Today In History: A Simple Technique To Cure Homosexuality

Jim Burroway

January 18th, 2008

On January 18, 1964, the British Medical Journal published this article by R.J. McGuire and M. Vallance:

Aversion Therapy by Electric Shock: a Simple Technique

Aversion therapy has been used for many years in the treatment of alcoholism. Apomorphine and emetine are the usual drugs used as the unconditioned stimuli for nausea and vomiting, with alcohol as the conditioned stimulus. More recently the same procedure has been used in the treatment of sexual perversions — for example, fetishism, transvestism and homosexuality.

There are several disadvantages to the use of drugs in conditioning procedures. The time between the stimulus being presented and the nausea being produced is uncertain. The patient may not even feel nausea; and, further, the cerebral depressant effect of the drug may interfere with the patient’s ability to form conditioned responses. In addition, the treatment may have to be terminated prematurely because of its dangerous side-effects.

Alternative unpleasant responses can be used to produce aversion. In experimental psychology electric shock has been widely used both in animals and in humans. In clinical treatment, however, it has been less often used. The technique is simpler, more accurately controlled, and more certain in producing an unpleasant effect than drugs. This article describes a simple apparatus designed by one of us (R. J. McG.) and its use in the aversive treatment of sexual perversions, alcoholism, smoking, and neurotic symptoms.

Apparatus. — The components are cheap (under £1) and fit into a box approximately 6 in. (15 cm.) square and 2 in. (5 cm.) deep (Figs. 1 and 2). It is powered by a 9-volt battery and is therefore completely portable. The shock is administered through electrodes on a cuff around the patient’s forearm. To construct the apparatus requires no special skill, and the technical details are given at the end of the article.

A Simple Apparatus

This isn’t the first time a device for administering electric shock has been described in the medical literature for treating homosexuality. Electric Shock Aversion Therapy has been discussed since at least 1935. But as modern science entered the space age, at least a few therapists had managed to acquired the idea that there was a demand for an inexpensive home version. And so forty-four years ago, two researchers from Glasgow came to the rescue.


January 18th, 2008

The “chair of torture” scenes from “A Clockwork Orange” were inspired by a similar technique used on gays (forcibly induced nausing while exposed to gay porn).


January 18th, 2008

What is wrong with you people? Torture is still torture even if you think it would help to change something that you jerks think you have the right idea about? Why can’t you leave well enough alone and let people be who they want to be, who they were born to be? Why do you have to try to ‘fix’ them according to your ideals? This idea is sick. I seriously consider whoever wrote this gets therapy and possibly psychiatric medicine as well.


January 19th, 2008

Right attitude, wrong target.

This place is gay-friendly, Jim was just pointing out what kind of sick ideas people had.
Take a look around, this place may be all over the place politically, but this website is definitely pro-gay.

Samantha Davis

January 19th, 2008

At least the cuff only goes around the forearm…

When I first saw the picture and read t hat it was supposed to “cure homosexuality,” I had very different ideas about how it worked.

Speaking of which, check out the Heidelberg Belt, which electrocuted the ‘nads to treat impotency:

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