Jones and Yarhouse’s ExGay Study

The latest results from Yarhouse and Jones’ ExGay Study have been published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy and are accompanied by a brand new website allowing for greater interaction with the authors.

The response has been typical. Box Turtle Bulletin (normally a place where one expects a modicum of rigour in their analysis) have essentially ignored any attempt to read the academic paper itself and instead launched into a polemic of straw men and bad science. The usual criticisms are levelled – that the “poor success rate” (23% reported some degree of movement in their sexual orientation, characterised by defining their position on the Kinsey scale) is sign that ex-gay therapy doesn’t work rather misses the point that similar success rates in other areas of psycho-analytics are routinely accepted as evidence that a therapy works for some people. On top of that, probably the most significant outcome that Jones and Yarhouse record is that there is little evidence that ExGay therapy produces long-term psychological harm, even amongst those for whom it isn’t succesful.

Let’s take a closer look at the actual paper, rather then the straw-men. The authors recorded attraction, infatuation and fantasy using the Kinsey scale. For all three markers there was a noticeable shift in the average values recorded across the populations.

These are important findings. They show that whether it is actual orientation change or change in sexual identity, on average those who exit an ExGay programme report that they are “less gay” (for want of a crude expression) then when they entered. However, none of these trends when comparing the two phases proved to be statistically significant to the extent that the authors could state for certain that this effect (reducing Kinsey ratings across three categories) would always be repeated in similar studies. What this means is that although the research observed empirical evidence that the people studied, on average, reduced their self-reported Kinsey values after going through ExGay Therapy, there is not enough data yet available to argue that such therapy would be expected to always produce such a result.

Jones and Yarhouse summarised their findings as follows,

Our first hypothesis was that sexual orientation is changeable. If change is taken to mean a reduction in homosexual attraction and an increase in heterosexual attraction, we found evidence that successful change of sexual orientation occurred for some individuals concurrent with involvement in the religiously mediated change methods of Exodus Ministries (23% of the T6 sample by qualitative self-categorization). Those who report a successful heterosexual adjustment regard themselves as having changed their sexual orientation. For conventionally religious persons, a reduction in homosexual attraction and stable behavioral chastity as reported by 30% of the T6 sample may also be regarded as a successful outcome. Those who report chastity regard themselves as having reestablished their sexual identities to be defined in some way other than by their homosexual attractions. No data emerging from this study suggest that this is a maladaptive or unsustainable outcome.

Phase 1 participants, those inducted into the study early in their change venture, appear to be disproportionately represented among the more negative qualitative outcomes and had more modest quantitative outcomes. This may indicate that positive outcomes for those first initiating the change process are likely less positive than the overall findings of this study would suggest, that the change process is difficult and requires extraordinary persistence to attain success, or other possibilities. There were, however, some Phase 1 participants in all qualitative outcome categories.

We need to remind ourselves that “successful heterosexual adjustment” is not defined as becoming “100% straight” (which is the straw-man that BTB and others wish to attack), but rather is moving to a position where the individual feels capable of comfortably operating within a heterosexual relationship. Critics might bandy around the language of “bisexuality”, but this shift is often (as the authors identify) far more to do with sexual identity and in particular a sense of being released from needing to identify as “gay”. This post-gay perspective is exactly what I’ve been writing about here for a number of years. The authors continue,

In light of the role of attributions and meaning in sexual identity labeling, is it possible as well that some of what is reported in this study as change of orientation (i.e., the outcomes experienced by the Success: Conversion participants) is more accurately understood as change in sexual identity? An interesting observation about this data is that most of the change that was reported on the self-report measures occurred early in the change attempt. Our previous report (Jones & Yarhouse, 2007) indicated that this change most commonly occurred between T1 and T2, and that the shift that occurred was sustained through T3. The present data suggest such change can be sustained through T6 for those who report successful change. These findings go against the common argument that change of orientation is gradual and occurs over an extended period of time. Some may see these results as reflecting not a change in sexual orientation for most participants who reported such change, but rather a change in sexual identity. Such a change might result from how one thinks of oneself and labels one’s sexual preferences (i.e., attributions and meaning making). It is also possible, though, that this data reflects persons who experienced a change in orientation and a change in sexual identity. In some individuals, a shift in sexual identity might subsequently be consolidated as true shift in sexual orientation. The Kinsey measures of sexual attraction and sexual fantasy would seem to measure some of the fundamental dimensions of sexual orientation. The shifts reported appear to be consolidated and sustained over time for those who reported a successful outcome at T6. It certainly appears from this data that the process of change is complex and multifaceted.

It strikes me that if those implacably opposed to the idea of sexual orientation and identity change want to critique this research, they need to do better than just set-up straw-men that the authors have already themselves rejected, Rather, they should engage further with the actual paper itself and the hard results, and in particular the emphasised hypothesis above that orientation change may be a subsequent effect to identity change, an hypothesis that challenges the common assumption that sexual desire is biologically innate and cannot be altered. As this research shows, it has now been empirically recorded that such sexual desire can and does change in some individuals over time, especially when they place themselves in environments that support such a journey.

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  • Sibyl

    There is only one with an unchanging stable identity and that is the Holy Creator GOD. GOD is the only IAM. We are changed, positively, negatively, interactively and cumulatively throughout time and through what we believe, think, say, do, by events, interactions with others and by what we are exposed to or ingest, such as chemicals, ecosystem and climate, even our faith and relationship with GOD, whether we pray and worship changes us. All these things change the chemistry, structure and function of the brain and body and they change our psyche and behavior as well. All our feelings and responses are conditioned by what we experience and are taught or come to believe. If sexual response could not be changed (re-learned), there would not be sex therapists by the scores in every city. Likewise our sense of identity is achieved over a lifetime and can be changed or relearned as well. That's what therapists/psychologists do for a living.

    The myth of sexual orientation/sexual identity (as a fixed entity) one of the primary myths of Modern Mythology. It is actually an invented hypothetical construct created by the pansexual activists to foment their propaganda.

    Other modern myths are:

    The Myth of Gender Choice and Fluidity.

    The Myth of Sexual Rights.

    The Myth of Sexual Fulfillment

    The Myth of Reproductive Choice (abortion and birth control over self control and respect for human life.)

    The Myth of Climate Change (aka Global Warming)

    The Myth of Over-population.

    The Myth of Social/Political Utopia.

    The Myth of Atheism (or denial of the existence of GOD).

    The Feminist Myth.

    The Androgyny Myth.

    …the list goes on.

    Jones and Yarhouse are revealing what is not a myth – that humans change (and need to most of the time) and GOD does not.

    • Tom

      Well, that's us told then!

      • ryan

        Sybil,

        I know you only traffic in inanities (that you presumably deem profound because you use a dozen clauses where 1 one would do) but : what possible logical sense does it make to claim that PANsexualists (define) believe in fixed sexual orientation? Surely bisexual fluidity is more their style?

        Not sure what (celestial? alien?) "city" you're in but, if psychologists and "sex therapists" do as you suggest then more than a few of 'em ought to be struck off.

        And, assuming your list is an attempt at nutter bingo, then you really ought to have THE MYTHS OF "Evolution" and "Zionism" for the full house.

        ;)

    • Tom

      "If sexual response could not be changed (re-learned), there would not be sex therapists by the scores in every city." Just as if there were not the possibility of contacting the spirits of the dead there would not be scores of spiritualist mediums conducting séances in every city? People believe it because they want to believe it. As William more or less says, the people who really count in this, the ones who have to live the reality on this planet, are generally not buying it.

      • William

        Yes, Tom, I made precisely that point some time ago to some idiot who said that if sexual orientation could not be changed, organizations like NARTH could not possibly exist.

        I would add that the aim of sex therapists, if I understand correctly, is to help people who are having problems with their sex lives. How successful they tend to be in this I have no idea, but so far as I am aware, they do NOT generally attempt to alter people’s sexual orientation – although there may be a few who would try to do so if requested.

  • Philip Cole

    Peter, thanks for this precis of the latest version of the J&Y time-tracked study. I notice that it is peer-reviewed in a reputable journal and, although I am not a statistician, seems methodologically rigorous. The great advantage of this study is that it now has a substantial time-series base of ten years on mediated sexual orientation change through Christian ministries. It's conclusions, which don't seem to be substantially different from earlier findings, therefore strengthen as they are consistently reported over time.

    It now seems to be very difficult to argue that, at minimum, a substantial proportion of Christians who wish to change their sexual orientation are able to do so to a significant extent through such ministries, with little to no evidence of psychologial or spiritual damage. As you say, it is up to opponents of this view to now argue the science rather than denigrate it per se. Not that I expect any of this abuse to stop – the idea that Christians who have unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) are able to change is a threat to the mythology of the gay rights movement.

  • ryan

    """"""""" All these things change the chemistry, structure and function of the brain and body and they change our psyche and behavior as well. """

    Care to elaborate? Assuming the best of you – i.e. that you're talking about e.g. neuroplasticity – still hardly mean that its leading proponents, like Schwartz, have established that it can cause the X-Men type superpowers you seem to be discussing (changing the *function* of the brain indeed!)

  • William

    Assuming that we are taking the results of this study at face value, there are a number of things to be noted:

    (1) The study certainly does not show that the sexual orientation of 23% of gay people can be changed. In fact, the subjects are not even a random sample only of those gay people who sought the help of ex-gay ministries, but only of those who were willing to participate in the study. Jones and Yarhouse wanted 300 subjects but could find only 98 who were willing to participate.

    (2) The 23% are not 23% of the original 98, but only of the 61 left after 37 had dropped out, in other words 14% out of the original 98.

    (3) According to the Press Release, most of those 14% “did not report heterosexual orientation to be unequivocal and uncomplicated” and “We believe the individuals who presented themselves as heterosexual success stories at Time 3 are heterosexual in some meaningful but complicated sense of the term.”

    While it would certainly be reckless to deny the possibility of change, I think that Professor Timothy F. Murphy summed up the situation correctly when he wrote, “One thing is certain for all ventures in sexual reorientation therapy: it has failed vastly more times than it has ever succeeded, and future research is unlikely to change that fact.”

    But irrespective of the true success and failure rates, I believe that the days of ex-gay ministries and of other sexual orientation change programs are numbered anyway. There are, and doubtless always will be, people who dislike some aspect of who they are and who try to change it. But the number of those who want to change their sexual orientation is continually shrinking. Few of my gay friends, I think, would take seriously the idea that their sexual orientation can be changed, but their scepticism would be of a fairly apathetic, laid-back variety. Their response to the suggestion that they might like to try it would be not so much “Are you seriously trying to tell me that it’s possible?” as “Why? What should I want to do that for?” And this attitude appears to be shared increasingly by their families and friends.

    • Philip Cole

      William

      I've got a couple of responses to your points, which should also be read in response to my reply to Tom below:

      1) It is clear that J&Y are NOT claiming that their paper shows that '23% of gay people can be changed'. The money quotes from the extracts that Peter has given are, for me:
      "we found evidence that successful change of sexual orientation occurred for some individuals concurrent with involvement in the religiously mediated change methods of Exodus Ministries (23% of the T6 sample by qualitative self-categorization). Those who report a successful heterosexual adjustment regard themselves as having changed their sexual orientation".
      AND
      "It is also possible, though, that this data reflects persons who experienced a change in orientation and a change in sexual identity. In some individuals, a shift in sexual identity might subsequently be consolidated as true shift in sexual orientation".
      2. Posters so far have not picked up on Peter's blocking of parts of the second quote, which, in my view, is supporting evidence to one of the core idea's on this site – namely that one's view of identity is a crucial component in sexual orientation change. To summarise: If, based on your experience of same-sex attraction (SSA) you see your identity as gay, as innate and as an essential component of who you are, then SOC is unlikely to be successful. If you see your experience of SSA as a temptation to act in ways contrary to God's will for your life and your identity as being found primarily in Him, then you will act differently in response to SSA.

      Different beliefs lead to different action. And this study provides strong evidence that a significant proportion of those who pursue Christian mediated SOC self-report success using scientifically rigorous methods of appraisal.

      I often use a three-way division of sexual orientation change in my discussion as follows:
      1) Does sexual orientation change? There is increasing evidence that sexual orientation is fluid and changes, of itself, for many people during their life.
      2) Can sexual orientation be changed? This latest J&Y provides strong evidence that, at minimum, a significant proportion of strongly motivated individuals self-report successful sexual orientation change through Christian ministries, with little to no harm from the ministry itself.
      3) Should sexual orientation be changed? Unlike the first two questions, this is normative rather than positive. The answer will depend on your beliefs about homosexuality. Just as self-identified gay people should be protected against discrimination, so should self-identified ex- or post-gay people be free to embrace their new identity and receive positive support to maintain it, also free from discimination. Such are the components of a free society.

  • Sibyl

    Pansexualists promote the notion that one must (and has the right to) follow one's proclivities whatever they may be despite Scripture's prohibitions. They call this, a sexual orientation/identity.

    Gender fluidity is the idea that a person has the right to change genders if they do not feel their inborn sex is their true identity.

    Western secular culture (and much of the Western church) and most pagan nations have a disconnect – do not recognize God's dominion and direction over human sexuality. Circumcision was a symbol of restoration of sexuality and all other aspects of the person, including appearance and identity to be placed under the Lordship of God. The Commandments and all of Scripture has reiterated this.

    Unless the flesh is crucified and desires curbed, we are in rebellion and living in the kingdom and dominion of satan, not the holy Kingdom of GOD. There are only two choices, follow God or not. Jesus said, "You are either with me or against me."

    GOD demands to define Love, Truth and Life (Jesus said, I AM the Way of Love, Truth and Life) and direct and guide our actions, thoughts and speech to conform to His Word and Jesus is the Living Word, the example, model and pattern for humanity…as Pilate said, Jesus is 'The Man.'

    Jesus repeated and reinforced God's pattern and design for the sexes, marriage and behavior throughout the Gospels.

    Same-sex sexual acts are never affirmed and always denounced in Scripture…and for good reason. CDC reports 44 times the incidence of STDs, including AIDS. Affirmation and condoms do not diminish the incidence of disease, depression, suicide, or violence…quite the contrary. Same sex desire is a symptom…a sign of distress, disorientation and of a need for secure healthy identity.

    • ryan

      Wrong. How many "pansexualists" (again: defnine. Name names so we know you're just manufacturing nonsense again) bother to say that their sexual desires are intrinsically valid irrespective of what Scripture says (why would it even occur to such types to cite scritpure to denounce it?) Oh, and I think you could say that living in free society – and happy phrases like "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" is the reason why those in the west tend to follow (within reason) "one's proclivities"

      circumcision (assuming you're talking about the original Jewish idea) is a sign of the covenant; keeping the covenant *does* mean avoiding sexual immorality. Circumsicion, in and of itself, does not 'restore' sexuality (irrespective of its other meanings/benefits)

      I know what gender "identity" is. Do you know about Queer Theory? Again, I think you'll find that its "pansexualist" elements very much does not support the idea of inate sexual orientation. You can damn, of course, the gay movement and societal queering as having a net effect you disagree with, but to claim or work from the assumption they are the same thing is demonstrable nonsense.

      Do those engaged in straight fornication get less STDS etc than those in the gay kind? If so, doesn't that negate rather your idea that promiscuity per se has intrinsic physical penalties for all? And, of course, 2 male virgins who start a sexual relationship are not liable to get AIDS are they? And of course, HIV, as any doctor (and me! ;-) can tell you, is enormously difficult to catch. If nasty STDS are God's punishment (inbuilt or otherwise) for particular acts then why do ALL who engage in said acts not get sick? Your model of an All Powerful God who attaches particular penalties to specific acts, and yet only seems capable of giving them to a tiny minority of those who engage in said acts, is self-evidently ludicrous.

      • David

        Hi ryan, the study claims that they have measurable "evidence [that] suggested that change of homosexual orientation appears possible for some and that psychological distress did not increase on average as a result of the involvement in the change process"!!! And "[that] the shifts reported appear to be consolidated and sustained over time for those who reported a successful outcome at T6."

        So careful therapy can help people change their sexual attractions, and is not harmful!?

        • ryan

          As a great man once said : "we're arguing over percentages"

          I think the "some" in the quote you cite warrants bold text and a mammoth font size. It is a straw man to claim that no liberal denies the very existence of guys like Peter (and I should say that pointing out that he appears not to have gay sex is not merely a low blow either; surely the conservative could say that gay sex *is* an alcoholism-comparable addiction, so the guy who's never indulged will find it far, far easier to change than the promiscous gay?). But if there are far more ex "ex-gays" than there are "ex gays" , which I'd maintain is true, then it is self-evidently ludicrous to claim that "SOME can apparently change their sexuality" automatically means that "most if not all 'gay' people can be straight ergo the whole notion of race analogous 'sexual orientation' is universally spurious".

          • David

            No. The measurement of real change, even in only a minority of cases, is very significant.

            As a scientific organization the APA based it's recent strong opposition to therapy (to change homosexuality) on:

            - the lack of hard evidence for any change and

            - claims that the therapy can be harmful.

            This study provides clear evidence that change can be achieved and that there is little evidence of harm. So the APA should change its stance.

            • ryan

              1) c.f. all the posters above on how , on balance (hopefully you'd agree that using this study *alone* as the basis for APA decisions would be in error?) attempts to change sexuality hardly provide the kind of results that would warrant the APA to change its position.

              2) Are you denying that there is much evidence of harm from elsewhere? And the amount of people who dropped out here in this study is significant.

              • David

                1) The evidence is good enough to mean that the APA should now allow the possibility of therapy to help *some* people change – with the caveat (as for many therapys) that expectations of change should not be unrealistic, that many people will choose to drop out, and that it will not produce any change for some people.

                2) Since most people stayed in the study, if there were significant harm it would have been picked up.

                Previous claims of "harm" are generally anecdotal – in this study objective measures were made to detect harm, and nothing significant was found.

                • ryan

                  1) If, as evidence suggests, the vast majority of people DO NOT experience change and if attempts to do can – "usually" – have severe negative consequences then the APA is justified in its current position. And I'm curious that conservatives appear not to know that, in the DSM -IV TR (this might change with the DSM V of course, but I'd be surprised if it does) paraphilias are not generally sexual interests per se but arise when said interests cause problems. I.e. a foot fetishist or MILFaholic who experiences no problems (e.g. in social, work etc functioning) as a result of his interest does not have a mental disorder. I'd argue that the vast majority of people in sexual conversion therapy either believe (or have been forced – in the sense of internalisation – to believe) that their sexuality is causing them problems; that does not mean that the sexual orientation per se is or ought to be classed as a disorder.

                  2) What about the point elsewhere in this thread on suicide? That's a pretty big risk, outweighing theorectical "benefits", no? In point of fact isn't that risk analogous to what Peter (in a statty and represenatively conservative) manner identified as one of the glaring psychological consequences of abortion that has (unprofessionally) been ignored by Doctors? In that light, why would the APA recommend that a procedure that *generally speaking* doesn't work and that *in a significant number of case* leads to suicide or at least conditions (clinical depressions etc) with a high chance of suicidality?

                  More generally, am curious why you're responding to my points but not of others on this thread; have just started an MSc (and can obviously tell the difference between real science and creationism ;)) but don't mind conceding that the other "liberals" on this thread might have a greater interest and knowledge in stats/science issues!

                  • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                    Surely the point is that (i) this is the best piece of longitudinal research we have on sexual orientation change efforts and (ii) it shows there is negligible risk of harm to those who participate but "fail" to change.

                  • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                    And to add one more thing, the normally accepted "success rate" of Alcoholics Anonymous (1 year sober) is around 5%. If you were to reject the Jones and Yarhouse study on the basis of its low success rate you should, if you were consistent, also reject any claims that Alcoholics Anonymous helps anybody.

                    • ryan

                      Speaking as someone who's been to The Priory (Glasgow branch!) and who will shortly be toasting (with coke) four years of sobriety, I certainly don't object to characterising AA as a Scientology-style pseudo-religion chock full of arseholes, strenuous vapid miserabilism,horrendous sentimental platitudes and cultic distortions of reality.

                      That said, the analogy breaks down because Alcoholism is an intrinsic killer, demonstrable addiction and/or behavioural disorder. No Doctor could (in good conscience) recommend someone to (e.g.) adjust to drinking a litre of whisky a day and hope for the best. In that light, 5% is better than nothing. In contrast, homosexuality per se (I trust you'll agree) is not a killer disease meaning that adjustment to the sexuality irrespective of societal homophobia is the legitimate prescriptive norm irrespective of the "success" of some people's desire to change their sexuality. If homosexuality per se is not (in the APA's eyes) a disorder then the fact that a tiny minority of those who *do* regard it as such (who else would want to change it?) are able to change in no way necessitates an ideology change on the (scientific and other) merits of conversion therapy *in general*.

                      Don't you think that , if homosexuality per se is not a disorder, then the APA could legitimately (in terms of its own frames of reference e.g. DSM IV etc) query the mindset/testimony of those who embrace such change?

                    • http://www.u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

                      Attendance at AA meetings may be recommended, but are not coerced. So, it falls to individual discretion in deciding whether to attend and whether to seek change.

                      The findings here contradict the unscientific counter-claims that enormous harm normatively results from an individual's voluntary attempts to seek that change through this type of therapy.

                      We wouldn't be having this level of debate, if we were discussing the therapies involved in dealing with gender re-assignment.

                    • David

                      hmm, ryan does like shifting the ground as he (half) concedes points and throwing in red herrings (eg someone might think counselling is needed because homosexuality is a disease?!)

                      Although that obviously isn't the case, gay people often experience problems because of the dissonence between their sexual attractions and some of the "goods" of sexual relationship. So, for instance, lesbians and gay men may want to have a baby.

                      One solution is insemination or adoption (or maybe genetic engineering) but IF people can reorient sufficiently to form a committed male-female relationship, then they could not only form a genetic family but their child could have both their mother and their father caring for them.

                      That outcome might be well worth the effort of trying some essentially harmless therapy!

                    • ryan

                      gs (eg someone might think counselling is needed because homosexuality is a disease?!)

                      Not remotely a red herring. Nobody denies that gay people might be more prone to particular forms of stress; the question (as conservative posterboys like Gagnon et all have conceded) is whether this is due to a dissonance with "Natural Law" or due to societal hompohobia. Irrespective of your own view of homosexual practice, offering conversion therapy when a particular gay person's unhappiness is related to societal reactions to their sexuality rather than their sexuality per se is misguided at best.

                      And of course practising medicine without a licence is frowned on for a reason, which is which I keep making the point about the DSM (whose foundations re sexuality are hardly overturned by this study) that continues to get ignored.

                    • David

                      "Not remotely a red herring."

                      Well, at least a way to be able to avoid admitting that there may be legitimate reasons that someone might want to try some harmless reorientation therapy.

                      Which should make all the authorities reconsider their stances, eventually. ;-)

        • ryan

          The findings here contradict the unscientific counter-claims that enormous harm normatively results from an individual’s voluntary attempts to seek that change through this type of therapy.

          This study hardly negates the claim that for gay people *per se* attempts to change their sexuality are more likely to lead to harm than "success".

          • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

            Actually, yes they do. For the first time we have a proper longitudinal study of the standard used constantly across the psychology / psychiatry field. What the study shows is that there is no significant "harm" reported by those who undertook SOCE, even amongst those who saw no change in the sexual identity / orientation.

            If you can point us to another equally rigorous study with such a good longitudinal basis that refutes this point, then you have a case. Otherwise you are simply peddling prejudice.

            • Tom

              Did this include follow up on those who left the study?

              • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                My understanding is that, to the best of the ability of Jones and Yarhouse, yes. However, you cannot state that those who dropped out had a negative response without actually empirically establishing such a fact. Perhaps it's a good question to ask through their website? http://www.exgaystudy.org

              • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                As best as they could, yes. Once someone says they don’t want to take part any more, it’s hard to change that. But that doesn’t mean that one can surmise any outcome from that refusal to participate further.

            • ryan

              Prejudice against what exactly? If you were even bothering to make appropriate analogies to other treatments in the psychology/psychiatry field then the pertinent point would be to note that this study shows that ex-gay therapy compares (in terms of benefits/risks) with treatment plans for other disorders. But of course homosexuality is not a mental disorder, and although the APA may well regard attempts at sexuality change as harmful the current view on homosexuality's non-pathological nature is not necessarily founded on the success or otherwise of conversion therapy. And that's aside from the fact that the difficulties that may lead gay people to seek such therapy are not necessarily related to the sexual orientation per se and it would be unethical to do so. Here's the intro to the "Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders" beginning page 535 of the DSM-IV TR:

              "The Paraphilias are characterized by recurrent, intense sexual urges, fantasies or behaviours that involve unusual object, activities, or situation and clause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning"

              You are talking about the "success" of a treatment plan for something that isn't a disease. If you think it *is* or should be classed as a disease then you need to offer something quite different from this study. Claiming that because it had an effect on x that x is therefore a disease is absurd.

              You'd agree surely that conceding – which I don't necessarily do – SOCE may be less harmful than has been reported in no way means that it's (from an APA perspective) a good idea, let alone normative?

              And has been pointed out this study hardly verifies the "gay to straight" that you know and I know is the goal of 'ex-gay- therapy (isn't that why you coined the post-gay label instead):" most of those 14% “did not report heterosexual orientation to be unequivocal and uncomplicated”

              • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                Prejudice against what exactly?

                Let's see shall we?

                But of course homosexuality is not a mental disorder

                Prejudgement. There has been very little work on actually clarify "mental disorder" and that which has been done recently (eg the new Dutch study in a very tolerant environment) indicates higher rates of other mental health issues amongst those whoo self-identify as gay. Will be writing about this shortly. We are also still at the open jury stage as to what the exact cause of homosexualities are. The result may be very different for different people.

                You are talking about the “success” of a treatment plan for something that isn’t a disease.

                Prejudice. For some people homosexuality is very much a disease in the strict sense of the word. For some it is an exhibition of an "abnormal condition" (i.e. abnormal sexual attraction) which is at odds with the desired status (normal sexual attraction). For others it is not. You wish to apply your own standard of personal acceptance/integration of homosexuality onto others in exactly the same way that you refuse others the right to do (i.e. exgay ministries).

                You’d agree surely that conceding – which I don’t necessarily do – SOCE may be less harmful than has been reported in no way means that it’s (from an APA perspective) a good idea, let alone normative?

                Irrelevant, since the best research shows SOCE produces no discernable harm in those who undertake it, regardless of outcome.

                And has been pointed out this study hardly verifies the “gay to straight” that you know and I know is the goal of ‘ex-gay- therapy (isn’t that why you coined the post-gay label instead):” most of those 14% “did not report heterosexual orientation to be unequivocal and uncomplicated”

                So AA is a failure? You're missing the whole point of the highlighted sections in the original post. Jones and Yarhouse (and Throckmorton in anecdotal reporting) are discovering that it is sexual *identity* which seems to be the main factor that varies. You are creating a prejudicial straw-man in order to avoid engaging with the challenging outcomes of this research.

                • http://www.twitter.com/cerebusboy cerebusboy

                  Prejudice. For some people homosexuality is very much a disease in the strict sense of the word.

                  LOL! Well if "some people" say it I guess that must have as much validity as the scientific consensus, eh? *rolls eyes* Let me put those in bold homosexuality's status as NOT a disease is the position of the APA and encoded in the DSM-IV TR If YOU disagree with the position of the APA then the burden of proof is on you to explain why and provide evidence to overturn this 30 year plus classification. In terms of contemporary psychology/psychiatry, "homosexuality is not a disease" is a FACT whereas your (or my,if that help you see this point) opinion on it is exactly that. I realise that a creationist may be predisposed to pretend that mere opinion (especially if purportedly theological)and "scientific consensus" have equal validity, but it would be nice, if you're expecting me to respond to every left-field point, that you could at least deign to concede the existence of what the DSM-IV ACTUALLY SAYS and its implications for therapy like this.

                  • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                    There is no scientific consensus. The hard facts are that the APA 1973 decision was made NOT in the light of any particular objective studies that changed the consensus. If you want to argue otherwise please point us to the papers that were cited in the 1973 decision.

                    Your line of arguing is also curious because I suggest you would take exactly the opposite approach with paedophilia. I am arguing that when an individual is at dis-ease with his/her homosexuality, that is a valid point from which to allow a counsellor to explore the issue with an individual. As the J&Y research demonstrates, such an approach may for a minority lead to a shift in sexual orientation. Now, the DSM IV says that paedophilia is an issue if it causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty in a "celibate" individual. This means that a non-sexually engaging paedophile who is not distressed by his condition is not "ill".

                    This is exactly the same argument I am making about homosexuality. Someone who is not distressed by their homosexuality has no reason to see a therapist, but someone who is has. He is at dis-ease with his condition. If at that point there is clear evidence (as there is with the J&Y paper) that such therapy MAY lead to sexual orientation change or the removal of distress AND that such therapy does not cause harm even if there is not a positive outcome as described above, what possibly is your objection to said therapy EXCEPT a prejudice against it?

                • http://www.twitter.com/cerebusboy cerebusboy

                  So AA is a failure? You’re missing the whole point of the highlighted sections in the original post. Jones and Yarhouse (and Throckmorton in anecdotal reporting) are discovering that it is sexual *identity* which seems to be the main factor that varies. You are creating a prejudicial straw-man in order to avoid engaging with the challenging outcomes of this research.

                  No, the point is that the relatively low success rate of AA is justifiable because alcoholism is a disease/disorder (303.90 in DSM-IV; "Alcohol Dependence"); my point, again, is that even if this study compares favourably to treatments for "other" disorders that does not make homosexuality a disease/disorder.

                  • Dad

                    "…even if this study compares favourably to treatments for “other” disorders that does not make homosexuality a disease/disorder."

                    The APA is a sad, discredited organization. They hold up anecdotal evidence (which is to say no evidence at all) against rigorous studies such as this. Enough said.

                    What makes a certain state "a disease/disorder" (D/D)?

                    Something can't be a D/D if it is sufficiently prevalent. A D/D must in one of the tails of the bell curve. But that is not sufficient. Left handedness is not a D/D.

                    Linkages to other psychological conditions that are defined to be disorders certainly provides evidence. Left-handedness is not associated with substance abuse, depression, suicide, etc. Homosexuality is. And no. One can't blame it on repressive societal norms for one sees the same associations in "tolerant" societies.

                    That a certain condition is linked to medical problems provides good evidence that the condition is a D/D. Alcoholism is linked to liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, alcoholic cardiomyopathy, etc. The medical consequence of homosexuality are numerous. We have expunged the term "gay bowel disease" from the literature but the numerous medical condition associations are still there even if we can't discuss them. Similarly, we don't talk about the relationship of homosexuality with HIV. Rather we need to use the aseptic term MSM, men who have sex with men. Regardless, they are the leading class at risk for new infections.

                    Thirdly, good evidence that a condition is a D/D if it associated with trauma. The linkage of homosexuality to psychological trauma especially childhood sexual abuse is not debatable. Left handed people don't have a higher history of childhood sexual abuse. Pedophiles do. Homosexuals do as well.

                    Liberal elitists pride themselves on being more scientific. They have totally poisoned the medical scientific community with their political correctness.

                    • ryan

                      It's ironic that you damn anectodal evidence whilst seemingly basing your "scientific" case on it.

                      Firstly, the "best" that the antigay lobby can do is "Pink Swastika" ahistoricisim, Satinover's cranky outpourings, and Paul "kicked out the APA for research abuse" Cameron (doubtless this was because the APA is an evil left wing political correct organisation, and not because Cameron was spouting "most gay men die by forty" obvious nonsense, eh?)

                      MSM is used because it is MORE not LESS scientific, so it's not surprise that you'd have an aversion to it. Cruising grounds feature out gay men, heterosexually married men and many others. Surely you'd agree that a bisexual man having gay sex – i.e. a literal MSM – is at risk of STDs in a way that a celibate "gay" is not? Surely that makes MSM much more useful than "gay"?

                      Relationship between homosexuality and HIV? Knock yourself out. HIV is (as evangelical MDs of my acquaintance are wont to concede) is difficult to catch and most gay people manifestly DO NOT have bowel disease. Is heterosexual sex per se "wrong" because of anal and oral sex, or prostitution and STDs? Of course not. What sense does it make to damn homosexuality per se on the basis of a particular series of maladies that affect a TINY MINORITY of gay men? (I realise that you may well think that "gay man" and "someone who has lots of promiscous sex" are synonymous, but that's part of your problem and demonstrative of a – wholly unscientific – bias).

                      You'd concede that there might be a variety of factors that make one at risk for particular disorders that are not, in and of themselves, a disorder? If not, why not?

                      Alcholism is a disease, drinking is not even though alcoholism very much is a subset of drinking with a high societal, medical and personal cost.

                    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                      Firstly, the “best” that the antigay lobby can do is “Pink Swastika” ahistoricisim, Satinover’s cranky outpourings, and Paul “kicked out the APA for research abuse” Cameron (doubtless this was because the APA is an evil left wing political correct organisation, and not because Cameron was spouting “most gay men die by forty” obvious nonsense, eh?)

                      Nobody mentioned any of these authors so you do yourself absolutely no credit attempting to smear by association.

                    • ryan

                      No, you'll note that "Dad" – not bothering to give examples – merely stated as fact that the APA and "liberals" per se have no factual foundation for their acceptance of homosexuality in contrast to what he posits as the scientific "anti-gay" consensus. So it's perfectly legitimate to point out that the latter is often a concatanetion of the authors I cite.

                      You know and I know that the passage beginning "Linkages" is EXACTLY the sort of thing one finds in Gagnon et all and that the uses the sources I mention.

                      And

                    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                      Irrelevant. If you want to engage with "Dad" then deal with what *he* wrote and not what somebody else wrote. If you want to challenge him on his sources, ask him for some. If he then quotes Paul Cameron or Scott Lively, you can then have a go, but it is *not* acceptable to launch into a polemic against your pet-hates everytime someone writes something you don't like.

                    • ryan

                      Dad was contrasting what he posited as the liberal and non scientific pro-gay view the authorative anti-gay one, making it entirely legitimate to point out what I did, especially as I did address his other points in my other paragraphs above. But your blog, your rules, so duly noted (although it would be nice if you could crack down on some of the "conservatives" in this thread with such astringent rigour, or perhaps reply to my point about ethics in psychological treatment and DSM code 302.9… ;-))

                      And for Dad's benefit : "promiscous HIV positive/bowel cancer ridden MSM " is to "gay" as "alcoholism" is to "drinking". In fact, you could argue – especially in Scotland! – that the relationship between the latter is more pronounced/significant and societally concerning than the former.

                    • William

                      As far as anecdotal evidence goes, the most up-to-date that I can find is that of John Smid. His testimony in this matter is, I think, of considerable significance, since he was for 22 years, prior to his resignation in 2008, the director of Love In Action, which describes itself as “the oldest established member ministry of Exodus International”, and for 11 of those years he was on the board of Exodus.

                      In the summer of 2010, in conversation with Michael Bussee (one of the original founders of Exodus, who later repudiated “ex-gay” programs as ineffective and often harmful), Smid admitted that in all his years with Exodus he NEVER met a homosexual man who had become heterosexual through an Exodus ministry: “NOT ONE.” He said that a very few of the “ex-gay” men who got married had developed some “spouso-sexual” feelings for their wives, notwithstanding that they still remaining “same-sex attracted”, and that of these many were already bi-sexual in attraction and behaviour before they got married. Most did NOT develop such “spouso-sexual” feelings; their lifestyle and behaviour changed, but not their basic sexual orientation.

                      Bussee reported this conversation on Dr Warren Throckmorton’s blog. Throckmorton himself also reported that:

                      “Even when [John Smid] was running the in-patient program, he acknowledged that he had not changed to any appreciable degree. In fact, he told me that he had not seen anyone who had.”

                      Smid himself has now publicly confirmed this on his own blog. He says that gays may experience transformation when they become Christians, but adds:

                      “I also want to reiterate here that the transformation for the vast majority of homosexuals will not include a change of sexual orientation. Actually I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual. I have met some women who claim that is the case but then again, male sexuality and female sexuality are vastly biologically different so this would not be a fair comparison.”
                      (See http://www.gracerivers.com/gays-repent/)

                      It seems pretty clear that, if there are indeed men whose sexual orientation has gone from homosexual to heterosexual – and a statement of universal denial would be both reckless and impossible to prove – then they are a tiny minority within the gay minority. It also appears that where change does occur, it is frequently from homosexuality to a heterosexuality which is, as the psychologist Ronete Cohen pus it, “not quite the real thing.”

                    • Tom

                      "The linkage of homosexuality to psychological trauma especially childhood sexual abuse is not debatable." What an absurd generalisation. Let's have you see if your can provide any credible evidence, Dad.

                    • Dad

                      Tom, perhaps you know how to use Google Scholar search? One can find many, many more references than I could cite here.

                      Childhood Sexual Abuse Among Homosexual Men
                      Prevalence and Association with Unsafe Sex, Lenderking et al – Of 327 homosexual and bisexual men participating in an ongoing cohort study pertaining to risk factors for HIV infection who completed a survey regarding history of sexual abuse, 116 (35.5%) reported being sexually abused as children. Those abused were more likely to have more lifetime male partners, to report more childhood stress, to have lied in the past in order to have sex, and to have had unprotected receptive anal intercourse in the past 6 months (odds ratio 2.13; 95% confidence interval 1.15–3.95). Sexual abuse remained a significant predictor of unprotected receptive anal intercourse in a logistic model adjusting for potential confounding variables.

                      Self-reported childhood and adolescent sexual abuse among adult homosexual and bisexual men, Doll et al. Abstract

                      From May 1989 through 1990, 1,001 adult homosexual and bisexual men attending sexually transmitted disease clinics were interviewed regarding potentially abusive sexual contacts during childhood and adolescence. Thirty-seven percent of participants reported they had been encouraged or forced to have sexual contact before age 19 with an older or more powerful partner; 94% occurred with men. Median age of the participant at first contact was 10; median age difference between partners was 11 years. Fifty-one percent involved use of force; 33% involved anal sex. Black and Hispanic men were more likely than white men to report such sexual contact. Using developmentally-based criteria to define sexual abuse, 93% of participants reporting sexual contact with an older or more powerful partner were classified as sexually abused. Our data suggest the risk of sexual abuse may be high among some male youth and increased attention should be devoted to prevention as well as early identification and treatment.

                      Comparative Data of Childhood and Adolescence Molestation in Heterosexual and Homosexual Persons, Tomeo et al. In research with 942 nonclinical adult participants, gay men and lesbian women reported a significantly higher rate of childhood molestation than did heterosexual men and women. Forty-six percent of the homosexual men in contrast to 7% of the heterosexual men reported homosexual molestation. Twenty-two percent of lesbian women in contrast to 1% of heterosexual women reported homosexual molestation. This research is apparently the first survey that has reported substantial homosexual molestation of girls. Suggestions for future research were offered.

                    • Dad

                      And Ryan thinks that co-morbidities are small, here is an article that could not be written in the oppressive politicized atmosphere of today:

                      Sexually transmitted diseases of the colon, rectum, and anus. Wexner 1990. During the past two decades, an explosive growth in both the prevalence and types of sexually transmitted diseases has occurred. Up to 55 percent of homosexual men with anorectal complaints have gonorrhea; 80 percent of the patients with syphilis are homosexuals. Chlamydia is found in 15 percent of asymptomatic homosexual men, and up to one third of homosexuals have active anorectal herpes simplex virus. In addition, a host of parasites, bacterial, viral, and protozoan are all rampant in the homosexual population. Furthermore, the global epidemic of AIDS has produced a plethora of colorectal manifestations. Acute cytomegalovirus ileocolitis is the most common indication for emergency abdominal surgery in the homosexual AIDS population.

                      The prevalence of HIV in London homosexual men is 3.1% or one out of thirty. The prevalence in the general population is 0.2% or one out of 500 for a relative risk value of 15.5.

                    • Dad

                      Lastly, linkages to other D/D is NOT anecdotal. One can easily find the incidence of depression, substance abuse, suicide ideation and suicide, etc. among homosexuals.

                      For example the Netherlands study, Sandfort et al, 2001:

                      Results Psychiatric disorders were more prevalent among homosexually active people compared with heterosexually active people. Homosexual men had a higher 12-month prevalence of mood disorders (odds ratio [OR] = 2.93; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.54-5.57) and anxiety disorders (OR = 2.61; 95% CI = 1.44-4.74) than heterosexual men. Homosexual women had a higher 12-month prevalence of substance use disorders (OR = 4.05; 95% CI = 1.56-10.47) than heterosexual women. Lifetime prevalence rates reflect identical differences, except for mood disorders, which were more frequently observed in homosexual than in heterosexual women (OR = 2.41; 95% CI = 1.26-4.63). The proportion of persons with 1 or more diagnoses differed only between homosexual and heterosexual women (lifetime OR = 2.61; 95% CI = 1.31-5.19). More homosexual than heterosexual persons had 2 or more disorders during their lifetimes (homosexual men: OR = 2.70; 95% CI = 1.66-4.41; homosexual women: OR = 2.09; 95% CI = 1.07-4.09).

                      Conclusion The findings support the assumption that people with same-sex sexual behavior are at greater risk for psychiatric disorders.

                      Now, odds ratios greater than 2 is huge. No drug could make it on the market if it raised the risk of major mental health disorder by 1.25. This data is easily found. Why would Ryan try to dismiss it as also anecdotal. Because science is something to be manipulated. Ignore the bad results and fudge to make good results.

                    • ryan

                      And Ryan thinks that co-morbidities are small, here is an article that could not be written in the oppressive politicized atmosphere of today:

                      Aren’t gay magazines full of adverts for HIV etc related safe sex campaigns and charities? If the “politically correct” option is to pretend that HIV is not a concern then it is not a view seemingly shared by the “gay community”.

                      And of course 3.1% is, as I said, a tiny minority. And even then you’re talking about London, where (I hope you’ll conceded) there are far more opportunities, increased likelihood for casual sexual encounters (baths, pubs, clubs, bars, Hampstead Heath etc etc) then the average. Stats bods might talk – empirically and scientifically – about (let us say) one racial or economic group having x times the rate for criminal records than group y. It is not “political correctness” that means that, if we’re still talking about a tiny minority figure, then it makes no logical sense to use it as the basis for an overarching generalisation let alone as proof of the intrinsic wrong of all members of the group.

                      NB Don’t you see any ironies in bemoaning the PC world’s apparent crackdown on scientific freedom whilst using a product by the famously pro-gay Google to find these studies? Presumably their Scholar division didn’t get the Intercompany memo! ;-)

                    • Tom

                      Dad, these show that many homosexual children have been abused which may lead to later risk-taking behaviour. They do not show an aetiological causality for sexual orientation which is what you seemed to be implying.

                    • Dad

                      Tom and Ryan demonstrate my point well about how medical science has been poisoned. A scientist must be neutral. Activists like Tom and Ryan are anything but.

                      Look at Tom’s comment, “Dad, these show that many homosexual children have been abused which may lead to later risk-taking behaviour. They do not show an aetiological causality for sexual orientation which is what you seemed to be implying.”

                      It is hard for me to not be utterly disdainful and say something our gracious host would rightly condemn. Did I say that these studies proved causation? Do you know how we would have to prove causation? We would have to purposefully molest children and then follow them. Not going to happen. Yet, the incidence of childhood molestation among male homosexuals/female homosexuals is 6 and 22 times, respectively, their heterosexual counterparts.

                      My question is why did Tom make the straw man comment? To make a pun, he is grasping at straws in his overt hostility to any medical science result that might paint homosexuality in anything but a rosy light.

                    • Tom

                      And you don’t think your posts have been aggressive, if not to say contemptuous? You seem to be unaware of nuance in your use of language and if you did not mean to imply causation it is for you to clarify that a little more courteously than you have and not to berate your readers who might justifiably have taken that implication from what you originally posted. Your use of words like “poisoned”, “sad”, “discredited” “anecdotal”, “liberal”, “elitist” show you above the undergrowth with as much an agenda as those of us you say you are so disdainful of.

                    • Mark Baddeley

                      Tom: Dad, these show that many homosexual children have been abused which may lead to later risk-taking behaviour. They do not show an aetiological causality for sexual orientation which is what you seemed to be implying.

                      Riskier behaviour is only the case for the first study quoted – Dad seems to have quoted the studies from the weakest to the strongest for his case.

                      The second study indicates that 37% of homosexual and bisexual men were forced or encouraged to have a relationship with a significantly older person (median age difference – 10 years older) when they were of a median age of 10. The study concluded that more than 90% of those incidents should be classified as sexual abuse.

                      It’s unlikely a study would find that heterosexual men had a rate of 37% being led into a sexual relationship at age 10 with someone age 20, or that more than 90% of those had experienced abuse. Far more homosexual men appear to have had a childhood history of abusive sex than heterosexual men.

                      The third study brings out the contrast even more clearly. 46% of homosexual men reported homosexual molestation as children compared to 7% among heterosexual men. That’s more than six times as many. It’s even bigger gulf for women – lesbians report 22% homosexual molestation as children, heterosexual women only 1%. that’s a staggering twenty two times differential.

                      As far as I can see there’s only three likely explanations, if the studies are reliable:

                      1) homosexuals overreport sexual abuse in their childhood and/or heterosexuals underreport it. And by a staggeringly different amount.

                      2) same sex sexual abuse before adulthood is a factor in many adults self-identifying as homosexual (but not the only factor – many homosexual adults report no such experience, and there are heterosexual adults with such experiences who self-identify as heterosexual)

                      3) something about being homosexual makes one more likely to be abused in a same sex relationship as a child

                      1 and 3 both seem to strain credibility (especially 3) but sometimes science discovers counter-intuitive things like that. But if they’re both wrong, then 2 is the most likely explanation – some kind of causal relationship that is a factor in many, but not all, homosexual identities.

                      Something has to explain a six-fold difference in the experience of childhood homosexual abuse among homosexual and heterosexual men, and a twenty-two fold difference in the experience of childhood homosexual abuse among homosexual and heterosexual women.

                      If it was completely irrelevant, we should expect the percentages to be roughly the same between homosexual and heterosexual adults of both genders.

                    • Dad

                      Tom writes, “…if you did not mean to imply causation it is for you to clarify that a little more courteously than you have and not to berate your readers who might justifiably have taken that implication from what you originally posted.”

                      Okay. I should have predicted your straw man fallacy and spoken to it pre-emptively? How about you not make obvious straw man arguments? And why do you make obvious straw man arguments except for duplicity?

                      While we are at it, why don’t you speak to the results? It is not incumbent for me to prove causality (as it would require horribly unethical experiments). Rather, it is incumbent for you to explain how something as horrific as child abuse to have a statistical relationship with something that we are to take to be morally neutral and not pathological.

                    • William

                      Child sexual abuse certainly is horrific, not only because it is morally abhorrent in itself, but because of its often long-lasting repercussions. But we cannot conclude that it is THE cause of homosexuality, since most homosexual people were NOT sexually abused.

                      However, this is irrelevant to the Jones & Yarhouse study. Let us ignore all criticisms of their study and accept it at its face value. One thing is clear from it: even if some people’s sexual orientation does change, most people’s does not. Dad’s statistics, be they valid or not, do not affect that conclusion.

                    • Mark Baddeley

                      William, I agree that sexual abuse is not the cause of homosexuality, even on the studies Dad has quoted. For what it is worth, I’m not sure that Dad was suggesting that it was. I think he was indicating that there is evidence to indicate that it is a cause – a factor that is not sufficient (for some people experience abuse and end up self-identifying as heterosexual) nor necessary (for most people who self-identify as homosexual have not had that in their history), but does seem to be associated with a homosexual identity in a way that is quite disproportional to a heterosexual identity. That suggests it is possibly/likely to be an important factor in a significant number (a bit over one in three men, a bit over one in five women) of homosexual identities.

                      Despite what you’re arguing here, that’s not irrelevant to the study in question. One part of the argument seems to have been:

                      A: Even if the findings of the study are true, this therapy is a waste of time because the percentage of people who shift from a homosexual identity to a heterosexual identity is so low.

                      B: So low? Most therapies would kill to have these success rates.

                      A: Yes, but they are addressing actual problems, and there’s nothing problematic about same-sex attraction.

                      B: Well, yes there is, look at how many people who experience same-sex attraction seem to have sexual abuse in their childhood. Doesn’t that suggest that there’s something odd going on? Should the majority of people who experience same-sex abuse as children be ending up with same-sex attraction if same-sex attraction is entirely healthy?

                      A: That’s irrelevant. The study in question shows that the success rates are very low.

                      The studies Dad quoted aren’t irrelevant, because one of the arguments against the jones and yarhouse study has been that there is no justification for the treatment given that homosexuality is entirely non-problematic. The studies Dad has quoted raise the possibility that that is not the case. And if that is the not case, then even the ‘low’ success rates would justify it as a therapy given that we accept much lower rates for other valid therapies.

  • Tom

    "Same-sex sexual acts are never affirmed and always denounced in Scripture…and for good reason. CDC reports 44 times the incidence of STDs, including AIDS…."

    Sibyl, this is the same order of argument as used by Jews who claim that circumcision was imposed by the Deity to protect us from STDs, phimosis and cervical cancer and that eating pigmeat was forbidden to protect us from tapeworms. Both are anachronisms and both are wrong – read "The Abominations of Leviticus" by Prof. Mary Douglas in her magisterial Purity and Danger if you want to find out why – but worse you might as well say that sex is dangerous and therefore to be avoided in any of its manifestations – STDs are not confined to same-sex activity and pregnancy itself brings huge risks – much worse before the advent of modern obstetrics. Living is dangerous but we do what we can to mitigate the dangers. Taking a Stalinist approach to difference is not the answer, Sibyl, but a symptom of terror at living.

    As for the study itself, Peter bemoans the fact that Box Turtle does not seem to have read the full study but has presumably only based its comments on the summary on the Jones-Yarhouse website. I have tried without success to get hold of the full study to read, short of subscribing to the Journal. I can only say this. If the conclusions of the study are as world-shaking as the recent reports concerning faster-than-light-neutrinos seems to show ( http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=… ) shouldn't we expect that the authors would make the study more easily accessible?

    Having said that, I thought a number of the comments made some generally valid points. Why don't they use their techniques to change the urges of pedophiles from children to adults? Surely no group of people would welcome being relieved of their "unwanted attractions" than these unfortunates? You never hear of about this from NARTH and its ilk.

    The authors do try to answer the question about why they don't use psychobiological measurements to assess change. I think it is highly unlikely that anyone could disguise sexual response to images in an MRI scan and it would get away from many of the objections to the use of penile tumescence measuring devices, so why don't they submit their successful ex-gays to that? It would provide the evidence we are looking for – before and after treatment preferably.

    • Philip Cole

      Tom

      I just want to respond to a couple of your points here:

      1) It isn't really surprising that the full study should only be available from the Journal. This is common practice with academic articles and they do after all have to cover their costs. I also think that, with respect, this is a case of 'damned if they do and damned if they don't'. One of the main attacks of gay rights organisations on such papers is that they are never published in peer-reviewed academic journals. This is not the case with this J&Y paper. I suspect that if J&Y made a big play of promoting the findings of the study they would start getting similar types of attacks.

      2) That is also not the way that science is done, and J&Y are good social scientists. As I said in my earlier comment, some of the strengths of this paper are, firstly, the lengthening time series of what is now a fairly stable group that have gone through the Exodus ministry programme and, secondly what seems to be the methodological rigour with which they have approached their subject.

      3) The common criticism seems to be that 'only' 23% of the sample have self-reported significant change. In fact this is a very high success rate when set against other ministries that try to change behaviour which participants do not want but which they experience as compulsive and difficult to change. The obvious comparisons are with alcohol and substance abuse ministries and programmes, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, where a success rate of 10% is not uncommon.

      4) The supposedly low success rate can also be argued the other way. The American sample from which the participants have been taken are probably mostly conservative Christians who wish to bring their sexual behaviour in line with their beliefs. They are therefore in a vulnerable situation and will not have been immune to the powerful and extensive pressures coming from a society and its media that proclaims that gay identity is to be embraced and celebrated, in conflict to their deeply held beliefs. Everything except their faith, the ministry and their Christian brothers and sisters (and often not all of them!) is telling them that their pursuit of sexual orientation change is not just futile but damaging! It is not surprising that some would fail!

      • Tom

        Hello Philip

        Thank you for helpfully pointing out how an academic study is operated, but it has to be said that because a study is accepted for publication by peer-review does not mean that the reviewers necessarily agree with its conclusions. It simply means that in their opinion it has been conducted sufficiently rigorously within the rules of that particular discipline. Nor, unfortunately, does it mean that the reviewers have managed to spot all the flaws that later critiques may uncover. Have they have met all the criticisms of the failings of their study of 2007? See a three-part critique by Patrick Chapman PhD, in particular Part 3 examining if it is harmful http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2007/11/a-critique-o

        The authors themselves in a press release say the following:

        "In short, the results do not prove that categorical change in sexual orientation is possible for everyone or anyone, but rather that meaningful shifts along a continuum that constitute real changes appear possible for some".

        This is a much more circumspect claim than what has been blazoned over the Christian Right media.

        In answer to David about self-reporting as evidence, surely we have to treat this with a great deal of care since it is clear that people can, and often do, blind themselves to unwelcome facts.

        In a discussion of the paper on Ex Gay Watch Dave Rattigan mentions that Warren Throckmorton says about a similar study that Yarhouse has conducted on husbands and wives in mixed orientation marriages:

        "People adapt their behaviour to their beliefs and commitments but their orientation does not shift on average". Rattigan welcomes the honesty of this research and points out that Throckmorton in his own research on men in mixed orientation marriage actually tend to become more gay over time.

        http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/tag/ex-gay/

        The whole thing is clearly a can of worms and from what Ryan and William have said about ex-ex-gays, it seems ex-gay therapy is not quite the unproblematic panacea the Christian Right would love it to be.

        • Philip Cole

          Tom

          Thanks for the two links that you posted which I found very interesting, especially Warren Throckmorton's site which I have not spent much time on before. I've got a couple of responses:

          1. Jones and Yarhouse have posted a very full response to Chapman's criticisms of their study under the 'Responses to Criticisms' section of their website (towards the bottom) at http://www.exgaystudy.org/
          2. I found WT's site to be very useful and honest. He seems to have changed his position more recently. A very good New York Times article to which he links from his website saying it gives an accurate assessment of his views (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/magazine/therapists-who-help-people-stay-in-the-closet.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2) asserts that he accepts that homosexuality is unchangeable. There is also a link to the Sexual Identity Therapy (SIT) (http://sitframework.com/) in which he has been involved with Yarhouse and others. The SIT framework argues for 'a three-tier distinction (between attractions, orientation and identity), weigthed aspects of identity (e.g., gender identity, biological sex, attractions, behaviors, etc.), and congruence (so that beliefs/values are reflected in behavior/identity)'.

          As I posted earlier, I was drawn to Peter's quotes of the J&Y study on sexual identity and Throckmorton seems to have made similar findings. To repeat from Peter's block quote at the top, 'In some individuals, a shift in sexual identity might subsequently be consolidated as true shift in sexual orientation'.

          It seems to me there might be the beginings of a fledgling consensus based on the research, which can even be seen in a close reading of the APA report on SOCE last year. If I can try to summarise, I see this as:

          1. Full sexual orientation change along the Kinsey scale from homosexual to heterosexual is very rare, if documented at all. In most people who have gone through SOCE ministries, some degree of same-sex attraction remains. There is however evidence that at least some people in SOCE ministries change sexual orientation to a degree that they see as significant and important in their lives.
          2. Most of the people entering SOCE ministries are conservative Christians who have experience same-sex attraction (SSA) as unwanted. They wish to reconcile the tension between their beliefs, their sexual orientation and their sexual identity. There is evidence that at least a significant proportion of such people going through SOCE ministries are able to either resolve or significantly dimish these tensions through achieving congruence between their Christian beliefs and their sexual identity.
          3. The APA recommended in its SOCE report that approaches should be client centred and should be guided by their expressed goals. While the formal position of the APA remains that sexual orientation is unchangeable and should not be attempted, they seem to recognise that sexual identity could change in a way that meets the clients goals and enables them to live a more integrated life.

          It seems to me that there might at least be the beginnings of agreement around the concept of human autonomy of belief and action – essentially that both people who wish to identify as gay as well as people who want to leave a gay identity have the right to support and therapy which affirms and supports their beliefs and freedom of choice.

          • Tom

            Philip,

            Throckmorton it seems has the (cautious?) respect of both sides; whether his view that "behaviour can change, but orientation does not" gets to leaven the lump of the 'lifestyle' dogmatist supporters of NARTH, deadletter ideas we see constantly trumpeted on Anglican Mainstream and in Uganda and Nigeria….we can only hope. But I think William is right when he says the days of ex-gay ministries and of other sexual orientation change programs are numbered. But if their advocates really believe they work then we should challenge them to apply their care in the direction of paedophilia and try helping people burdened with such unwanted attractions which cause real harm.

    • David

      Tom, I'm pretty sure that you would try hard to find ways to reject any evidence that people's sexual attractions had been changed. However, if people report feeling changed attractions, that is good evidence..

      Anyway, blood flow measurements and MRIs are not measures of attraction – just some stimulation. Wasn't there a recent study that found increased blood flow (in female genetalia) that indicated appartent sexual stimulation when seeing same sex figures even when the subject reported no conscious attraction (and said that she had no same-sex attractions outside the test conditions either). Depending on what you believe about SSA you can either claim that these women were unconsciously bisexual, or that these measurements of apparent sexual stimulation are not actually measurements of the subjects sexual attractions… After all, sexual attraction is in the mind, not the genetalia.

      Regarding STDs, I think you can say that they are more of a "judgment" on bad sexual behaviour that lung cancer and heart disease are judgements on cigarette smoking.

      But, of course, the bad behaviour is promiscuity. Homosexuals only suffer very high rates of STDs on average because promiscuity is much higher among MSM than among most other groups in the population.

      Finally, I think the publisher is reasonable to ask for 21 quid to cover their costs but, after paying, you can download the whole paper here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/009262

      • Tom

        I was referring to MRI scans of the brain. There is no doubt that the MRI scan is a useful tool in showing increased blood flow in areas that govern speech and language, arousal, emotion and so on and even unconscious reactions can be revealed. I myself am a volunteer guinea-pig in some of this research. For instance at Cambridge University they are doing scans on people being shown 'normal' and 'abnormal' faces and measuring the reactions, not all of which are consciously reported by the subject.

        Whether I am determined to try to find ways to reject evidence that people's sexual attractions have been changed, presume away all you like – as far as I am concerned I would be more interested in the truth, if this or some other study less dependent on self-report (so more objective?) could show it. The consensus of scientific research seems to be that sexual orientation is not a result of choice or faulty parenting as people desperate to justify religious dogma cling on to but is set at some developmental stage in the womb and hard-wired by birth. This may be wrong but so far it is the best we have.

        • David

          That might be the consensus in the popular mind, and it would be a brave researcher that said much different in public given the animosity from the "liberal" side, but it is not very well supported by the facts:

          The hard, measureable and repeateable fact is that even identical twins have only a ~20% chance that if one is gay as an adult, the other is too. Two guys who shared the same genes, same womb and same family environment! That hardly puts sexual orientation in the same category as sex, eye colour, or even intelligence!

          Then of course there are the studies that show that about 10% of male and 25% of female adoloescents experience some same-sex attraction, but only about 2.5% are primarily same-sex attracted as adults plus about 1% are bisexually attracted.

          To me those facts, that appear in lots of studies, point to some genetic or developmental predisposition and a larger effect of formative experience.

          • Tom

            David, the fact that twin studies show a marked difference between mono- and dizygotic twins – Bailey found it was up to 52% for MZ against 22% congruence for DZ twins indicates more than one factor is at work, a combination of genes plus environment perhaps. Even if you dispute Bailey's figures, there is still a much larger congruence between MZ than DZ twins. Obviously you would expect it to be much more complex than setting eye-colour. Glenn Wilson and Qazi Rahman's Born Gay is still the most useful summary of the science, going through all the avenues of approach, including things like birth-order effect. Chapter 10 'The science of sexual orientation and society' gives a useful resumé of, in their words, the 'wealth of scientific information that sexual orientation is something we are born with and is not "acquired" from our social environment'.

            However is you have a vested interest in keeping the notion that sexual orientation is 'curable', nothing is going to convince you that God made people that way. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Ps 139:13. But perhaps he did.

            I might say back to you a variation of your own words: "I’m pretty sure that you would try hard to find ways to reject any scientific evidence that people’s sexual attractions are fixed before birth".
            I am less sanguine than you that if people report feeling changed attractions, that is good evidence….we have seen too often in the history of the ex-gay movement that people can lie to themselves – all for the noblest reasons.

            • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

              Tom,

              I think you've actually banged the nail on the head of what the twin studies tell us which is namely:

              i) There is some form of biological basis for homosexuality (whether that is genetic, ante-natal or some other factor); and

              ii) There is also clearly some form of environmental factor involved as well

              This tells us a number of things:

              i) Different people experience homosexuality in different ways

              ii) The root causes of homosexuality vary from individual to individual (though common factors might be identified in sub-groups of the "whole homosexual population"

              iii) Even IF sexual orientation change efforts work for one individual, there is therefore no guarantee they will work for another since the cause of person 2's homosexuality will likely be different to person 1's

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  • Chattahoochee River

    Reparative therapy is not dangerous compared with the homosexual lifestyle with its usual tendencies toward addictions, drugs, alcohol, obsessive thoughts and behaviors, porn, etc.

    Real change is hard as with any sinful or harmful proclivity, alcohol, gambling, etc.

    Change is also rare because people are not inclined or able to fight anything hard and faithfully without a reason and without the help and power of GOD. We are powerless to save ourselves.

    The Love of Christ is the reason that inspires real longterm day-by-day change. When you know and love Him, you find He is worth more and fulfills more than mere sex or human relationships. Sex loses its first place priority and grip.

    Worship, (communion with Christ) supplants the inferior (and harmful) activity with a greater happiness – pure, holy JOY!

    • ryan

      Ah, the "homosexual lifestyle". Would people in polite company refer now to the "black lifestyle" or the "Jew lifestyle" as a universally negative pattern of behavior that *all* (or at least) most of the said group indulge in? The answer is obviously "no", and there's a reason for that.

      Assuming you don't mean "homosexual lifestyle" to mean interior decorating and camping about, then presumably you're talking of drugs and casual sex. Why does someone need to change their sexual orientation to abandon particular risky behaviours? The average city centre on a Friday or Saturday night would suggest that the "heterosexual lifestyle" consists of sexual mayhem, booze,drugs and fights too. Clearly someone who becomes a Christian will have to renounce such behaviors (although, in my experience, the yoof-friendly environs of evangelical churches tend to be not exactly a stranger to heavy drinking) – not change their orientation. The fact you genuinely appear to regard "gay" as synonymous with "rampant promiscuity" is part of the problem. This was not a study on "slut conversion therapy".

    • Tom

      What could be more dangerous than suicide?

      Warren Throckmorton has posted this in the last few days on his website:

      "NARTH Report: Suicide attempts increase during sexual orientation change therapy"

      http://wthrockmorton.com/2011/09/26/narth-report-

  • ryan

    Ryan has actually read the DSM-IV TR which (apparently) distinguishes him from the ex-gay brigade and those making overmuch of this study (c.f. point on paraphilias)…..

  • http://www.twitter.com/cerebusboy cerebusboy

    (should say that I know it's ICD in the UK! the same issues apply tho, and most psychologists of my acqaintance – a not, er, insignificance number ;) – prefer the DSM-IV, presumably, in part, because the ICD necessarily includes explicitly physical maladies too, and its personality disorders section etc are a bit over-inclusive/needlessly pathologising)

    Yours, excited to have finally worked out html ;)

  • ryan

    There is no scientific consensus. The hard facts are that the APA 1973 decision was made NOT in the light of any particular objective studies that changed the consensus. If you want to argue otherwise please point us to the papers that were cited in the 1973 decision.

    I'm curious what you regard as "science" in regards to psychology/psychiatry; many people, for example, regard the current system of Personality Disorder diagnosis as wholly spurious. And what kind of "objective" studies would satisfy you? Of course lobbying was a feature in the 1973 decision, but I'm not sure on what "scientific" basis they would overturn it. Pointing out the genetic component of sexuality hardly "negates" the gay lobby; for years homosexuality was pathologised because it was thought to be "unnatural" which (in the strictest sense) is demonstrably untrue. Similarly, a whole unfounded sub-Fredian homosexual aetiology of weak father etc (that NARTH et all are still a fan of) was spouted; the burden of proof is on those who would claim such cliches as valid. Scientists tend not, as analogy, to be forced to devote their time to "proving" that Jews don't just care about money or that blacks are not preoccupied with basketball and watermelon.

    There is already a DSM Code, 302.9 "Sexual Disorder Not Otherwise Specified" which can include "3.Persistent and marked distress about sexual orientation". So misdiagnosing someone with that disorder – by giving them treatment for homosexuality per se which is not in fact listed as a disorder – is duplicitous and unprofessional (at best). The fact that it is legitimate to provide treatment/counseling for issues *related to* a sexual orientation does in no way necessarily mean that "curing" the orientation is an acceptable treatment plan.

  • ryan

    Is there any way to determine whether an infant (say) or young child is "heterosexual" or "homosexual"? Surely professional ethics (as well as basic morality) means that there is not a control group for such an experiment, meaning that we can't rule out a "development factor" for *any* kind of sexuality?

    There was amusing episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm recently, where Larry bought a sewing kit for a very flamboyant boy's birthday. The kid loved the gift, the mom thought a football would be far more appropriate. But, stereotypes aside, I'm not sure how we can definitively put someone (pre-puberty) at any point on the sexuality spectrum.

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  • ryan

    Now, odds ratios greater than 2 is huge. No drug could make it on the market if it raised the risk of major mental health disorder by 1.25.

    I think the long and not terribly glorious history of psychiatric medication, especially the side-effects profiles of some SSRIs and most antipsychotics, would negate that point.

    Drugs are a better analogy than smoking, but even then you’re not comparing like with like. “Don’t be gay” (!) is hardly a comparable choice to “don’t smoke”, is it?

    And of course you’re again talking about tiny minorities. Do most gay men have mental health problems demonstrably caused by the sexuality per se? Of course not. And one imagines that it would be perfectly orthodox – in every sense- to imagine that the heterosexually promiscous person would also (reaping what they sow?) be at higher risk for mental health problems; “promiscuity is bad for you” again in no way means that “homosexuality is intrinsically wrong”.

    And from the study you yourself quote:
    “Conclusion The findings support the assumption that people with same-sex sexual behavior are at greater risk for psychiatric disorders.”

    Exactly.
    You’ll also find that women are more likely to be depressed than men; that does not, irrespective of the statistical relation between the two groups, make “being female” a mental disorder.

    (On top of which the Dutch study is usually emphasised because, the dutch being a happy-go-lucky sexually frisky potsmoking bunch, any relevant mental health problems amongst its gays clearly can’t have anything to do with societal homophobia. Nonsense. Cultural heterosexism and attendant pressures do not disappear overnight)

    • Dad

      This is simply wrong: “I think the long and not terribly glorious history of psychiatric medication, especially the side-effects profiles of some SSRIs and most antipsychotics, would negate that point.”

      You intentionally blur side effects such as dry mouth or decreased libido (untreated major depression also decreases libido).

      Drugs are a better analogy than smoking, but even then you’re not comparing like with like. “Don’t be gay” (!) is hardly a comparable choice to “don’t smoke”, is it?

      The homosexual community has long blurred the distinction between homosexuality, that is to say engaging in same-sex sexual acts with having same sex attractions. The purpose of this is to push the innateness of homosexuality. “I have same sex attractions…I can’t help myself, I have to act on them!” Ryan mocking “don’t be gay” is false portrayal of conservatives. What we are saying is that the “Gay is just another way, neither bad nor good” is false. Societies get to decide societal norms. Homosexuality is not equivalent to heterosexuality. There are significant physical and mental health risks.

      You’ll also find that women are more likely to be depressed than men; that does not, irrespective of the statistical relation between the two groups, make “being female” a mental disorder.

      If you note my first criterion for a disease/disorder, it was that the condition needs to be fairly rare. This explains why homosexual proponents have continued to push stats that everyone knew were outright lies, such as Kinsey’s 10% homosexual prevalence.

      And of course you’re again talking about tiny minorities.

      Sorry. We are not. We are talking about incidences of major depression and other mental health issues on the order of 50%.

      One of the key factors of the declassification in the DSM III was that there supposedly was NO linkage between homosexuality and axis I/II disorders: “Gonsiorek (1982) argued there was no data showing mental differences between gays and straights–or if there was any, it could be attributed to social stigma. Similarly, Ross (1988) in a cross-cultural study, found most gays were in the normal psychological range.” Only after the declassification was the linkage acknowledged.

      Ryan points out correctly that promiscuity, whether heterosexual or homosexual, has significant medical effects. What he hasn’t proved is that (male) homosexuality isn’t inextricably linked to promiscuity. “83% of the homosexual men surveyed estimated they had had sex with 50 or more partners in their lifetime, 43% estimated they had sex with 500 or more partners; 28% with 1,000 or more partners. Bell and Weinberg”

      • ryan

        You intentionally blur side effects such as dry mouth or decreased libido (untreated major depression also decreases libido)

        No, the side-effects of antidepressants include far more than mere dry mouth as I’m sure you well know (although for the record : http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Antidepressant-drugs/Pages/Side-effects.aspx )

        However my specific point was about antipsychotics, and I was thinking of Tardive Dyskinesia, a drug-induced, crippling movement disorder:
        http://www.mind.org.uk/help/diagnoses_and_conditions/tardive_dyskinesia

        Controversial “anti-psychiatrist” Peter Breggin has (having done the relevant analysis) established that *all* patients who take antipsychotics long-term are likely to succumb to it. That might seem alarmist, but you’ll note that even The Royal College of Psychiatrists website is forced to acknowlege that TD effects one in twenty every year who take the medication :
        http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfo/treatments/antipsychoticmedication.aspx

        In contrast, most people who have “been gay” (let me stress that is you, not I, who objects to the more useful term MSM) for 20 years manifestly do not have AIDS, bowel cancer etc etc. So your original point about homosexuality’s dangers fare outweighing any prescribed drug is demonstrably untrue, although I’ll concede that it’s arguably something of a truism that “if psychiatric drugs were prescribed to anyone other than mental patients they would have been banned years ago”

        Societies get to decide societal norms. Homosexuality is not equivalent to heterosexuality. There are significant physical and mental health risks.

        Have you seen the cost of the Welfare State? You could say, perfectly logically, that being able-bodied is the norm and a societal good. Does that mean that the disabled ought to persecuted? Of course not. White anglo-saxon males of a certain age might be the most economically productive; are those not in those groups deserving of societal “disapproval” (up to an including criminalisation?) Again, of course not. In a free society we do not (or should not) vote on the civil rights of others (and, in this point if nothing else, gay people are entirely consistent with the struggle for other civil rights, unless you’re really going to try and deny that past persecution of particular racial groups was not a form of – White – Majority Rule). The curious dillemma for the right-wing antigay agitator is that they find themselves moving ever further from libertarianism and in the curious position of simultaneously believing in a small state but that the State, simultaneously, has a place in snooping – and criminalising – the private behaviour of consenting adults. ‘Gay rights’ are entirely sensible elaborations from The Bill of Rights, or key principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness etc. Of course, if you genuinely believe that anything less-than-ideal for society ought not to be allowed in law then I assume you’re as committed to Prohibition as you are to fighting the good Anti-Gay Fight ;-)

        Sorry. We are not. We are talking about incidences of major depression and other mental health issues on the order of 50%.

        ? 50% of gay men have clinical depression or similar? And this figure hasn’t in any way decreased with a diminution of societal homophobia? seriously?

        Ryan mocking “don’t be gay” is false portrayal of conservatives.

        Again, you were the one who rejected the (factual, useful) MSM label; there is a reason why fair-minded conservatives – such as the, on this issue, representative Robert Gagnon use terms like “homosexual practise”. If your problem is with anal sex (although, serious question, why only condemn the gays for this? Straight women don’t have the “excuse” of the prostate orgasm hot-button) then MSM is relatively accurate (although not entirely so – men have perform or receive fellatio on other guys are not likely to die of AIDS, although presumably you condemn them too). “Gay” in no way necessarily equates to “lots of promiscous sex” (you’d surely concede that even if a NUMBER of same-sex men do have oodles of sex the sexual orientation *per se* does not necessitate promiscuity?)

        • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

          Sorry. We are not. We are talking about incidences of major depression and other mental health issues on the order of 50%.

          ? 50% of gay men have clinical depression or similar? And this figure hasn’t in any way decreased with a diminution of societal homophobia? seriously?

          I tend not to go for these arguments anymore, but have been fascinated by this recent Dutch study which basically answers your question with a big fat “Nope, they’ve stayed the same even in a highly tolerant society”.

  • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

    Can I remind commentators that discussion of reports and research is good, but name-slinging is not.

    • ryan

      Which hopefully goes for the conservative commentators too Peter?

      For example, you’ll note that “Dad” ignored all the substantive points of my response in favour of merely calling me and Tom as (unlike him?) not neutral or scientific; surely, in the context, as much of an ad hom as the more obvious “you suck!” variety? And, given that I don’t exactly go door to door promoting teh Gay Agenda (nor would it be directly relevant if I did) you could say the same thing about Dad’s “activist” slam.

      • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

        Read what I said. Pointing out, “but Jimmy also hit me”, really isn’t becoming of you.

      • Dad

        Since when is activist is a “slam”? If I call Peter+ a Christian activist, would he be offended? Hardly. If Ryan chooses to take offence, so be it.

        • ryan

          Try calling Peter an “antigay activist” and see the response you get. And this isn’t about me being “offended”. Nice try. 30 or 40 years ago your prejudiced guff above might have had traction, but, unfortunately for you, most people now know that MOST gay people are, not, in fact, AIDS-ridden drug addicts, which negates rather your attempts to make overarching generalisations that damn homosexuality per se on the basis of (again) TINY MINORITIES.

          And there’s all the points above still awaiting reply if scientific o-so-objective you wishes to don the white smock and rubber gloves?

          • Dad

            Quite the distortionist. You said explicitly that “activist” was insulting (or “slam” to use your vernacular). Of course, if I called Peter+ a neo-nazi activist, it would be insulting. That is a straw man.

            Your portrayal of my position is that homosexuals are AIDS-ridden drug addicts is outright offensive. I have never said anything of the sort. I don’t believe it. Never have believed it. I would ask our host to stop your vile attempt to portray me as an Westboro Baptist type.

            I have made myself clear. You said that homosexuality isn’t a disease or disorder because the very biased APA declared it not to be. I have said that there are numerous co-morbidities associated with homosexuality. This contradicts the (poor quality, patently false) data that the APA relied upon to come to their decision. You harp on the fact that only 3% have HIV (a rate 500 times the general population). But this is not the only co-morbidity but the most serious.

            • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

              Ryan and Dad,

              If you want to continue this conversation I want both of you to respond to the substance of the comments (the facts and figures) and not ad hominem. I am a bit fed up of people misrepresenting the opposing view and then attacking the straw man created.

              Oh, and the first person to cry that I’m being biased to one side get’s stomped on. I’m not. I’m trying to allow conversation across the divide and I’ll do what’s necessary to keep that going.

              • ryan

                Duly noted Peter!

                Dad, that being so, I note that you have again ignored all my key points, even although I have made a point of responding to yours. Perhaps it would be indicative of a genuine commitment to dialogue if you went back and addressed them?

                1) You claimed that no drugs would be prescribed if it had the dangers of homosexuality. You were very disingenous on the side-effect profile of antidepressants. I provided *evidence* on iatrogenic Tardive Dyskinesia, affecting a very high rate of patients who take antipsycotics, at a far higher rate than the HIV/other illness-per-rate-of-gay-men-per-se-one (judged by the stats you yourself supplied). Your original point was thereofore clearly, demonstrably wrong.

                2) You claim that I am blurring categories. You it is you who objects to the useful term MSM because it was coined by the gay lobby. If we are having a “scientific” discussion about the dangers of particular forms of sexual behaviours then it makes far more sense to use MSM than it does the (celibate encompassing) term “gay”.

                3). You claim that it is political correctness that means homosexuality is not judged accurately based on the maladies of a subset of the group. I am saying that we do not generally judge any other group per se on what a minority of its members do/contract. It may be “political correctness” that means some shy away from such generalisations. That does not alter the fact that it is simply poor logic to claim or proceed from the assumption that if a minority of group x do y then all the group are to be judged by y. It is entirely legitimate to question the conclusion that you or anyone else draw from evidence presented

                4). I responded to your point that homosexuality is intrinsically inferior to heterosexuality. Even if true, that does not mean that homosexuality ought, as you claim, to be treated like smoking or drug addiction. We do not, in a free society, persecute “less than ideal” states, and gay rights are an entirely logical elaborations of basic “the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation” “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” principles of western democracy.

                That will do for starters. Please note any points of yours that I have not adressed, and I will of course respond to them in the manner Peter prescribes.

              • Dad

                Straw man after straw man after straw man.

                Ryan: “Condemning homosexuality per se on the basis of (again) tiny, 3.3.% style unrepresentative minorities makes very poor scientific sense.”

                Where did anyone “condemn homosexuality” based on 3.3% have HIV (15.5 times the general population)? Nowhere. That would be a…strawman! I have pointed out (citing the literature) that there are considerably higher rates quite a number of both physical and mental diseases. The APA had assured us that homosexuality did not have these or that they were a result of societal prejudice.

                Ryan: “I responded to your point that homosexuality is intrinsically inferior to heterosexuality.” Where did I say that? Another…straw man. I argue that there significantly co-morbidities associated homosexuality, something the APA said wasn’t the case.

                Ryan: There are other side effects of anti-depressants and anti-psychotics such as tardive dyskinesia. I never said otherwise. Strawman.

                Ryan: Calling Peter+ an anti-gay activist is a “slam”. Never said it. Another…strawman. Ironic that is Ryan who is knowingly using the term “anti-gay” on those who stand for traditional values.

                Ryan: Homosexuals are not AIDS-ridden drug addicts. Never said it. Never thought it. Really reprehensible…strawman.

                And so forth.

                One has to question the integrity of someone who uses strawman arguments repeatedly.

                • Tom

                  So then Dad, having produced all this evidence, what is your point? What are homosexuals to make of it and what do you propose the medical establishment should tell governments to do about it? I am sure you would not agree with King George V who said “Good God, I thought such men shot themselves”. If Jones and Yarhouse recognise their therapies would only work for the minority of people who are homosexually identified what do you think should be done once you get your wish for the APA to reverse its decision to declassify homosexuality?

                  • Dad

                    My point, Tom, before the unleashing of the army of strawmen, was that the APA decision was flawed. The statement “The APA decided homosexuality was not a mental disorder. End of discussion.” Paramount in the decision was the the contention that homosexuality was not associated any higher rates of other mental disorders or if it is, it is due to “repressive societal norms”. This foundational premise is simply false.

                    Tom Baddely, William, and yourself deny that childhood sexual abuse “causes” the homosexuality. First off these comments inappropriately deflect attention from the staggeringly elevated rates of histories of childhood sexual abuse among homosexuals over heterosexuals. Instead of crying “correlation doesn’t imply causation!’, one should be asking why such a high rate. Secondly, there is a notion in psychiatry of “diathesis and stress” that is applicable. (You can google it.) The stressor is one part, possibly a large part, of the development of the mental disorder.

                    I would add that stressors should not be correlated with non-pathological conditions, e.g., a history of date-rape, should not lead to an increased interest in coin collecting, whereas a history of date-rape being correlated with dyspareunia argues that dyspareunia is correctly classified as a disorder. Summary:

                    * If a study shows that psychological trauma leads to an increased prevalence of a condition X, then either 1) the condition X is pathological or 2) the study’s numerical analysis is flawed. *

                    How is this relevant? The hysterical reaction to studies such as this disappear without the “It’s not a disorder!” line. If homosexuality is appropriately reclassified as a paraphilia, and one not without deleterious co-morbidities unlike, say foot fetishism, the house of cards of politically correct pseudo-science falls down.

                    Secondly, the very real mental and physical co-morbidities of homosexuality must be taken into account when discussing reparative therapy. The APA only offers up anecdotal evidence of harm from reparative therapy (“My second cousin has a sister-in-law whose landlord ‘suffered’ from reparative therapy.”) and ignores studies such as this one. An unbiased scientist would thank the authors of the present study and ask if they could fund larger studies to try to better delineate any risks of reparative therapy versus “placebo” do-nothing treatment.

                    To head off a strawman, the reclassification of homosexuality as a paraphilia is NOT justification of the demonization of GLB individuals. That is repugnant, abhorrent, offensive, terrible, horrible, awful,… The Westboro Baptists can go straight to hell.

                    • ryan

                      Serious question Dad: could an argument not be mounted that a particular sexual interest related to sexual abuse IS or should be a paraphilia meaning that it ought not to be conflated with the sexual interest per se? Not to be indelicate, but you could see that someone who (for example) was forced into bondage as a child and who displays such tastes as an adult MAY suffer from a disorder/warrant psychological attention in a way that normal healthy BDSM types do not.

                    • Tom

                      Then, Dad, all said and done the reclassification of homosexuality as a paraphilia would mean precisely what? That all the legal protections following (and perhaps even impinging on) the original APA declassification should be dismantled?

                      And do you suppose that gay people would nonetheless not be subjected to demonisation? (Would this be any improvement on the current religiously inspired condemnation of gay people as “life-style” sinners…?)

                    • Tom

                      The whole concept of paraphilias comes under attack in this paper:
                      http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/GESUND/ARCHIV/MoserKleinplatz.htm#When_Do

                      It is worth reading the whole paper but for now the authors conclude:
                      “A guiding principle in medicine is the dictum “First, do no harm.” The confusion of variant sexual interests with psychopathology has led to discrimination against all “paraphiliacs.” Individuals have lost jobs, custody of their children, security clearances, become victims of assault, etc., at least partially due to the association of their sexual behavior with psychopathology. This is not a new problem for psychiatry. Within the last 100 years, the labeling of other sexual behaviors as pathological (e.g., masturbation, “nymphomania,” homosexuality) has caused untold misery. Judgments should be made on the basis of science, rather than the morality that is popular at the time of a given edition. It is time to reevaluate rigorously the Paraphilia section of the DSM.”

                      There is also a helpful discussion of the problems of the paraphilias and therapy at:

                      http://www.ipce.info/ipceweb/Library/98-053r_fog_eng.htm

                      And to see the list of paraphilias (and how arbitrary it seems) go here:
                      http://www.psychologistanywhereanytime.com/sexual_problems_pyschologist/psychologist_paraphilias_list.htm

                    • Dad

                      Tom, have we decided that the APA was wrong and are moving on? Are you saying that the APA was wrong but we should ignore it so that homosexuals aren’t demonized?

                      Ryan brings up “normal, healthy BDSM.” This makes my stomach turn. He needs to read the song of Solomon to see the true (God’s) intent of sexual intimacy. The world and Satan hate it. They pervert it into prostitution, rape, abuse, fetishism, etc. But sadomasochism provides another good example of how psychological trauma gives rise to paraphilia. Those practising masochism have a higher rate of history of sexual abuse which they transpose for affection. Do I or others demonize the sad individuals whose notion of sexual intimacy has been so corrupted that debasing substitutes for intimate love?

                    • Tom

                      The Song of Songs (if it can be said to be a love ethic for a life-long monogamous relationship) should perhaps be promoted among those “normal” heterosexuals, who have staggering divorce rates, a vast number of whom are evangelical Christians who say they believe every word Jesus spoke (though not on divorce, it seems).

                      I have posted something earlier which for some reason is “awaiting moderation”. It anticipates your question.

                    • Dad

                      Aah, the red herring of evangelical Christian divorce. A quick, off topic addressing that. Evangelical Christians have a lower divorce rate than others, still too high. George Barna points out that the many of the divorced evangelicals become evangelical after their first marriage. And this:

                      Conservative 28%
                      Moderate 33%
                      Liberal 37%
                      Overall 33%

                      http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/15-familykids/42-new-marriage-and-divorce-statistics-released

                    • Tom

                      Another nice try Dad,”straw men, ad hom” and now “red herring” you cry. Anything it seems to avoid responding to the substance of our posts. What other rhetorical device are you going to accuse us of before you get down to answering Ryan’s and my questions?

                    • Tom

                      Dad, is your objection to the APA’s delisting of homosexuality just the rage of Caliban……or do you have some positive proposals to make?

                      Here are some, for starters
                      1) the whole issue of paraphilias at the APA; DSM-V is not going to reverse its decision on homosexuality so get used to it,

                      2) the use AND the misuse of medical data by American Rightwing Christian fundies like Michele Bachmann in her pronouncements against HPV vaccinations:
                      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/14/michele-bachmann-hpv-vaccine
                      c.f. the increase in throat cancers in the US due to increase in oral sex – and it can be passed in kissing. The issue of co-morbidities is not limited to homosexual sex. Sex itself is risky. Period.
                      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/04/health/research/04hpv.html

                      3) the non-demonisation and protection of minorities IF you had you way and the APA did realist homosexuality as a paraphilia HOW would this be avoided? – see my post above about the demonisation of people under a psychopathological diagnosis.

                    • Dad

                      Back on topic, I appreciate the references, Tom (and the lack of strawmen) though it lead me to delve into very disturbing depravity that people are trying to normalize. The attempted normalization actually is far more disturbing than the depravity.

                      Again, I list my incomplete list of criteria that suggest a condition is a disease/disorder: It must be rare (thus, being female is not a disorder). There are recognized co-morbidities (major depression, substance abuse). Stressors (physical or mental) are associated with the condition. You have not commented on stressors should not be associated with a non-pathological conditions.

                      Only in the bizarre world of secular psychiatry would they contemplate denying that cross dressing, sadomasochism, frotterism, voyeurism, etc., are not disorders. One of your references addressed paedophilia, saying that it still would be criminal, but it should not considered a mental disorder. In other words, go ahead and engage in sexual fantasies involving children – no problems, just don’t act on them.

                      I was actually not aware that many paraphilias had already been removed from the list of disorders such as transvestism. So I guess a man whose father had dressed him as a girl and raped him, can’t go to a psychiatrist to try to rid himself of the fact that he now practices transvestism. “It’s not a disorder!”, would be the response. And presumably someone who fantasizes about children also can’t approach a psychiatrist to rid himself of such thoughts. “It’s not a disorder!”

                      Regarding sadomasochism, I suppose that you are with Ryan that is all just good fun. I read that there are many others in this camp. Again, with the desired declassification would come the abandonment of the poor soul who had been abused as a child and now engages in masochism. I read one survey that those who engage in sadomasochism are much more likely to engage in anal sex, fisting, rimming, multiple sexual partners, homosexual sex and so on. But apparently the authors noted that particpants scored lower on some calmness scale. Thus, the authors concluded that the dangerous sexual practices would be ignored because the participants were calm! The feminists apparently defend lesbian sadomasochism. Welcome to the completely twisted world of secular psychology.

                      I certainly hope that the APA moves forward with the declassification of all the paraphilias. It will complete its move to irrelevancy. Meanwhile, we will carry on saying that sexual intimacy should be in the setting of marriage and should not debase but should affirm the participants and that procreation is part of the purpose. The people will see the two positions and will be repulsed by the secularists. The message of the Christian church is desperately needed when the western world is being ensnared by the drug of pornography and are being fed the lie that if it feels good, do it.

                    • Dad

                      And yes, evangelical divorce is a red herring. Here is the “logic”:

                      Opponents of homosexual normalization or declassification of its disorderliness are often evangelical Christians. Evangelical Christian divorce is just as high as the general population [not true - see above link]. Therefore we should normalize homosexuality or at the very least, discount their input.

                      See the wikipedia article here:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_wrongs_make_a_right

                      In particular, the two wrongs don’t make a right fallacy: “It is often used as a red herring, or an attempt to change or distract from the issue.” Precisely.

                      And you also can see wikipedia’s article on the straw man:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

                      Ryan has consistently changed my words and then argued against preposterous falsely attributed propositions. This is a strawman. Ryan then doubles down on his strawmen by using bold font and all caps. Whatever.

                      Perhaps, you can then answer me why the “non-disorders” such as masochism or homosexuality have a much higher rates of history of childhood sexual abuse? or why homosexuals have a much higher rate of major depression and substance abuse (across societies with differing degrees of “tolerance”.) Non-pathologies shouldn’t have co-morbidities.

                • ryan

                  LOL! Tell you what Dad, stop ignoring my points and then mibbees you can start expounding on Straw Men?

                  YOU raised the point that homosexuality is not desireable and ergo ought to be condemned by society

                  I never said that YOU called Peter an “anti-gay” activist; I used it show that “activist” a TERM THAT YOU USED can indeed be used as a slam.

                  Of course, anyone can scroll up and see that you’re lying (or, let’s be charitable, ‘misrepresenting’) and make their own judgments about your ‘integrity’ (!). Here’s one good example to make the point.

                  You:
                  Ryan: There are other side effects of anti-depressants and anti-psychotics such as tardive dyskinesia. I never said otherwise. Strawman.

                  This is what you originally gave as the relevant side-effects, accusing me of exaggerating on the dangers of medication:

                  You intentionally blur side effects such as dry mouth or decreased libido (untreated major depression also decreases libido).

                  Anyone can scroll up and see your distortions for all the other points – that, again, you choose to ignore. You do of course realise that merely calling something “Straw” – when it is, however ludicrous, the position that your own posts have argued for is more than a little self-negating? Useful for us dodgy liberals tho, so knock yourself out.

                  Actually, here’s another example:
                  You: Ryan: “I responded to your point that homosexuality is intrinsically inferior to heterosexuality.” Where did I say that? Another…straw man. I argue that there significantly co-morbidities associated homosexuality, something the APA said wasn’t the case.

                  And, from one of your original posts, which, again, anyone can scroll up and see:

                  Societies get to decide societal norms. Homosexuality is not equivalent to heterosexuality. There are significant physical and mental health risks.

                  Of course, I more than willing to concede that the latter point COULD mean that you regard homosexuality as “equal, but different”, but given the context of rest of your comments, that would present a very curious (strawman?) choice of interpretation.

                • ryan

                  And let me clarify for the record:

                  I AM CERTAINLY NOT SAYING THAT THE ONLY DATA YOU HAVE PRODUCED AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY IS HIV RATES!

                  You’ll recall (scroll up!) that my point was that, in a (because of?) PC World (er, not the store), we do not condemn particular groups because of what a tiny minority of their members do/have, irrespective of whether group a has twice the unrepresentative disordered members of group b. This point remains valid irrespective of WHAT particular disorder (HIV, Mental Illness, Both) you show this minority subsection of a group as having. Again, this is a key point of mine that you have not responded to.

        • ryan

          Here’s a (when in Rome ;-)) Telegraph article on black crime. Note, as “scientists” are wont to do, the gulf between the percentage of the population that is black and their far, far higher representation among crime rates. Surely a good non-pc scientists would draw the ‘right’ conclusion?
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/7856787/Violent-inner-city-crime-the-figures-and-a-question-of-race.html

          For the record, this is reductio and absurdum, not ad hom. Would you or any sensible person damn black people per se on the basis of what a small necessarily unrepresentative minority do? Of course not. Yet people persist in absurdities like using, as “proof” of the intrinsic evils of homosexuality, the diseases and actions of figures like 3.3.% (!). Skewed, unscientific, drawing of conclusions from totally shoddy evidence bases. What do you think the proportion of heterosexuals who are into things like promiscuity, anal sex Ann Summers et all? If you think that figure is considerable less than 3% then (fallen human nature being what it is) I think you’re ridiculously over-optimistic.

          The Pope condemning homosexuality as an intrinsic disorder or inclination towards objective evil makes, in its terms, theological sense. Condemning homosexuality per se on the basis of (again) tiny, 3.3.% style unrepresentative minorities makes very poor scientific sense. HIV, as evidenced in the the fact that, you know, close to 97% (a considerable majority) of gays do not get it, is no more homosexuality’s quiddity or coming into being than is anal sex (or, if you’d prefer, sodomy).

          • http://u-church.blogspot.com David Shepherd

            ‘Would you or any sensible person damn black people per se on the basis of what a small necessarily unrepresentative minority do?’

            As a black man, I wouldn’t dismiss the findings, nor assume a racial cause. Regardless of the sample size, the metropolitan crime rate is a real problem. I would examine concomitant social and environmental factors to discover possible correlations there. It wouldn’t hurt to try to alleviate these issues. In other words, targeted improvement of these factors (i.e. prevention) is better than the ‘cure’ of racial profiling (a practice that might be reflected in a disproportionate number of black people arrested and convicted).

            That said, there is no reason to target high-risk homosexual behaviour more than high-risk heterosexual behaviour.

            By comparison, scripture indicates that prosperity is not an iron-clad proof of goodness, and goodness is no guarantee of earthly prosperity (Psalm 71). In fact, Bibles should be clearly labelled with health warnings: the lives of Job and Jesus prove that piety can be harmful to your health (at least in worldly terms), often arousing enough societal antipathy to considerably shorten your lifespan.

  • Tom

    Dad said: “Did I say that these studies proved causation?” You did not. I will now turn the other cheek and admit that when I took you to be implying that I appear to have misread your meaning. But in mitigation I will say that others also felt it important to make clear that we cannot create a link to aetiology from these studies. So, no straw-man arguments were intended and no duplicitousness.
    I will just say this, using words like poison are not exactly helpful in convincing minds (anymore than when Christopher Hitchens uses it to say that religion poisons everything, doing nothing but cause gratuitous offence).

  • Karen

    Peter,

    Am I reading the study right that most of these individuals started out at 3 or 4 on the Kinsey scale? And then moved a point to 2-3? If so, it suggests most of these individuals were bisexual and then are still bisexual but more on the hetero side.

    With this study coming up again, I was looking through some old blog posts and I noticed Warren Throckmorton had responded to a comment of mine essentially saying as much. And I hadn’t really caught that the first time around.

    I am not that good at reading these statistical charts, but it looks like no one in the study put themselves as 5 or 6? They are all bisexual to start? Or at least on average?

    Also, I don’t know if you feel comfortable answering this question, but I was wondering where you would put yourself on the Kinsey scale in your past and where you would put yourself on Kinsey now. Do you see yourself as spouso-sexual with continued SSA or ?

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      The mean of the Kinsey ratings was around 3 to 4. That means some would have reported as 6, some as 3 etc. If you want to know the exact figures, why not ask a question at the website – http://www.exgaystudy.org?

      The significance is that the population as a whole saw a shift of around 1 point on the Kinsey scale. Within that some individuals saw no change (or even a shift up the scale towards more homosexual attraction) and some would have seen more dramatic change down the scale. So *some* of the participants would have been “bisexual” in your categorisation (or more strictly, would have defined themselves as such) and some would have been strictly “homosexual”, but on average, they moved about one point down the scale.

      The problem with the Kinsey scale is that it’s based mainly around actual sexual attraction rather than more complicated issues of emotional and holistic attraction. If you wanted me to mark myself, I guess 15 years ago I would have been somewhere between 5 and 6 and now I’m somewhere between 0 and 3 (depending on the day – no really!). Of course, it’s more complicated then that, because I chose to not identity as “gay” and rather simply to identify as “man”. It strikes me that if you’ve spent most of your life up at the 5/6 end you could have very little idea of what 0/1 looks like (I certainly didn’t) and so to actually categorise yourself is a bit difficult. When one assumes because of one’s base reactions that you are homosexual, it is hard to conceive of yourself as otherwise *even if* that otherwise is actually a distinct possibility. Does that make sense?

  • ryan

    “ACTIVIST” was, as you well know, a slam in the context. You were contrasting scientific you with subjective me and Tom (whilst of course failing to engage with our points). Are you really going to defend the following as anything other than ad hom, non-conducive (to say the least) to any kind of serious dialogue? :

    “Tom and Ryan demonstrate my point well about how medical science has been poisoned. A scientist must be neutral. Activists like Tom and Ryan are anything but.”

    And you do yourself no favours with the Westboro Baptist point. You yourself cited HIV rates among gay men. I pointed out that they are still only a tiny minority. As such, invoking that figure to damn gay men per se very much is the stuff or reductionist dehumanising cliche. And may I point out that this blog probably has more conservative readers and commentators than liberal ones – so any problems here perhaps owe more to you (and of course me!) than they do the host or the topic matter under discussion?

  • ryan

    Tom, have we decided that the APA was wrong and are moving on? Are you saying that the APA was wrong but we should ignore it so that homosexuals aren’t demonized?

    Ryan brings up “normal, healthy BDSM.” This makes my stomach turn. He needs to read the song of Solomon to see the true (God’s) intent of sexual intimacy. The world and Satan hate it. They pervert it into prostitution, rape, abuse, fetishism, etc. But sadomasochism provides another good example of how psychological trauma gives rise to paraphilia. Those practising masochism have a higher rate of history of sexual abuse which they transpose for affection. Do I or others demonize the sad individuals whose notion of sexual intimacy has been so corrupted that debasing substitutes for intimate love?

    Just as well there’s no rape in the OT, eh? *rolls eyes*

    Ryan thought, evidently mistakenly, that you were speaking scientifically. Presumably, now all unacceptable/pathological sex acts are not those associated with paraphilias but those condemned in Scripture? In that light, I’d draw your attention to John McCarthur rebaking Mark Driscoll “exegesis” of Song of Solomon; reducing Scripture to a graphic, pornographic list of permitted sex acts is far more of a slur than anything you can accuse the “gay lobby” of. And of course cultural modes changes. Conservative sites like Christianity Today now , generally speaking, say that anal sex per se is wrong but that oral sex is normal and natural. Mark Driscoll has said that an erotic photo of one’s wife is a “redeemed image” and so it’s perfectly ok to masturbate to (on?) it. Do you really such sites and types would have taken those positions 30 or 40 years ago? If you can mount a proof-texted case (science having failed you yet again) of why oral sex is good but anal sex is not then I’d love to hear it.

    And note, again, all the points above that you’ve still to address. Might make a nice change from lies and ad hom slurs eh?

    speaking of slurs, I was not of course giving my OWN VIEWS on BDSM which (for the record) I have never had any interest in (also for the record: I couldn’t be more celibate if I tried). Nice try.

  • ryan

    Regarding sadomasochism, I suppose that you are with Ryan that is all just good fun.

    LOL! Ad Hom, Straw Man, Slur & Lie in one sentence! I’m “impressed”.

    Perhaps the reader could note that being better than Westboro Baptists is not, in and of itself, a shining credential..

  • ryan

    I was actually not aware that many paraphilias had already been removed from the list of disorders such as transvestism. So I guess a man whose father had dressed him as a girl and raped him, can’t go to a psychiatrist to try to rid himself of the fact that he now practices transvestism. “It’s not a disorder!”, would be the response.

    Rubbish. Surely, even if you do object to particular sexual practises, you can still see the difference between the desire per se and one who’s aetiology is *very probably* related to a particular form of childhood sexual trauma? Treating the paraphilia but not the abuse is self-evidently poor practise.

    And let me reiterate that the idea that the DSM-IV doesn’t enable treatment for problems *relating to sexual orientation* is demonstrably untrue:

    There is already a DSM Code, 302.9 “Sexual Disorder Not Otherwise Specified” which can include “3.Persistent and marked distress about sexual orientation”. So misdiagnosing someone with that disorder – by giving them treatment for homosexuality per se which is not in fact listed as a disorder – is duplicitous and unprofessional (at best). The fact that it is legitimate to provide treatment/counseling for issues *related to* a sexual orientation does in no way necessarily mean that “curing” the orientation is an acceptable treatment plan.

  • ryan

    The message of the Christian church is desperately needed when the western world is being ensnared by the drug of pornography and are being fed the lie that if it feels good, do it.

    The Christian message is not helped by those conflating it with Bad Science. Not all sins are “illnesses” in the psychiatric sense.

  • Tom

    It’s a bit disconcerting that for a second time one of my posts has been caught up in an “awaiting moderation” so losing its place in the trialogue (as this has become) with Dad. I can see it on my computer but I am not sure anyone else can till Peter moderates it. It does not so far appear in the list of latests posts at the top right-hand side of the page. So be patient Dad, your answer will come.

  • Tom

    No Dad, I do not think consensual role-playing between adults is harmful or sinful in your terms. I have absolutely no interest in BDSM myself but unlike you I do not want to dictate moral prescriptions – or indeed proscriptions – on others. The Christian Right with its interference in politics is doing great harm to America and its international reputation as a once-great nation. We are trying to resist its baleful influence here even though bodies like the Christian Institute and Christian Concern for our Nation are trying to take their cue from their American models. We do have the spectre of Catholic bishops particularly in Scotland, presuming to try to impose their dogmatic assumptions on the governments of the kingdom (when many round the world think they have lost any right to be listened to on moral issues – and indeed think that their leader should be answering charges in the international criminal court of the Hague).

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