Skip to comments.Researchers Say Sexual Orientation Can Change
Posted on 09/14/2007 10:25:00 AM PDT by DeweyCA
Despite claims by some mental-health experts, new research indicates that a change in sexual orientation is possible for some homosexuals. In the book Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation, which was released today, authors Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse address two of the most disputed questions in the homosexuality debate: Is change possible and can the attempt to change be harmful?
C. S. Lewis said that science produced by Christians would have to be perfectly honest. Science twisted in the interests of apologetics would be sin and folly. Jones and Yarhouse took Lewis advice to heart as they conducted their research, which produced what publisher InterVarsity Press claims to be the most scientifically rigorous study of its kind to date.
Jones, a provost and professor at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., spoke with CitizenLink about the research.
Q. What prompted you to conduct your study?
A. The ever-increasing pessimism expressed in the professional world that sexual orientation could ever be changed. This was in contrast to the fact that I occasionally met individuals in Christian circles who claim to have experienced precisely such change. When the mental-health field actually began to say that change is impossible that sexual orientation cannot be changed it formed the perfect scientific hypothesis to be able to conduct a study.
Q. How did you do the research?
A. The research on change is very complicated. Over the years, there have actually been dozens of studies conducted suggesting that change is possible for some people. However, the research is not of the highest quality and has been deeply and highly criticized. So, we first studied all the criticisms of those studies to look at what a high-quality study would look like, concluding that our proper methodology would need to be both prospective and longitudinal. Prospective means that you catch people before they begin the change process and follow them through the process, while longitudinal means that youre actually following people over time to see if the change is stable. The scientific characteristics of the study are unique, in that no one has ever started early and then followed people over a long period of time like we did.
We then went out to a variety of ministries and asked for research volunteers that we could track over time. We then conducted long, detailed interviews with them at three stages: as they began the change process, a year and a half later, and again, a year and a half after that. In our new book, were reporting on the changes we observed in these subjects over roughly a three-year period.
Q. Can you share two or three key findings from your study?
A. We framed the whole study around two key hypotheses taken from claims made by the secular mental-health community that change is impossible and that the attempt to change is harmful. What we found by following these subjects over time is that not everyone is successful, not even a majority is successful, but a very substantial group of people report fairly dramatic change.
We found that 15 percent of our sample of about 100 claimed to actually have changed from homosexuality to heterosexuality. These people experienced significant enough change that they really felt like they had left one sexual orientation to shift into another. It needs to be said that this process is not like a light switch that switches from one switch point to the other. Life is still complicated for these people, and some still have some residuals of their homosexual attractions. However, they are people who report being able to function as heterosexuals, theyre happy with their marriages and they feel that their lives have changed dramatically.
The other type of success that we found in almost a quarter of the sample were the people who left the homosexual lifestyle and experienced very substantial reductions in homosexual attraction by embracing the Christian discipline of chastity, not acting on their sexual impulses. These were people who felt like they were free now to orient their lives not on their sexual, erotic desires and needs, but on their relationship with God and on healthy, nonsexual intimacy with other people. These two groups together those who experienced what we call conversion to heterosexuality and the others who experienced chastity made up about 38 percent of the sample. We feel these changes observed over this substantial period of time provide clear indication that the opinions of the secular mental-health field that change is impossible are simply wrong.
As I mentioned, the second area of our research focused on the secular mental-health communitys claims that the attempt to change is harmful. We administered a standard psychological inventory that measures psychological distress to our subjects at every point along the way. We found that there was essentially no change in their psychological distress over time. On that basis, we feel that there is no evidence that the change attempt is harmful, and we found evidence that change is possible for some people. I would hasten to add that our research doesnt prove that anybody can change. It doesnt prove that no one has ever been harmed from the attempt to change. It just suggests that the forceful way in which the secular mental-health community is saying change is impossible and harmful is just not well-advised.
Q. What are the implications of your findings?
A. I think the implications are multiple, but to pick one, the American Psychological Association has a blue-ribbon panel right now thats examining the question of how the APA should formulate its formal policies about the attempt to change sexual orientation. Certain members of that group have already said publicly before the group comes to its conclusion that change is impossible and harmful, and we feel there has never been a good, empirical basis for saying that. We just simply hope that there will be enough of an open mind on the part of the secular mental-health community that they will not continue the movement towards banning these kinds of attempts to change sexual orientation, harassing them out of existence, and labeling as unethical any professional person who cooperates with them. There is a need to respect the autonomy of individuals who are distressed about what they have experienced sexually and for religious or moral reasons want to try the attempt to change. Those people first need to be fully informed about just how complex and difficult that process is and then they should have the right as individuals, as an exercise of personal and religious freedom, to seek support in their attempt to change sexual orientation.
Q. There are those who have tried to leave homosexuality, who were not successful. What would you say to them?
A. The heart of my response would be to say that the change process may be easier for some people and more difficult for others, and it might, in fact, be impossible for certain people to change meaningfully. I think our study says that change is possible for some people and that we need to keep an open mind about that. So, for an individual who feels they need to pursue change, particularly on a religious basis, our study encourages them to pursue that path.
FOR MORE INFORMATION To read an excerpt or to purchase a copy of the book, visit the InterVarsity Press Web site.
So call yourself Janet Reno or Rosie, attach a big strap on and the orientation changes?
Sometimes I prefer blondes, other times brunettes.....
“a change in sexual orientation is possible for some homosexuals.”
Key words being POSSIBLE and SOME.
My orientation was to have sex. Often.
Then I got married.
Well duh! How do you think they got that way in the first place?!?!.......
The truth is that it is a behavior, and a learned behavior at that. Thus it can be unlearned.
Sadly this isn’t news. All one has to do is visit the library and spend a bit of time researching the data prior to the last 30 years also there has been a steady flow from many researchers not just Christian even in recent times.
Any man or woman who is honest knows that sexual attractions ebb and flow with many inappropriate attractions popping into ones head especially among men. This I can assure you involves attractions ranging from animals to women’s shoes and everything in between. Does anyone discuss the half human devils that haunt the dreams of man? Where do you think the ideas of the succubus came and other dark sexual demons? (btw I’m not referring to literal demons which is another thing altogether but the ideas)
The only thing that has changed is that we have shifted from a society that encouraged the suppression and control of inappropriate sexual attractions to one that largely affirms them. This has not produced one less suicide, one less rape, one less molestation of a child. If anything it has set lose a fire that consumes even more innocents and makes it harder for people to keep their priorities focused on things that go beyond sexual release like a stable family and healthy friendships that have nothing to do with sex.
Sex is good but there is nothing more dysfunctional than a creature that does not form normal mating arrangements in order to reproduce. One does not have to be religious or Christian to understand this very basic idea. The idea has only become clouded because of silly ideas about love and the equating of such with license for any type of sexual behavior.
I love my wife, my children, my parents, my grandmother, my dog, and my friends. I think a person of ordinary intellect should be able to correctly identify which is appropriate to have intercourse with. Love unfortunately has become a word used to cover all forms of nastiness. One only has to be sufficiently lonely and unloved to allow themselves to be thrust into the most horrid hells. I know such a person and she slept beside her bed while her ‘boyfriend’ had his way with the babysitter across the street which her 3 children were sleeping in their rooms not far away. She lay their crying because she thought she had found love. She blamed herself because she couldn’t give that demon undivided attention because she had to work. Love and sex are not harmless expressions of desire.
Do we think child molesters do not in some perverted way think they love their victims? Stalkers also do as much.
The two primary statistics of success cited:
“We found that 15 percent of our sample of about 100 claimed to actually have changed from homosexuality to heterosexuality. These people experienced significant enough change that they really felt like they had left one sexual orientation to shift into another. It needs to be said that this process is not like a light switch that switches from one switch point to the other. Life is still complicated for these people, and some still have some residuals of their homosexual attractions. However, they are people who report being able to function as heterosexuals, theyre happy with their marriages and they feel that their lives have changed dramatically.”
“The other type of success that we found in almost a quarter of the sample were the people who left the homosexual lifestyle and experienced very substantial reductions in homosexual attraction by embracing the Christian discipline of chastity, not acting on their sexual impulses. These were people who felt like they were free now to orient their lives not on their sexual, erotic desires and needs, but on their relationship with God and on healthy, nonsexual intimacy with other people. These two groups together those who experienced what we call conversion to heterosexuality and the others who experienced chastity made up about 38 percent of the sample. We feel these changes observed over this substantial period of time provide clear indication that the opinions of the secular mental-health field that change is impossible are simply wrong.”
The honest text itself, would indicate in both cases they did not change “sexuality”; they changed behavior and behavior alone. Still “gay” but either living (presumed happily) in a heterosexual relationship or in chastity. That is not a “change” in “sexuality”.
What’s the Orient got to do with it?
“This I can assure you involves attractions ranging from animals to womens shoes and everything in between.”
Do you have a therapist?
I call Bullshit on this study. I couldn’t turn queer if I wanted to, dudes are ugly to me.
Time for the homo witch hunters to demand these guys be burned at the stake. They didn’t get the memo about genetic determinism, the PC lie that has become the new homo meme ...
My sexual orientation changes very quickly....I goes from women with small breastesses to women with big breastesses rather fast.
No I do not have a therapist. lol I have spent considerable time studying human sexuality and pride myself in knowing more about the subject than any leftist deviant. I did not say that I had those specific attractions but instead offered them as a reference point. I would challenge someone to show how a shoe fetish fits into ones genes. Show me a person who can not help twirling their hair in public and you I both could agree that they have a problem. Show me a person who can not help twirling their hair while having sex? Do they still have a problem? Such idiots, dare I say predators, who call themselves sex therapists who get their jollies from encouraging poor souls to fulfill their horrid tortured desires as a way to freedom? It does I suppose fit the mode of the simpleton left. They do equate abortion with liberation, and assisted suicide with compassion.
It never ceases to amaze me that those who claim to be so at ease and so open about sexuality seem to have such a limited understanding of it. Maybe it is the living in chronic denial, living a lie playing the constant pretend. Making statements confusing love and sexual desires and refusing to see a distinction between them and then using that lack of distinction to justify their pitiful deviancies and rather than just deal with them themselves they must have their egos fed and their desires fed and anyone who stands in their way becomes the enemy.
We can’t have the raw meat to feed their desires which they call ‘needs’ interrupted or interfered with. We have to have kids softened up to the idea of same sex molestation in public schools so that they are more open to experimentation and sleeping with older men who offer them easily access to drugs and money.
What kind of person makes something so inherently private as their sex life a public march and seeks to have their confusions written into law and taught to prepubescent school children? A person who most certainly needs a therapist.
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