re very cute.

    :”>

    So what do you make of object fetishes?

    I dunno, it depends on the nature of the fetish. Feet fetish might be based on olfactory fixations. Michael Bussee kept mentioning black boots… It could be about dominance and/or some strong olfactory cues.

    Like any partial sexuality, fetishism relies on conditioned response to a certain item that recalls the presence of the loved person’s body/gender. It could be due to very strong imprinting events that happened during childhood, like seeing a sister/mother/cousin’s personal effects and getting sexually curious about it. Sexuality is mostly turned on by what makes one crazy about something sexual. It’s about suspending rational control and going exploring for some dubiously happy stuff. What could that be? – it can be so personal.

    Generally, these emotional memories are imprinted in memory. It could be implicit (recorded by the amygdala) and/or explicit memory (recorded by the hippocampus). The amygdala develops first and then later comes the hippocampus. This is why trauma can produce major effects at an early age which are not remebered later by context, because the hippocampus is not yet developed. So, I dunno, but it seems to me that different types of sexuality come into being because different brain areas involved in sexual arousal might be impacted separately, depending on each person’s development and experience.

  360. Ask them if erotic is pertaining more to sexual desires for a particular object, or to sexual energy.

    Or something more along those lines.

    But then again, Carol, I get wet panties over most anything, and while maybe lots of women do and don’t connect those feeling states to the erotic, I do.

    Still, most psychologists don’t use the term in a way that is synonamous (sp?) with orientation.

    K.

  361. @Evan,

    Re: olfaction

    Ask Warren if he’ll send you the T. Binstock paper (or have you read it?)

  362. Ok, bad examples.

    But I still feel erotic when I put on a sexy dress, but don’t want to have sex with my dress.

    K.

  363. @Katie,

    The reason I responded at all was because you gave the word and several examples of how you view its usage:

    Homo – EROTIC…. The straight football’s player desire to slap a man’s but.

    A straight man’s desire to embrace his friend in love and feel erotically moved.

    A straight man’s demand that straight porn show only enviably large penises.

    A straight man’s desire to be held by brother, kissed by his pal, etc

    ****************

    I responded earlier to the first example (football player).

    The second sentence is even more confusing because in speaking of embracing in friendship, you added “feel erotically moved.”

    I have to tell you once again that were you to use that, almost 100% of English-speaking people would believe you meant “moved to sexual desire” and that would confuse them and cause them to say “Ewwwww” because when two men “embrace in friendship” they would not view the touching in an “erotic” way, not if they’re straight, they wouldn’t.

    That is because the word means “pertaining to sexual desire.” It comes to English through Latin, IIRC, but was originally from the Greek, as you said, the reference to the goddess Eros, who was the goddess of love. She was not the goddess of a Platonic love, but of a sexual love.

    I have two close friends who are in the field. I will ask them if their use “erotic” is “pertaining to sexual desire.”

    Oh, back to your examples. The third one, about a straight man wanting porn to show a certain size –well, yeah, sounds like it’s an “erotic request” to me, but not the other examples.

  364. Lynn David

    Erm, I meant getting erections and having full intercourse without having orgasm. I didn’t use “arousal” in the technical sense, like CNS arousal. Michael Bailey says for men arousal/erections signify orientation. But one can get an erection without being in the mood for sex. 🙁

  365. And aside from extreme left wing feminists, lots of other people use the term in like manner.

    Like most psychologists.

    K.

  366. Ann

    Fantasies… what are they made of?

    I contend that part of the sexual arousal must be due to vision being influenced by guessing (blind, possible) olfactory signals. THat is, when someone sees a body part that might trigger an olfactory sensation related to sex, arousal ensues. Humans’ sexual arousal must be a combination of vision and (ancient) olfactory cues.

    Catherine Dulac, the molecular biology professor from Harvard said that if you want to understand how sex works in all mammalian species you gotta start from the base, the smell sense, the (blind) chemosensory perception, the oldest known modality to recognise sex in mammals. I think she’s partially right, in what regards humans. Another researcher, from the UCLA, Sven Bocklandt, speculated he expects pheromone receptors to be involved in human sexuality too (many of them have been preserved in the human genome, but are junk DNA). They failed to find anything definite related to that until now, except for the Swedish neuroscientist’s findings about gay men and lesbian women’s brain arousal to same-sex sex hormones in the hypothalamus. But her findings, Savic’s, are dubious, because they might have been influenced by learning and because she used a tenfold concentration of hormones than anyone would sniff in real life.

    I’m just trying to distinguish the difference from knowing and not knowing the gender if one is receiving the same physical sexual pleasure regardless of the gender.

    I think it works differently for women. Women can get an orgasm by stimulation without knowing much about who did it. That is, if someone did an experiment in which a male voice told a woman he is stimulating her, while a woman was doing it, it would probably get the same effect, regardless of who would be really doing that.

    I think usually women get aroused by fantasies in which they are possessed, but lesbian women might get aroused by fantasies in which they are not passive, but rather active-possessive. If women access sexuality by emotional connection, as some argue, then maybe lesbians’ attraction to women might have something to do with their not being emotionally impressed by men (for different reasons).

  367. Carol,

    Again, as I understand the word, eros is an energy. All sorts of thing can be experienced as erotic, like music, paintings, etc….

    It’s really about that simple.

    But people don’t want sex with paintings or music.

    For some strange reason, many people experience their peaks and valleys in regard to their self esteem to be directly related to their libido, or ability to feel erotic energy.

    When I put on a sexy dress, I feel erotic. But I don’t want to have sex with a dress. I feel erotic because of how I imagine I look to others, or something very close to this.

    Etc….

    Again, the erotic says nothing about a target.

    It’s just a feeling.

    K.

  368. @Evan,

    1.) Okay, I am convinced it’s you, but for a time there was “USA Evan” which I will now call you when American vernacular hijacks you! LOL.

    2.) Sure, I understand Bailey saying that a man can tell to whom he is oriented by his erections, but I still think there are many gay men, like Michael, who were married, fathered kids, yet had to do mental gymnastics (not to put words in his mouth, but I do think he spoke of that not long ago) to perform with a woman–in other words, when with women, they fantasized about men.

    I would imagine there are SSA men who don’t have to fantasize when they are with women. That is perhaps when the term “bisexual” is used to distinguish betweeen “homosexual”.

  369. Has any heard that when men think about tools the same area lights up in the brain as when they think about sex?

    No, but it wouldn’t surprise me. LOL

  370. Has any heard that when men think about tools the same area lights up in the brain as when they think about sex?

  371. Evan….. So if a man has erections with women, according to this definition he cannot be gay. Bailey also says men learn what sex they are aroused by by their erections. There you have it.

    I could differentiate between arousal as a “subjective” state when someone feels in their brain that seeing something erotic gives them a “sugary” feeling and arousal as expressed in an erection which is not associated with brain arousal. But, for some reason, Bailey doesn’t do it. It is possible to have an erection for a woman, without being brain-aroused.

    Well, without touch … how? Never heard of a penis with sight, sense of smell or taste, so how?

    Also there are for men mechanical and chemical (even before Viagara) ways around not being aroused by a women and still have an erection leading to sexual contact with them.

  372. Katie,

    You’ll have to forgive me, but my career was spent stressing tthe value of words and communication. To simplify this, let’s move away the examples using men and their penises and use what we women have, okay?

    When I was a kid, about 14, I eagerly awaited my monthy Seventeen Magazine. Like most young girls my age, I wanted to see the lastest fashions. My friends and I liked to look not only at the clothes but also at the hair fashions of the models in the clothes. There wasn’t a one of us who didn’t say things like, “Oh, I wish my hair was thick, like hers” or “I wish I had curly hair instead of straight hair” or…..you get the picture.

    In addition to the clothes and hair, we admired the figures of the models. In those days only one issue, the early summer one, showed the girls in bathing suits. Typical of us, we uttered comments like, ” I wish I had a butt like that–mine’s too fat (or “flat” or “wide” or fill in what word you wish)” or “If only a had a bustline like that.”

    Those were not “homoerotic” comments, not unless some of the girls were thinking things I don’t think they were thinking.

    I don’t doubt that there are people in the fields of this or that who use it differently. I’ve read some of the feminist psychobabble. It’s ludicrous.

  373. Evan,

    I know I have full body orgasms. Well, when they’re good 🙂 I’ve never really thought about this, but I don’t when masturbating, then it’s very localized.

    But when it’s with a person I like (don’t orgasm unless I really like them, and I don’t care how good they are) then it’s full body, even difficult, sometimes to localize at all.

    I’ve heard many men express envy about female orgasms.

    I can orgasm without any direct genital stimulation. Not often, but sometimes.

    Patti Smith, the rock singer, says she orgasms when she writes on her typewriter.

    I’ve tried really hard to have a lesbian fantasy, and just couldn’t hold one for long at all.

    I’ve been attempting to get rid of my S&M fantasies, so just don’t go there too much anymore, but I discovered that I can hold a lesbian fantasy longer while having S&M fantasies. It doesn’t fully work, but works better.

    I think this is because in my S&M fantasies I’m utterly passive, just the worked upon by a faceless someone. So I can insert a woman into the fantasy more easily. It matters less, because the focus isn’t on the person, it’s on me exclusively, it’s about me exclusively.

    The stimuli is the act, not something else.

    K.

  374. The brain is indeed the biggest sexual organ. I think sexual orientation must be in the brain mostly (but you never know how sex might influence the brain).

    Evan,

    Right – I agree! I’m just trying to distinguish the difference from knowing and not knowing the gender if one is receiving the same physical sexual pleasure regardless of the gender. I know fantasies could also play a part.

  375. @Ann

    I know that question, it’s a very interesting one, but it hasn’t been researched yet. The only study on blind people I’ve seen was done on a number of Dutch teens and it was concerned with their sexual learning/integration, if I remember well. There was no mention of their sexual orientation. They only mentioned that it’s naturally harder for blind people to learn about sex and connect to other people sexually/emotionally. It takes a little more time than for the rest of the people.

    I would have to say that blindfolded, mechanical stimulation of one’s genitals doesn’t say much about one’s sexual orientation, if they get any pleasure from that. The brain is indeed the biggest sexual organ. I think sexual orientation must be in the brain mostly (but you never know how sex might influence the brain). I also think that women can have different patterns of arousal than men (maybe more spread on their bodies, on the peripheral nervous system… because nothing shows in the central nervous system).

  376. Michael – you used Eddy’s last name – that’s all, When you get carried away with things you read over posts without really reading them, stomp on other people, and just throw things around. It is scarey. You know what it is like to want to protect your privacy and then you do something like this. But thanks for the apology.

  377. Heavenly Father,

    I come to you with a humble and grateful heart. Please give Michael and Eddy peace tonight. They are my friends and I pray that they both feel your comfort and guidance and love now and always.

    Amen

  378. @Mary: I did not realize that there was an implied privacy rule about blogging. Thanks for pointing it out to me. From now on, I will ask, “May I quote you on that?” If you say, “no”, I won’t push.

  379. Evan,

    What if a man or woman is blind or blindfolded and someone stimulates them with oral sex that results in an orgasm, does that indicate anything about their preferences? I have never been concerned about how people derive sexual pleasure and with whom – it is the inability of those who want to have the sexual desire for the opposite sex and do not.

  380. Just teasing a bit here, but seems like you and I need to find something else to do with our spare time besides tangle with each other. Well, I know I do. 🙂

  381. Carole: Sorry for the mix up. Thanks for pointing it out to me.

    I can tell you that Eddy has not claimed since I have been reading this blog (about 6 months) that “ex-gay” means or implies “without SSA”. Plus, that point was made over and over again yesterday.

    You are right. He hasn’t. And you’re right, I did repeat myself many times. I don’t know when to lay off sometimes and just agree to disagree.

  382. Hey Evan,

    I don’t know where Rob’s penis points all the time, and don’t really care.

    I measure his attraction for me in other ways, and most of the time feel secure that it’s genuine and spontaneous and gives him a sugary feeling 🙂

    I’m not sure if I understand your last paragraph, though.

    And as far as being suspected of being not yourself — hmmm….

    Katie

  383. Ann, as always, you are a good friend and my best counsel.

    Michael, I completely agree. I also think if this term is used when referring to a particular individual, that individual should be the person who gives their “ok” to do so.

    I will try not be more gentle. If I am genuinely confused, I will say so (or try to) with humility and kindness. I will say, “I am not sure I understand you. May I ask you to clarify that?” If they say, “No, that’s personal”, I won’t push.

    I will say, “Do you mind if I refer to you as “ex-gay”, SSA, etc. If they say, “Yes, I do mind”, I will not push. I will ask them what term, if any, they prefer.

    I will try to do more reflective listening, such as “I think I understand you to mean “X”, is that correct?”

    I have been out of line not to do these things. It’s a matter of respect for the other person. I get it. God still corrects me when I am wrong — and sometimes he even uses people like Eddy to do it. 🙂

  384. Yeah Eddy, I caught on to Michael’s lack of privacy rules. Scarey. His moodiness is really scarey and cannot be trusted.

  385. I am truly sorry, Eddy. I don’t know what get into me sometimes. It’s the flesh. I swear it is. But that is no excuse. I feed it. I react to things I see in you (or maybe more accurately project onto you) that I hate in myself.

    I have been way out of line. I will protect your anonymity – what is left of it. If I mention your definition, I will not cite the source. Out of respect for you.

  386. carole,

    The Urban Dictionary says that float your boat means:

    whatever "soothes your soul" or whatever "works best" Aka- Whatever you feel like doing.

    Is that slang?

    Evan, is this really you?

    Warren can see my email address in the WordPress dashboard. Yes, it’s me.

    tell me how gay men have fathered kids?

    If they have erections with women, then they’re not 100% gay (provided that they get the erections in connection with their woman-partner). A researcher from your country, Bailey, says that arousal is the only thing about sexual orientation that can be measured, quote:

    The term sexual orientation connotes a mechanism, analogous to a compass, that directs our sexuality. Furthermore, sexual orientation is generally considered to reflect sexual feelings rather than other factors, such as social constraints. Sexual orientation is commonly described in terms of sexual desire, arousal, fantasy, and attraction. Of these, only one, arousal, can be measured directly and independent of self-report.

    So if a man has erections with women, according to this definition he cannot be gay. Bailey also says men learn what sex they are aroused by by their erections. There you have it.

    I could differentiate between arousal as a “subjective” state when someone feels in their brain that seeing something erotic gives them a “sugary” feeling and arousal as expressed in an erection which is not associated with brain arousal. But, for some reason, Bailey doesn’t do it. It is possible to have an erection for a woman, without being brain-aroused.

  387. Now, I find that I have been using “SSA” pretty often — for a number of reasons.

    (1) It includes more people, without the sense of being “labeled” or “pushed into a tiny box”.

    (2) It does not imply how they feel about it, how they identifiy with it or that they do it.

    (3) It only indicates that the person is attracted to the same gender — nothing else.

    (4) It has fewer “political” or “religious” implications.

    (5) Ex-gays don’t object to it — so it is a chance for coming close to a word that is less vague and confusing, one we can all use the same way.

    Michael,

    I completely agree. I also think if this term is used when referring to a particular individual, that individual should be the person who gives their “ok” to do so.

  388. @Michael,

    1.) You’ve got me mixed up with Concerned.

    2) I can tell you that Eddy has not claimed since I have been reading this blog (about 6 months) that “ex-gay” means or implies “without SSA”. Plus, that point was made over and over again yesterday.

  389. I like the notion of using all three together; it will highlight your schizophrenia.

    Hi, I’m Michael Bussee, I hate the term ex-gay and Alan Chambers agrees with me but, just for the record, I’m going to supply you with a few definitions for the term–one that I helped with– that may make it acceptable.

    If Alan likes my definition, he might come around on keeping the term ‘ex-gay’. That would be awesome. (Remember that his reason for not liking it was that it wasn’t clearly defined and confused some people…so, now that we’ve defined it and ended the confusion–we may have saved the term!) Who would have believed it? (As I’ve said, I don’t think your qualifier additions are necessary so I’ll be passing on my definition only for Exodus to consider but will let them know that it does have your support…that you’ll be spreading it too–with an addendum that you think enhances it.)

    You may think I’m being ‘snarky’ but I’ve been mulling on this over dinner. It’s a good thing…all the way. I never liked the fact that some ministries promised to make people straight myself. I conceded that it was possible but the promise was freedom from sin’s dominion not a ticket to straightland. Some have gone there; some may go there. It’s not up to me quantify their straightness. I celebrate their freedom just as I celebrate the freedom of those who have SSA but are no longer dominated by those attractions.

    And people might find me here but I won’t need to give them my personal contact info. (Boy am I glad I never gave that to you.) So, maybe they’ll just hang out and start participating in the conversation. We could use a few more voices for ‘our side’.

    Snark Warning:

    I will check into blog ethics, though. I have not used my last name on this blog (last name is something that is searchable). You have now used it several times–and in conjunction with my blog handle. I guess once you’ve been a public figure you give up certain rights to privacy. I will remind you of that the next time you plead for privacy re your relationship with Gary. After all, it’s public record. After all, you’ve spoken of it here and made no effort to keep it secret. Fair game! Michael’s rules! Lovin’ it!

  390. @Evan,

    This is you, Evan? You are sure that a roommate hasn’t stolen your laptop for some fun??

    If you tell someone from my generation that you are gay they’ll go like: OK, we’re totally cool with that, and smile, because you should know you can choose. So we’re cool with your choice. This is the attitude. If you wanna be a “trap” you go that way.

    Man, whatever, we don’t care, you can enjoy whatever floats you

    boat.

    Cool story.

    Tell me, what phrase or word don’t you think is slang or a colloquialism like “float your boat”?

    Nothing at all “wrong” with any of it, just not your usual language of communication on this blog.

    And, this doesn’t sound like something you would say either. To Katie you said,

    If the man you’re with has erections with you, then he’s not gay, end of the question.

    Whoa! Then tell me how gay men have fathered kids?

    Evan, is this really you?

  391. The Spirit just hit me hard that I have not been reflecting the spirit of Jesus — with many people on this blog — but particularly with Eddy.

    I need to sign off for a week and really pray. I will not reveal Eddy’s definition as Ed Hurst’s — as least not now.

    I am sorry. But have no right to hope that anyone will believe that I am sincere..

  392. I’m certainly not ashamed of the definition.

    You should be proud of it. It’s a good one. You see, my “plot”, what I have r”eally been up to” is collecting definitions and comments from current and past EXODUS leaders on the term “ex-gay”. So far,

    Alan Chambers doesn’t like it, thinks it’s confusing, ought to be officially retired and never used again.

    Joe Dallas says it’s a “convience” that “rolls off the tongue” and that it does not mean former homosexual.

    Now you saying that it’s a matter of a change in identity, while acknowledging that it doesn’t mean no longer SSA or now straight.

    That’s three faithful witnesses. The thing has been established. I will never again say that EXODUS claims to make SSA people straight. In fact, if anyone says EXODUS does, I will quote you three.

  393. LOL. It really isn’t that big of a deal to me. I really did enjoy being able to blog here without people finding me and I’m certainly not ashamed of the definition.

    LOL! Next time,you might want to choose a less obvious blog name and not boast of your past affiliation with EXODUS and Outpost.

    Don’t make references to your published work if you really want to “to blog here without people finding you”. May I suggest “exgaydude” or something similar?

    What I appreciate the most is that you are so self-serving and so disrespectful that you treat my request in such a proud, haughty and dismissive manner.

    LOL! Too bad, Eddy. I know you are being sarcastic. You don’t think I;m a peach and you really don’t “appreciate” it. You are just being snarky — as I often am. I do not care a whit if you think I am vain, self-serving or disrespectful. You may have noticed that I feel exactly the same way about you.

    I have no interest in maintaining your anonymity when you took so little care in maintaining it. You were pretty careless about it. Why should I care if you didn’t?

    I think that EXODUS — inlcuding your involvement in it — hurts people. Not all people. But many. And I will continue to say so — using my real name — in public venues.

    Call me vain for making my name and my views public. You did very little to conceal yours.

    Oh, you might want to use “LOL” less often. It’s a dead give-away that it’s you , Ed H… I mean Eddy.

    LOL. Have a nice day.

  394. Michael–

    Slow down, take a breath and read what I actually said.

    You said you envisioned a world where all was bliss, etc., etc. What I tried to point out is that it can’t be all bliss. Two of those things can’t coexist simultaneously at bliss level. Either gays are going to hear the words ‘brokenness’ and ‘sin’ occassionaly or ex-gays are going to be restrained in their speech…since that belief is pretty central to their motivation for being ex.

    As to the rest of your rant. Sorry, dude. I was a bit forgiving here and re-engaged with you and you’ve proven to me that I really should have stuck to it. As to those restrictions on freedom of speech I’m privy to…I learned of them and witnessed them sometimes as a counselor and confidant. Now that you’ve revealed that anything spoken here can be published elsewhere by you, I’m going to be extra guarded in things I say that might compromise someone else. Excellent work!

  395. Katie,

    I had my first sexual experience with girls before I went to school. Basically, I was never a virgin. 🙂 It was like I went to Candyland.

  396. Thanks, Michael. You’re a peach!

    LOL. It really isn’t that big of a deal to me. I really did enjoy being able to blog here without people finding me and I’m certainly not ashamed of the definition.

    What I appreciate the most is that you are so self-serving and so disrespectful that you treat my request in such a proud, haughty and dismissive manner. My chief objection is that it’s embarrassing. It’s just a definition. LOL. It would be like Timothy having that bumper sticker printed up and then signing it “Timothy Kincaid”. He’s not that vain. I’m not that vain. But obviously, you are. And this is just a blogsite. You’re making so much more of it than what it is…and it doesn’t have anyone’s official endorsement. LOL. Does it even have blog consensus?

  397. Michael–

    I was pointing out the fallacy of the logic behind your statement. You can’t have a world where people can’t say ‘broken’ or ’sinful’ and maintain that you are tolerant of ‘ex-gays’

    LOL! Eddy, you are deliberately mis-representing me. Now you are lying. I never said that I wanted a world where people CAN’T say it ! I pray for a world where they WON’tT say it — because they ahve changed their minds. Like a world where folks no longer think that other races are somehow inferior.

    Ex-gays would have a muzzle on.

    LOL! Who over said such a thing? Not me. Again, you are misrepresenting me

    Please, don’t tell me it can’t or won’t happen. Championing the right to free speech has been part of my life even longer than the ex-gay involvement.

    LOL! Me too. Imagine that. And if I see any effory to outlaw your right to speak, believe or live as you want, I will stand beside you in fighting it. I would die for your right to call homosexuality “sick, disordered, broken or sinful”. I would hope you would do the same for my right to say it’s not.

    I’ve seen groups silenced; I’ve seen churches crushed; I’ve had myself and others accused of ‘hate speech’ for using the word ’sin’ in relationship to homosexuality

    Which “groups”? How were they silenced? Which churches were “crushed”/ By whom? On whose legal authority? Give me the specifics. Do I know that there are pro-gay zealouts that would like to put a muzzle on religious conservatives, or have accused Christians of hate speech? Sure. I know there have been abuses.

    I am against all such attempts. I was against them as en ex-gay and I am against them now. Do not count me among them.

  398. Katie

    Straight since I’ve known myself. My attractions to girls started as early as awareness, I think I was in kindergarten when I first had my crush on a girl (a few ones….). Things got complicated after I turned 19-20, but basically it’s the same stuff.

  399. Michael–

    I was pointing out the fallacy of the logic behind your statement. You can’t have a world where people can’t say ‘broken’ or ‘sinful’ and maintain that you are tolerant of ‘ex-gays’. LOL. Ex-gays would have a muzzle on. It’s a commendable utopian view but you can’t have both…they are mutually exclusive.

    Please, don’t tell me it can’t or won’t happen. Championing the right to free speech has been part of my life even longer than the ex-gay involvement. I’ve seen groups silenced; I’ve seen churches crushed; I’ve had myself and others accused of ‘hate speech’ for using the word ‘sin’ in relationship to homosexuality.

  400. You may use the quote if you like but you may NOT attach my name to it. I blog here as ‘Eddy’ and hopefully that makes it easy for some, when I’m speaking of things Exodus, to figure out who I am. But I really am blogging as Eddy. I am not affiliated with either Exodus or Outpost

    .

    Too late, Eddy. Cat’s out of the bag. You said it in open forum and I will use it openly as a definition that you — Ed Hurst — formerly with EXODUS and Outpost — offered and that I accept. If wou didn’t to reveal your idenity, you sure did a poor job of it. You continually make it clear that you are that “Ed Hurst”.

    I will be very careful to make it clear that you are no longer affiliated with EXODUS or Outpost, and that your definition is simply that — your definition — and not an offically authorized one. But try to deny that it’s yours now and you will look pretty foolish.

    I will also add my qualifier — which you believe is not needed> But I will note that even though wou don’t think it should be part of the defintion, that you do not disagree that:

    Particularly in the case of male ex-gays, this term is not meant to indicate a change from SSA to OSA

  401. So, yes, the desire for a straight man to have his penis admired by other men is common and life-affirming and contributes to his increased sense of himself as a sexual being capable of pleasing a woman with his penis…..

    Or when he looks at big penises in straight porn and imagines himself with such a tool, and so wants to have sex with a woman…..

    Homo-erotic does NOT = sexual desire for men.

    K.

  402. It feeds into our sexual targeting, but doesn’t dictate the target.

    And to the extent that having another man look at your penis makes you feel powerful, manly, approved of by other men as a man worthy of admiring, and then this makes you feel more sexually driven because it reasures you that you can also pass a female’s inspection, then this is homo-erotic, even though the target of one’s sexual desire isn’t men.

    Sorry if this is a bit garbled, but I hope you get what I mean.

    When I look at a painting and have an erotic moment, I might want to go grab a man to have sex with, not the painting.

    K.

  403. Michael–

    You may use the quote if you like but you may NOT attach my name to it. I blog here as ‘Eddy’ and hopefully that makes it easy for some, when I’m speaking of things Exodus, to figure out who I am. But I really am blogging as Eddy. I am not affiliated with either Exodus or Outpost although I certainly don’t have amnesia about my involvement. I have retired from public life. I don’t want my name back out there.

    Consider that it’s just a definition. Is there any definition in the dictionary that has a name behind it???? I suppose you could say something like “the most clear definition of ex-gay that I’ve heard is…” followed by “to which I would add the clarification….”

    But really, there’s no reason to add either of our names.

  404. @Eddy: Whose “real goal”? God, you’re sounding a bit paranoid.

    It is like saying: “You know what “they” “really want”, right? They want to make it illegal for us to tell them they are broken, disordered, sick and sinful..They want to outlaw Christianity…”

    I have not heard of a gay ministry sending a rep to a conference whose attendees want to criminalize homosexuality, punish you for even saying that gay is OK — or force treament on the unwilling. EXODUS did that.

    Yes, Eddy, I know you are not EXODUS anymore.

  405. Carol,

    Tried to find a quote using the word in the way I mean.

    Too tired, and not interested enough.

    But we have an erotic life, the totality of which feeds into or fires our sexual desires.

    So, yes, it’s intimately connected to the sexual, but isn’t THE sexual.

    K.

  406. Evan,

    Well, I didn’t smoke anything if that’s what you’re asking

    That IS what I was thinking. LOL.

  407. LOL. Considering the fact that the last thing I published was back in the 1980’s, the fact that several of my titles are still available on Amazon is astounding.

    Apparently, no one’s buying them.

    LOL. You can be ex-gay but if you are ex-gay for religious reasons you can’t use the words ‘broken’ or ’sinful’. Haven’t I been saying that that’s ‘their’ real goal??? Suppression of the freedom of speech of religious conservatives

    LOL — you know yuou are misrepresenting me now, Eddy. I told Even I hoped for the day when people wouldn’t say it — because they had changed their minds and hearts on the matter. I am in no way in favor of “suppression of the freedom of speech of religious conservatives”. And I think you know that.

    I believe that people have a god-given right to free speech

    I believe that people have the right to live accroding to their conscience.

    I believe that people have the right to seek help for anything that troubles them.

    I believe people have the right to know what this “help” can and cannot do.

    Please don’t accuse me of not believing these things.

  408. @Katie,

    I only remember one reference Michael made to the gym–he said that guys all looked at the genitals of other men. BTW, I was kind of surprised by that as the men I know have always said they try not to look! HAHAHAHA.

    Anyway, I don’t think it’s a “homoerotic” gesture unless they are aroused by it, or unless they intend to show off in order to arouse others. In order to use the “erotic” tag, there must be a sexual intent or response. Just to impress would not be enough to call it “homoerotic.”

    Ahhhhhhh, men.

  409. @carole

    Well, I didn’t smoke anything if that’s what you’re asking. 🙂 I quit smoking a few years ago.

    I think people got a little bit cooped up in here, that’s all. There isn’t much point in arguing over terms. They change in less than half a century. In a century no one will know we ever existed. So we’re making too much of a big deal about terms. It’s counterproductive. It’s a shame people create traps out of words.

  410. @Katie,

    Now, we are getting closer. “Sensual” means “stimulating any of the senses” although it is more frequently chosen to refer to the sexual sense, but is not limited to it. The word “sensuous” is more commonly used to refer to any of the five senses.

    “Erotic” not only connotes, but denotes the sexual, not just the sensual or sensuous.

  411. Thanks… I found it. Had saved it.

    An ‘ex-gay’ is someone who has stepped out of their identification with homosexuality — Ed Hurst, July 2009.

    Note that, particularly in the case of male ex-gays, this term is not meant to indicate a change from SSA to OSA — Michael Bussee, July 2009.

    Eddy doesn’t think my qualifier is necessary. I think it is. Other than that, it seems that we are both in agreement that both statements are TRUE.

  412. Now where IS that definition? Could use some help here. My visual problems make it hard sometimes. I would appreciate it. Thanks.

  413. @Evan,

    As a follow-up to my query: I asked that because your posts, particularly those to Michael, do not sound like your writing style in either vocabulary usage, syntax, or tone.

  414. Eddy,

    Of course, that means Michael disagrees with my definition but it’s untrue that I simply won’t define it.

    Actually I like your definition — thank you. It makes it pretty clear that “ex-gay” mainly means a change in identity, and not necessarily a change in sexual orientation — though some ex-gays report some changes in that regard.

    I just add the qualifier because I think it needs to be emphasized. No matter how hard you defend it, the term is still vexing and provocative. Perhaps that is still your intent…

    .I’m sure I’ve heard him say “okay, I get it” before. ANYWAY, saying that I’m among those who ’simply won’t’ define ‘ex-gay’ is UNTRUE

    Hope you are sitting down. Here it comes:

    OK. I GET IT. I ACCEPT YOUR DEFINITON OF EX-GAY. fROM THIS POINT FORWARD, I WILL USE IT AS MY OWN — giving you the credit for clarifying it.

    i WILL GO BACK, COPY THE DEFINITION, SAVE IT AND COPY IT WORD FOR WORD WHEN I USE THE TERM EX-GAY — STATING THAT I AGREE WITH IT

    .

    I AM SORRY THAT I HAVE ACCUSED YOU OF NOT BEING CLEAR THAT EX-GAY DOES NOT MEAN ‘NO LONGER SSA OR STRAIGHT’. I SEE NOW THAT YOU HAVE.

  415. MIchael

    WE’ve heardyou over and over again. Ex gay does not mean straight in the terms of a heterosexual who has never had any same sex arousal (if you can find one) Geez. You are tiresome.

  416. Mary wrote:

    Evolution is never static. Trying to capture sexuality in a jar is like trying to capture wishes in a jar.

    When you wrote that, I had an image of capturing those wishes in a jar and then manipulating them to create our own evolution. It won’t happen, if there really is an evolution.

  417. These are mutually exclusive:

    And that no one will be preaching that we are … broken or sinful for being gay

    .

    –And that all people will have the same rights whether they are SSA, OSA, Queer, Ex-gay

    LOL. You can be ex-gay but if you are ex-gay for religious reasons you can’t use the words ‘broken’ or ‘sinful’. Haven’t I been saying that that’s ‘their’ real goal??? Suppression of the freedom of speech of religious conservatives.

  418. Carol,

    Like there’s a diference between the sensual and the sexual…. yes, the sensual can lead to the sexual, but doesn’t always.

    K.

  419. Carol,

    Just the type of homo-erotic play that Michael described the men doing at the gym.

    Maybe football slaps on the butt isn’t a good example.

    K.

  420. @Evan:

    I don’t think being “gay” will have the same meaning, but it’s my bet against yours. I’m in my 20’s so if everything goes smoothly I’ll live to see it change

    I am betting with you Evan. I pray and believe that you will live to see that. I hope that the word gay will continue to blend in to the English vocabulary as a synonym for homosexual –or a person who is SSA — and nothing more.

    And we will have the generations before me, my generation and yours to thank for it. It will all depend on how we live “gay” out. After a while, I hope it will just mean “that nice person next door who is SSA”.

    …And that no one will be preaching that we are sick, disordered, broken or sinful for being gay. That parents won’t be blamed for “making their kids gay”. That churches will welcome openly SSA folk with the open arms of Jesus.

    –And that all people will have the same rights whether they are SSA, OSA, Queer, Ex-gay — or whatever label “floats their boat.”.

  421. Sorry, was there any slang in what I’ve wrote? I know the term “trap” is kind of new and figurative, but I might be using slang without knowing it.

  422. Just when I thought I might be able to forgive Michael, he ends his post to ‘concerned’ with yet another snarky jab at me. He’ll likely respond to my protest with “I was only kidding”. Tell me, anyone…do Michael and I have the kind of relationship where kidding is appropriate at the moment????

    Maybe if I had read his widely available and well-known published works…

    LOL. Considering the fact that the last thing I published was back in the 1980’s, the fact that several of my titles are still available on Amazon is astounding.

  423. Evan,

    I just have to ask after reading your posts of today…are you practicing your American slang?

  424. Mary,

    I just read your post about how you’ve felt more open to freely discuss your feelings.

    That was very nice of you to say, and as soon as I get the chance I’ll email Warren.

    Is it against the rules to just post my email address directly?

    K.

  425. Concerned:

    For what it is worth, I have found that most of the time the term “SSA” causes less confusion and misinterpretations and since that is the function of communication, I thought I would point that out.

    I think it’s an excellent point. I have noticed that I, too, have been using SSA or OSA (is there a BSA — not boy scouts — Both Sex Attracted?)

    Initially I hated “SSA”, since I suspected it might be an ex-gay plot (kidding a bit here, Eddy) to make it sound like a disease — like ED, STD or HIV. Now, I find that I have been using “SSA” pretty often — for a number of reasons.

    (1) It includes more people, without the sense of being “labeled” or “pushed into a tiny box”.

    (2) It does not imply how they feel about it, how they identifiy with it or that they do it.

    (3) It only indicates that the person is attracted to the same gender — nothing else.

    (4) It has fewer “political” or “religious” implications.

    (5) Ex-gays don’t object to it — so it is a chance for coming close to a word that is less vague and confusing, one we can all use the same way.

    I think know pretty well what Mary and Eddy mean by “ex-gay”. I helped coin the term in the first place. I used to use it the same way they use the term — and for pretty much the same reasons.

    I belabor the point now to point out to the reader (and to those who might be considering an “ex-gay” path) that it does not mean they stop being SSA or become straight. That should be stated clearly — up front.

    I know Eddy feels he has always been perfectly cear about that. He hasn’t always seemed that clear to me. Maybe if I had read his widely available and well-known published works…

  426. I have asked repeatedly, ad nauseum, for Eddy of anyone else to define it — and they simp[ly won’t. Still waiting after 30 years. I have no problem with the term itself — I just want them to clarify what they mean by it. I ask, “Could you tell me what you mean by “ex”?

    Didn’t Carole elaborate (and hasn’t Michael even quoted) my definition that ‘ex’ means ‘out of, away from’. Of course, that means Michael disagrees with my definition but it’s untrue that I simply won’t define it. LOL. Even after today’s rantings (and an admission from Michael that he finally gets it), I am confident that he will make this claim that we are being unresponsive on this definition again. (I’m sure I’ve heard him say “okay, I get it” before. ANYWAY, saying that I’m among those who ‘simply won’t’ define ‘ex-gay’ is UNTRUE.

    You want to LEAVE OFF that ex-gay does not mean “no longer SSA” or “now straight”. You want to leave that impression — which is dishonest.

    I allude to the notion that I still have SSA attractions often and did so in numerous teachings while with EXODUS. (Making this allegation against Exodus is equally untrue since they invited me to teach these ‘Lessons for the Battlefield’ for several years.) The idea that I ‘want to LEAVE OFF’ the struggle part of ex-gay and/or hide the notion that you don’t become automatically straight…that’s also UNTRUE. AND–Michael should not be speaking to what I ‘want’…he can observe my words and behaviors but really has no business assuming or declaring anyone’s motives other than his own.

    Yes Eddy. I know what you mean by “ex-gay”. And you don’t mean “no longer SSA” or straight. You won’t point that out here, so I have to.

    I actually point it out frequently and did even earlier in this very blog. The notion that I ‘won’t point that out here’ is also UNTRUE.

    Each of these may seem like a small fib or a slight misstatement, but taken together with the quotes rephrased Michael-style or used out of context and the other jibes, they amount to a small mountain of distorted characterization of me. Michael may have apologized after I announced that I’d no longer read his comments directed to me. These are the statements I wanted apologies for. The closest I got was an apology for not reading my printed material; that is not an apology for speaking untruth.

    With Michael’s admitted issues with me, I constantly find him ‘tweaking’ what I’ve said when he ‘quotes’ it later. In the past, I’ve begged him to quote me entirely in context but he refuses to do so. It seems he prefers to ‘tweak’ my words…and usually the intent of what I’ve said. Perhaps it’s unintentional. Allow me a little ‘tweaking’ demonstration, if you will:

    Several times today on Dr. Throckmorton’s blog, Michael Bussee admitted he has a thing for men with black booties.

    Okay, this is pretty darn close to what Michael actually said BUT it’s NOT what he said.

    1) I used the word ‘admitted’ and I believe it’s actually unclear whether Michael was making an admission or just inventing an example.

    2) I used the word ‘with’ instead of ‘in’ there near the end. The word ‘with’ opens up even more imaginative speculation–not just socks but sex partners and positions.

    3) I added just two little letters to ‘boots’ to create the ambiguous ‘booties’.

    Okay, it’s taken me awhile to compose this and the inbox has been hopping with new comment notifications.

  427. @Katie

    Erotic as in desiring — desiring what is open.

    Many psychologists make a distinction, and probably an important one.

    So, again, I’m not using erotic = SEXUAL desire — just a state of moving toward desire….

    I admit to being baffled by what this communicates. First you say “desiring what it open”; Then, “moving toward desire.”

    Okay, yes, “moving toward desire” but it would be “sexual desire.”

    “Desiring what is open” ??????? Nope.

  428. Michael,

    What do you mean by “you are losing” and who are you referring to when you say that?”

  429. Michael

    I don’t think being “gay” will have the same meaning, but it’s my bet against yours.

    I’m in my 20’s so if everything goes smoothly I’ll live to see it change.

    PS. Barack, was that you who brought this CHANGE? 🙂

  430. Evan: Wow. Thanks for the gratitude, dude. Keep that in mind when the next generation minimalizes the impact you may have had in making being gay even easier for them.

  431. @Katie, you said,

    Believe me, I can have an erotic moment with a painting, but I’m pretty sure I have no sexual desire for one.

    LOL! First, I have to tell you that were you a student in my English class and were I reading an essay in which you had written, “I had an erotic moment with a painting” I’d have gotten a good giggle.

    I would have understood, however, what you meant, that the painting had caused a stirring in you, a sexual stirring.

    “Erotic” doesn’t mean “causing one to have sex”. It means “stimulating sexual desire.”

    So, a guy patting another on the butt after a touchdown is not a “homoerotic” gesture for most men who do the patting because it does not and is not intended to stir sexual desire.

  432. M. Bussee:

    Which generations do you think helped change the public attitude so that your generation could get the “that’s toally cool” reaction?

    In a way, I think it is very coold that “your generation” doesn’t realize how far we have come or how hard it has been to get there.

    Man, whatever, we don’t care, you can enjoy whatever floats you boat. You’ve always got a choice.

    A woman I know called her little daughter who was spending the summer with her grandmother at the seaside. Her daughter said over the phone: “Mother? Which one?” She was having so much fun, she forgot which one. It’s the same story with your struggle for acknowledgement. You said you fought for that. Cool story.

  433. @Michael,

    It might help you to know that, at least from a communications’ point of view rather than from a political point of view, that as a straight woman, I found the term “SSA” helpful after I began to read the blog. (Well, helpful after a few posts when I figured out what SSA and OSA meant).

    I found out by reading that there were many on the blog who were not “practicing homosexuals” in that they did not wish to engage in homosexual sex or did not wish to live a certain way or felt they were moving in another direction. I soon discovered that there were many of these people, but few who described themselves or their particular circumstances in the same way….except that they agreed about what “SSA” meant. It’s a useful term, not easily misunderstood.

    Then, I started noticing the use of the terms “OSA” and “SSA” in much of the research literature, including hard scientific literature. So, I guess even researchers are finding it handy because it is specific and not easily misunderstood.

    In the larger society of this country , the terms “gay” and “homosexual” are still the preferred terms and may always be. The way American English works is that we keep terms that do a good job of communicating what we wish them to communicate and we discard those that don’t.

    However, language is always specific to a group of people, and the size and diversity and NEEDS of the group in question determines the language needs of that group.

    Its purpose, however, is that it must always communicate clearly. When it ceases to do that, people find other language that is better at communicating what they intended to say or write. There are specific times I have begun a post and written “gay” and changed it to “SSA” because I knew that “SSA” was a more apt term for that particular sentence. I am not always that careful, I must admit, but getting more so.

    Here’s an old analogy: We Californians for the most part have need for only one word for that white stuff that falls from the sky–snow. However, a subset of Californians–skiers–have a few more words for snow that they find handy because “not all snows are equal.”

    In contrast, the Eskimo or any group of people for whom recognizing the different quality and characteristics of snow are crucial to survival have a myriad of words to communicate some from of precipitation that you ( from SoCal) and I, (from NoCal) would only call “snow.” That won’t do for them. The type of snow is crucial to their survival so the words must be chosen more carefully.

    I think that is what is going on here– many on this blog are like the Eskimos to whom the different words for types of snow matter.

    They would rather the term “SSA” be used as a general term for sexual attraction instead of “gay” or “homosexual” because they realize that the terms “gay” and “homosexual” have, to the average American, more than just a sexual meaning–these terms are perceived by many to be associated not only with attractions but with behavior. For instance, the average American assume, indeed believes, that if an adult says he or she is “gay” or “homosexual,” or “lesbian,” he or she is most likely having sex (since you are an adult) and that you have such sex with a person of your same gender.

    For what it is worth, I have found that most of the time the term “SSA” causes less confusion and misinterpretations and since that is the function of communication, I thought I would point that out.

  434. Katie,

    DOn’t let researchers define you, they are behind what’s going on in society.

    Being withdraws from explanation.

  435. Haha. E-mail him from your private e-mail box and he will e-mail back to you my private email address. I don’t like it put out in public.

    Evan: Evolution is never static. Trying to capture sexuality in a jar is like trying to capture wishes in a jar.

  436. Katie,

    If the man you’re with has erections with you, then he’s not gay, end of the question. The arousal stuff is more complicated. We men can have “a spectrum” of arousal from the tip of the penis to the back of the prostate. It’s one of the tips some women who make a living out of sex already know and practice with straight-behaving men, when getting to climax takes too much time. The fantasy stuff connected to prostate arousal I think is more interesting, in general speaking. I’m still trying to figure out how this works (I have an engineering mind and I’m curious why). Clearly, if masochistic fantasies are necessary to elicit prostate arousal in some men, then the brain is involved. It might sound the obvious thing to say, but it’s not. Recently figures from the medical world discovered that anxiety is not triggered only by the brain, but also by some parts of the digestive tract. So in some cases, the body can contribute to psychological states.

    Everyone’s got their theory and I’ve got mine. I think this mismatch between arousal-attachment happens because evolutionarily species shifted from one system to another: from the sniffing-based reproduction to seeing-drooling type of finding mates. As a result, the system is imperfect and it combines ancient, blind drives with new ones based on vision. If evolution was straightforward, then we would have already known what was this about long ago. But it’s not, because sex is at the core of evolution. Problem-solving is what makes things evolve.

  437. That would be great.

    How do I ask him? I’m new to computers, just like typing, but cut and paste is something I really have to think about…. and all that stuff. I just know how to type.

    K.

  438. Katie,

    I would like to correspond with you away from this blog. Please ask WT for my e-mail. Thanks.

  439. Evan!! My know the parts of the brain guy….

    I absolutely demand that you write again specifically to me 🙂

    K.

  440. Erotic as in desiring — desiring what is open.

    Many psychologists make a distinction, and probably an important one.

    So, again, I’m not using erotic = SEXUAL desire — just a state of moving toward desire….

    K.

  441. @Evan:

    If you tell someone from my generation that you are gay they’ll go like: OK, we’re totally cool with that, and smile, because you should know you can choose. So we’re cool with your choice

    Which generations do you think helped change the public attitude so that your generation could get the “that’s toally cool” reaction?

    In a way, I think it is very coold that “your generation” doesn’t realize how far we have come or how hard it has been to get there.

  442. Carol,

    Again, you’re using erotic in a restricted sense. I understand that it’s sometimes defined in some texts in the way you’re using it.

    But I’m using it differently — more related to it’s original meaning of Eros. Non-sexual.

    Believe me, I can have an erotic moment with a painting, but I’m pretty sure I have no sexual desire for one.

    K.

  443. Evan:

    You’ve got what you fought for and no one cares

    ALMOST, but not yet. Still can’t marry the man I love…

    I think the battle is getting useless. Gays and lesbians are winning a battle that only matters to your generation. If you tell someone from my generation that you are gay they’ll go like: OK, we’re totally cool with that, and smile, because you should know you can choose. So we’re cool with your choice

    So it DOES matter to YOUR generation as well. Thanks to “our” generation, “your” generation doesn’t have to worry so much about getting arrested or imprisoned for gay sex, being fired because you are gay, etc.

    Our generation fought — and is still fighting this battle — for “your” generation and the next one, and the next one…

  444. Eddy,

    Tell me about it! Most people just nod their head when someone says they are gay. They don’t get into the fray of defining someone else. They could really care less. Gays have had to fight for a definition of themselves and so have transsexuals or transgenders etc… three categories don’t really fit the discussion in scientific terms. It’s sort of like the tree of life. We used to separate animals and plants out by what we could visibly observe. Now we use genetics and dna and have a much more expanded understanding of the “animal” and “plant” kingdoms – seems there is a lot inbetween and some just don’t fit nicely.

  445. Eddy:

    As some cited way earlier in this thread and on others, “Reparative Thereapy” applies to a specific form of therapy and should not be applied to all therapies involving a willingness not to live in accordance with homosexual attractions. Warren’s SIT, for example, is not ‘Reparative Therapy’. Let’s endeavor not to be sloppy with our word choices…we know how troublesome it can be.

    Sorry for the sloppiness. I acknowledge that there are different approaches to helping SSA folks who don’t want to identify or live as “gay” to live in accordance with their values. I realize that, not all approaches should be referred to as “reparative therapy:

    I don’t know if there is one term to refer to all such attempts.

  446. @Michael Bussee — I think the battle is getting useless. Gays and lesbians are winning a battle that only matters to your generation. If you tell someone from my generation that you are gay they’ll go like: OK, we’re totally cool with that, and smile, because you should know you can choose. So we’re cool with your choice. This is the attitude. If you wanna be a “trap” you go that way. It’s kind of outrageous and no one really cares. You’ve got what you fought for and no one cares.

  447. I meant to type “how the world views sexuality”. You are not changing the world’s mind.

  448. If one of us dared to suggest that ‘there simply aren’t enough of you to render you valid’

    Did not say you weren’t valid. Just outnumbered and NOT changing “how the work views sexuality.”

  449. @Eddy:

    It’s clear to me that you never will acknowledge that this was wrong and that you never will apologize for doing it or for telling the untruths I cited earlier in this blog

    I have apologized for being a jerk. Tell me how I have “telling untruths”. You are calling me a liar. I am not.

    If you can prove that I have lied, I will apologoze in BIG LETTERS and ask you and God — and everyone on this blog — for your forgiveness.

  450. Putting a toe into the hornet’s nest…

    @Katie,

    While I do find that the terms gay, homosexual are problematic for some people because there is a distinction between behavior and attractions (that is why as an “outsider” I rather like the term SSA for some conversations because it doesn’t demand as much explanation) I have to point out that “erotic” means to 99.99999% of the English-speaking population “arousing sexual desires.”

    Thus, “homoerotic” means “arousing sexual desire for someone of the same sex.”

    Frankly, when a straight guy pats his straight teammate on the butt after his teammate has hit a home run that is not a “homoerotic” gesture. We have to be careful that we don’t reach the point that we toss out all meanings of all words.

    I understand that you wish to suggest that men find a harder time touching one another than do women, especially in our American culture. In Italian culture, for example, they do not. However, that doesn’t mean that certain kinds of touching is a form of eroticism. “Eroticism” itself deals with the sexual side of passion, not just any old passion for there are many kinds of passion other than sexual.

    You are not the first person I have heard/read refer to a gesture like that with that word. Those who are “into” what might be termed, for lack of a better word, hard-left feminism and who, coincidentally, argue there is no such thing as gender, that gender is only a “social construct: theses are often the people who term such things as one man patting another on the rear after for example, the sinking of a free throw “homoerotic.”

    These people are, I feel compelled to point out, far out of the mainstream of both social and scientific thought.

  451. Mary–

    I wonder if transsexuals should give up their fight to be recognized as a distinct group with a unique label. By Michael’s reasoning, they should just give in and accept psychology’s 3 labels and live with the one that’s the closest fit. Squeeze into it uncomfortably but squeeze in. There simply aren’t enough of you to render you ‘valid’.

    LOL. If one of us dared to suggest that ‘there simply aren’t enough of you to render you valid’, the cries of outrage would be loud and immediate…ah, but to say it about ex-gays…oh, yes, that’s different…yeah, uh, yeah, I see it clearly now…NOT!!!!!

  452. As some cited way earlier in this thread and on others, “Reparative Thereapy” applies to a specific form of therapy and should not be applied to all therapies involving a willingness not to live in accordance with homosexual attractions. Warren’s SIT, for example, is not ‘Reparative Therapy’. Let’s endeavor not to be sloppy with our word choices…we know how troublesome it can be.

  453. Michael,

    I’m not worried about winning or losing. Seems though, you are. I hope and it is genuine that gay people will have the asme rights and privileges as straights in this society, that one day no one takes a second glance at you for being gay.

  454. LOL. Now Michael is trying to make it sound like I’ve ‘caved’ on my decision: (It is of utmost importance to tarnish my image at every opportunity. I must be one formidable ‘opponent’).

    I guesss Eddy felt compelled to read my comments. Hard to resist, hey Eddy?

    Instead he’s provided yet another example of his selective hearing.

    What I said: (with italics added for those who are slow to apprehend)

    It’s clear to me that you never will acknowledge that this was wrong and that you never will apologize for doing it or for telling the untruths I cited earlier in this blog. As time goes on, I may speak to the blog in general about comments or statements that you make but I will do my best to avoid speaking to you. I have no further interest in anything you might say to me.

    So, here I am, speaking ‘to the blog in general about comments or statements that {he made}’ and doing ‘my best to avoid speaking to {him}’. Can anyone rationalize his jibe based on my actual statement? LOL. This is what I said but clearly it’s not what he heard me say. Gee. And it was all in dictionary English and employing common elements of English written communication…yet he seems to have missed all the words that I just italicized.

  455. Michael,

    I’m not at all for ex-gay ministies. Not defending their position.

    Like you, I think the trend is in the opposite direction….

    More towards Queer Theory than ex-gay theory.

    But there’s overlap in a weird sort of way.

    K.

  456. @Mary:

    I was using our names because I know these people. There are many, many voices out there – you may have chosen to ignore them.

    I am not the only one. You guys are losing the battle to change how the world views sexuality. Losing. Badly. Hardly “vanguards for changing how the world veiws sexuality”. T

    Heck, people view the Ellen Degeneres show more often than they view you. They don’t even know who you are — or seem to care much. She has more friends on Facebook than NARTH has members.

    With each passing year, more and more people have decided that gay is OK, that it is not sick, disordered, broken or sinful. More and more people think gays should be allowed to marry. More and more people are coming out and more and more people love them and accept them as they are.

    I am not saying you are useless. I have no doubt that many people have found help and comfort — a new life — through ex-gay programs. But more and more people are coming forward to testify to the harm that these approaches have done.

    In 1999, The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association, American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers and National Education Association issued a joint statement that: condemned reparative therapy as potentially harmful and of little or no effectiveness.

    You are losing the battle.

  457. A lesbian friend of mine says she has a male friend who no longer has SSA. And he was an out gay man for many, many years.

    His shift was just spontaneous. He’s been without SSA for 15 years or so.

    K.

  458. Ah, missed Warren’s response.

    So one man?

    Yeah, I can believe that.

    I’ve asked other therapists their experience. The ones I have also express low numbers — between 1 and 10. And they’ve all been therapists for a long time.

    K.

  459. And I find that the idea of fluidity is being much more widely accepted today than 10 years ago, just in everyday life.

    And fluidity does challenge the notion of strict categories, undermines them even.

    And while I’m not sure if Warren has ever said one way or the other whether he’s come across a guy who no longer has SSA, I do know he’s said he’s worked with men who display “fluidity”.

    And I’ve sure come across a lot.

    K.

  460. Katie,

    Thank you so much for your input. Your directness has helped me articulate without shame. People are such a variety that we cannot winnow them down to convience. This stuff is messy, difficult, arduous, and at times consuming.

  461. Michael,

    At the very least there will be a proliferation of sexual identity terms. Queer being one of them.

    Queer Studies is making an impact on at least Academia, if not popular discourse.

    Will it trickle down?

    Who knows.

    K.

  462. Have I missed something? Something important?

    Yes, my thoughts about it – for me, and I hate labels, it means a separation from a prior identity and that does not automatically have to equate to another identity. The separation from an activity/identity – eating chocolate ice cream, smoking cigarettes or marajuana, same gender sexual relationships, shopping, etc. is good enough to be an “ex” anything – what happens to one’s life after the separation is another story yet to unfold. Sometimes the two are enmeshed – divorce to marry another, etc.

  463. Katie – I have but then it came back. There are a couple of women who I worked with clinically who made what they said was a complete shift. One woman set out to shift and did and the other did not set out to. There are a couple of guys I worked with who may be at that point but I have not seen or talked to them in several years. Most of any change has been incidental and modest. But then change is a rare objective.

    I know one guy who says it is gone and I have known him for about 10 years. Did not work with him clinically.

  464. Michael,

    I was using our names because I know these people. There are many, many voices out there – you may have chosen to ignore them.

  465. Also at Mary:

    Someday you will find that “homosexual” will have such entries because people like Eddy, Ann, and myself are at the vanguard of changing how the world views sexuality

    I am not holding my breath. You do realize, of course, that this means you guys will have to come up with some “definition” of these new “entries”, right?

    That’s going to be hard, seeing as how you think of these words as deeply personal — and regard the attempt to “define words and their meanings” as “another example of ” lack of cooperation in understanding other people.”

    As for “being at the vanguard of changing how the world views sexuality”, I doubt that you will have that impact. Seems a bit grandiose to me.

    I know you might like to think of yourself as having that much influence, but so far, the “world” tends to either be completely unaware, unconcerned or very skeptical about “ex-gays”.

    You and Eddy have a lot of convincing and clarifying to do. Heck, it’s even hard to find any reference to Eddy or his many puiblished works on the internet. Try googling my name sometime.

  466. And same with some guys 🙂

    Warren, have you worked with any man who says he’s no longer SSA?

  467. @Mary:

    Doesn’t it mean more to you than that? after all everyone has written here? Are you really that daft?

    I am not daft. Stubborn and a little slow maybe, but I am making some progress.

    Here is what I understand you folks to mean when you use the term “Ex-gay” — although I acknowledge that not all “ex-gays” will mean the same thing since words are entirely personal in this reagard:

    (1) It means that you do not “identifty as gay” — you do not like it, are not proud of it, choose not to idenify by it, nurture it or act on it.

    (2) For most, but not all ex-gays, it means that you consider gay sex to be sinful or not the will of God.

    (3) “Gay” is not what you want to be, how you want to think of yourself or what you want to do.

    (4) You have experienced “changes”. What those changes are are completely individual. They vary person-to-person.

    (5) You may be SSA, but male ex-gays are not OSA, heterosexual or straight.

    (6) Some female ex-gays report that they have lost all SSA and are now entirely OSA.

    Have I missed something? Something important?

  468. Michael,

    No, I’m not implying that all men are bisexual.

    YOU are in collapsing the erotic into the sexual. If you obliterate the distinction, then how do we distinguish the straight man from the gay?

    Cuz straight men (all I’ve ever known that it) experience homo-eroticism.

    I think maybe you read too fast, maybe you need to slow down………

    K.

  469. Michael,

    For me personally, I want to acknowledge you for your way of communicating – we don’t always agree, however, I feel safe in any exchange I have with you. You do not resort to calling people names, you are not above apologizing if you feel you have hurt someone, and you do not use every single topic as an opportunity to promote yourself or a cause, all the while assuming anyone who questions you is anti-gay, homophoic, etc. While some others have demonstrated their emotional immaturity with sarcastic remarks, name calling, and plain rudeness, you have distinguised yourself as level headed, sincere, polite, with an obvious desire to come to a place that we can all understand. Like I told you before, we do not have to agree to keep the conversation open. Thank you.

  470. @Mary: My statement that we ” need words and definitions of those words to communicate” is “another example” of my “insistence and lack of cooperation in understanding other people?”

    Wow. I was trying to do just the opposite — understand what other people mean by the terms they use.

    I now think I understand what you all mean. Joe Dallas of EXODUS probably said it best, back in 1991:

    “I don’t think that they (people who call themselves “ex-gay”) mean that they are no longer homosexual. Rather, it is a way of saying — “A christian with homosexual tendencies (SSA) who would rather not have those tendencies.” It just rolls off the tongue a little easier…”

  471. Doesn’t it mean more to you than that? after all everyone has written here? Are you really that daft?

  472. Mary: What does the word “gay” mean to you?

    It almost as if you just want to hear us say in unison we are gay. I simple cannot say that to you

    .

    NOPE. That is NOT what I want you to say — in unison or inidividually. That is what you want to hear me saying.

    If it doesn’t fit you, don’t use it. Call yourself whatever you want. Call yourself an eggplant for all I care.

    I think I have beaten this horse long enough now to know what you guys mean by ex-gay — and it does not mean (at least for the ex-gay guys) that they are not SSA or now heterosexual.

    That is ABUNDANTLY clear to me.

  473. Of course we are resistent to those categoreis. We were told what we were and we did not feel those terms applied. We have spent a great deal of our time and lives learning to be other people than those which are easily categorized by conventional and present day terms. Nor am I a nigger. A common use term for African Americans in our history. Easily understood but oh so full of conotations that do not fit the soul and true being of the person.

  474. haven’t these words, no matter how useful they might be in communication, also brought much misunderstanding, contention, and assumptions? Just like an explanation is requested when the term “ex-gay” or “change” is used, can we also ask for an explanation to the other terms?

  475. @Mary:

    So then Michael, why do you continue to insist on another definition when pretty much everyone you know has a different one?

    Actually most people I know, with the exception of some folks here, seem to share the definition that homosexual means SSA, heterosexual means OSA and bisexual means some degree of both.

    It is only here that people seem so resistant to those three basic categories of sexual attraction. Perhaps that it because they do not want to be “identified” in this manner — for religious or personal reasons.

    The people I know apart from this blog may not like the word “gay” — but they understand that it’s just another way of saying SSA or homosexual.

  476. Michael – you are using words to define people – you are not trying to define words.

    If you were you would have readily and long ago understood that the words you are trying to use gay, homosexual, heterosexual are not working for people like us. We have tried exhathaustively to help you understand that while the word ex gay is not perfect it is closer to the idea that we as individuals have or are moving away from the word gay to describe ourselves.

    We are not gay. Some of us have SSA some of us do not have SSA. Some of us have more hetersexual feelings than others. Some of us have no real sexual feelings anymore etc….and on and on it goes.

  477. Another example of your insistence and lack of cooperation in understanding pther people

    We need words and definitions of those words to communicate.

    We here on this blog have geiven you the best words we can and all I keep reading is that you don’t like it and it does not satisfy you.

  478. Mary:

    Someday you will find that homosexual will have such entries because people like Eddy, Ann, and myself are at the vanguard of changing how the world views sexuality.

    I kinda suspected that’s what you guys were up to. 🙂 You may be successful in changing the standard definitions. Until then, the three broad categories of sexual oreintation are useful in discussion. We need words and definitions of those words to communicate.

    Please stop sticking me and others in your tiny little box because you can’t get your mind around the idea that people are flexible and not easily defined.

    I am trying to define words, not people. I have no desire to stick you — or anyone else — into my “tiny little box”. I completely understand that “people are flexible and not easily defined”.

    I am trying to define the WORDS not the the PEOPLE. That’s the part you don’t seem to be able to wrap your mind around.

  479. Again – you are confusing them with those on this blog and those on this blog have said almost exactly that you have to ask an individual what they mean when they speak of their sexuality, sexual feelings, etc…

    Is that really that difficult for you to understand?

  480. And Michael – we have all clarified here on this blog ad infinitum what we mean. Stop your childish ranting.

  481. It almost as if you just want to hear us say in unison we are gay. I simple cannot say that to you.

  482. OK — maybe I won’t kiss all of them. Just the one’s with black boots.

  483. Katie:

    Lots of guys who question their homosexual behavior find they really just want a big, sloppy kiss from a guy — not sex.

    Really? Lots of straight guys want a big, sloppy kiss from a guy? PIck me. I’ll do it! 🙂

  484. Michael,

    You fail to understand that the dictionary definition of something is transitory. You desire for me or any one to impose a dictionary definition onto myself (one with which I disagree) is tiresome. You continue to insist that any person with SSA use words like homosexual, gay etc…

    Remember dictionaries are written by people and down way belowe the present understanding of a word is it’s archaic usage, origin, and meaning.

    Someday you will find that homosexual will have such entries because people like Eddy, Ann, and myself are at the vanguard of changing how the world views sexuality.

    Please stop sticking me and others in your tiny little box because you can’t get your mind around the idea that people are flexible and not easily defined.

  485. Here it is again. God, I get weary saying this:

    (1) Everyone is an individual

    (2) Everyone has a right to live according to their own conscience before God.

    (3) No one should be forced, urged, co-erced or counseled to “accept, like, nuture, identify or act” on their attactions — whether SSA, OSA or some combination.

    (4) People have the right to pursue “change” — whatever that means to them.

    (5) People have the right to use — or not use — any label they choose.

    (6) I wish people would clarify the meanings of the labels they do use.

    (7) They don’t have to clarify if they don’t want to.

  486. @Mary:

    You are failing to really hear. There are people who belong to a different perspective than do you. Really. You just have to ask them as cumbersome as that seems to you.

    But, Mary, I DO understand that. I DO keep asking them. I ask, “What do you mean by change?”, “What do you mean when you say that you are a “former homosexual?” I ask because I really want to know.

    I just seem to have a lot of trouble getting them to answer. They tend to get defensive and act like I have no right to ask.

  487. Katie:

    According to the definition you’re using for bi – SEXUAL (in this instance, meaning wanting to have sex with), then there are no straight guys.

    Again, it’s not MY definition. Damn! I wish you guys would quit saying that. The basic defintions of homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual were established and printed in dictionaries before long before I was born. They are not “mine”. I just employ them.

    Katie, you seem to be saying that all or most straight guys have experienced “wanting to have sex with” other guys. I simply do not think this is true. I do not think all men are bisexual to some degree.

  488. Michael,

    Examples of your insistence

    I am not trying to dictate how people see themselves or how they live their lives. We throw words around here without coming to at least a BASIC agreement on what they mean. No wonder there is so much arguing. It’s Babel all over again

    Finally! Now we are getting a little closer to a real definition of “ex-gay”:

    I keep asking the same question over and over because you will not concede that it is very important to make clear that ex-gay does not mean that the person is not OSA or straight

    And there are so many more – I just have some work I must attend to right now.

  489. Ann,

    Ok, I really get this.

    I really do.

    And I have had the same question as Michael in this regard.

    But I get it, and can relate such states to my own experiences about things other than sexual identity.

    K.

  490. There is a definition for the word marriage, too, but I have to believe that each person who has or is experiencing it would describe it differently. That is because we are dealing with human beings – fearfully and wonderfully made and each one unique in their experiences and perspectives.

  491. I guesss Eddy felt compelled to read my comments. Hard to resist, hey Eddy? Did you guys notice he called you “foolish” for debating with me?

    I am not going to stop using “gay” or “homosexual” as nouns — because they can be both noun and adjective. When I say someone is “gay”, I mean only that they are are person with SSA and no OSA. That’s all.

    To some religious folk, the term “gay” is too loaded with implications that the person likes it, is proud of it, bases their “identity” on it and “does” it. So for them, “ex-gay” might mean “I used to feel that way about being SSA, but I changed my mind”. That’s cool

    Eddy keeps referring to “religious definitions”. Is there are “religious dictionary” somewhere? I was once criticized for promoting a “sexual definiton” or bisexuality. Is there a “sacred” one?

  492. I believe “ex-gay” males may cease the same-sex “activity” even though they have no OSA.

    But if I stop eating chocolate for health or religious reasons, it does not mean I am no longer attracted to it — or that I now am “vanilla-attracted” instead.

    Michael,

    Exactly – this is what I was saying in my earlier post. If the label (ugh) “ex-gay” continues to be used, can it be used to describe and indicate a separation from a prior identity and activity without the expressed assumption that this separation automatically means an absence of any prior feelings? Separation is the first step and that, in itself, can describe someone who is “ex” anything. What follows, and any subsequent identities or way of living or being, will unfold in time – separation from one identity based on personal reasons and motivations does not always have to equate to automatically assuming a new identity.

  493. Michael,

    I think that if the erotic is equated with the sexual, then there’s always not going to be a meeting of the minds.

    According to the definition you’re using for bi – SEXUAL (in this instance, meaning wanting to have sex with), then there are no straight guys.

    Cuz I don’t care how guarded men are, they probably all have experienced at least a millisecond of homo-eroticism — not to be confused with experiencing the desire to have sex with a man.

    K.

  494. I totally get Eddy’s point that “ex-gays” don’t feel that way about their SSA

    If this were true, if he would totally get it, he wouldn’t keep coming back to the psychological definitions–wouldn’t keep taking Alice in Wonderland jabs at ‘word choices’–when he knows that they are in conflict, to a significant degree, with the religious one.

    We all know words that mean significantly different things depending on the subculture they are used in. (“Nigger” in essence means ‘black’. When it’s used in the black culture, its meaning broadens to mean ‘one of my homies’; when it’s used in many parts of white culture, it’s perjorative…whether emphasis or tone is added or not.)

    The term/label homosexual has the same essential meaning in the varying cultures but its psychological definition (when used as a noun or label) includes behavior and attraction. Its religious definition only includes attraction when that attraction is fed, nurtured, toyed with and/or acted upon. Why is that so complicated? Did I have to explain to my young nephew more than once that ‘nigger’ doesn’t mean quite the same when a white person says it? You know, we just don’t use that word. When we hear it, we try to assess the cultural intent of the person who uses it…but, for the most part, we say ‘black’.

    Let’s avoid using ‘homosexual’ and ‘gay’ as nouns altogether and end this seemingly endless debate. Use “SSA” or ‘same sex attracted’. LOL. I believe it’s construct is such that it won’t easily become a noun and/or identity label.

  495. So, Eddy is ignoring me. Fine. No skin off mine. I will ignore him too. It is pretty clear that we hold each other in equally LOW regard. The conversation here will probably improve without our childish, stubborn, arrogant bantering. No need to email him to tell him I said so.

  496. Why, Mary, do you keep insisting that I am saying that they “must”? You continually accuse me of saying something I have not said. Please knock it off.

  497. YOu guys don’t get me at all — Heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual are not words that I have made up or defined. They are words in common use in the English language. If you mean something different when you y ou use them, I am only asking you to explain what YOU mean.

    How many times can I say this. Here is AGAIN.

    No one must call or identify themselves by any word or phrase they don’t care for. No one must accept that they are gay. No one must accept it, like it, be proud of it, nurture it or do it.

  498. Michael – I think individuals are completely individual things especially when it comes to sex, sexual identity, and sexual experiences.

    So do I, Mary. So do I.

  499. BUT ON THIS GAY/SSA ISSUE – the person is in charge of the description not the person outside of the individual.

    Mary,

    Well said – thank you.

  500. So then Michael,

    why do you continue to insist on another definition when pretty much everyone you know has a different one?

  501. @Ann:

    If terms and labels continue to describe, then shouldn’t there be a distinction between an attraction/desire and the actual activity that some chose to engage in?

    Yes. There is a difference between attraction and behavior. I have always said so. I believe “ex-gay” males may cease the same-sex “activity” even though they have no OSA.

    But if I stop eating chocolate for health or religious reasons, it does not mean I am no longer attracted to it — or that I now am “vanilla-attracted” instead.

  502. In case anyone missed it, I know that there are many shades, many layers, many complexities when it comes to sexual attractions or identity. It still seems reasonable to describe three basic “orientations” — homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual.

    I agree, that those categories don’t explain everything, they don’t define a person’s “identity” — and they don’t mean that there isn’t some sort of “flux” or “change” during a person’s liifetime.

    Michael,

    You are right – those categories do not explain everything. The problem comes in play when others, who are unwilling to think like you do, use these labels to categorize and sterotype people who do not wish to be categorized or stereotyped.

    BTW – funny story about the guys at the gym – who knew? 🙂

  503. @Mary:

    If gay people were not so insistent on anyone with SSA feelings being identified as gay we would not be having such an issue

    Which gay people are “insisting”? I do not insist that all SSA people call themselves — or identify themselves — as “gay”. Some SSA people have very personal reasons why they don’t like the word.

    Heck, I know quite a few “gay” people who don’t like the term. Some prefer “homosexual”, or even “queer”. Some avoid labels altogether, even though they are entirely “SSA”.

    I know that Christian SSA people don’t like “gay” — because implies that they like it, accept it, are proud of it, nurture it, base their “identity” on it — and do it. I totally get Eddy’s point that “ex-gays” don’t feel that way about their SSA

    And I am not saying that they “should” or “must”.

  504. Michael – I think individuals are completely individual things especially when it comes to sex, sexual identity, and sexual experiences.

  505. No MIchael you don’t get it.

    I don’t think all words are individual things. We see someone with light brown hair and we get an image.

    BUT ON THIS GAY/SSA ISSUE – the person is in charge of the description not the person outside of the individual.

  506. Michael,

    I’m not surprised that for you the erotic and the sexual blend into eachother, and that my description of the erotic is what you would consider bisexual.

    No wonder you guys are so messed up 🙂

    We girls? I get to enjoy a full emotional/erotic life. And yes, I think if you get rid of the erotic, you reduce all sorts of emotions, make men overly policed and overly self-policing when it comes to an important aspect of life, and one that re-inforces the depth of emotional existence generally.

    Lots of guys who question their homosexual behavior find they really just want a big, sloppy kiss from a guy — not sex.

    But, as you suggest…. what then? Oh my gosh, I’m GAY!!!!! Blah, blah, blah….

    So then you get the guarded citedal, the man imperviouse to letting things in – especially to letting feelings of dependency in. Nope, that’s woman’s lot, children’s stuff…..

    Anyway, homo-erotic, pretty important stuff —– and probably shouldn’t be confused with the homosexual.

    It does damage.

    K.

  507. Katie,

    I’m not sure I would call being gay a sin. For me – it just does not fit into my construct of how God intends things for me. I have gay friends and I don’t make a big deal out of it. They have their own relationship with God. I’m just walking my own path. I did not used to believe this way. I was an activist lesbian with my family’s support. I could not imagine that I would ever see things differently. Then slowly over time – I began to change. I still cringe at the religious right that protests against gays in a mean and uncompassionate way. I still cringe at those with bigotted ideas about gays and the awful things said against gays.

  508. @Mary:

    It is the person who decides and defines for themselves.

    I get it Mary. You think words are completely individual things — and that no one has the right to ask you what you mean.

    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all.’

    .

  509. Michael,

    I disagree with your labeling system. If someone is tall medium, or short by their cultural standards then they identify as tall, medium or short.

    You are failing to really hear. There are people who belong to a different perspective than do you. Really. You just have to ask them as cumbersome as that seems to you.

  510. Katie–

    ‘concerned’ may have addressed that word ‘sin’ better that I could have. Another of the twists is that we’ve all had a tendency to develop a ‘sin-meter mentality’…we see big sins and little sins (the Catholics have mortal and venial sins). Folks are quick to point out that it is an ‘abomination’ for a man to lie with a man but they fail to recognize that it’s an ‘abomination’ for a man to lie. (“Lying lips are an abomination.”) As I’ve often quipped, “Some of my best friends are sinners.”

    All–

    I note that Michael has addressed a comment or two in my direction in this most recent flurry. True to my words earlier, I have not read them. If any readers who have my personal email address see that he’s said anything that I would consider significant, please give me a heads up. If it’s simply ‘more of the same’, spare me. As I suggested, more than likely any questions, challenges or statements he directed to me are, in reality, debate-style posturing for the benefit of the blog. I’ll engage in discussion with those of you who care to. Michael can play his debate game with whoever is foolish enough to indulge him.

    For the moment, though, I’ll have to concede that he has control of the playground. Perhaps I’ll stop back later.

  511. Maybe an analogy would help. Three basic categories : tall, medium and short. These labels don’t have to imply any value judgement.

    They don’t have to define a person’s “identity”. There are many variations — what is “tall” in one culture may not be in another.

    But the labels are still useful, especially when trying to pick out your “tall” friend in a crowd.

  512. I don’t get what you are saying. Doesn’t “SSA” mean homo-erotic?

    See why I keep pushing for definitions. If SSA and homo-erotic are different, how? If SSA does not mean “gay” — what does “gay” mean? What does “homosexual” mean? What does “change” mean?

    How many times and in how many ways must it be said?

    It is the person who decides and defines for themselves. If gay people were not so insistent on anyone with SSA feelings being identified as gay we would not be having such an issue.

  513. In case anyone missed it, I know that there are many shades, many layers, many complexities when it comes to sexual attractions or identity. It still seems reasonable to describe three basic “orientations” — homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual.

    I agree, that those categories don’t explain everything, they don’t define a person’s “identity” — and they don’t mean that there isn’t some sort of “flux” or “change” during a person’s liifetime.

  514. There is also what some have referred to as “homo-social” — guys who really prefer the complany of guys — some even openly state that they don’t reall like women and don’t really want to be around them — except for sex.

    I go to the gym almost daily. Every guy looks at every other guy’s genitalia. I am sure that most of them are straight, but they just can’t help looking. Some seem to like to show it off, but I don’t think they are necessarily gay or bisexual — just proud I guess…

  515. Thanks. Katie. I now understand how you are using the term “erotic”. I kinda like the way you use it. It is much broader that I would use it, but I get how you do. Thanks.

    You see, folks don’t have to accept MY definitions. I just want to know how they define the words they are using.

    Some of the thing you mention “straight” men doing or feeling I would consider “bisexual”. But that’s just the way I use the word, not the way the word must be used.

    Maybe it’s kind of a male thi