Why do some people write articles?

David Virtue posted what might be perhaps one of the worst articles I have ever read on why some people are gay.

Titled, Why are some people gay?, the article by Mike McManus begins by telling some of the sad story of someone I happen to like, Michael Reagan.

I just read Michael Reagan’s book, “Twice Adopted,” which reports the terrifying evidence of why many become homosexual. The adopted son of Ronald Reagan and Academy Award winner Jane Wyman – lived through their divorce and found himself in a boarding school at age five, crying himself to sleep.

Michael wondered why some kids in his school went home every night, while he did not. “What’s wrong with me?” he wondered. “Why don’t my parents like me.”

His mother was making two or three movies a year, like his dad, who was also President of the Screen Actors Guild. They had little time for him, though each saw him every other weekend.

In his book, Reagan told of his tragic abuse perpetrated by Don Havlik, the camp director. And just when you think McManus is going to tell you that Michael Reagan is gay, he writes:

What was most horrifying about his secret is that he was afraid he would be labeled. Though he had never heard the word “homosexual,” at age 7, he knew he had been touched by a man, which did not sound normal. Fortunately, Reagan did become heterosexual and married happily.

Talk about adventures in not making your point…

Then he quotes Arthur Goldberg’s new book, Light in the Closet linking sexual abuse and homosexuality.

Many studies estimate that 40 percent to two-thirds of homosexuals – are victims of child molesters, according to Dr. Arthur Goldberg, President of PATH (Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality.) He adds that even higher percentages of lesbians were victims of child molestation.

I have never seen these stunning figures in the secular press before.

There is a reason why you haven’t seen these stunning figures in the secular press. They are misleading numbers. The higher numbers come from non-representative and skewed samples, if they come from studies at all. The real numbers for gays are intolerably high but so the percentages for heterosexuals, especially women. See this post and this one for some sanity on the topic of sexual abuse and homosexuality.

The for good (bad) measure, the article ends with a reference to gay marriage, improperly conflating homosexuality with pedophilia.

This issue goes far beyond same-sex marriage. Every step which normalizes homosexuality will attract more people into this perverted lifestyle, endangering children.

About the only redeeming value in this article comes via the warning signs provided by Michael Reagan to parents regarding how to protect children from actual pedophiles. Otherwise, this is a confusing (why is straight man Michael Reagan’s story described in an article trying to advance the notion that homosexuality derives from molestation?), and harmful article. If being untruthful is harmful in itself, then we have that kind of harm to start with. However, there is another kind of pain that can be caused with this kind of article. I have direct experience with families where children and grandchildren have been kept away from same-sex attracted (not even gay identified) relatives because of the fears whipped up by this contrived link between same-sex attraction and child molestation.

103 thoughts on “Why do some people write articles?”

  1. Michael,

    Yes, I believe the feelings of passion are the same. I cannot say whether the emotional attachments are the same or the sexual satisfaction is the same but I am quite certain the passion we feel about anyone or anything, that is the object of our desire, is the same. Sometimes it is inexplicable. An ex-boyfriend comes to mind 🙂

  2. Ann: In Junior High, boys and girls started “going steady” and “making out”. I thought it was kind of exciting to watch. I think I was thinking about the boy, though. I had a girfriend in 8th grade and we kissed (french-kissing was the thing.) It was OK — but nothing that floated my boat. Girls told me I was good at it, but I wasn’t quite “there”. My mind would wander.

    I know it must seem odd to straight people to think of a male who never had any real sexual interest in the opposite sex. I sometimes wonder what it’s like to be heterosexual or even bisexual.

    I just tell myself, “It must be like what I feel — only towards the opposite sex.” Is it? It’s one of the reasons I never liked the phrase “sexual preference” to describe gayness. It wasn’t like I enjoyed one more than the other. I only enjoyed one.

  3. Michael–This question may be way over the top. No need to answer if you deem it to be. Over coffee this morning, I wondered whether your oral proclivities ever led you to consider oral sexual behaviors with a woman, do you recall any responses to this? My hunch is that by the time girls had ‘things that stuck out’ you had already found your niche.

    Not over the top. You can ask me anything, Eddy. And I haven’t had my coffe yet. No, I never considered oral behaviors with females. There was nothing on a woman or a girl that I wanted to explore in that way — whether it “stuck out” or not. I think I may have the same gag response you do…

    Carole asked you:

    Would it have mattered to you or other little boys if they had had a brother of about the same age, someone to whom you could have compared yourself?

    I had one brother, two years older. We shared a room, so I saw him every day. (I also saw my Dad, uncles and counsins and other “family groups” in the showers at camp or at public swimming pool changing rooms.) Lots of opportunities to compare.

    In our early teens, my brother, his best friend, Russ, and Russ’s younger borther, Tim (who was my age) would sometimes play strip poker or go skinny dipping. I never felt inadeqaute. I realized it was a process. By observation and deduction i figured that I would “catch up” as I continued through puberty. As adults, we are pretty much the same, although he doesn’t put bottle caps in his mouth.

  4. Carole–

    Eddy, would it have mattered to you or other little boys if they had had a brother of about the same age, someone to whom you could have compared yourself?

    No, I don’t think so. I have six brothers…five of us are close together in age. Prior to puberty, we did see each other ‘in the altogether’ but I actually have no memories of seeing any of my brothers after the ‘transformation’. (LOL. This might be a good thing. In a somewhat bizarre TMI type of conversation several weeks ago, I learned from a football buddy of one of my brothers–a guy I once thought was the cat’s meow–that my brother was rather large in that department. This was somewhat ironic since I had always presumed this guy–due to his ultra macho attitude–likely ‘had the goods’.)

    (Another intriguing part of the TMI conversation was how freely the guy divulged this info. No embarrassment…no ‘they’ll think I’m gay for saying this’…just a matter of fact revelation to several of us over a beer.)

    My only somewhat distinct memory is catching a glimpse of my dad once and ‘realizing’ that mine could never turn out like that. I think that if dad had realized I had seen him, it might have prompted a facts of life talk. I did see my brothers in their underwear a lot. (7 boys split between two bedrooms) Actually, I wonder at times if my hyper-morality and sense of privacy that I alluded to on the other thread came into play here. It really is odd, under the circumstances, that I didn’t see more. I wonder also if my sense of being different–my doubts re my sexuality–caused me to avoid looking–for fear of getting caught and it being interpreted as gay.

    Michael–

    This question may be way over the top. No need to answer if you deem it to be. Over coffee this morning, I wondered whether your oral proclivities ever led you to consider oral sexual behaviors with a woman, do you recall any responses to this? My hunch is that by the time girls had ‘things that stuck out’ you had already found your niche.(LOL. I’ve got this very weird image going on of women noticing your talents with a bottle cap and wondering just how talented you are.)

    For the record, although I can envision some forms of heterosexuality with me as a participant, there is that one thing that still incites a gag response. I find the level of my discomfort ‘telling’ although I’m not sure what it tells.

  5. In response to the discussion about children and childhood sexuality, I think it is clear that at least some (and probably a large amount) of sexual/romantic activity is aped from what they see adults doing.

    I used to volunteer to read at the staff nursery school at my high school. One of the classes had 4 children in it, 2 girls and 2 boys, who had clearly divided themselves into 2 couples. They identified themselves as girlfriend/boyfriend pairs, and would often talk about how they were going to get married someday. Occasionally as I read to them they would begin “kissing.” Which for them consisted of closing their mouths and then rubbing their mouths together via a vigorous head shaking motion, as if they were shaking their heads to say “no.” Obviously they were doing this not out of sexual or romantic interest/understanding but because they saw adults doing it and wanted to copy it, however inexpertly.

    There are also the children who are fascinated by the concept of marriage, but have no understanding of what that entails. When I was 2 or 3 I informed my mother that I was going to marry my younger brother, and that we were going to change our names to my parent’s names (this was in response to my confusion over the fact that women changed their names upon marriage). Stories of very young children stating that they will marry their opposite sex parent when they grow up are common as well, I believe.

  6. In response to Michael’s request for more recollections of developing sexuality from straights:

    When I was young, as in pre-pubescent, I remember being quite clear on the fact that someday I would be marrying a boy. I also remember being quite interested in chasing boys around the playground in kindergarten and 1st grade (one of whom I kissed after a whole posse of us girls trapped him against a fence). However, I didn’t experience any of this as at all sexual, especially not in any way that would compute as sexual to a sexually mature person. I don’t think I ever found boy particularly attractive either. I definitely have memories of finding two of the troublemaking boys in preschool class actively annoying. I think that much of my interest in chasing boys developed because the other students made a big deal about it when I did (I should add that I was a socially awkward child). I never had anything that I would identify as a crush on anyone before I hit puberty.

    My first experiences with sexual pleasure/arousal came between 2nd and 5th grade, as one of my female friends invented a game that involved what I can now identify as bondage techniques, some of which resulted in clitoral stimulation, mainly carried out via things like tape and rope found in her house (which her father was slowly adding onto). I have no idea where she developed these ideas from, but I’m sure that she came up with them, not me.

    I started puberty extremely early (early physical changes when I was 8, menarche when I was 10). My first crush was on a boy in my 4th grade class, who was in the popular clique. I used to daydream about situations in which we were both trapped together in a room, and therefore forced to sleep together (meaning literally sleep next to each other), hopefully also involving me getting to feel his chest and arms, and perhaps some kissing. The “type” of guy whom I was attracted to at that point was definitely tall, blonde, blue eyed, and strong but not overly muscular. I mention this because, as I’ve grown my “type” has adjusted, so much that I would say that I don’t have anything particular that I am drawn to. I find that a strong intellect can increase the level of attractiveness I perceive a man to have. I’ve also had crushes on men who ranged from the same age as to as many (upwards of 20) years older than me.

    The other interesting thing that has been happening, perhaps between when I was 18 to the present (21) is that I have found myself sexually attracted to women in addition to men. I have definitely had a crush on a female professor, including being fascinated with her breasts and imagining a sexual relationship with her.

  7. I guess after thinking about all of this, I must admit I was odd. Let’s see, another word for odd…. Hmmmm…..I know, “queer”.

    Has been killer hot here! Finally cool enough to cook some chicken, water the plants and do some housework. Then a little Paula Dean or Iron Chef, Bible study (re-reading Thessalonians) and Mass in the morning. Finding out that Catholics really love the Lord… 🙂

    The peace of the Lord be with you…Stay cool…

  8. To Debbie: Goodnight to you too. Psalm 4:8 — I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

    To Eddy: I also loved your description: “It’s like comparing a short, stubby pencil to one of those monster pens that have 10 different color inks inside…or maybe like comparing a Volkswagen to an SUV.”

    Never thought of mine in any of these ways — Stubby?. Monster? Can you imagine “10 different color inks inside”? Freak me out, dude! LOL 🙂

    To Carole:

    Was the name-calling ever the result of their knowing that you liked looking at boys or touching them, etc.?

    No. I kept that VERY secret. It seemed more to do with the fact that I preferred hopscotch over kick-ball. I was also precoscious intellectually. Reading at 12th grade level in 5th grade, etc. This really seemed to bug the less cerebral boys.

  9. @Michael,

    Your explanation about your aversion to the term “ex-gay”–that you never had what could be termed a “gay identity” to begin with makes a lot of sense.

    In another post you said, about those childhood behaviors and attractions,

    I want to say that these are pleasant memories. I did not become anxious about these things until about age 10, when I started gatting called “homo” or “sissy”. Then, I figured out that the world thought something was really wrong with me.

    Was the name-calling ever the result of their knowing that you liked looking at boys or touching them, etc.?

  10. @Eddy, you said,

    A boy might have ‘one’ of his own but it hardly compares to the ‘package’ that comes with adolescence and manhood. It’s like comparing a short, stubby pencil to one of those monster pens that have 10 different color inks inside…or maybe like comparing a Volkswagen to an SUV.

    I love your description!

    And you added,

    While it’s true that a girl doesn’t have any protusions on her chest, she does see the evidence on other women ‘a million times’ more than a boy sees the evidences of another. Women’s breasts are ‘right out there’; their size and shape evident even when modestly dressed. The likelihood that a little girl would have body development explained at a young age far exceeds that of the little boy.

    Yes, that’s a really good point. There is surely a contrast between the visibility of male and female parts. I can remember my family getting ready to go for a rare trip to a swimming pool; my dad was perturbed because Mom couldn’t find something they referred to as his jock strap. (Yes, it was my mother’s job to keep my dad’s clothes in order!) I had no idea what a jock strap was and finally asked both of them. Well, Dad just hightailed it out of the room, leaving Mom to simply look busy in her search. I persisted, however. I think I was about 5. Mom finally said rather abruptly that men had to wear something under their swimming trunks “to keep them in place.” Later, I asked her again why Dad needed this thing, and got a bit more of an answer, but I think it still left me confused. I was confused because I didn’t understand why a man could wear underwear w/out this thing called a jock strap, but if he wore swim trunks , which in my mind were just the same as underwear, he suddenly had to have this jock strap thing. By the next year, I seemed to have sorted it all out.

    Eddy, would it have mattered to you or other little boys if they had had a brother of about the same age, someone to whom you could have compared yourself?

  11. I have trouble with those questions attached to employment apps. My skin wavers between various shades of pink and tan but nowhere am I literally white.

  12. Urban legend too?

    I mentioned urban legend earlier today in the “man on page 602” comment, which folks either did or didn’t find amusing. Whatever. The song is hilarious.

    On another note:

    For me, it never really fit. The “gay” part, I mean.

    Me either, Michael. It was just a struggle, not an identity.

    Goodnight.

  13. I have been thinking more about the meaning of “ex-gay”. Before you all moan and say, “Not again, Mike! I thought we beat that to death”, I thought of another reason I don’t like “ex-gay”.

    For me, it never really fit. The “gay” part, I mean. Before becoming ex-gay, I had never been part of the “gay community”. I didn’t know there was one. Never had seen a gay bar. Had very few same-sex contacts — maybe 4 or 5 “sleep-overs” with friends from school. Masturbatory fantasies. That’s it.

    Never had a “gay identity” to walk away from. Never really thought of myself as “gay” — just a new Christian with no heterosexual feelings.

    So, I couldn’t really be “ex” gay. I didn’t really become “gay” until after I was an ex-gay. Does that make sense?

  14. Carole:

    Michael. I do think you were very precocious, that yours was not a common occurrence, but what do I know?

    I guess I was. I want to say that these are pleasant memories. I did not become anxious about these things until about age 10, when I started gatting called “homo” or “sissy”. Then, I figured out that the world thought something was really wrong with me.

  15. Re: what kids think about. I think this is an empirical question that we are not likely to get answered in a satisfying way. We can’t ask kids this and so we are left with recollections.

    Unless your name happened to have been Kinsey. Then I suppose you could have asked at will. Or was that urban legend, too?

  16. Michael–you mention that you thought up oral sex all by yourself. I find that interesting and wonder if your early sexual attractions and oral sex was related to something you had seen but maybe do not recall at this time.

    I was not exposed to pornography. Didn’t see any of that until I was about 11. Found some straight porn in a trash can behind a store. I was not abused. I did not see anyone do it. I was not exposed to anything like it.

    This line of thought reminds me of the idea that any woman with persistent, unexplained depression MUST have been molested but has supressed the memory.

    Why is it hard to imagine that a kid might think of putting something in his mouth? I saw it. I touched it. What’s left? Like I said, kids put all osrts of things in their mouths. I also put paper clips, bugs, pencils, pebbles, etc. I still do. Friends will say, “Michael, what do you have in your mouth?” “Oh, just a bottle cap…”

    Thanks, Warren for this:

    I don’t think it is established that kids cannot think these things up on their own… One problem with child sexual abuse investigations however, is the mistaken idea that kids must have seen something if they do it or think it.

  17. Karen – thanks for your explanation. Re: what kids think about. I think this is an empirical question that we are not likely to get answered in a satisfying way. We can’t ask kids this and so we are left with recollections. I don’t think it is established that kids cannot think these things up on their own. Having said that, of course, it is possible to model something one has never done but only seen, even if on TV or in a magazine. One problem with child sexual abuse investigations however, is the mistaken idea that kids must have seen something if they do it or think it.

  18. Michael–you mention that you thought up oral sex all by yourself. I find that interesting and wonder if your early sexual attractions and oral sex was related to something you had seen but maybe do not recall at this time. I don’t think its typical for children at age 5 to engage in oral sex unless they have been taught to do that or have seen it.

    I had oral sex from a very young age and experienced sexual arousal by age 5 but that was because I was exposed to pornography and sexual play that went beyond curiosity play. The boy I engaged with this in had been exposed to this stuff by his father and he in turn taught me.

    Interestingly, though these early sexual experiences were with the opposite sex, I ended up gay. The oral sex was pleasurable because it involved stimulation. But, there was no romantic aspect of it. My emotional crushes were toward girls–though at that age I had no sexual thoughts about girls. The sexual arousal (and orgasm) was related to mechanical stimulation and not the kind of eroticism that usually requires a more developed cognitive capacity.

  19. Michael said,

    I would like to hear from more straight people about their first sexual curiousities or attractions. Was it always after the onset of puberty?

    It’s just me again. I developed physically early; it was made easier because my very best friend wore a bra and started her cycle a few months before I did, but certainly attraction and, I think, sexual curiosities started much earlier than puberty as puberty is generally defined.

    I can remember some of the girls in second and third grade chased after boys on the playground, trying to peck them on the cheek or on the lips. The rest of us thought them to be forward, but I think deep down we felt vicarious pleasure watching their pursuits. The boys’ reactions? They ran away. No girl was going to give them cooties. I suspect the chased were secretely pleased, no matter how much teasing they may have endured.

    However, these “games,” as I remember them, were just that–games, role playing. I recall that by the fourth grade, I was really, really happy when a certain boy gave ME a special valentine during our class celebration of that day. I already had my special valentine for HIM ready. After school, he walked along with me and my best friend; then suddenly, he kissed me on the cheek, and took off running like a jack rabbit. From that day forth, all the kids knew we “liked” each other and how could they not? In addition to our shy smiles and his letting me win at tether ball, we drew hearts with our names in them on all our book covers. We weren’t the only fourth grade “couple,” for sure. Of course, none of these two-somes lasted all that long before new liasons were formed.

    As I have said before, while my recollection is that by the age of 5/6 I did indeed find men attractive, and while I did indeed feel inside how different they were from me, I don’t recall ever attaching things ‘sexual” to those attractions at that early age. Romantic, yes…sexual, no.

    Even our kissing games on the playground didn’t seem sexual at all, not as I understand the word, anyway. We did a lot of flirting, but it was very much a social thing–we girls seemed to know that catching a boy or having a boy “like us” was part of …well, part of being a girl. I suppose we were imitating what we had heard the older girls had done at our age. It’s very difficult to separate the boyfriend thing from the biological or the social. However, the attraction (the romantic attachment to men that I felt at 5) was, I am convinced , biological since there was absolutely no social pressure at that age to feel that way. I simply fell in love with Superman and his handsome face, his muscles, and his ability to protect me.

    The distinct sexual feelings Michael speaks of at that age is really surprising to me simply because it wasn’t my experience. And as for the oral sex? I have to admit being stunned that at that age a kid would have even thought of it unless he had seen older kids doing things.

    I asked my husband if things explicitly and distinctly sexual at that age is something he recalled. No. He too had the Valentine’s day experience and remembers the girls at his school chasing some of the boys. He had a crush on his fourth grade teacher, but no, he recalls nothing of a really sexual nature at a young age.

    Michael. I do think you were very precocious, that yours was not a common occurrence, but what do I know?

  20. Michael–

    There are two ways to do the blockquote. In the one you click the bquote box when you start your quote and then click it again when you’re done. I usually seem to mess that one up.

    The other way is to copy and paste the bit you are quoting. Then highlight the whole thing (just like if you were going to copy or paste) and click the bquote box.

    May not help much but it’s saved me a few times.

  21. I would have concerns about any child under the age of 8 years experiencing sexual attractions whether they be homo or hetero.

    The anecdote re Michael’s daughter does sound sexual BUT we forget that kids that age don’t know what sex is. Kissing to them is simply a sign of special affection and is not linked to sex or foreplay as it is with many adults.

    I still believe we need to sort out some of the things that we label as ‘sexual’ especially if they occur at an age that is typically before the age of sexual awareness or development. Like Michael, though, I’d also be interested in hearing from ‘straight’ people re their first sexual attractions. “Curiosities”, though, are another story altogether…unless the curiosities were about sexual activity or about sexual sensations.

  22. Found this on Wikipedia:

    Although there is variation between individuals, children generally are curious about their own bodies and those of others and engage in explorative sex play. However, the concept of child sexuality is fundamentally different from goal-driven adult sexual behavior, and observed bodily penetration and oral-genital contact (sometimes described as imitations of adult behaviors) are very uncommon, but are more common among children who have been sexually abused.</blockquote>

    So, yes, I guess I should admit that I was “uncommon” — on two counts: (1) That I engaged in oral exploration very early on and (2) that I had not been abused. Of course, it wasn’t “goal driven” like adults, but who cared? It was still fun.

    Through explorative sex play, I found out pretty early what I enjoyed. Never thought of doing that with a girl. Why would you? What would you do? Nothing stuck out, if you get my meaning…

  23. Warren, Karen is responding to this quote from Michael yesterday and other follow-up discussion on it:

    Now, the interest is strictly adult. Then, even National Geographic would do. BTW, my first big emotional/sexual crush was with Tommy W. — a kid in my first grade class. We played army a lot. I played “medic”… Sadly, he dumped me for another boy.

  24. I do believe that we should at least entertain the possibility that sexual attractions at age 5 might indicate that something isn’t working quite right.

    I suppose so. That be be true for some — maybe lots. But, I think we could also entertain that the possibility that nothing is going wrong. When my daughter proudly announced (I think in 1st or 2nd grade) that she had a “boyfriend” and wanted to kiss him, we all thought it was “cute” — that she was developing normally. If the crush is opposite sex, it’s fine and dandy.

    On the other hand, if a young boy announced a crush on another boy, we would not be amused or smile proudly that our little one was having a first crush. We would wonder what was wrong with him.

    I’m not saying this to be snarky but it would seem that to have SEXUAL responses and attractions both before the age of reason and before the advent of any sign of puberty would NOT be part of our designed intent.

    I think that kids have sexual responses early — some earlier than others — a strong sexual curiousity. Freud seemed to think so. I really don’t think it is all that unusal. Maybe I was.

    I would like to hear from more straight people about their first sexual curiousities or attractions. Was it always after the onset of puberty? If it happened earlier — say in grade school — does it necessarily mean it was NOT be part of our designed intent? Or that something had gone wrong?

    I know it’s your bias, Eddy, but does it have to follow that early sexual awareness or behavior always means that something has gone haywire? And why do we make this jump so quickly when the object of attraction is the same gender?

    Karen asked:

    If I met a first grade boy who wanted to engage in sexual activity with another (beyond curiosity “let me see your ‘thing’) that would give me real concerns that they had inappropriate sexual exposure at an early age

    @Katie and Mary: I think it would be reasonable to be concerned — and certainly I also would wonder if a child might have been abused. I have seen that. But I can tell you that in my case, I was not abused.

    I had no “innappropriate sexual exposure” at an early age — except for me fonding Tommy and him fondling me. It was just exciting and fun. I wanted to see, touch, experience. I was fascinated. Maybe I was just precoscious.

    I once told a female co-worker that I did mutal touching and a little oral sex with Tommy. She was shocked! She asked, “Where on Earth did you learn that??? Did someone abuse you?” I explained that “No, I thought it up all by myself. No one taught me. I just wondered what it would feel like.” It did not seem that strange that kids put things in their mouths.

  25. OK, can’t believe I’m doing this, but it is just way too much fun. Snopes.com claims that the infamous “man on page 602” in the Sears 1975 fall/winter catalog was not indecently exposed, but that a blot of some kind got on the photo. Yeah, right. I saw it with my own eyes. But Sears being the American icon it is and all, we had to spare them the official embarrassment. So it is now “unconfirmed” urban legend.

    I honestly had not given it much thought over the years, but some of you may know (Warren, you old music buff?) that Zoot Fenster recorded a hilarious song about it, “The Man on Page 602.” Here’s the YouTube link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd2gD_6YFos

    Enjoy the laugh.

  26. Karen – I agree,

    Some of the self reporting seems to indicate that abuse was present for that child or that the feelings and memories have been enhanced over time.

  27. Is it normal for a 5 or 6 year old boy to be having sexual thoughts? Emotional crushes of adulation–yes (I think most pre-adolescent children have these kinds of “crushes” toward both sexes). But a 5-6 year old with physical arousal and desire to engage in erotic sexual activity with another? If I met a first grade boy who wanted to engage in sexual activity with another (beyond curiosity “let me see your ‘thing’) that would give me real concerns that they had inappropriate sexual exposure at an early age . . .

  28. Debbie–

    I doubt there’s a gay man over the age of 40 in America who doesn’t know about the infamous Sears catalog gaffe…and it made us catalogue consumers ever since!

    Michael–

    I appreciate your point of view and the fact that we shouldn’t always assume that homosexuality is somehow broken but I do believe that we should at least entertain the possibility that sexual attractions at age 5 might indicate that something isn’t working quite right. Naturally, my bias would say that after the age of sexuality you reinterpreted the ‘attractions’ from age 5. An alternative would be that you had a sexual precociousness that triggered sexual response even before the traditional ‘age of reason’. I’m not saying this to be snarky but it would seem that to have SEXUAL responses and attractions both before the age of reason and before the advent of any sign of puberty would NOT be part of our designed intent. “Broken” might not be the most PC word but. for this to occur, certainly something wasn’t ‘working as designed’. (Do I even need to say that I’m speaking and thinking from my bias?)

  29. Michael cited ’sightings’ from ads, the JC Penney catalog (for me it was Sears)…what can be gleaned from those sightings doesn’t begin to compare to what can be gleaned about a woman’s anatomy from the same type of ads.

    Yes, and that obvious disparity is a pet peeve of many women, believe me. It seems we are exploited at every turn.

    By the way, does anyone remember or were you even aware of the infamous peek-a-boo gaffe (or maybe it was intentional) in a Sears catalog men’s underwear photo back in the ’70s? My sister-in-law showed it to me, and we were aghast. Although we also laughed our heads off.

  30. Eddy,

    I do think that we often confuse other emotions for sexual attraction, especially when we rely on our memory of the situations we found ourselves at the time. I remember a hired hand my dad had working for him on the farm when I was a kid. He was extremely good looking and had many manly qualities even as I remember him when he was a late teen and I was 6 or 7. I felt for many years that I had a strong attraction towards him and in many ways he was like an older brother to me. The thing that I have now discovered is that much of what I felt was envy for his relationship with my father. He seemed to get more of my fathers attention than I did. He seems to be the kind of man (son) that my father wanted to have and I did not feel I could measure up to him. I should not have had to measure up, I was 6-7 he was 19-20. That left a lasting scare on my own sense of security and it also distorted my view of what it meant to be masculine. It had very little to do with sexual desire or attraction and yet that is how I internalized it.

    Today I can only be grateful for this mans help and support he had given to my dad. Even so I still feel he received more acceptance from my father than I ever did.

  31. You guys are cracking me up. Really was laughing out loud.

    Carole: The package is….well… funny.

    Eddy: It’s like comparing a short, stubby pencil to one of those monster pens that have 10 different color inks inside…

    Thanks for making me laugh. Eddy asked:

    I’m always inclined to want to sort out those ‘attractions’…was it ’sexual’ really?

    For me, it was.

    Or was it some other feeling or mixture of feelings…some other attraction? I’ve mentioned envy and emulation. There’s hero worship (emulation of a higher order).

    I know this goes back to the theory that for gay boys it couldn’t be just like what straight kids start to feel. It can’t be just the “normal” unfolding of emotional and sexual awareness.

    t has to indicate that something is missing — that something has gone wrong — some unmet need that gets sexualized or mixed up with emerging sexual feelings. Identity confusion. Envy. Sexual confusion.

    I guess that could be true. Maybe it is for some SSA boys. But I really think that for most, it is really not that different (psychologically or experientially) than what a straight boy might start to feel when his “built-in” heterosexuality kicks into gear.

    I watched my daughter’s heterosexuality unfold. Early on, she had boys she liked. Boys she thought were cute. I think my feelings were sexual before hers were, but at an early age, she was OSA.

    And you didn’t have to assume something was broken to explain it. Her’s unfolded. So did mine. Some flowers unfold red — and some unfold blue. Hers were OK with God, society and family — and mine were not. It was the realization that society thought I was broken or sick or sinful that brought on the guilt, feelings of inferiority and confusion.

  32. In her earlier query to Michael, something Carole said stood out to me. She wondered why boys would be fascinated with the privates of other boys or men when they already had one of their own. I mused about this a bit and believe I have a few insights.

    1) A boy might have ‘one’ of his own but it hardly compares to the ‘package’ that comes with adolescence and manhood. It’s like comparing a short, stubby pencil to one of those monster pens that have 10 different color inks inside…or maybe like comparing a Volkswagen to an SUV. There is a similarity but the differences outweigh them. Length, girth, body hair…and, um, the rest of the components to the package…the dangling testicles. It would be very easy for a boy to become fascinated by the differences for a variety of reasons. Envy, insecurity, natural curiosity, speculation about his own future endowment…

    2) While it’s true that a girl doesn’t have any protusions on her chest, she does see the evidence on other women ‘a million times’ more than a boy sees the evidences of another. Women’s breasts are ‘right out there’; their size and shape evident even when modestly dressed. The likelihood that a little girl would have body development explained at a young age far exceeds that of the little boy.

    Michael cited ‘sightings’ from ads, the JC Penney catalog (for me it was Sears)…what can be gleaned from those sightings doesn’t begin to compare to what can be gleaned about a woman’s anatomy from the same type of ads. Take a woman’s lingerie ad, imagine the fabric removed and you have a pretty good image of the shape and size of the breast. The only real mystery might be the size and color of the nipple. It’s simply not the same for the guy. You see a ‘bulge’. You know there’s something in there but really little or no clue to the fact that it’s part cylinder in shape, that the cylinder has variations near it’s extremity (the head), and that a good percentage of that bulge might be the testicle-housing scrotum. In short, there’s way more mystery (that is, if one is drawn to mysteries).

    And to a different point altogether:

    In one of his responses Michael mentioned the strong feelings he had for another boy at age 5 (I think) that he imagines to be similar to an adolescent heterosexual crush. I believe that perception is worth exploring. On one level, I’m not sure we fully comprehend what constitutes an adolescent crush–and Michael admits that he isn’t really sure that the comparison is true–since he didn’t have the heterosexual crush experience himself.

    Here comes my bias: I believe that an assortment of feelings get mixed up with sexual feelings. Not all attractions are sexual. (Consider the movie “The Sting”…it’s plot and substance were more appealing to men’s tastes than women’s, yet it had the ultra-handsome Newman and Redford as its stars. Men might talk about how attractive these guys are but, the fact is, they are ‘attractive’.)

    It’s my belief that the ‘attraction’, if analyzed, would likely contain elements of both envy and emulation and scarcely a hint of sexual desire.

    So, when a guy admits that he had ‘sexual attractions’ or ‘a crush’ at an early age (under age 8), I’m always inclined to want to sort out those ‘attractions’…was it ‘sexual’ really? Or was it some other feeling or mixture of feelings…some other attraction? I’ve mentioned envy and emulation. There’s hero worship (emulation of a higher order). There are desires: acceptance (please like me), affirmation(your acceptance says I’m an okay guy), aspiration (I want to be like him). These desires are not sexual and shouldn’t be interpreted as such.

    The most confusing desire, though, is intimacy…the desire for a closeness that exceeds the norms of friendship. Think of that warm feeling you get when someone confides a deep secret to you. I’m not saying that the following is true for everybody–or even for a lot of people–but I had a near obsession with ‘being privy to the privates’ of any close male friend. Somehow, I felt that I really didn’t know them…that we weren’t ‘really close’…until I’d seen their private parts.

    Heterosexually, we have all kinds of barriers that would prevent us from having a ‘private parts’ intimacy with most or all of our opposite sex friends. But, with our same gender, there are ways: sleepovers, locker rooms, adolescent show and tell or experimentation, skinny dipping, stolen peeks in the restroom…

    Rarely are we forthcoming about this desire. In many instances, the visual image of our friend’s privates is stolen…a sneaky peek or a contrived situation. Now we’ve got the feeling of intimacy entwined with feelings of guilt. (LOL. I’m afraid that for multitudes, both straight and gay, their definition of ‘sex’ is ‘intimacy mixed with guilt’. It is no wonder that this leads to ‘feelings’ of sexual confusion.)

  33. One observation: If God, after surveying his entire creation, which included both the male and female forms (and all that these unique beings entailed, including the spiritual), declared his work “very good,” I think we can safely take proper admiration in the beauty of both forms.

    We are all going to admire both the well-shaped male and female body, and I don’t believe we should get hung up on that kind of artful admiration. It’s when it crosses the line into lustful thoughts that we get into trouble. Respect and admiration for the beauty of all of God’s creation is a form of worship of Him, the Creator, and not the created, which is idolatry, of course.

  34. @Michael, who said,

    I have always thought that nude male form and male sex organs were — well — beautiful. I still do. Powerful, kinda primitive. Something animal. Handsome. Angular, Woof. I wonder if straight women feel that?

    Oh, interesting question. Now, I will not pretend to speak for most straight women–but I can assure you that my comments below addressing your question are indeed the feelings of the many women friends I have had all the way from high school to college to those women friends I have today. Concensus is never difficult on this point.

    First, yes, it’s true: we women really do talk about men, both generally and specifically, and most of the time, our comments are much, much more complimentary than movies and popular culture make our conversations out to be.

    However, you asked about our feelings about the male form and about men. Woof? Yes, indeed. The man’s power, strength, both his emotional and physical strength are indeed masculine characteristics that we find incredibly alluring. I am not at all saying a guy has to be able to bench press 300 pounds. No, we simply like that he is more powerful than we are. Hey, that he can open a jar of pickles when we can’t is wonderful! But yes, of course, we do like that feeling that he is larger and more powerful than we. Handsome? Well, of course. That jaw is not shape as ours. It’s nice.

    Primitive? Well, when we are mad at our men yes, they do seem primitive!! LOL.

    Angular? Personally, I’d never have thought of that word for them, but guess I see what you mean.

    Now, as for the man’s private parts. This is we women think of…it, well, them– the package. (Oh, I hope Warren doesn’t zap me for the vernacular)

    (I stress I am not speaking for women but am sharing what my friends have shared with one another when we girl-talk which is all the time.

    The package is….well… funny. Under the usual circumstances,everything just kinda hanga there and swings and needs to be rearranged a lot. And…there’s a lot of changing shape. You know, shriveling, growing, disappearing…just like the George Costanza Seinfeld episode so well illustrates.

    In addition, we women note that men seem to be inordinately proud of these entities even though they seem not to have control of them. You know, it’s as if one part of the package were sometimes disembodied from the owner himself, as if it had a mind of its own, which we realize it does.

    Now, the last thing in the world a guy wants is for a woman to laugh at it/they, but they are so little-boy attached to it all. And so very proud, making them kind of look like the little boy who has come home and excitedly wants to share the salamander he has discovered in the pond.

    Sometimes we just can’t help wanting to laugh, but we have to stifle it, for men are understandably very sensitive about this subject.

    However, everything changes, I mean everything–when we women are “in the mood.” That’s the whole key– our mood. Then, that part of a man is viewed very, very differently. At that point, we perfectly understand why he is so proud.

    That’s the best I can do, Michael.

  35. Michael said,

    I hope you guys won’t think me cruel to joke in this way, but I sometimes wonder if God was kinda tired when he made Eve…

    HAH. No, don’t think it’s cruel at all.

    In fact, I giggled because you comment reminded me of two close friends and one old college boyfriend, all of them art majors. The two women became teachers, but are fine artists as well. The old boyfriend? He became a football coach–yeah, I loved it that he was a jock and quite the artist! Anyway, I mention them only because of your comment, Michael, about the female form. Mike (the old college flame) was the first to say it, but I just figured that because he was a guy he would say it–that drawing and painting nude men was boring, that the female form offered so much more in the way of intrigue and challenge from the artist’s perspective.

    Fast forward a decade or so to separate conversations with my two female teaching collegues–I didn’t ask the question. The subject just came up and I happened to hear them say virtually the same thing Mike did, that the male form was boring from the artist’s perspective. Now, not having taken any art classes beyond high school, I’ve no idea if this notion is prevalent or not, if it’s discussed or not. In fact, I remember being kind of stupefied by the comment. Personally, I really did not understand why they’d say that–guess that I just figured that since they were the artists and I wasn’t and because I had now heard the same thing from three different people, and from both male and female, I never pressed them to explain in greater detail why they felt that way.

  36. When Michael speaks of his childhood yearnings, his desire for other men or boys, I am left musing, “I don’t understand what the mystery or draw is of something you already have yourself. Why didn’t he just look at himself if the male form engaged him?”

    I did look at myself! I still do. I like the way males look, and move ,and talk, and smell. I have always thought that nude male form and male sex organs were — well — beautiful. I still do. Powerful, kinda primitive. Something animal. Handsome. Angular, Woof. I wonder if straight women feel that?

    In contrast, the female form was “lovely” — “pretty” in a curvilinear sort of way. Rounded. Smooth, like a sculpture. Like Venus. Nice to look at, I guess. Nothing that pulled me in a visceral way toward it’s form. Below the navel, nothing at all of interest. I don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, but it just left me uninspired…

    I have tried to figure it out, but I can’t explain why I find somethings beautiful — and some things just nice-looking. I hope you guys won’t think me cruel to joke in this way, but I sometimes wonder if God was kinda tired when he made Eve…

  37. Warren — The puzzle keeps unfolding 🙂 And completing.

    Actually, my first biggest crush from the school looked like my mother when she was young. So did my first girlfriend from highschool. I believe that the imprinting effect does work, but there is so much more. Both my sister and I liked my maternal aunt, because she was easy to like, she brought us presents and, compared to our mother, she wasn’t hostile. So there were other female figures in the family that left a different mark. My mother wasn’t always like this, of course, there were also moments when she was very likeable and she actually was very attractive when she was young.

    But our father played an important role when he was around, which was mostly during weekend.

    As to Socarides… I am very attracted to hostile, lively, brunette girls. 🙂

    It, hostility, doesn’t always work one way..

  38. Evan – With neo-Freudians, you are just a puzzle. For Nicolosi, you are straight because your dad was a salient figure and played with you. If Socarides was your analyst, he might assume you were a closet case since mom was hostile, you should dislike women – at least except those with cute noses 🙂

    Ah, yes, Carla Kornoff.

  39. I was attracted to girls I think before I was aware. The first thought of awareness came sometime around 6 or 7, when I was in the first grade and I was looking at my hand and could not believe it that I was really there looking at my hand, in the living-room (I’m also interested in awareness, beside this topic). It was like a moment from the Twilight Zone.

    But the first time I was attracted to girls was during kindergarten, when I was drawn to a brunette girl called Lydia, who was very lively, and then to another one called Gina, a blonde and serene girl. I used to go home and sit on the couch and watch TV, and couldn’t get my mind away from them. And then there was also an older girl, Andreea was her name, she had a cute littl’ nose, like a rabbit’s. It made me wanna kiss her. But I was too shy to do it, and when my parents suggested I should do it, I got all red in the face, because I liked her very much.

    One thing I don’t remember is how it got into my mind that I have to know how girls looked like, so I sneaked into my sister’s room while she was gone and riffled through all the toys until I found this brown barbie doll. I quickly took her clothes off and checked her pubis and then my head started to boil with a pleasant anxiety at the immense discovery: they’ve got nothing there, just an ambiguous groove! That was the beginning of another life :), in which all my efforts were directed into finding out what was “inside.” Or getting inside, which is the same thing.

    I’ve got many stories from that time.

    There always was enmity between me an my mother. I hated her because she used to hit us. She was stressed for some reason and used to vent on us. So we both feared and hated her and we couldn’t wait till our father came home and took us outside. My mother has this strange combination between morosity and aggressiveness. Some folks say that I resemble her, maybe that’s why we’re like two lions inside the same cage when we’re in the same room. I never had any problem with my father, on the other hand. When we were both going somewhere it was funtime. Playing football (it’s called soccer in your country), tenis (which he liked and I didn’t) and lots of other games that we played mostly during the weekend. Whereas my mother was rather sedentary and an indoor creature, my father was the outdoorsy guy, who was behind all the excursions outside the home. The weird thing is that she was and is more aggressive than him. I attribute that to the conflict within and between their genetics.

    Anyway, there’s no theory that could describe the nature of these interactions, it’s always more complex than words could pin down.

  40. Michael and Carole –

    Now, the interest is strictly adult. Then, even National Geographic would do. BTW, my first big emotional/sexual crush was with Tommy W. — a kid in my first grade class. We played army a lot. I played “medic”… Sadly, he dumped me for another boy.

    Your story brought back a few memories of my own. I remember the boy in my 5th grade class that I had a crush on – the first one I remember. I remember working really hard to make it look like I was interested in girls on the playground – lol – but my naive young heart belonged to that boy – I can’t help but laugh about the whole thing now

    For me Carole it wasn’t just the male form itself that intrigued me – that was a necessary part of it, but the person’s personality played such an important role in those early crushes – as it did with my more mature romantic relationships.

  41. For the record, and while we’re on the subject – I’ve never been molested – to my knowledge, none of the gay people in my close circle of friends have been either.

    I’m sure CSA does have an effect on sexuality for SOME people – but I also believe that it probably works both ways.

  42. Carole,

    I remember this specifically. My parents had taken us to the drive-in. We were watching Buck and the Preacher. They started showing clips for the next or someother film and I saw a woman’s breast for the first time. My mother told us not to look and we left the drive-in. Then sometime after that I was at the liquor store and there was a Playboy and I opened it and laughed at the woman’s breasts. Like it was off limits so was funny. I also had a african american teacher in the second grade. And if you ever gotten the boob hug by a big african american woman then you know – it’s weird and yet wonderful all at once. So some of it got sexualized and some of it was just comfort.

  43. Warren,

    “CSA is bad enough without making it into a political chip against homosexuals. To talk about it accurately is not to minimize it.”

    Wow – Amen! Now if other conservative Christians would follow your lead!

  44. Carole,

    “When Michael speaks of his childhood yearnings, his desire for other men or boys, I am left musing, “I don’t understand what the mystery or draw is of something you already have yourself. Why didn’t he just look at himself if the male form engaged him?”

    I’m just curious – what does this mean???

  45. Ahhhh, trying to feel what another feels is sometimes so hard. It’s fun to exchange these stories, but the thought hit me that straights can only intellectualize what SS-attraction is (and that doesn’t work); gays can only intellectualize what OS-attraction (and that doesn’t work); bi’s? We have Katie who knows she has eroticized women, but she isn’t bi–we are all flavors, for sure.

    When Michael speaks of his childhood yearnings, his desire for other men or boys, I am left musing, “I don’t understand what the mystery or draw is of something you already have yourself. Why didn’t he just look at himself if the male form engaged him?”

    When Mary spoke of fascination with boobs, it made a bit more sense in that little girls do not have boobs. I remember being fascinated at a young age with the bra as a contraption–all those snaps and straps. I did see my mother and sister naked so I must have seen boobs at an early age, but I really don’t remember any reaction–I am sure I had a reaction, just don’t remember what it was.

    Anyway, this is all too funny and fun even though it has absolutely nothing to do with “Why Do Some People Write Articles.”

  46. Hmmm… I guess my earliest recognition of anything was being fascinated by women’s boobs. Still am.. Who knows – maybe I wasn’t breast feed or held enough.

  47. @Carole:

    My crushes were on these tv figures, but at that age, I’d hardly call them sexual (at least not consciously sexual).

    Mine definitely were. Totally fascinated by and attracted to the nude male body. I wanted to touch it, look at it, taste it. Pictures of Greek statues. Quick glimpses in locker rooms. JC Penny underwear ads. The smell of a gym.

    Lastly, Michael, I thought it was interesting (only because it differs from my experience) that when you were that young (5) the sexual interest you recall was in older boys or men, not those your own age

    I may have given the wrong impression. The sexual/emotional interest was toward any good-looking male, whether my own age, adolescent or adult. Memories of camping and going to the group showers.

    Memories of changing rooms at the pool. Memories of “skinny-dipping” in the Feather River (or irrigation ditches) with male relatives, getting away from the women and girls to bathe in streams, rivers or lakes on big family camp-outs.

    Now, the interest is strictly adult. Then, even National Geographic would do. BTW, my first big emotional/sexual crush was with Tommy W. — a kid in my first grade class. We played army a lot. I played “medic”… Sadly, he dumped me for another boy.

  48. Carole,

    I get what you’re saying, but I’d get swept away by some women, and enjoy the erotic feelings I’d get. Like in college I had a teacher who was 65 or 70 years old, and looked her age. But she had a great voice, and talked like a book. I’d sit with my eyes close and just float in a pleasant erotic state.

    It never occured to me, however, that I’d want to actually have sex with her. But I did have a crush — a rush when I saw her, etc….

    And when I was much younger — there was at least some level of “considering” the sex thing, though I’m not sure, from my present vantage point, just how serious these considerations were.

    K.

  49. @Katie,

    The kind of feeling you describe with women (wishing you could be like one) is something I recall too, but I would never have called that a “crush.” I just remember about the age of jr. high thinking that some of the younger women teachers were women to emulate. They were smartly dressed, educated, had their own cars…in short, we imagined that they led interesting, exciting lives outside school. They were in many ways our role models.

    I think my friends and I saw them as women who stood in stark contrast to our own mothers in that they were young and educated. After all, we thought of our mothers, much as we loved them, as “old” (even though they weren’t) and working class. I think we saw these teachers as cool. Adolescents love “cool.”

  50. My son, Jason has noticed girls at least since he was 3 — whether she’s nice, has long or short hair, wear barretts or not, etc….

    At 4 he said of one little girl — “She said (something, I can’t remember what), and my heart turned over and I was in love”.

    Me? I think I was to guarded against people in general to have such feelings, and I do think it made my feelings for both sexes somewhat indeterminant longer than for a lot of people.

    K.

  51. Even though my history would be a reparative therapist’s playground, I thought girls were amazing from preschool — the one I was kicked out of. And then Kindergarten and then on and on, just one, ahem, straight line.

  52. Most of my crushes were on boys. But I also had crushes on a few women, and I say women because they were women.

    Still, there was a difference in the tone of the crushes, the ones of women being more non-sexual, more a matter of wishing to be like, to emulate — or merely being drawn to characteristics I lacked.

    And sometimes they were just pleasant, and it simply never occured to me that the mere fact of having a crush implied anything at all about my sexual preferences.

    K.

  53. I’ve heard a lot of gay people state that they have always felt gay. When I was little – I was little . Not gay not straight just uncontrollable, laughing, little ball of fun. I do remember being drawn to people. And I do remember not wanting to be gay (as if it was somewhere in my mind already)

  54. Michael said,

    My earliest memories of attachments to other boys included a strong sexual component — as far back as I can remember…Since I have never been straight, I can only imagine that it was kind of like what straight when they experience crushes.

    Interesting. I certainly remember my earliest crushes on men (Superman, Lone Ranger, etc). At a very young age (5 or so) I recall the “protective” qualities that men like these tv figures and men like my dad and my much older brother (a teen when I was 5) offered. I came to associate those protective qualities along with the physical strength they exhibited as “masculine”. I recall pretending to be Lois Lane as Superman snatched me up from danger; I recall fondly my big brother calling me into his room and saying, “Look, feel this”–his emerging biceps. He was very proud of his new muscles and as a little kid, I was very impressed.

    Thus, as a little straight girl, I was impressed by and interested in the opposite sex, at how different dad was from mom, at how wonderful Superman was, at how my brother was becoming like my dad.

    My crushes were on these tv figures, but at that age, I’d hardly call them sexual (at least not consciously sexual). Of course, I knew from all the little neighborhood boys with whom I played and because I watched my sister change the diaper of her son, my nephew, that little boys were anatomically different but my crushes at that age were ….in searching for a word, I’d say “romantic”–Superman, with those big strong muscles, hoisting me to safety in daydreams.

    Later, the doctor-nurse games of childhood played out. Now, the curiosity about anatomical differences between boys and girls took on a new perspective, although I’d be hard pressed to explain that perspective except to say that I became more aware that as I and my friends aged, there was now a “taboo” attached to exploring the differences. Of course, at this older age, we kids were even more interested in the differences than we had been when we were 5, both because biology was at work and because the social taboos made piqued our interest even more.

    I’d be interested in knowing if Warren knows much about when kids begin to sexualize their interests. This would, of course, require a clear definition of what we mean by “sexualize”.

    Lastly, Michael, I thought it was interesting (only because it differs from my experience) that when you were that young (5) the sexual interest you recall was in older boys or men, not those your own age. As I said, my romantic interests were in the tv figures but my “here and now” interest in the anatomical differences between male and female were pretty much restricted to how my male playmates differed from me and even then it wasn’t a big deal at that age. I have no recollection at all of wanting to see what a grown man looked like w/out pants on. In fact, that would have been “ewww” I think.

  55. Unfortunately, articles of this type often send parents’ concerns running in the wrong direction, watching out for the wrong guy, while Mr. Stepdad is raping both the little girl and the little boy in the family.

    Don’t hold back on pointing to the gay guy as predator because of “hurt feelings”. Instead hold back on pointing to the gay guy as predator because very very seldom is it the gay guy who is doing the molesting and because it distracts from the REAL predator who no one suspects because they are all worried about the gay guy.

    A part 2 to my above “right on.” Again, sorry I’m a few days late getting to this.

    Timothy, I think the jury is out on what the real extent of same-sex (let’s not just call it “gay,” as you recognize in your example of perps molesting both boys and girls) molestation is. I also believe the gay community has a very strong and obvious motivation to downplay it, same as the “homophobics” have a strong motivation to overplay it. So, the truth likely falls somewhere in the middle.

    I think we can safely say the greater danger is from straight pedophiles who are friends and family of their victims. I’ve studied the FBI’s and Justice Department’s statistics, and they are clear enough, while incomplete. Under-reporting for a variety of reasons affects those stats.

  56. My earliest memories of attachments to other boys included a strong sexual component — as far back as I can remember having these attachments — for me, about first grade.

    As far as pushing, I think I pushed it. It felt like the arousal already had a direction. No trauma, molest, father deficit, etc. Just a boy’s curiousity towards other boys. The naked female form did nothing for me. Towards males, it felt like the arousal pushed itself. It pushed me. The more I saw, the more I wanted to look.

    Since I have never been straight, I can only imagine that it was kind of like what straight when they experience crushes.

  57. Timothy–

    Re your post from 5:32PM. Very well said. It’s the kind of observation I wish they’d include it in packets to parents:

    I think it would catch the attention of most parents if an openly gay man were paying too much attention to their sons. As they should.

    But many think that is all they have to do – protect their little boys from the “homosexual predator”. And sadly, they let the heterosexual predator right it with no suspicions. He’s heterosexual, you see, so not a threat. He has a wife and family and goes to baseball games and drinks beer from a can; he’s safe.

    Hear, hear.

  58. I think all of this is why it might be wiser to think in terms of “homosexualities” and “heterosexualities”. 100 people might experience “SSA” or engage in gay sex for 100 different reasons. CSA might play a cenral role for some and no role at all for others.

    Sorry, I did not have time to follow this thread closely over the past week. But what Michael said here reminds me of the psychological school of thought that also has referred to depression as “the depressions” for similar reasons.

    I go back to depression studies from time to time because my experiences with depression, CSA and SSA appeared so closely linked. And, I considered my struggle with depression to be a life-or-death one. Not suicidal, but wanting to die if someone would just kill me or God would let me waste away to death — which I nearly did.

  59. Micahel,

    I think that attachments exists but it is non-gender specific when we are young. I think sexual arousal will occur naturally in most people on it’s own and depending on the ciurcumstances this arousal can be pushed into a direction.

  60. Michael,

    While the gay developing boy might more likely “attract” a pedophile, I would imagine this would have more to do with pedophiles searching those who, for whatever reason, seem more vulnerable.

    But also, while this might be a valuable insight into stranger (and perhaps aquaintance) molestation, I doubt it explains familial incest — which, by most accounts, is the most common form of child molestation.

    For instance, I doubt Rob’s mother abused him because he was a gay developing boy. Especially considering she also abused his sister.

    And the fact that Rob developed an early (6 years on) obsession with enemas and the like, indicates that for him at least, the obsession with penetration had nothing to do with the sex of his abuser — a female.

    And I think this is one element of how molestation can influence sexual development — by creating an obsession over a particular sex act.

    Might he have already been on a homosexual developmental path?

    Who knows. But I think it’s just as likely that, in his developing mind, men became equated with the natural penetrator — in part because obsessing over penetrative sex created doubts about his own sexuality.

    And no, being able to enjoy penetrative sex probably doesn’t cause obsessive questioning about one’s sexuality — but an obsessive/compulsive pre-occupation might.

    I find the argument that such things would never impact on sexual development odd. Just as odd as being forced cross-dressed as a child never impacts strongly upon a boy developing an obsessive/compulsive need to cross dress — which may or may never develop into a desire for full gender transformation.

    I think we’re less wary about making such assumptions than making the assumption that traumatic penetration of a boy might have similar effects.

    K.

  61. Michael Bussee…. It just struck me that we face two dangers in discussing the “causes” of SSA: assuming that something could never be true — or that it always is.

    From a philosophical standpoint in science, nothing is true. There is only that which has efficacy by the preponderance of evidence and science is always looking for new knowledge to refine a viewpoint.

  62. It just struck me that we face two dangers in discussing the “causes” of SSA: assuming that something could never be true — or that it always is.

  63. @Katie:

    I don’t think homosexuality is the product of CSA — but do think it plays a role in some people.

    That seems completely reasonable — that CSA could play a role, either in creating same sex attractions — or bringing already latent ones to light. I wonder if it could also be true that some gay boys are more vulnerable, more attractive to predators? So that, in a way, being gay made them more of a target?

    Let me explain. I was aware of SSA in first grade. At six years old, I actively sought out situations where I could see nude male bodies — for example, the changing room at the local pool .

    While I was looking, perhaps an older predator might be looking back — getting friendly after swim practice, becoming a mentor, etc. I wasn’t a tough little straight boy who might run, fight or say no. (Not that straight boys aren’t targets.) I was a gay boy. Curious. Approachable. I wanted to be approached.

    This didn’t happen to me, but it would have been mighty easy — if I had been approached. I might have done it. I probably would have. Particularly if the predator were handsome, charming, caring…

    If it had, would it have caused me to be gay?

  64. @Mary:

    In all fairness – what directs our sexual development. I doubt any of it is fixed at birth.

    Any? I think that at least some of it must be.

  65. Brian,

    I don’t think homosexuality is the product of CSA — but do think it plays a role in some people.

    Why women are repelled by the sex of their abuser, and men attracted?

    Well, first, there’s an assumption that this is always how it plays out – and that the dynamic is simple. The dynamic isn’t always so simple. There are women in lesbian relationships who nevertheless repeat their abuse with men — some in ways that are strict scripts of what actually happened. For instance, if their abuser had the strange habit of saying the word “apple” every time he abused her, then the woman will want her male sex partner to say “apple”, etc….

    Still, there does seem more men who say their male on male CSA created SSA, and more women who say male on female CSA created an aversion to the OS.

    One thing of note is that women who say their CSA created an aversion to the opposite sex is because they don’t like penetration. Even with their lesbian lovers.

    Men, on the other hand, who experienced penetration tend to seek penetrative sex — be it with either men or women. And no matter if the person who abused them was male or female.

    So maybe THIS difference is as important as which sex either men or women gravitate towards — and in which way.

    So you could ask why more women than men who experienced penetrative CSA react differently to the notion of penetrative sex?

    Because there does seem a general difference — with of course, exceptions.

    And it seems to me that this difference is often in play in how men vs. women end up experiencing their “orientation”.

    Why this difference? I don’t know, but I can come up with a good, coherent hypothesis.

    K.

  66. Sorry Brian – for stating the obvious.

    In the DSM-IV you will notice that it does discuss differences in the genders,, Oh and another obvious thing – hope I don’t upset you here,,,,,

    Did you notice that the DSM has changed over time and could possibly change again? You know like really begin to see the differences between genders.

    Being stuck in a static defintion of someone or something else has prevented a lot of people from expereince a truth for themselves.

  67. “Very simply – men and women, boys and girls are wired differently and culturally brought up differently to view sex, sexuality differently from their gender perspective.”

    Gee Mary, thanks for sharing the bleeding obvious. I know there are differences between men and women; that explains and answers nothing.

    There was a highly flawed study some years ago that tried to show a direct relationship between racism and stress. However, when the data came in, it appeared that some subgroups that claimed to experience the most racism in daily life had lower stress levels, and some subgroups claiming to experience less racism had more stress. So the authors of this politicized study decided that the respondents reporting greater racism/less stress had in actuality internalized the racism and viewed it as normal, thereby fooling themselves into a state of reduced stress. No matter what the data showed, the authors were able to salvage their thesis. That is a good approximation of what is going on with this CSA claim.

    I am not aware of any evidence – or even a persuasive argument – to explain why women would become repelled by the gender of their abuser while men would become attracted to the gender of their abuser. While there are differences b/t men and women, they are all still human beings. There is one DSM-IV for human beings, not one for male and one for female. A 180-degree gender difference in the supposed reaction to CSA coupled with is a hole in the claim that homosexuality is a product of CSA.

  68. In all fairness – what directs our sexual development. I doubt any of it is fixed at birth.

  69. Brian:

    Leaving aside the unexplained gender difference in the supposed reactions to the abuse, why is this not an argument that …

    I think these questions tend not to get asked because many folks start from the premise that homosexuality must be the result of something gone wrong. The same assumption is not often made about heterosexuality — since it is thought of as “normal” and therefore does not seem to need a cause or explanation.”

    In all fairness and in the spirit of true scientific inquiry, I think we should ask, “What causes people to be straight?” If we knew that answer, we might find that SSA could be explained by the same influences.

  70. Katie,

    That is exactly what I am saying. I am tired of all homosexuals being blamed for child molestation and I am tired of those who pooh pooh the idea that just because another was molested and they did not develop SSA out of it that my experience is less valueable or informative. And I am tired of those who insist they were never molested and they are gay oriented and pooh pooh my experience also. I remember one girlfriend who insisted she was never molested. Only to meet with her and her father one time and he put his hand on her ass in a provacative way.

    I will never agree with people who believe that sexual orientation is a fixed at birth kind of thing. But I am not going to argue with gays over their right to be married , have children etc… (I think they should have those rights)

    I am tired that when someone equates CSA with their own homosexuality that people jump opn the band wagon and and say “that’s not true because it didn’t happen to me that way”.

    Like Michael says there are homosexualites and heterosexualites and wide road that leads to both.

    You know people experience sex, sexuality and all that it entails from a variety of perspectives – especially children. They can make up all sorts of weird images, and things to make their abusive world more matching to their internal world. That we are (or at least have been in the past) sexually screwed up is not surprising. And then we have our partners and their stuff to deal with.

  71. Brain,

    Very simply – men and women, boys and girls are wired differently and culturally brought up differently to view sex, sexuality differently from their gender perspective. When you mess with that you get all sorts of outscomes from childhood sexual abuse.

    Other than that – unless you have been sexually abused – please do not assume that the response is going to make sense.

  72. Can someone explain the logic at work here?

    If a boy is molested by a man, he turns to men and becomes homosexual. But if a girl is molested by a man, she turns away from men and becomes a lesbian.

    Leaving aside the unexplained gender difference in the supposed reactions to the abuse, why is this not an argument that male heterosexuality can be caused by female CSA and female heterosexuality can be caused by female CSA? Does this render heterosexuality the pathological result of female abuse?

  73. I think she’s concerned that when she or another person feels their SSA is the direct result of CSA, then people go — “Well, I’m not so sure about that — let’s do a study to confirm your own personal experience. If the study supports your personal experience, then we’ll concede that your personal experience is true. If it doesn’t, then you’re are quite deluded about your own personal experience”….

    Katie,

    Yes, that is what I understood from Mary’s comments as well. There is only one thing that hurts more than the sexual abuse and that is having to convince someone that it actually occured and the harm it caused.

  74. What I get from Mary is her feeling that IF a person locates the effects of sexual abuse as a strong reason for their SSA, that it’s not taken seriously.

    That would be a mistake. A patient’s beliefs should always be taken seriously. It’s their inner world, not mine.

    What we do in therapy is different than the approach we would take to confirm or disprove a theory. People are real. Theories are only convenient fictions.

  75. I recall a terrible time in the recent history pop-psychology when some writers and therapists seemed to insist that any woman with persistent depression MUST have been sexually molested by a close male relative — even if she could not recall any such abuse.

    If she could not recall it, they were “supressed” memories and the therapist would try to bring these to the surface — sometimes in hypnosis. The hope was that once these painful incidents were identified and dealt with (and the perp was confronted by the victim) that the depression would lessen. I never saw this do anything but make matters much worse.

    Now, I am not saying that this might not explain some depression. It is when we assume that it is true of all that we get into serious trouble — and can do serious harm to our patients.

  76. It would be like saying that if a person claims they felt no parental loss, yet are gay, that they could be deluded about this. Which is pretty much what NARTH does.

    K.

  77. What I get from Mary is her feeling that IF a person locates the effects of sexual abuse as a strong reason for their SSA, that it’s not taken seriously.

    Even if another person doesn’t locate in themselves the same association.

    I don’t take her to be implying that CSA = gay, or SSA and that all gay or SSA people have been molested.

    I think she’s concerned that when she or another person feels their SSA is the direct result of CSA, then people go — “Well, I’m not so sure about that — let’s do a study to confirm your own personal experience. If the study supports your personal experience, then we’ll concede that your personal experience is true. If it doesn’t, then you’re are quite deluded about your own personal experience”….

    K.

  78. I think all of this is why it might be wiser to think in terms of “homosexualities” and “heterosexualities”. 100 people might experience “SSA” or engage in gay sex for 100 different reasons. CSA might play a cenral role for some and no role at all for others.

    Michael,

    This is a wise statement and one that I hope is adopted in discussion or any communication regarding heterosexuality or homosexuality. It commands that we clarify, and that, avoids assumptions and sterotypes.

  79. I think all of this is why it might be wiser to think in terms of “homosexualities” and “heterosexualities”. 100 people might experience “SSA” or engage in gay sex for 100 different reasons. CSA might play a cenral role for some and no role at all for others.

  80. Timothy–

    Re your post from 5:32PM. Very well said. It’s the kind of observation I wish they’d include it in packets to parents:

    I think it would catch the attention of most parents if an openly gay man were paying too much attention to their sons. As they should.

    But many think that is all they have to do – protect their little boys from the “homosexual predator”. And sadly, they let the heterosexual predator right it with no suspicions. He’s heterosexual, you see, so not a threat. He has a wife and family and goes to baseball games and drinks beer from a can; he’s safe.

  81. I fear to go here, but Mary’s question about the possible relationship between CSA and SSA is interesting:

    Did it ever occur to you that some people are gay because of such an event?

    I suppose that’s what you mean by “gay”. Yes, it seems reasonable that some people might “identify” as gay due abuse by the opposite sex. Some could even develop exclusive SSA because of this.

    The important qualifier is the word “some”. If we try to apply this to all “gay” or “SSA” folks, it breaks down.

  82. Ei

    ther way, whether someone is gay or not, CSA has had an effect on that person’s sexuality.

    Mary, I am certain that is true. How could it not have an effect? One straight female client hated sex with her husband, due to intrusive memories of the molest by her own father, but she reported no SSA and no identification as a lesbian.

  83. @Mary, Warren and Timothy: I also was never molested. So for me, CSA had nothing to do with my being gay. I have met straight and gay people who were molested and many who who were not. The vast majority of gay men I have spoken to say they were not. It is not necessarily a causal relationship, even for those who were.

  84. Mary,

    Fair enough. I am tired of hearing from gays that CSA had nothing to do with their orientation. Either way, whether someone is gay or not, CSA has had an effect on that person’s sexuality.

    I think there are two ways to read this:

    1. I am tired of hearing from gays that CSA had nothing to do with their orientation because they were not molested.

    I can confidently say that CSA had nothing to do with my orientation. There is no molestation in my childhood history. Nor is there in the childhood history of any of my close friends.

    So, while it might be tiring to hear, it’s simply the case. I am sure that there must be someone I know had CSA, but I truly cannot think of anyone at all right now.

    2. I am tired of hearing from gays that were molested that their CSA had nothing to do with their orientation.

    It is likely true that if a gay person had CSA in their history that it indeed could have an effect on that person’s sexuality. But having an effect on their sexuality is not the same as having an effect on their orientation.

    I think most people who had childhood sexual experiences will have effects that linger through adulthood, be they heterosexual or homosexual. But it is a HUGE leap from there to assert that CSA directed such persons – in general – to be either heterosexual or homosexual.

    And it is greatly unfair to assert that if someone tells you that their orientation was either set before CSA or that their CSA did not result in their orientation that they are wrong and you know better.

  85. Debbie,

    As a parent, you are generally going to do everything in your power to protect your children. If you have any suspicions, you are likely going to play it safe, no matter whose feelings you hurt.

    Absolutely!

    Hurt feelings are far less important than protecting kids from molestation.

    However, we really must know who is and who is not a threat. And from what I have read, it appears that the greatest threat is a man, usually a step-parent, relative, or family friend, that identifies as heterosexual.

    It does children and parents a very grave disservice to disguize this threat as something else or to do a bait-and-switch.

    I think it would catch the attention of most parents if an openly gay man were paying too much attention to their sons. As they should.

    But many think that is all they have to do – protect their little boys from the “homosexual predator”. And sadly, they let the heterosexual predator right it with no suspicions. He’s heterosexual, you see, so not a threat. He has a wife and family and goes to baseball games and drinks beer from a can; he’s safe.

    Unfortunately, articles of this type often send parents’ concerns running in the wrong direction, watching out for the wrong guy, while Mr. Stepdad is raping both the little girl and the little boy in the family.

    Don’t hold back on pointing to the gay guy as predator because of “hurt feelings”. Instead hold back on pointing to the gay guy as predator because very very seldom is it the gay guy who is doing the molesting and because it distracts from the REAL predator who no one suspects because they are all worried about the gay guy.

  86. Mary said –

    I am tired of hearing from gays that CSA had nothing to do with their orientation.

    And indeed depending on the person, that may be true. If someone has not experienced it, it won’t affect them.

  87. Warren,

    Fair enough. I am tired of hearing from gays that CSA had nothing to do with their orientation. Either way, whether someone is gay or not, CSA has had an effect on that person’s sexuality.

  88. Of course it is horrible. Don’t read this as an either-or issue. CSA is bad enough without making it into a political chip against homosexuals. To talk about it accurately is not to minimize it.

    Or I certainly don’t read it that way. I hesitate to write something too long as it is hard for folks to take the time to read all in context. That’s also understandable. Way too many words whizzing around online these days.

  89. Debbie said:

    Just because Michael Reagan did not identify as gay or an SSA struggler does not mean it could not have gone that way for him. Parents can’t play the odds. Sorry. So, we need to be very careful when we go off on rants about this stuff. CSA is horrible regardless of the outcome in a victim’s sexual identity identification. There are gray zones here that can’t be glossed over.

    Of course it is horrible. Don’t read this as an either-or issue. CSA is bad enough without making it into a political chip against homosexuals. To talk about it accurately is not to minimize it.

  90. I am going to weigh in on this one, as well. As some of you know, this is a topic of great interest to me, given my own background and my knowing a fair number of both men and women (women, mostly) who have suffered the devastating effects of childhood sexual abuse.

    As far as I know, more of the abuse victims in my inner circle are heterosexual than homosexual or gender-confused. That is not to say they may not have had some significant confusion over their sexuality at some points. I still see enough sexual abuse in the lesbian or struggling SSA women I know to give it more merit than many want to give it.

    I still firmly believe we all get far too caught up in our own biases over this issue to really know what the role of CSA has to play in sexual orientation or gender confusion. I could easily be biased due to my own experiences, but I try very hard to weigh all sides. “Statistics” can be all over the map, and Warren is right to pressure the scientific community to do the right kinds of research.

    Yes, I also am troubled by the glib assessments we find on the myriad blogs and news sites out there. They cut both ways, of course. So don’t forget while excoriating Virtue and McManus here that their more liberal counterparts are yucking it up in grossly off-base ways of their own. Timothy’s comments here were a tad snarky and somewhat demonstrative of my point.

    Balanced media coverage is mostly an oxymoron these days. I have been a media observer from several vatage points for a long time — as part of the working press, as a PR professional, and as a publisher and author. So, I have a pretty decent telescope into their world.

    I have read some very good assessments of homosexuality and the Church by David Virtue before. I find McManus to be a mixed bag. Their pushing of these “statistics” is part of a wider deception and also a plain, natural revulsion to the fear, however realistic it is, of their or someone’s children falling prey to sexual perverts of either persuasion. You parents out there know darn well what I am talking about. I don’t care which side of the ideological spectrum you come down on. As a parent, you are generally going to do everything in your power to protect your children. If you have any suspicions, you are likely going to play it safe, no matter whose feelings you hurt.

    And, let’s not forget the media’s role in whipping up these feelings of mass hysteria. Bill O’Reilly, even Oprah Winfrey (a CSA victim herself) to a lesser extent with her pedophile campaign of a couple years back, and others have used scare tactics to hype the very small percentage of “stranger-danger” pedophile attacks while largely ignoring the far-more-common Michael Reagan incidents.

    Just because Michael Reagan did not identify as gay or an SSA struggler does not mean it could not have gone that way for him. Parents can’t play the odds. Sorry. So, we need to be very careful when we go off on rants about this stuff. CSA is horrible regardless of the outcome in a victim’s sexual identity identification. There are gray zones here that can’t be glossed over.

    And yes, Warren, it is certainly reprehensible when families fall prey to fear-mongering that paints the innocent with the wrong brush. However, you cannot keep that from happening sometimes.

  91. “I have direct experience with families where children and grandchildren have been kept away from same-sex attracted (not even gay identified) relatives because of the fears whipped up by this contrived link between same-sex attraction and child molestation.”

    ——————————————————————-

    And that right there is the greatest crime of all from the traditionalist side and is what makes me ashamed to call myself traditionalist sometimes.

    What a travesty!

    I still think that homosexuality is and indictment of heterosexuality gone awry. In other words many straight people are eager to vilify homosexuality to hide the sorry state of affairs in the straight world (so to speak).

  92. The people at Virtue Online have been engrossed over the idea of homosexuality since Robinson was named a bishop. Things have calmed down over there, but two or three years ago the commenting from his readership was at times as crude and bigotted as I have seen on the Net [save perhaps Westboro Baptist]. I’m sure such an article is just a way of playing to his audience.

    PATH? There’s a name I haven’t heard in years.

  93. Mary – This is tiresome, one answer. Yes, if you have read anything I have ever written you would know that.

  94. I don’t know either person (Virtue or McManus), maybe they really think they are helping. But my heart grieves for the people/families I know who have been ripped to pieces because of these false claims.

    I know couples who have separated over accusations that the son is gay because of the other (you never did anything with him; you were too close to him!). Sorting it out, neither charge fits the facts but they need to make some sense out of it. As I noted in the article, I know of grandparents who can’t see their grandkids because the grandparent came out as SSA or ex-gay. No sexual interest in children whatsoever but the children read the American Family Association or AFTAH or some other contrived piece.

    I may continue to rant if provoked further…

  95. Poor David Virtue,

    He’s having a bad week. His Episcopal Church just voted yesterday to life its moritorium on ordination of gay bishops and today voted to begin collecting liturgy for blessing same-sex unions.

    No wonder he had to post McManus’ nonsense.

    And you just have to love the Nicolosi comment:

    Fortunately, from one-third to two-thirds of gays can break free of that lifestyle, reports Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, President of the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality

    Joe’s success rate grows almost every day. Now it’s at 2/3rds.

    Sigh.

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