Thursday, September 22, 2011

Homosexuality and Masculine Development

So why am I talking about homosexuality on this site?  Well, the answer is simple.  I believe homosexual attraction to be a mask.  This does not mean that it is a choice.  In a way it is one result of a cross between a passive man and a masked man.  Like most masks the individual using it is usually unaware of it.  It has become a very real part of who they are, it has become a defense mechanism.  This defense mechanism is keeping these individuals from reaching their full masculine potential.  I mean no disrespect with anything I am going to say.  I have full respect for the choices of individuals to live life how they choose, that includes those wanting to live a homosexual lifestyle but it also includes those who experience these feelings but who feel that this is not who they truly are.  What I will talk about is about male homosexual development.  Female homosexual development is very different and will not be discussed here.

There is a common belief that homosexuality is inborn, biological, and therefore unchangeable, which there is no evidence to prove.  The American Psychological Association (2008) in a statementabout homosexuality stated:
Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.
While there are no conclusive studies on the topic I believe, as stated above that nature and nurture play significant roles in the development of homosexuality.

Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a Psychologist who specializes in “reparative therapy” states in his book Shame and Attachment Loss (2009) that there is in fact a genetic piece which he believes to be a certain personality type, that given the right conditions, will develop into a homosexual problem.  Generally those who develop homosexual feelings have similar personalities.  It is usually a boy who is more sensitive, emotional, and caring.  This coupled with certain environmental factors can create homosexual feelings within an individual. 

Nicolosi also discusses the piece that environment plays in homosexual development.  He explains what he calls the triadic family system.  This system is a general model but many variations of this model can emerge and create the same result, but almost across the board there is some variation of this model in the past of people experiencing homosexual attraction.  The triadic family system consists of the sensitive boy mentioned above, a mother with a dominant personality and a father who is either physically or emotionally distant or absent in the eyes of the boy.  However, as I stated above there are many variations of this and this does not necessarily mean that the individual had an asshole for a father or a crazy person for a mother.  This is where a lot of people become defensive, saying "I know someone who is gay but his dad is the nicest guy, a really good dad."  The key in all this is perception.  It is how the boy sees it.  It doesn't matter how anyone else sees it.    Sometimes the mother has some strong opinions but it is the sensitive nature of the boy, who always wants to please his mother, that causes him to do what she says and always tries to please her, often resulting in an unhealthy enmeshment between mother and son.  This attachment to mother is usually preceded by an emotional disconnect from the father. 

Every child when born is attached to his or her mother.  In our gender identity development stage we develop our gender identity through observations of the parent that we see ourselves most like.  Girls have this easier because they are already very attached to the same sex parent but boys have to make a shift around the age of 18 months to three years.  During this time the boy starts to see the difference between mommy and daddy and begins to realize mommy is a girl, daddy is a boy, I’m a boy and daddy and I are the same.  This is when we see little boys copying there dads wanting to put shaving cream on, wanting to mow the lawn with dad or help with the car.  For boys experiencing homosexual feelings this transition did not happen the way it was intended. This can either be because the father was absent completely, traveled or worked a lot, or for many other reasons.  Somewhere along the line the boy felt rejected by the father.  This could be a very small event that the sensitive boy took very personally such as dad yelling at him in anger or frustration, even if it only happened once, or a large event such as the death of the father or a very abusive father, or a series of events that lead the boy feeling this way.  He begins to feel that “dad doesn’t like or accept me.”  As stated above it is a perception, not necessarily a reality, But a person's perception defines his reality.  So the boy feels rejected and therefore the boy moves to what he is comfortable with and the person who he feels accepted and protected by, this is generally the mother and because of this the boy doesn’t make the shift.  Without this shift the boy never really learns how to relate to men or learns how to be a man.   

When the boys starts school this becomes a bigger issue as this boy is generally the boy who stands at a distance on the playground watching the other boys playing sports wishing he could be part of them, because deep down he knows he is and wants to be a "boy", but not feeling equal to them or adequate enough to participate.  He typically looks at these other boys wondering “what is wrong with me?” “How come I’m not like them?” He will study them trying to figure out how to be more like them usually resulting in ridicule and further alienation from his gender.  This is an important time in the development of a boy.  During this time of life the whole girls have coodies and the typical separation of genders that naturally happens with young children  is an important part of development.  During this time people normally become comfortable with their own gender so that when puberty hits they start noticing the opposite sex because their own gender isn’t interesting anymore, they want to see what's up with girls because they are now the mystery.  Boys are now boring they’ve been hanging around them for years.  So they begin asking themselves “what's up with girls?”  This process of switching focus to the opposite sex does not happen for the youth experiencing homosexual feelings.  For a boy struggling with homosexual thoughts he is still fixating on the other boys.  They continue to be the mystery.  They are ones he has been looking at trying to figure out and that fascination becomes sexualized as puberty hits.  

So what is typically under this attraction is one of two things.  Either a feeling that the individual has that he is somehow deficient or inadequate in being “male” or a feeling of wanting to be accepted by other men.  In a subconscious way the individual feels that  he is very different from other men and can somehow gain what he wants in himself through sexual contact with other men.  For the individual who feels that desire to be accepted by men and to be close to them subconsciously feels that need met when he is accepted sexually by another man. 

In a nutshell homosexuality is just a man needing to feel accepted by other men, and/or a man needing to accept his own masculine potential.  This blog is all about helping men reach that potential which is why I felt it appropraite to write this.  As I stated above I is not my intention to offend but merely to offer another often overlooked perspective.

Information for this article was taken from the following sources:
The American Psychological Association
Shame and Attachment Loss By Joseph Nicolosi


  1. So, if this is the case, could someone (an adolescent let's say) with homosexual feelings who was in an environment where homosexual feelings were accepted, not demonized, but also not sold to them as their permanent "orientation" just pass through it as a phase? Let's say the kid has a few same-sex sexual/romantic relationships with some classmates. It seems plausible under Mr. Nicolosi's theory that these might help him feel more confident, mature socially and understand the "mystery" that is man. If he is accepted by his friends and family through this time (ie he is not demonized for his feelings/actions), he could eventually come out of the experience more mature, more developed as a man, and then moves on to women like everyone else.

  2. @ Brett
    I'm not sure I completely understand your question but I will answer the best I can. I don't think the "demonization" or acceptance/encouragement has anything to do with the development and lingering feelings of homosexual attraction. There are many heterosexual men who would not consider themselves homosexual at all who have at some time, especially in adolescents, had a same gender sexual experience. Generally these individuals were merely acting on curiosity, not the same kind of intense attraction that individuals with same-gender attraction are experiencing.

    For the individual experiencing these attractions a sexual encounter would not help "cure" them. In actuality it would make things worse as the individual is seeking a healthy relationship and that healthy desire becomes more sexualized by the action. The individual finds some level of satisfaction and feels that this is what he has been searching for. Unftunatley sex with another man will never help him fill the emptiness he is feeling. The desire that is under homosexual attraction is not about sex and it can never be fulfilled that way. The problems are based in insecurities about being accepted by men or in feeling equal to other men in a healthy way, which most have never experienced so they seek it out elsewhere. This is much how a woman will be in an abusive relationship because she is seeking something from a man that she has not been able to find elsewhere. This relationship will not provide her with the love and acceptance she is looking for but just lower her self-esteem more because she will continue to not be able to find what she is looking for. Not to say homosexual relationships are abusive but they are similar in the sense that an individual is looking for something in the wrong way and in the wrong place.

    What will really help a man is having healthy acceptance and interactions with other men and engaging in masculine activities with other men who find value in them and accept them for who they are. This cannot come through sex.

    I hope that answered your question. If not let me know and I will try to answer it better.

  3. So, what would you say to a boy who was NOT the boy on the playground watching the other boys play football wishing he was a part of them? What about a boy who was one of those athletic, masculine, football-playing boys and yet he struggles with same-sex attraction?

    Also, this blog post seems very black-and-white to me. I think there is a continuum of sexual orientation and people can be anywhere in between.

  4. I would say that as the article states this is the case most of the time. There are other variations and other situations that can lead to the same result. A boy can still feel rejection from his father and be athletic, it is more unlikely, but possible. A boy can still be athletic and feel inferior to other boys and men. I think the thing to look at is that athleticism is definitely the exception not the norm in most homosexual individuals.

    Then there is the issue of abuse. Abuse can cause a lot of turmoil for an individual including changing and confusing their views of their own sexuality. There is a much higher percentage of abuse among homosexual individuals than in heterosexual individuals.

    As far as the Kinsey scale, which I'm assuming is what you are referring to, it has been proven to be very biased and to have had a lot of problems in the validity of the studies. In addition Kinsey's studies were themselves very unethical and abusive in nature. With that said I believe that people do find themselves on a continuum; however, I believe that continuum to be influenced by the same factors listed in the article not that people are born on that continuum.

  5. I wasn't necessarily referring to the Kinsey scale. I also think that the cultural/religious/political perspective is also an important component to consider. I think it would be safe to say that this blog post represents a white, caucasian, conservative perspective. While other cultures, such as the Native American culture, generally see things from a circular perspective, on a continuum, and not black/white. They believe that there are "two-spirited" people with hetero and homosexual characteristics. Which perspective is correct? Definitely, not for me to judge.