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SelfishRandroid

Intentionally Changing Sexual Orientation to Straight?

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Hi everyone, first post here and I imagine it won't be a hugely popular topic for various reasons: the genetic component of homosexuality is still debatable; there don't seem to be very many homosexual Objectivists; and conversion therapy is almost exclusively discussed elsewhere in a religious context.

I'm mostly interested in hearing opinions on the topic, so my question then is this: How likely is it that a gay person might be able to change his/her sexual orientation? How would one go about this process?

As a lesbian, I admittedly would prefer to be straight because I want to have a traditional family someday, and I sense that my homosexual inclinations are at least partially driven by my at-times difficult childhood. I believe my attraction to women is at least partially driven by automatized value judgements I made in my childhood as a means of compensating for adversarial circumstances at home (e.g. an emotionally unavailable mother), and I want to uproot these neurotic, reactionary thoughts.

Also, dating other women is extremely difficult for me since the vast majority of gay women tend to be very left-leaning, plus I strongly dislike the identity politics and culture of polyamory that surround much of the "gay community," so it's hard to find a partner with similar values and a sense of life. 

Any thoughts?

Edited by SelfishRandroid

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3 hours ago, SelfishRandroid said:

... there don't seem to be very many homosexual Objectivists...

From anecdotal evidence there seem to be just as many homosexual Objectivists as any other random cohort. In fact, years ago I found it curious that there was such a high proportion of Objectivists who are homosexual, but I then realized that my interactions with Objectivists are online and I am probably underestimating the number of non-Objectivist homosexual folk I interact with everyday.

Can't comment on female homosexual Objectivists, because the sample-size is pretty low. Though, I can;t imagine why that would be any different.

 

3 hours ago, SelfishRandroid said:

I'm mostly interested in hearing opinions on the topic, so my question then is this: How likely is it that a gay person might be able to change his/her sexual orientation? How would one go about this process?

Not a topic I've read much about, but it think there's a degree of fluidity in sexuality/sexual-preference. However, that doesn't imply that one should change what comes "naturally". I don't see whether it matters much whether "naturally" means "I'm born that way" or if it means "I made early-life preferences that are deeply ingrained". Nor does fluidity imply that other options will give one the same value as what comes "naturally".

Introspecting, I don't know if I would want to change my sexuality so that I can target a cohort that has better political views; but, it's hard to put oneself in someone else's shoes. Seems to be a a tough decision, even if it turns out to be possible in the first place.

BTW: There are flags in your post that say "troll". Just thought I'd mention that.

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You phrase your question generally.  The answer might vary with the individual, especially if there are variations in the reasons why people are homosexual.

An Objectivist psychiatrist I saw long ago told me about introspecting, looking inside yourself, to see what's going on and why.  If you want to make changes, you have to get all the way down to the mental processes that led to the subconscious (automatized) premises that are governing your emotions.  (A logical error?  An overgeneralization?)

He also said that attempting to reason out what's going on is incompatible with introspecting, so one must avoid the former to succeed at the latter.  I eventually came up with my own example, which I did not share with him, that may help clarify this.  Suppose you are seated at a table with a place mat in front of you, and the question comes up whether there is something under the place mat, and if so, what.  You can try to reason it out, or you can lift up the place mat and look.  The latter will work better.

Sometimes introspecting can be a lot harder than lifting up a place mat, especially if there are defense mechanisms in the way.  He compared it to trying to remember something, which is sometimes hard.  It might come to you at a time when you aren't consciously trying.

6 hours ago, SelfishRandroid said:

I believe my attraction to women is at least partially driven by automatized value judgements I made in my childhood ...

One thing you would need to get at in your introspecting is whether it is partially or wholly, and if the former, what else there is.

I wish you well.

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7 hours ago, SelfishRandroid said:

I imagine it won't be a hugely popular topic

You are correct.

 

7 hours ago, SelfishRandroid said:

the genetic component of homosexuality is still debatable

The science is incomplete.  Most aspects/characteristics of humans have both a genetic and an environmental component.  The genetics limit what is possible so to speak, while environment affects which eventuality obtains within those possibilities.  e.g. height is limited by genetics but malnutrition (twin studies) can lead to stunted growth.

In the absence of perfect knowledge, it is safe to say, that at any point in time, you are what you are, but whether or not you can or cannot change something about yourself might not be known (missing science) and hence there is a huge risk factor for any effort, money, life changes which you will go through... it might not work out.  Conversely, if the change you desire is of great value then missing the possibility (if it indeed possible) because of risk aversion would be tragic.

That said, anecdotal and first person evidence suggests that it is impossible to "change" orientation, and people are naturally either attracted to everyone, persons of the opposite sex or persons of the same sex. It is common for some people (sufficiently oppressed/suppressed) only to discover their actual orientation later in life as their self esteem develops fully.

 

7 hours ago, SelfishRandroid said:

there don't seem to be very many homosexual Objectivists

I think the proportion is probably the same as for non-objectivists. 

 

7 hours ago, SelfishRandroid said:

conversion therapy is almost exclusively discussed elsewhere in a religious context

Conversion therapy, as I understand it, is not therapy.  It is indoctrination or conditioning, a form of coercion whose aim is obedience and conformity.  Proper Therapy usually is aimed at self-actualization of the patient, not conversion to some institutional norm which seems to be the aim of conversion.  Yes, it is very much a religious based "endeavor".

 

7 hours ago, SelfishRandroid said:

How likely is it that a gay person might be able to change his/her sexual orientation?

This is an unknown because of the missing science, but based on anecdotal and also first person evidence, it is probably unlikely.  Do you know of any other "gay persons" who changed orientation, either purposefully or naturally/spontaneously?

 

Also, be careful not to use concepts which are contradictory.  When you say "a gay person" what do you mean?  Do you mean someone genetically predestined only to be sexually attracted to persons of the same sex?  If so, your question is as valid as asking "how likely is it that rock might choose to talk?" 

IF what you mean by "a gay person" is simply someone who is attracted to persons of the same sex and who is not genetically bound to be sexually attracted to persons of the same sex, then really this likelihood is determined by factors which are currently unknown. Assuming genetics plays some role in those people, how much of a role?  Are most people with the genetics of your defined "gay person" really amenable to attraction to both sexes?  Do past relationships, friendships, maternal or paternal bonds play a role? 

Currently the question is more or less scientifically unanswerable.  Either it simply is impossible (genetics) OR it is impossible for some people but possible for some people (genetics for some, genetics plus environment for others), or it is possible for all (genetics is not determinative).  From the science, we simply do not have a definitive answer.

Observe however that there exists common anecdotal evidence of humans routinely changing things like politics, beliefs on religion, taste in music, taste in food, interests in hobbies and activities, but most anecdotal evidence suggests people's sexual orientation, Men only, Women only, either men or women, does not freely drift over time.  We often DO hear of people who have been pressured and indoctrinated to believe they have a particular orientation (usually straight) but who, once they build enough of  a sense of self, and self-esteem (over many years) come to realize and (in some cases announce) they in fact have a different orientation and have had it all along.

In the final analysis then, I would suggest that changing orientation is unlikely. 

 

That said, it MIGHT be the case ( as I mentioned above) that a particular person has misidentified his/her own orientation.  So, coming to discover one's true orientation is possible.  Is it possible you have actually been attracted to men and women all along? 

If so, you have all the opportunity in the world to be intensely attracted to the person you love, no matter what their sex.

 

7 hours ago, SelfishRandroid said:

How would one go about this process?

Don't.  It's not likely possible.

Observe that changing a sexual orientation might not be a rational goal even IF it were possible. 

Do you want to be sexually attracted to someone -> SO that you might fall in love with them and have a meaningful lasting relationship? OR

Do you want to intensely love someone -> and also be attracted to and in love with them?

Query what does love mean to you?  Is it the response to the highest moral characteristics you value in another?

What are your values?  Who are you and what do you want in life?

 

7 hours ago, SelfishRandroid said:

As a lesbian, I admittedly would prefer to be straight

Careful.  By stating "as a lesbian" do you mean you ARE something which metaphysically is unchangeable (e.g. you ARE a human), if so preferring to be something you can never be is irrational.  "As a human, I admittedly would prefer to be a dolphin" (an error made by a Southpark character) is a hugely misguided and powerless wish.

IF you assume being attracted to a woman is something that can change like, changing taste in music and food, then that is a different story.

IF you think you might be incorrect about your orientation, that too, is a different story.

It might be more useful to simply accept yourself for who you are.  Being attracted to persons of specific gender is not an achievement to strive for, as if liking lobster bisque rather than pizza makes you a better person. 

Let yourself love the people whom you find the most admirable and valuable in character, your highest values in another, and allow yourself to the possibility of being physically attracted to them.  It either happens or it doesn't. 

 

Keep looking for the PERSON (not the gender) who you can be with.

 

7 hours ago, SelfishRandroid said:

I want to have a traditional family someday, and I sense that my homosexual inclinations are at least partially driven by my at-times difficult childhood. I believe my attraction to women is at least partially driven by automatized value judgements I made in my childhood as a means of compensating for adversarial circumstances at home (e.g. an emotionally unavailable mother), and I want to uproot these neurotic, reactionary thoughts

This is best addressed with true therapy,  NOT the homosexual inclinations (which might be perfectly natural), but the difficult childhood and relationship with your mother.  Your mental health (not your physical attraction) might benefit from working through these issues to the extent they adversely affect you.

 

7 hours ago, SelfishRandroid said:

Also, dating other women is extremely difficult for me since the vast majority of gay women tend to be very left-leaning, plus I strongly dislike the identity politics and culture of polyamory that surround much of the "gay community," so it's hard to find a partner with similar values and a sense of life. 

 

These assumptions are dangerous and prejudicial.  You yourself are a self-admitted "gay woman" whom you are now characterizing as being a certain way.  You are broadly applying invalid stereotypes to a whole group of people, when in fact you yourself are an example that the stereotype is flawed.  Statistics are not a substitute for actually meeting and getting to know someone.

 

Give individuals the benefit of a doubt. 

Do not prejudge a person before you get to know him or her. 

 

Seek to find a relationship with a PERSON, not attraction to a gender.

 

Accept yourself and good luck!

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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13 hours ago, SelfishRandroid said:

Also, dating other women is extremely difficult for me since the vast majority of gay women tend to be very left-leaning, plus I strongly dislike the identity politics and culture of polyamory that surround much of the "gay community," so it's hard to find a partner with similar values and a sense of life.

Finding someone I can love is hard for me too, and I'm straight. And sure, I concede it might be even harder for you...but it's still not as hard (and treacherous) a path as some untested, unscientific scheme you might find, that claims to be designed to change your sexual orientation.

So, hard as it is, my advice is to keep looking. If you can't find anyone where you live, look elsewhere. Moving is also easier than what you're suggesting. In western Europe (UK, Netherlands, Germany, the Nordic states), for instance, in my experience at least, there are plenty of gay people who couldn't care less about politics...and if you have a degree and work experience, jobs are easy to find.

P.S. There's also Asia. I've never met a Japanese person for instance (gay or straight), who had an issue with my political beliefs.

Edited by Nicky

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On 4/12/2018 at 2:08 AM, SelfishRandroid said:

there don't seem to be very many homosexual Objectivists

Hello

On 4/12/2018 at 2:08 AM, SelfishRandroid said:

conversion therapy is almost exclusively discussed elsewhere in a religious context.

[...]How likely is it that a gay person might be able to change his/her sexual orientation? How would one go about this process?

In parts of the world still today, homosexuals are literally thrown off of roofs to their deaths. Though the US has come leaps and bounds in just a couple of short decades, many homosexual youths still grow up terrified that their social circle will discover their true sexual desires. Personally, the first half of my teen years were spent desperately trying to will myself to be attracted to females, trying to pray the gay away, and finally accepting my inner fate while still deciding I would just have to marry a woman anyway. Though not explained scientifically, there are enough individuals with stories like this to give reason to believe it is not possible to change one's sexual orientation, at least not with today's understanding of the human mind/body. Why would so many people choose a way of life that guarantees that they will be ostracized, or even murdered?

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Great question. Have you read The Romantic Manifesto? Rand talks about the origins of emotion in one's thinking and philosophical premises, and especially in one's metaphysics and metaphysical value judgements. You can become psychologically and emotionally twisted out of sync with reality through contempt for your own nature, the nature of man, or the nature of reality. This sort of malevolence is the place to start. The proper attitude in Objectivism is called the Benevolent Universe premise. So try to start looking at the world as a place that is intrinsically good, and at human nature as intrinsically good. Human nature naturally pairs us into male / female couples, and there is deep complementarity in that pairing, rationally, functionally, aesthetically, psychologically, socially, and so on. The level of meaning and value in that complementarity is surprisingly deep, I dont know if anyone has fully developed that idea yet. It's a moral ideal that you should strive for.

Edited by intrinsicist

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44 minutes ago, intrinsicist said:

Human nature naturally pairs us into male / female couples, and there is deep complementarity in that pairing, rationally, functionally, aesthetically, psychologically, socially, and so on.

This is a projection of your aesthetic, overly narrow, and pseudo religious whims on a reality which quite frankly does not give a damn about what you think.  IMHO.  Do us a favor and stop feeding the trolls and stop claiming to be an Objectivist.

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1 hour ago, intrinsicist said:

Human nature naturally pairs us into male / female couples.

Not gonna go through your whole list of dubious claims, I'll just debunk this one because it happens to be the first:

There are very few species that naturally pair into monogamous male/female couples (geese, for instance), and humans most definitely aren't one. Only very religious societies force people into sexual monogamy. In most cultures (including mildly religious western societies), the vast majority of people have multiple sexual partners.

Furthermore, genetics shows humans to be a polygynous species. So, if you want to go by what "human nature naturally" does, then it would be dominant males having the exclusive right to mate with multiple females. All humans (who have been tested) descend from a single paternal ancestor, who lived 50,000 to 80,000 years ago, and passed on his genes by mating with many females. In general, there are far fewer male than female lineages...precisely because, through history, only a select few males had access to females.

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Welcome to OO! :)

On 4/13/2018 at 7:19 PM, intrinsicist said:

You can become psychologically and emotionally twisted out of sync with reality through contempt for your own nature, the nature of man, or the nature of reality. This sort of malevolence is the place to start.

-though i haven't read very much about it yet, there was a non-religious group based out of NYC that was having some success with this kind of approach:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesthetic_Realism#Aesthetic_Realism_and_homosexuality

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On 4/13/2018 at 7:19 PM, intrinsicist said:

Great question. Have you read The Romantic Manifesto? Rand talks about the origins of emotion in one's thinking and philosophical premises, and especially in one's metaphysics and metaphysical value judgements. You can become psychologically and emotionally twisted out of sync with reality through contempt for your own nature, the nature of man, or the nature of reality. This sort of malevolence is the place to start. The proper attitude in Objectivism is called the Benevolent Universe premise. So try to start looking at the world as a place that is intrinsically good, and at human nature as intrinsically good. Human nature naturally pairs us into male / female couples, and there is deep complementarity in that pairing, rationally, functionally, aesthetically, psychologically, socially, and so on. The level of meaning and value in that complementarity is surprisingly deep, I dont know if anyone has fully developed that idea yet. It's a moral ideal that you should strive for.

That's a whoooooole lot of assertions you've got going on there and squat for any reasoning or evidence given to back it up. I suggest you at least attempt to remedy that.

 

As for that aesthetic realism thing in the post above, what, if anything, is the evidence of success you claim they've had? I saw the link mentioning one guy as an example, but even if we take at face value his claim to previous attraction to males and later attraction to at least one female, that doesn't rule out bisexuality all along and, importantly, doesn't clearly show in the slightest how and why attraction to somebody of the same sex as oneself would necessarily, always, stem from a malevolent world view and furthermore, later be alterable to a complete switch by way of just adopting a benevolent world view.

 

To address the first post, although it looks like the thread creator never came back after they made the thread: First, I think if there was any serious, major, definitive, non-dubious way to do what you've asked it would be major news and you would have heard of it already by now.

Second, I would like to inquire why you think heterosexuality and not even bisexuality either is both a solution to your problems and the best solution to them. You mention that highly incompatible political and social views are absolutely rampant among the non-heterosexual populace and I agree with you there in my personal observations. However, it's not 100% the case with all of them (see, for example, that there are non-heterosexual members here). It's also the case that this is very much true of the large majority of even the heterosexual populace under a certain age. (Or at least, it sure seems that way with everybody I have encountered, including the depressingly overwhelming majority of dating site profiles I come across no matter how I change filters.) Furthermore, the vast majority of the people you come across that aren't these super leftists . . . are just going to be obnoxious political right in their social and political views anyway. The pickin's, friend, are not rosy on the social/political/cultural front for people with views like those around these parts no matter what one's sexual orientation is. If anything, I think the safest option would be to hedge one's bets and just be open to anybody regardless of sex if one were to make a choice here. You did also mention children, but there's the possibility you could be infertile or your partner could be infertile even if they were male and you didn't wish for the ability to cease attraction to anybody you found out was infertile, which as long as we're talking about doing things that don't have some strong established track record for, you may as well have included in your list of sexual desire change abilities if it was actually that big a deal to biologically produce children with somebody you were with. Furthermore though, you could still have children via sperm donation or you could adopt. Is it really worth going through that much trouble to try to change your sexuality, something which has proven to be, if nothing else, at least a damn near Herculean task if it is possible at all, just so that you can make a kid with half your DNA and half that other person's DNA instead of only half your DNA or just taking in a kid that's already here and in need of a good home and somebody to love them?

Third, are you sure "polyamory" is really the word you're looking for there? I'm aware that having a lot of non-romantic sexual involvement with many various people is much more common among a lot of the non-heterosexual populace (maybe even more than among the overall younger population segment, among whom it is already much more common than among older people, or at least, both these statements of what I'm aware of are what I've heard and the impression I've gotten, I admit I'm not looking at any iron clad statistics here proving it), but that is definitely not the same as polyamory which is having multiple, simultaneous, openly acknowledged and consented to full romantic relationships. If then you did actually mean polyamory, I'd have to say that though polyamory may perhaps be a little more common among non-heterosexual people, it is actually still very much a minority position and not something you would need to abandon an entire sexuality to have much hope of escaping. Additionally, there are polyamorous people who at times may be willing to have a monogamous relationship anyway for a partner who requires it. Also, you seem to cite polyamory like it's something distasteful and I'd ask why that is so if polyamory really was the word you were looking for.

 

Now, as for the question about altering sexuality, I'm a little unusual there. Once upon a time, as a young teen, back before I'd ever been romantically or sexually attracted to anybody, either specifically or in the abstract even, I had started to see potential value in the concept of things like romance and sexuality and essentially one day sat down and kind of asked myself what I should do in regards to who I might get romantically and sexually involved with. I asked myself if there was anything seriously better about males or females, in general or in the specific capacity of romantic partner or in the specific capacity of what they could do with me romantically and sexually. I couldn't come up with anything that wasn't ultimately peanuts, especially weighed in the face of everything else about somebody as a person. I also figured, running the numbers, I had the best bet of finding compatible people if I wasn't ruling out anybody on the basis of their sex. So, I reasoned it out, went from having not experienced any attraction to determining it made the most sense to be attracted to people in general, male, female, what have you. It stuck. I created a framework that made sense as far as I could see and my feelings very much followed along these lines subsequently. A person's sex is just not something that's on my mind when I'm thinking of them romantically or feeling sexual desire. I went from nothing to deciding on a sexuality that made sense to me to experiencing romantic and sexual attraction working in accordance with that conclusion I'd made. If there's any possibility to choose, to change, to set one's own course, as far as sexuality goes, if it doesn't strictly come down to genes and womb chemicals and whatever other biological determination et cetera et cetera et cetera which would require some serious medical advances and interventions to alter, then I did it and the process involved doesn't and seems it can't lead to where you want it to go with an end result of heterosexuality.

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16 hours ago, bluecherry said:

Second, I would like to inquire why you think heterosexuality and not even bisexuality either is both a solution to your problems and the best solution to them.

This reminds me. I lean towards saying that bisexuality is more natural and ideal while heterosexuality (and homosexuality for that matter) are further away from human nature. Very little research was done on sexuality before the late 60s, and even that seem to be predicated on ideas from Freud and other psychologists. A number of ideas on sexuality stem from poorly crafted science. It may appear philosophical to relate homosexuality to specific aesthetic views, and entirely reasonable, but the concept homosexuality isn't based on any careful analysis or long existing concept throughout history. Bisexuality (or more specifically, a lack of any definitive line based on gender for sexual interest) seems to be the more normal approach as far as I've seen, and any preference one way or the other is more like a statistical regularity (and probably influenced by cultural values).

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