Considering the widely disputed evidence that changing from gay to straight (or vice versa) is even possible, I have been looking for some reassurance. I mean, where are these men that have supposedly changed? Why don't they step up and go to bat?
Several years ago I read a book by Nicolosi, this reparative therapy guy who has done research on orientation change over the decades. He had plenty of examples of success in his work, but his work has not been embraced as legitimate, and I'm not entirely sure why. I read the book before my science training so maybe I'll have to go back and read it again now. Regardless, he seems like a genuine enough person that is honest in his observations and can't be wholly disregarded as "in the pocket of the religious right" as is the trend in this area. (As if having a conflict of interest automatically invalidates actual scientific inquiry--it doesn't. It makes it suspect, not invalid. When scientifically principles are rigorously adhered to, results are results.)
[Note, I wrote in my last post that the preferred term is "conversion therapy" because I had read that the implication of defectiveness connoted by "reparative" was offensive and inaccurate, but then my counselor told me yesterday that neither term is really adequate or favored. He said it's closer to "reparative" because theoretically you are repairing personal emotional deficiencies, not repairing your sexuality directly. But you are certainly not "converting" in a manner of forced orientation assignment either. Anyway, I'll probably use both terms interchangeably without realizing it since I have no better term. And I'm lazy like that. ;-)]
Anyway, my current counselor is such an example of turning straight. I thought, after discussing it with him briefly, that he meant he has successfully managed his marriage despite the occasional SSA temptation. Not so. He corrected me once, when I suggested as much, by firmly asserting that he is no longer even attracted to men. Ever. He's sitting there telling me that he has changed his orientation so thoroughly (not just Kinsey 5 to Kinsey 2) that he no longer ever looks at men that way. Woah.
I admit, I'm skeptical. But I know him, and he's not a liar.
But, as much as I think that would be great for myself, is that what it would take for me to feel like my therapy has been successful? No. I'm just looking for a bit of relief from the anguish that I feel when I'm so completely aroused by men and then when I lay next to the person I love more than anybody in the world, I'm barely aroused at all. (But the mechanics of that scenario, I'll not delve into just now.)
So, I continue to hope that change in some form or another is possible. And since starting my voyage (not too long ago), I HAVE found a number of examples of success. There's my counselor. There's Nicolosi's examples. There's Richard Cohen, author of Coming Out Straight. There's a few other authors of similar books. There are the speakers and staff you run into if you attend Evergreen meetings, Journey to Manhood events, etc. There are the 200 research subjects in Spitzer's widely discussed and controversial study (which I will talk about more later). And then there's one other person. Someone I met on the gay Mormon blog circuit. Someone I feel like I KNOW better than the others. And trust. Someone who is still attracted to men, but seems to have actually inched down the road to success. In my mind, he is doing what I want to do. He is an example of straight success.
I define success for me as being appropriately adapted in my situation. For mine to be one of the few marriages that starts with a gay partner and doesn't end in divorce--one of those where both partners are happy. And ideally, but not necessarily, success will include being attracted mainly or exclusively to women.
Now I feel like there is a very real possibility that I will have success--somewhere along that spectrum from "well adapted" to "completely straight" and I have the examples to give me the confidence to try.