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“Refried Freud” — Psychoanalysis and Ex-Gay Therapy

Jim Burroway

March 30th, 2008

Christine BakkeBeyond Ex-Gay co-founder Christine Bakke is truly a delightful woman. I got to spend a little bit of time with her again last February in Memphis during the Beyond Ex-gay Mid-South Regional Gathering. Not nearly enough time though — she was exceptionally busy putting together the art show for the weekend.

Last Friday, Christine posted a very thoughtful essay inspired by Peterson Toscano’s comments that ex-gay ministries are still depend on the developmental theories of Sigmund Freud — “Refried Freud” he called it. Which, when you think of it, means that the ex-gay movement is stuck in a very peculiar time warp. Most of their operating theories are founded on some rather ancient Freudian theories that the rest of psychology has largely abandoned.

Sigmund FreudSome of us are old enough to remember when Freudian psychoanalysis was all the rage back in the 1950′s and 1960′s. Everyone who was anyone, it seemed, was seeing an analyst. And everyone who was anyone was just as messed up after seeing their analyst as they were before. It’s no wonder that Freudian psychoanalysis has largely fallen by the wayside. As a discipline, they remained too wedded to a narrow set of untested and untestable theories, while the rest of psychology and psychiatry honed their methods and understanding over generations of research and observation, throwing out old theories when they were disproved and adopting new ones as they came along.

Meanwhile, Freudian analysts and their ex-gay therapy counterparts, undeterred by the march of time, continued to press forward with their oft-parodied opening gambit: “So now, tell me about your mother.”

Christine Bakke knows where that leads all too well:

The fishing expeditions (a friend started to believe he didn’t feel his father’s love after being badgered with, “did your father say he loved you? It doesn’t matter if you knew; did he say it? He didn’t say it? Then you didn’t really know it, did you? Of course you didn’t know it; didn’t feel it. How can a child know it if they’re not explicitly told it?” and so on) and leading questions and suggestions (one pastor’s wife suggested I make up abusive things that might have happened to me, so that I could break the curse of satan, just in case I didn’t remember specific things that might have happened to me in my life. I forcefully refused.) I was even told that sometimes women can be gay because they have not been able to grow out of the stage of penis envy.

I knew one women whose therapist gave her assignments to flirt with men. An ex-gay guy who went on several dates to try to learn how to be with a woman (without disclosing that he identified as ex-gay), on the recommendation of his therapist. A woman who was counseled by the leader of the ex-gay group that women should wear makeup (“need to put some paint on the side of the barn”). A man who changed his last name because his ex-gay therapy led him to believe that his parents were to blame for him being gay. A woman who insinuated that she had been abused because she felt like her story didn’t “fit” the ex-gay model without some kind of a root cause. A young man who said that after he got out of the ex-gay movement and was finished with reparative therapy, that’s when the real repairing began. He had to repair the relationships with his family after buying into the belief that they were distant from him and made him gay.

The American Psychological Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973. In doing so, they relied on non-psychoanalyitic studies like those of Evelyn Hooker. But the American Psychoanalytical Association dismissed non-psychoanalyic studies as “superficial.” This created a strange closed-off echo chamber where evidence that ran counter to a theory was thrown out because it didn’t fit the theory. In fact, the APsyA remained hostile to homosexuality until 1991, when openly gay candidates were for the first time allowed to apply for acceptance by the APsyA.

Since then, the APsyA has begun to consider the implications of research in a whole host of mental disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which today are regarded as being at least partly physiological disorders. This would have been anathema to psychoanalysts a mere generation ago. Last year, the APsyA issued a statement supporting same-sex marriage. That’s quite an improvement since 1991.

But ex-gay therapies continue to rely on the same outdated theories that once threatened to make psychoanalysis a historical footnote. While the APsyA are allowing nonpsychoanalytic research to inform their work, ex-gay ministries remain stuck firmly in the past. But the problem with relying on untested and untestable theories is that they are no more scientific than any other folk remedies or superstitions. And some of these remedies may be damaging. Christine Bakke contrasts her experience with therapists and misguided religious-based lay leaders, and concludes:

Of course, like in my case, even licensed therapists who have an ex-gay mindset and agenda can be just as damaging as the lay leaders. Sometimes I can’t decide which is worse. Counseling by a therapist we think should know the best because we think they’re the experts and we trust them more, or lay leaders who we think love us more because we are not paying them. No matter what, ex-gay counseling done by therapists or lay leaders, many poorly equipped through books, Exodus conferences, Living Waters training programs (one week long), Love Won Out day-long conferences, on-the-job training, or for some, nothing more than being ex-gay themselves, mixed with refried Freud, is a recipe for disaster.

I highly recommend you read her entire essay.

Comments

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Ben in Oakland
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

“The American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973. In doing so, they relied on non-psychoanalyitic studies like those of Evelyn Hooker.”

Not Psychological— Psychiatric. different people altogehter.

Two psychiatrists were walking down a hallway towards each other. One says to the other, “Hello.”

The seocnd says… “hmmm. I wonder what he meant by that.”

That’s the difference.

quo III
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Interesting to see a post about Freud here. Freud’s views on the origins of homosexuality seem more or less right to me, on the basis of my own personal experience. I happen to know enough about the literature on this subject to be confident that the Freudian approach has never been totally discredited.

Drowssap
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

I don’t think Freud ever proved a single thing. If he did, somebody post a link.

The one thing I find interesting about Freudian theory is how many times sexual abuse comes up.

Here are some examples of Freudians connecting Narcolepsy and sexual abuse…

“Missriegler (7) reports the case of a young man who submitted to sexual contacts with his foster mother from childhood. The author indicates that the narcoleptic attacks were etiologically associated with conflicts occasioned by this early sexual behavior. Brock and Wiesel (3) report a case of a 48-year-old female who became sick at the age of 42, and who experienced attacks of sleep lasting from minutes to hours. She admitted having had sexual relations with her father during adolescence. During the narcoleptic attacks she had dreams of a sexual nature, some of them sufficiently
vivid to produce orgasms. Since the first presentation of our case, Langvvorthy and Betz (6) have reported a number of cases in which they view narcolepsy as a “personality reaction to an emotional issue.” They consider narcolepsy a disease rather than a syndrome and regard its etiology as entirely psychogenic.”

Today scientists know that Narcolepsy is caused by the loss of a specialized neurotransmitter called Orexin. When scientists replace it all symptoms disappear. It’s hard to believe that Freud was so popular just 40 years ago.

William
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Yes, the Freudian approach to homosexuality has never been totally discredited – if by that you mean “disproved”. It’s a common feature of unscientific theories that they’re seldom capable of either proof or disproof.

By the same token, the theory that homosexuality is often caused by having been a member of the other sex in a previous incarnation – a theory held by such eminent psychiatrists as the late Dr Ian Stevenson (American) and the late Dr Arthur Guirdham (British) – has never been totally discredited.

William
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Yes, I agree that the Freudian approach to homosexuality has never been totally discredited – if by that you mean “disproved”. It’s a common feature of unscientific theories that they’re seldom capable of either proof or disproof.

By the same token, the theory that homosexuality is often caused by having been a member of the other sex in a previous incarnation – a theory held by such eminent psychiatrists as the late Dr Ian Stevenson (American) and the late Dr Arthur Guirdham (British) – has never been totally discredited.

Jim Burroway
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

As I said before, Freud’s theories have neither been proved or disproved simply because they are untestable and unfalsifiable. This is the critical argument that many psychologists and psychiatrists against the psychoanalyic approach. It is also why psychoanalysis has fallen so far out of favor compared to where it stood in the 1960′s when psychoanalysis reached its heyday in America.

Sorry Ben, You’re right. I do tend to get the two orgs mixed up. They are two very different sets of people.

quo III
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

William, is that really meant to be a serious comparison? No one beside a few reincarnationists take the idea that homosexuality is caused by the effects of previous incarnations seriously, but some mainstream writers about sexual development have pointed out that the Freudian theories about the causes of homosexuality may be at least partially correct. Kenneth Zucker is an example.

quo III
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Jim, it is not universally agreed that Freud’s theories cannot be falsified. The philosopher Adolf Grunbaum, for example, has argued that some of Freud’s theories can be tested. Although he is not primarily concerned with homosexuality, Grunbaum mentions Freud’s views on the causes of lesbianism as one example of a potentially testable theory in his book Validation in the Clinical Theory of Psychoanalysis.

William
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Quo III,

It depends, I suppose, on your definition of “mainstream”. Dr Ian Stevenson was Carlson Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the University of Virginia. Dr Arthur Guirdham was trained at Oxford University and was Senior Consultant Psychiatrist for the Clinical Area of Bath for more than twenty years. They sound pretty mainstream to me.

That doesn’t mean that I believe their theories; I don’t. On the other hand, one might ask, who am I, a mere layman, to think that I know better than these eminent professional psychiatrists? And no doubt there are other “mainstream” psychiatrists who are willing to take the idea seriously (just as there are still “mainstream” psychiatrists who are willing to take the Freudian theories regarding homosexuality seriously). And who knows? Their theories may be at least partially correct.

Liz D.
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

The acronym APA is problematic.

There’s the American Psychological Association

http://www.apa.org/

“Based in Washington, DC, the American Psychological Association (APA) is a scientific and professional organization that represents psychology in the United States. With 148,000 members, APA is the largest association of psychologists worldwide.”

Full membership is available to holders of a PhD in the many branches of psychology; associate membership is available to MA/MS level psychologists.

The American Psychiatric Association

http://www.psych.org/

The American Psychiatric Association is a medical specialty society recognized world-wide. Its over 38,000 U.S. and international member physicians work together to ensure humane care and effective treatment for all persons with mental disorder, including mental retardation and substance-related disorders. It is the voice and conscience of modern psychiatry. Its vision is a society that has available, accessible quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment.

Members

The APA is an organization composed primarily of medical specialists who are qualified, or in the process of becoming qualified, as psychiatrists. The basic eligibility requirement is completion of a residency program in psychiatry accredited by the Residency Review Committee for Psychiatry of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPS(C)), or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). Applicants for membership must also hold a valid medical license (with the exception of medical students and residents) and provide one reference who is an APA member.”

The American Psychoanalytic Association

http://apsa.org/

“The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA), the oldest national psychoanalytic organization in the nation, was founded in 1911. APsaA, as a professional organization for psychoanalysts, focuses on education, research and membership development. In addition to the national organization, APsaA’s membership includes 29 accredited training institutes and 42 affiliate societies throughout the United States. Since its founding, APsaA has been a component of the International Psychoanalytical Association, the largest worldwide psychoanalytic organization.”

“Membership in the American Psychoanalytic Association is currently available to candidates and graduates of APsaA Accredited Training Institutes and New Training Facilities and members of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) or graduates of an institute of an IPA component society.

If your background does not match APsaA’s membership criteria, our Associates Program offers many opportunities for those interested in psychoanalysis to become involved in the Association.”

I got curious about the Psychoanalytic Association’s current position on autism. The previous view was that “refrigerator mothers” caused the child’s autism

http://www.autism-watch.org/causes/rm.shtml

(more on bettleheim and autism here http://www.neurodiversity.com/bettelheim.html)

Here’s the current statement:

http://tinyurl.com/2zg3l3

Q. Autism
I am doing an essay comparing behaviorist and psychoanalytic approaches to autism. I am having problems finding how psychoanalysts treat autism and what they think the cause is.
A. Classical Infantile Autism is a result of organic pathology in the brain. The major treatment, based on our current knowledge, involves behavioral approaches, special education, and education and supportive psychotherapy with parents. A psychoanalyst might approach the situation differently than someone who follows a “pure” behaviorist approach by considering the individuality of the situation more. However, autism is not a condition that can be approached with either classical or modified psychoanalysis.

I am not sure when the Psychoanalytic Association changed their public statement of the cause of autism from “internal unresolved conflict/cold, rejecting mothers” to “organic pathology in the brain”.

grantdale
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

For homosexuality, much of that termed ‘Freudian’ is better termed ‘Rado-ian’. It was Rado, and his follower Bieber, that rejected the bisexuality held up by Freud; promoting instead that homosexuality results from a phobic response to the opposite sex. And Beiber begat Socarides who begat Nicolosi.

(Freud at least displayed humility in his writings — Rado and Bieber certainly did not!)

For the psychoanalytic supporter I’m afraid the “proof” required to change their minds is always impossible to deliver.

They can be like the anti-evolutionists… the type of person who, when presented with a transitional form between A and B, claims you now have two unexplained gaps rather than a resolution.

Ad infinitum.

(and thanks Christine B!)

quo III
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Comparing Freudian theories about homosexuality to reincarnationism or creationism is cheap. I see no reason to take these comparisons seriously, and I note that they are being offered ‘as is’, without any supporting argument.

Emily K
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

So then, Freud is right in saying I’m a lesbian because I have such extreme “penis envy?” Listen, people, I don’t want a penis as part of me. I don’t want to have sex with a penis, and i don’t want a penis as a part of my body. I love GIRLS. Why is that so damn complicated for some people?

grantdale
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

quo III,

Cheap, at least to us, would be to base something on “X’s views on the origins of Y seem more or less right to me, on the basis of my own personal experience.”

In science it honestly doesn’t get any cheaper or more unsupported than having that sort of approach; and being adamant about it.

ps: If you want to tout for neoFreudian notions: you’d better come up with someone other than the critic Greenbaum. Good grief.

grantdale
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Don’t know why I translated Grünbaum’s name, in part. Sorry about that.

Must have been my homosexuality-inducing castration complex going haywire, or something.

William
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Some years ago two guys whom I know sat down together to discuss what it was in their upbringing that could have made them gay. They compared notes and could find only one thing that they had in common: both their families had moved house frequently. They decided that that was what had done it.

No matter what far-fetched theory you come up with to explain the origins of homosexuality, some people will decide that it fits them; it therefore seems more or less right to them, on the basis of their own personal experience.

Ben in Oakland
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Emily: you need an old song my Malvina reynolds:

There are men who love women who love men.

There a women who love women, now and then.

There are men who love men…
…because they can’t pretend…
That they’re men who love women who love men.

Except for randy thomas, alan chambers, larry craig, Bob allan, John schmid, etcetcetcetc (Malvina didn’t write that. i did. That’s why it doesn’t rhyme.

quo III
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Grantdale,

That I think the Freudian approach to homosexuality is right is the result not only of personal experience but also, as I said, of reading some of the literature on the subject. I never suggested that this was “science.”

As for Grunbaum, I mentioned him simply to remind Jim that not everyone accepts that psychoanalytic theories are untestable. Where’s the problem there?

Drowssap
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Liz D.

I got curious about the Psychoanalytic Association’s current position on autism. The previous view was that “refrigerator mothers” caused the child’s autism

I’ve read the “Refrigerator Mother” theories before. Uggh.

Today scienctists know that Autism is a true, physical disorder. Genes play a part in susceptability, and it appears that flu virus may also play a part.

Autism tied to maternal immune response

Drowssap
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Whoops, here is the flu virus link

Autism and Schiz tied to flu virus

Jason D
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

seems to be hard to find anything about Freud’s theories on homosexuality. All I keep finding is that Freud wanted laws against homosexuality to be overturned, and that we shouldn’t be ashamed of ourselves.

Rebecca R
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Drowssap,
Freud is not dead. According to Mark Solms:

“Freud is back, and not just in theory. Interdisciplinary work groups uniting the previously divided and often antagonistic fields of neuroscience and psychoanalysis have been formed in almost every major city of the world. These networks, in turn, have come together as the International Neuro-Psychoanalysis Society, which organizes an annual congress and publishes the successful journal Neuro-Psychoanalysis. Testament to the renewed respect for Freud’s ideas is the journal’s editorial advisory board, populated by a who’s who of experts in contemporary behavioral neuroscience, including Antonio R. Damasio, Kandel, Joseph E. LeDoux, Benjamin Libet, Jaak Panksepp, Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, Daniel L. Schacter and Wolf Singer. Together these researchers are forging what Kandel calls a “new intellectual framework for psychiatry.””

“…For older neuroscientists, resistance to the return of psychoanalytical ideas comes from the specter of the seemingly indestructible edifice of Freudian theory in the early years of their careers. They cannot acknowledge even partial confirmation of Freud’s fundamental insights; they demand a complete purge [see box on opposite page]. In the words of J. Allan Hobson, a renowned sleep researcher and Harvard Medical School psychiatrist, the renewed interest in Freud is little more than unhelpful “retrofitting” of modern data into an antiquated theoretical framework. But as Panksepp said in a 2002 interview with Newsweek magazine, for neuroscientists who are enthusiastic about the reconciliation of neurology and psychiatry, “it is not a matter of proving Freud right or wrong, but of finishing the job.””

http://www.neuro-psa.org.uk/download/SAorig.pdf

Drowssap
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Rebecca R

I know that many intelligent Doctors believe in Freudian theory. Most of these guys are way smarter than me. But I also know that a lot of things Freud said are now provably wrong.

OCD, Tourettes – Strep Throat infection
Schyz – Flu virus, CNS infections, Toxo infection
Narcolepsy – Environmental damage, almost certainly a virus
Autism – Maternal immune response almost certainly to various infections
Stomach Ulcers – bacterial infection

Freud has a huge track record for being completely wrong. If he’s right on anything fire me a link. Believe me, I’ll read it. But as far as I’ve read he was wrong on everything.

Drowssap
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Rebecca R

Stress disorders

When people experience large amounts of stress they can get sick. That sounds Psychosomatic right? Not so fast. Epstein Barr virus is a type of Herpes, it causes Mono, the kissing disease. Nearly everyone gets it even if they don’t experience mono. Once you are infected it periodically turns itself on and off for the rest of your life. Stress is one factor that triggers it to turn on. Once triggered it can produce cold like symptoms. So when you get stressed out and feel sick a few days later, it might not be in your head. That could be Epstein Barr or 100 other things that might work like that.

Rebecca R
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Drowssap
That same link goes on to show that Freud was right about the unconscious, repression, the pleasure principle and dreams having meaning.
http://www.neuro-psa.org.uk/download/SAorig.pdf
Even Einstein got a lot wrong. Freud’s was the first rough cut of figuring out the mind. We are still a very very long way from figuring out very much. For example, autism seems to also involve problems with mirror neurons which were just discovered 10 years ago. Plus, there’s a lot of evidence that it involves the intestinal tract also. Additionally, I know of autistic kids who manifested after a severe infection.

Drowssap
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Rebecca R

For example, autism seems to also involve problems with mirror neurons which were just discovered 10 years ago. Plus, there’s a lot of evidence that it involves the intestinal tract also. Additionally, I know of autistic kids who manifested after a severe infection.

You are right. Autism is still pretty confusing but research is starting to coalesce around weird factors that lead to some kind of inflammation response in the brain. 1 out of every 150 kids has it. That’s bad news.

Up until recently 90% of all Autism research dollars went to genetics. It’s no surprise that there are a lot of genetic theories floating around to chase that money. But despite the huge money, effort and theories nothing actionable was found. Today the emphasis and $$$ are shifting strongly towards environment.

Massive shift in Autism funding towards finding environmental triggers.

Rebecca R
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Drowssap

I saw a program on CNN last night about an autistic girl diagnosed as retarded.. mental age of 2.5. Then at age 13, they got a keyboard for her to type. Now she’s a history major in college. IQ of 133! I found another similar story this morning.

Makes me wonder about my friend’s son, 22 yr old Sammy who rocks, cannot toilet himself, speaks about one word a month. One time he was around a pretty girl and he shouted out “Baby!” I’ve always thought that were it not for autism, Sammy’s real self would be like the Fonz, a chick magnet. I’ve always felt like he was in there trying to get out.

Man, am I off topic!

Drowssap
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Hey did my comment get deleted or was it a glitch or do I remember incorrectly that I posted?

Timothy Kincaid
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Drowssap,

I didn’t find any of your comments that were awaiting moderation. Unless Jim or Daniel deleted something, it may just be that you remember incorrectly.

Let us know if it happens again.

Jim Burroway
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Drowssap…

Nothing got deleted as far as I know … not intentionally anyway. Sometimes messages get inadvertently caught in our Spam filter. But I looked there and it is empty right now.

Michael Bussee
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

I have to agree with Jim Burroway that “Freud’s theories have neither been proved or disproved simply because they are untestable and unfalsifiable.”

I have always thought of the Freudian approach as more “religion” than “science”. It is really just a set of beliefs — not a clearly constructed hypothesis that can be tested, proven or disproven.

Ben in oakland
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Michael: I would say it is not really just “a set of beliefs”. I would say more accurately that it is a model.

Or even more accurately: it is a metaphor.

Drowssap
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

I didn’t find any of your comments that were awaiting moderation. Unless Jim or Daniel deleted something, it may just be that you remember incorrectly.

Yep, it’s now official I have gone crazy. 8-)

My brain is always cloudy in the morning.

quo III
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Drowssap,

A while ago, you wrote, ‘I don’t think Freud ever proved a single thing. If he did, somebody post a link.’ OK then. Here is this, from Simon LeVay’s site http://members.aol.com/slevay/page22.html. The relevant sentence being, ‘Retrospective studies confirm that gay men tend to describe their relationships with their mothers as unusually close and with their fathers as distant or hostile (Bell, Weinberg et al. 1981; Freund and Blanchard 1983).’

It is true that LeVay nevertheless doesn’t think much of Freud’s theories about the causes of homosexuality, but personally I don’t think much of the reasoning that he has used to question them. As for Bell and Weinberg, their reasoning was inconsistent and perhaps confused. They actually admitted at one point that they had not shown that the close mother/distant father relationship could not be reponsible for some cases of homosexuality, but later they strongly implied that they had somehow proven this. That inconsistency is one reason why the study’s conclusions about causation of homosexuality can hardly be taken seriously.

Drowssap
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

quo III

There might (or might not) be a weak corelation between parenting styles and SSA but that’s far different from causation. Gay people hail from every family type and environment in more or less the same percentages as straights.

Could some people be gay due to parenting? For sure. But nobody has found a way to prove that yet. To be fair there isn’t strong evidence for ANY of the theories on SSA.

Timothy Kincaid
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Quo III,

Your standards for “proof” are evidently much lower than mine.

It is true that in the 80′s retrospective studies found that gay men recollected, on average, weaker relationships with their fathers than heterosexual men. But it would be wrong to leap at this as proof that familial relationships contribute to sexual orientation, much less Freud’s assumptions that the were the “cause”.

At least three alternative scenarios may be being reported:

1. As Drowssap stated, there may have been some correlation between weak relationship with the father and a gay son but no causation.

2. Causation may have been in the reverse, ie a father may have become distant because he observed non-traditional sexuality.

3. There may be no correlation at all. This may be due to gay men recollecting a strained relationship in childhood based on a strained relationship as an adult. (“Dad and I don’t get along – he was always a bad father”)

I find it interesting that these studies were performed in the early 80′s. I doubt the studies would result the same if performed today and in 20 years I think this observation would, most likely, be nearly undetectable. That, of course, is just my guess.

Jason D
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Could some people be gay due to parenting?

I find this rather unlikely. Sexuality is far too complex to be an accident of parenting. For example, how could anything my parents did (or didn’t do) account for my interest in men with facial hair? Muscular forms?

Straight people often make the mistake of thinking that if they know one gay person, and meet another, they should introduce the two! If both are single, it’s often the suggestion “oh, my friend is gay, too, you’d make such a cute couple.” This is without asking about any of the the new gay person’s tastes or sexual/romantic interests. As if all that matters is that both people are gay, yet they would never make that assumption of two straight people they know.

I’m not interested in the general category of men. The male form takes on many shapes, sizes, and proportions, and I am only attracted to certain ones. To be honest, I find most men to be unattractive and or uninteresting. If my mom and dad did something to make me gay, they must have made a string of mistakes that account for my interest in shaved/short hair, beards, other specific attributes….

quo III
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Timothy,

I don’t think that findings like those reported by Bell and Weinberg prove beyond a doubt that having a close mother and a distant father makes one more likely to become homosexual. In my opinion, however, they do suggest that this is likely.

The problem I have with the idea that the causation might be the other way around is that this can’t possibly fit all situations. It doesn’t fit me, for instance. I don’t believe that anything I ever did could have caused me to have a distant relationship with my father. My father was self-employed and always busy working, so I would have had a distant relationship with him no matter how I behaved, and in any case none of my behaviour was gender non-conforming or effeminate in any significant way.

Jason D
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

“I don’t think that findings like those reported by Bell and Weinberg prove beyond a doubt that having a close mother and a distant father makes one more likely to become homosexual. In my opinion, however, they do suggest that this is likely.”

Without a report that compares straights and gays and their relationship with their parents, I’d say it’s hard to say. Aren’t most children closer to their mother, especially in “traditional” households where mom does most of the childcare?

“The problem I have with the idea that the causation might be the other way around is that this can’t possibly fit all situations. It doesn’t fit me, for instance. I don’t believe that anything I ever did could have caused me to have a distant relationship with my father. My father was self-employed and always busy working, so I would have had a distant relationship with him no matter how I behaved, and in any case none of my behaviour was gender non-conforming or effeminate in any significant way.”
It would not necessarily be an overt action on your part, or a conscious decision on your father’s part. I’ve known more than one parent say that they “knew” their child was different long before anything remotely indicative of that difference manifested itself.

Timothy Kincaid
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Quo,

The problem I have with the idea that the causation might be the other way around is that this can’t possibly fit all situations. It doesn’t fit me, for instance.

I don’t seek to claim that all bad relationships are caused by gender-nonconforming children. Clearly that isn’t so. However, it could be the cause of SOME poor paternal relationships, just not yours. Some would just happen in the same way as heterosexual children.

Drowssap
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid

a father may have become distant because he observed non-traditional sexuality.

I think the odds are virtually 100% that this is the case. In each generation many gay children are probably rejected by their parents specifically because they fear that they might be gay.

/goes without saying that’s messed up

Rebecca R
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

The sexual imprinting mechanism for species or “learning your species” really does give flexibility to respond to the environment into which you are born. The early life critical period aspect of it reminds me also of language acquisition. Its easy to pick up a language or several when you are small and much more difficult as you grow. Seems a little like all that might apply somehow to the the gender of our love objects.

Rebecca R2
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

is this posting?

Rebecca R2
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Oops, the site reversed my posts.
hope this isn’t too confusing.

We do learn our love objects early in life. At least species-wise. If female goats foster male sheep, at maturity, the male sheep prefer to mate with female goats. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/172631.stm
You can cross foster most birds and have the same effect.

Rebecca R
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Other mammals do it too.
http://www.usask.ca/wcvm/herdmed/applied-ethology/Bottle-raised%20males%20can%20be%20very%20dangerous.pdf
It is more efficient to learn your love object by matching them to your parent species. It saves space on the genes AND if the species starts to look real different, you don’t have to rebuild some esoteric love object gene to keep up with the evolutionary changes

Rebecca R
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

So at least for most birds and many mammals, their genes program them to “learn” their species sexual preference early in life.

William
April 4th, 2008 | LINK

Quo III,

Bell, Weinberg and Hammersmith simply said that their research did not support the idea that “the close mother/distant father relationship” was the cause of homosexuality. The near impossibility of actually PROVING a negative is proverbial, but when you’re looking at a matter scientifically you don’t keep on indefinitely considering hypotheses that your evidence doesn’t favour on the grounds that they just might be true in some cases.

If you, nevertheless, think it likely that in your particular case your relationship with your parents was the cause of your homosexuality, then I hope that you’re suitably grateful to them.

Jim Burroway
April 4th, 2008 | LINK

Rebecca…

I saw several of your posts show up in our spam filter. I’m not sure why they ended up there. I hope to have the situation resolved shortly. I apologize for the inconvenience.

quo III
April 4th, 2008 | LINK

William,

Bell and his co-writers were, as I said, inconsistent and possibly confused. Whether the behavior of parents has any influence on their children’s sexual orientation was an issue they appeared to take somewhat different stances on in different parts of their book.

Going from memory, they wrote at one point that the close mother/distant father thing was ‘not particularly important’, which seems to imply that it is indeed a factor in the development of homosexuality, even if only a minor one. Near the end of the book, however, they suugested strongly that there was no influence of parents on the sexual orientation of their children whatever. They seemed to slide from implicitly granting that the classic Freudian scenario had some kind of limited effect to saying that it had no effect at all.

This doesn’t in any way follow, however. One cannot conclude that simply because something might be only a relatively minor factor in the development of homosexuality, that it actually has no effect of any kind.

quo III
April 4th, 2008 | LINK

William,

As for my feelings about my parents, I hope you understand if I have no desire to discuss this. I’ve mentioned a few facts about my life because they help to illustrate some of my points, but I don’t want to go into unnecessary detail. How I feel about my parents now is irrelevant.

Rebecca R
April 4th, 2008 | LINK

OK. Well, I have pursued this sexual imprinting thing in humans and it freaks me out. I read the study below:

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1691703

I had a love hate relationship with my dad. I hate to think I was imprinted by him. He was such a stinking narcissist. But he was tall and handsome. It’s too weird.

Timothy Kincaid
April 4th, 2008 | LINK

Rebecca,

If I read the article correctly, imprinting would depend to some extent on the relationship you had with your father. In other words, if you think Dad’s just dandy, then you will probably look for a guy that looks like Dad.

While this subject may shed light on why I find guys with my mother’s coloring to be attractive, I doubt it says much about my sexual orientation.

Rebecca R
April 4th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy,
From the standpoint of a woman, I would think that a corollary to being attracted to someone like your good dad would be to be repulsed by someone like your bad dad. If the relationship was bad enough, you could even tune out to men altogether.

Yaakov Sullivan
April 26th, 2008 | LINK

Growing acceptance of homosexuality means a decline in social stigma associated with same-sex relationships,bistiality, sadomasohism and a consequent shift in the politics of coming out. The more people come out,ingaging in open and productove homosexual activities, organize clubs for gay and lesbian professionals, lobby congress the more accepting people are around them, and the more accepting the public becomes, the more people come out. As a proud Catholic Jew who is married to Palestinian Arab i am so happy we live in such blessed times.

Joel
April 26th, 2008 | LINK

“a father may have become distant because he observed non-traditional sexuality.

I will through my 2cents here to back ‘the other way around’ thinking. But before i do, i will take away the 2(or maybe even three)cents, cause it will support the distantfather/close ‘mother’ freudian theory.
-2cents) i was really attached to my aunt… 10 years ago(20 now), same time my dad started being an alcoholic.(I can retrospectively acknowledge my gayism around 12yrs, straightism around 10) ALso, I would ‘reattach’ myself to my aunt every time she came to visit(love/loved her), like 2weeks a year.
I dont think my dad even has a clue i dont lean straight much.
+2cents)I will never(with a sane mind) tell my dad, im pretty sure(99%) he wouldnt be so kisses/hugs/-iloveyous- if he knew i was. Bible-believing, traditional christian, with a ‘GROSS’ attitude towards gays. This attitude only encourages more acting from my part and certianly detriments my closeness to him(albeit im trying to get closer). Wouldnt be surprised if ppl that acknowledged their gayism sooner would start having a greater distance between them due to ‘the secret’ they need to keep from their dad(specially).
The popular ‘coming out to my mom first’ might be just the indication that my 2cents are not that far off the mark.

Jorge
May 4th, 2009 | LINK

Well the greece people Platon Socrates, Alejandro Magno,Aristoteles were gays and they were very very happy that´s the problem ,in Greece everyone was gay and the population enjoyed a delightfull sane activity of life in democracy oh those days are gone… for bad because of Catholic church…

Jorge
May 4th, 2009 | LINK

Nietzeche told about that and Freud repeated again and again be gays is to promote healthy on earth but that´s too much level, not for the gays but for the rest of the world the key word is the AGORA…

Genesis 40 « reading the seisho
December 22nd, 2012 | LINK

[...] contain some sort of secret set of symbols that an expert can interpret. It’s one of the many reasons why I have very little respect for [...]

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