Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Limitations of gay love

Each one of us, man and woman alike, is driven by the power of romantic love. These infatuations gain their power from the unconscious drive to become a complete human being. In heterosexuals, it is the drive to bring together the male-female polarity through the longing for the other-than-me. But in homosexuals, it is the attempt to fulfill a deficit in wholeness of one's original gender.
...
The inherent unsuitability of same-sex relationships is seen in the form of fault-finding, irritability, feeling smothered; power struggles, possessiveness, and dominance; boredom, disillusionment, emotional withdrawal, and unfaithfulness. As a result of this binding ambivalence, his same-sex relationships lack authentic intimacy.
...
Gay couplings are characteristically brief and very volatile, with much fighting, arguing, making-up again, and continual disappointments.... Research, however, reveals that they almost never possess the mature elements of quiet consistency, trust, mutual dependency, and sexual fidelity characteristic of highly functioning heterosexual marriages.
...
The results show that of those 156 couples, only seven had been able to maintain sexual fidelity. Furthermore, of those seven couples, none had been together more than five years. In other words, the researchers were unable to find a single male couple that was able to maintain sexual fidelity for more than five years.
Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D.
in Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality


It makes me chuckle when I see words like "authentic" used like swords--first the one side swings, then the opponent. Who gets to be acknowledged as really "authentic"?

And why exactly should I buy matter-of-fact statements about the unconscious basis for sexual drives? So, everyone everywhere is subconsciously trying to become a complete human being by filling up personal deficits or consuming "other-than-me" by having sex? I don't like unsupported assertions like that, but I suppose I find it plausible because it is consistent with my own experience--I want to have in a visceral way the object of my attraction. Even with that concession, it seems hokey.

Lastly, I don't buy the qualitative difference he suggests between gay and straight sex because two gay men have the same "deficits" and a man and a woman don't. This just all seems like what one of my psychiatry mentors calls "psychobabble". I try, I really try, not to think psychology is crap-science. But it's hard. :)

What I DO buy is the data about long term relationships. These couples had made a commitment of fidelity and the outcomes were measured by gay researchers. Lacking some other explanation for it, I suppose his theory takes on some credibility.

20 comments:

Chris (hurricane) said...

L:

I think gay male couple do tend to have shorter-lasting relationships because, you know, men. I have heard, but haven't substantiated, that lesbians tend to have much longer-lasting relationships--more lasting even than heterosexual couples. Because, you know, women.

I know that Nicolosi is focused on male homosexuality, but the (admittedly alleged) higher rates of fidelity among lesbians would lead me to conclude that perhaps the higher rates of infidelity among gay men are the result not of homosexuality, but of maleness.

-L- said...

Well, since he's talking about male homosexuality, gay couples have double the risk of infidelity resulting from maleness. Seems to still be relevant, wherever you want to attribute it.

Chris (hurricane) said...

But my point is that perhaps we ought to get all men, regardless of orientation, into reparative therapy. Because men are pigs.

Nicolosi seems to see all of these problems with fidelity as a result of homosexuality when perhaps they are more closely associated to gender.

Another Other said...

So, are the literally thousands, perhaps millions, of men that are completely monogomous in their heterosexual relationships just... not men, then? I realize that there are a lot of men who aren't loyal to their wives, but that doesn't change the fact that there are many, many, many who are. What this study shows is that the same can not be claimed for homosexual men.

Another Other said...

As for the difference between gay men and lesbians, I posit that the root causes and reasons for their homosexual attractions are simply different than those of men. I intuit (though, admittedly, I have no data or research at all whatsoever to back this and I could very easily be off) that their attractions have something to do with a need for loyalty and commitment, and an illusion that men are incapable of providing that. That's probably WAY oversimplified though. The point is, I think the fundament of the attractions for the sexes, just as in the heterosexual world, are different in the homosexual world, and THAT explains lesbians' ability to forge monogomous relationships while gay men simply seem incapable statistically of doing so.

Chris (hurricane) said...

What this study shows is that the same can not be claimed for homosexual men.

But I have anecdotal evidence that they can. Off the top of my head, I know at least three gay male couples that are faithful in their commitment to each other, and I could probably think of a few more if I thought about it longer.

All I'm saying is this: men tend to be less faithful than women regardless of sexual orientation. And, really, that makes sense from an evolutionary, perpetuate the species perspective.

Dave Walter said...

All of Nicolosi's assertions are so multiply flawed that I won't bother to address any of them. I suspect Nicolosi is a deeply self-hating homosexual who keeps himself sane by preoccupying his mind with finding ways to justify his self-hatred.

I could easily do a "study" showing that married Christian heterosexuals are by and large unsatisfied in their marriages but remain in them because God blessed the union, or for the kids, or for some other reason.

I could do a "study" showing that gay men are more nurturing than straight men, and therefore more likely to be devoted to their spouses than are heterosexual men.

I could do a "study" showing that dating is counted as a relationship for gay men, but not for heterosexuals.

I could do a "study" of gay male couples and come up with conclusive data showing that the average gay male relationship lasts 14 years and counting (meaning that 100% of the relationships are still intact).

I could go on and on.

-L- said...

Dave, you could do those studies, but careful readers would expose your methodological flaws. Just disagreeing with research is not a good reason to discount it. If you would bother to carefully examine Nicolosi's theory and respond to it, you might actually contribute to the debate rather than attacking someone's character with no evident rationale except a fallacious appeal to the politicization of science.

I'm surprised you ignore that the data he quotes here came from gay researchers--a homosexual psychiatrist and psychologist pair. Not from Nicolosi.

Another Other said...

All of Nicolosi's assertions are so multiply flawed that I won't bother to address any of them. I suspect Nicolosi is a deeply self-hating homosexual who keeps himself sane by preoccupying his mind with finding ways to justify his self-hatred.

What? Dave hears statistically valid data against his views and he thinks that the person talking is a self-hating homosexual, and therefore conveniently won't actually combat the ideas shared? What a surprise! If studies are so easy to do, show me one that shows that gay relationships with two faithful members that lasts more than five or ten years is statistically common or valid or proven at all. Because I sure have never seen one...

Chris (hurricane) said...

If studies are so easy to do, show me one that shows that gay relationships with two faithful members that lasts more than five or ten years is statistically common or valid or proven at all. Because I sure have never seen one...

Haven't seen one with any good news about mixed orientation marriages either. Seems gay men are doomed by statistics no matter what we choose.

Another Other said...

Um, I think it's been well-established that the stats on that are pretty bleak. But, the point is, I'm not going to say that the statisticians that procured that information are self-hating heterosexuals that loathe themselves so much they can't find anything else with which to occupy their minds. Nor will I try to claim that "studies" are easy to do. If they were, I could certainly find one that makes me feel more comfortable in light of my circumstances. The issue is not to discount stats that don't favor our views as Dave has shown a great propensity for doing. It's to discover WHY the stats are what they are, and then make decisions in an informed way.

Dave Walter said...

Dave, you could do those studies, but careful readers would expose your methodological flaws.

You missed the sarcasm in my remarks.

I'm surprised you ignore that the data he quotes here came from gay researchers--a homosexual psychiatrist and psychologist pair. Not from Nicolosi.

I don't care who did the research. The results simply aren't valid. I could rip the studies' methodology to shreds, with ease. But it's not worth my time to do so. If more than a relative handful of people gave Nicolosi's hogwash any credence, it might be worth my bother.

By the way, just for kicks, here is another viewpoint.

Also by the way, I saw in the newspaper just today the results of a poll that show 15 to 30 percent of married people (and remember, gay couples can't get married, except in Massachusetts) would rather give up their marriages -- than be fat. Sure makes me want to pursue reparative therapy.

-L- said...

I could rip the studies' methodology to shreds, with ease. But it's not worth my time to do so.

Are you familiar with these studies? How do you a priori know that the results aren't valid? So, anything that disagrees with your view you disregard as unworthy of your time... as being "easy" to disprove. Yet you spend plenty of time blogging, and ostensibly to help poor saps like me figure things out. And if it's so easy... Dave, refusing to consider any evidence that challenges your most basic beliefs is ironic from one prone to calling others "brainwashed".

And the link you provided leads only to the most political of rebuttals. It includes such fallacies as appeal to authority, appeal to character, appeal to emotions, appeal to ignorance... and that's only the first couple screens. Down lower it gets around to rebutting some of Nicolosi's claims--in a similar fashion to myself.

See, look what fun can come of actually assessing the arguments for yourself? As someone who has actually read the Nicolosi book, is intimately involved in the politics of medicine, and has formal training in science, I can attest that there are some valuable things in Nicolosi's work regardless of who does or doesn't want to endorse it.

And maybe while you're looking up references you could dig up that one about "anal sex while driving" being a leading cause of death among young men. I'm still waiting for that one. :)

Dave Walter said...

L,

Post a chunk of the methodology here and I'll have it.

Chris (hurricane) said...

another other,

I didn't call Nicolosi a self-hating homosexual--Dave did.

My point is this--you don't want to be defined by statistics on mixed orientation marriages, I don't want to be defined by statistics on male homosexual fidelity. Because if there is anything you and I can agree on it's that the stats about our respective life situations don't remove from us the power snd responsibility of choice.

Another Other said...

Dave, thanks for the alternative perspective, but where's that study? I want to see a study backing the idea that homosexual relationships can be monogomous for long periods of time. Show us how easy studies are to do.

-L- said...

DW, I'm going to defer retyping any portion of Nicolosi's book other than the ones I find interesting and post on. You can get it at your local library. If you want the specific study he references, find McWhirter and Mattison's The Male Couple.

Hurc, I think nother's ire wasn't directed at you. I think your point is an excellent one--quite appropriate. I believe you exemplify a man who is more likely than average to find what you are looking for and keep it. Whether gay, mixed, or straight, I hope couples will be determined to stick together.

Dave Walter said...

Um, I said I suspect Nicolosi is a self-hating homosexual.

Regarding studies, my hypothesis is that it is exceptionally difficult -- perhaps fatally so from a statistical validity perspective -- to study the gay population, because there are too many variables that have to be taken into account, and too much of the gay population is "invisible" and underrepresented in study samples.

Kim Mack said...

Wow. I was going to comment on lesbian relationships, but the point seems mute by now! ;) Anyway, just wanted to add that lesbians surely don't have a corner on monogomy *or* longevity in relationships. Far from it. Surely they don't seem to go through partners as the statistics pointed out for men, but the relationships statistically don't last. And no, I have no idea where that statistic can be recovered from ... those who I know, however, aren't in lasting or monogomous relationships. (And I do know more than 2 - LOL).

Kim

Chris (hurricane) said...

Since we're down on the homos--male and female--and their ability to commit, how about the straights? One out of two of their marriages end in divorce and many that don't end in divorce experience infidelity.

Here's my hypothesis--it's that sticky human factor.