What is Reparative Therapy?
Reparative therapy is based on the belief that male homosexuality is caused by the homosexual in question being raised by an over-bearing mother and an emotionally absent father, which results in an inability to identify with, and lay claim to, his own masculinity. This, in turn, causes him to sexualize other men in an attempt to become what he wants to be - a strong and healthy man. By having the right therapy, developing bonding friendships with straight men and an increase of faith, homosexuality will decrease - while proper, straight masculinity will increase, causing the desire to fill the broken man void by having sex with another man to completely disappear.
My former husband read the book “Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach” by Joseph Nicolosi long before he and I met. This book and its theory were a major factor in our decision to attempt a marriage. He worked hard at becoming straight. It didn’t work. My father worked hard at becoming straight. It didn’t work. Decades ago a surprising number of men underwent electric shock therapy at Brigham Young University to become straight. It didn’t work. Dozens of my gay male friends (who, by the way, would be enormously offended at being called “masculinity deficient”) have worked hard at becoming straight. It hasn’t worked. I do know of one or two couples that have chosen to stay married and are, so far, experiencing a successful relationship. It seems that it is far easier for men who have been “out” and have immersed themselves in, and become disillusioned with, the gay lifestyle and have then chosen to marry and have a family – without all the wondering, the mystery and the “what ifs”. Will these marriages last for the long haul? Who knows? But if they do they are the exception - not the rule. And even if the choice to be married is made and a monogamous, straight lifestyle is strictly observed, the homosexual feelings and desires never go away. As several men have told me, “[Reparative therapy] doesn’t work. We all know it doesn’t work. We just say that it does to keep them off our backs.” An excellent book to read on this subject is “Anything But Straight” by Wayne R. Besen.
I am not a therapist, just an ex-wife and a daughter who has a few very well earned opinions. Are there some men whose sexual development was affected by their parents? Of course there are. How many of us have sexual attitudes, beliefs, desires and comfort zones, that were not affected by our parents, our grandparents, our friends, their parents, teachers, schools, cities, states, churches, hormones or body chemistry? Many things, regardless of whether we are gay or straight or bi-sexual, influence our individual sexuality. Does child sexual abuse cause homosexuality? No. It causes pain, confusion, anger, trauma and can certainly mess you up sexually, but there are countless survivors of abuse that are completely heterosexual. Nor is it caused by masturbation. If that were the case, heterosexuals would be an endangered species.
Homosexuality has been linked to sexual abuse, masturbation, pornography and demonic possession. It has been called a sin, a perversion, a handicap, and a sexual addiction. Were they born that way? Is it a choice? Everyone has his or her own opinion or belief that they are absolutely entitled to. It is not my purpose, nor is it my desire, to convince anyone that I am right and they are wrong or to argue the causes of homosexuality. Wildflowers is about supporting the wives of gay men in the lives they have chosen to live – regardless of what they choose to believe. While what we do will affect them, this is not about the husbands. It is about our inner worlds, and the inner worlds of our children, being fully alive, healthy and happy.
I do, however, think everyone deserves the right to be educated with all the information and to figure things out for themselves. For more information on Reparative Therapy contact: NARTH.