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Thursday, March 09, 2006

 

Name the heterosexual: Answers

Ok, so not many wanted to guess. Can't say I blame anyone; there wasn't much to go on. However, these cases present some of the assumptions that conservatives often make when conceptualizing male homosexuality. I used a similar exercise about girls and eating disorders in one of my classes recently. Very few got that right either. I used that one to illustrate how clinicians can make poor judgments based on attachment to a pet theory of causation.

So here is the rest of the story...

James - Straight as can be. If one can believe self-report, no attractions to the same sex ever.

Dallas - Same-sex attracted but does not seek same-sex partners. Tried it, didn't like it but has unmistakable attractions toward men. Weak opposite-sex attractions, may pursue heterosexual relationship if the "right" girl comes along.

John - Bisexually attracted; would rather have no same-sex attractions.

Gareth - A brief snippet of the boyhood of psychologist Gordon Allport who had a life-long heterosexual marriage. Although nothing I can find suggests he had same-sex attractions, one cannot be dogmatic about it.

ADDENDUM: A commenter said she might be able to do better with the eating disorders exercise. Here it is: who has the eating disorder?

Jill’s mother was constantly dieting and urging Jill, who had more of her father’s stocky build, to diet with her. At 14, Jill’s boyfriend dumped her for another girl, someone thinner.

Sarah’s mother was obese but did not seem troubled by it. Her parents were laissez-faire about most things and didn’t bother Sarah about her looks or weight. Sarah however was not proud of her mother’s appearance.

Jen’s parents were trim and athletic but did not force the children to be into sports. They were allowed to find their own interests and did not put much pressure on their children to achieve in school, just asking them to make good effort. Jen was involved in most school activities and is an A- student.

Comments:
Ok, I feel stupid. I might have been able to guess the eating disorders, though. :-)
 
So... do you have an actual PhD, or are you like a writer for Cosmo?
 
Boo - do you have an actual name or do you just want to be scary?
 
Good. I was right on the sexuality. Again.

(I know, it's soooo tiresome...)

Anyone of the daughters could have an eating disorder. If you go on broad stats -- they probably all do (as with so many women).

But then again, I don't think specific triggers are required either. Being weird or fearful about food, not taking pleasure in it, eating too little or too much all count as disordered ideas about food IMO. A part of modern Western culture, sadly.

And before you critize me... if I had too pick just the one: Jill, for the moment. Sarah in the longer term.

Oh, that's two. Sorry.

(I cannot see a trigger with Jen, and she seems both active and achieving well enough. This should add up to enough self-confidence... but maybe she sees something different in the mirror)
 
Connie -- why do you feel stupid? You were right: James and Gareth were both heterosexual.

Or were you trying to pick the non-heterosexuals? Not reading the question is a good way to fail Warren's exams :)

In fact it was the expert that was wrong most of the time... interesting.
 
You seriously don't see anything condescending and exploitive about this?
 
grantdale wrote:
If we had more about the way they described those histories I may, however, be able to guess who's been ex-gayed...

And on that, I'd pick James and Gareth as the most vulnerable.


James and Gareth were not ex-gay so I am not sure what you mean unless you mean that since they weren't gay you pegged them correctly.
 
You seriously don't see anything condescending and exploitive about this?

My point is to show how condescending and exploitative it is to guess someone's life based on a theory. I am mainly aiming at conservatives who have pet theories about homosexuality. More broadly, I am aiming at reductionism, whether it be about sexuality or eating problems and whether it be biological reductionism or environmental reductionism.
 
You have a point, but it just seems in bad taste to me. Like those Maury Povich "Guess who's really a man!" shows. It mightacould be just me tho.
 
I was right to say that nothing in the history indicated anything about their sexuality. I thought you said the same thing -- hence the stereotype lesson etc.

To be vulnerable to RT etc you'd have to have "something" in your history for them to latch onto. (assuming you weren't the type open to complete revision and installing of a false history). You know, the usual sterotypes -- of which James and Gareth were the best examples. I didn't say they were exgay, at all.

There's a reason RT sounds like a pile of horse doo to most gay men and women (and why it therefore has no appeal whatsoever). Because nothing in its assumptions match their history.

But there ARE ALSO some gay men and women who do have histories of abusive parents or lonely/geeky childhoods etc. Some of them would be vulnerable to an RT/exgay message that this was the "cause" of their sexuality -- even without any evidence that this was the case.

I thought you'd know all this stuff??? :)

My point is to show how condescending and exploitative it is to guess someone's life based on a theory.

And I hope you also include your "plastic brain" beliefs and how this enables gay-to-straight...?
 
grantdale - I get it now. And I agree with you, RT can hook people who have this history.
 
No probs. Maybe I wasn't clear enough; but yep, that's what I meant.

I should add, too, that I know children of abusive parents or lonely/geeky kids are particularly vulnerable to all sorts of manipulative influences.

Cults, alcohol & drugs, "boyfriends" that are using her, unethical therapists etc etc... and for some, being vulnerable to the easy, simple message that you're miserable and life's out of control because you're gay because you're Dad didn't say Hi often enough (or drop you on your head often enough when you when a "bouncing" baby).

Such people are easy prey, sadly --but how to protect them, if this means imposing, is not so easy to answer.

(PS -- don't know if you've caught this over at XGW, but apparently Nicolosi forwarded only 9 people to Spitzer. Nine, from his "over 400". Even allowing for lost contacts etc, this sounds like Spitzer's best guess of "about 3%" really having a flexible sexuality is not too out of line. Drescher's own work, and conversations, have indicated likewise. Hmmm.)
 
Wouldn't it be more correct to have a homosexual or bisexual and then after taking a case history determine the contributing factors, than try to match causative factors to the general population since obviously personality, maturity level and intelligence could also contribute.
 
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