The fact that Ex-Gay Therapy is universally denounced as harmful and scientifically unsound (Re: bullshit) by every single national medical, psychological and psychiatric organization doesn’t stop loonies like Marcus Bachmann from giving it the old college try.
Ex-Gay Conversion Therapy relies heavily on Christian teachings to…you know what? It doesn’t matter. It’s a total crock of shit. You can’t pray the gay away. You just can’t.
But can you cuddle it away? (Hint: Also, no.)
The idea behind cuddle conversion is that homosexuality — or same-sex attraction (SSA), as proponents prefer to call it — is caused in part by a lack of fatherly love and affection. The thinking is that when boys miss out on healthy same-sex affection, they eroticize all male touch. Wyler, a “life coach” and founder of People Can Change, runs the “Journey Into Manhood” weekend retreat, which is heavy on physical contact, from wrestling to bear hugs.
Writer Ted Cox went undercover last year at one of these workshops and detailed his close encounters for Alternet:
I sat on the floor between the outstretched legs of a camp guide, my head leaning back against his shoulder. The guide sat behind me, his arms wrapped around my chest. This hold was called “The Motorcycle.” Five men surrounded the two of us, their hands resting gently on my arms, legs and chest.
While in this position, Cox writes that he felt “the unmistakable bulge pressing through [the guide’s] tight jeans.” But erections are just a part of the healing process! As Richard Cohen, the progenitor of cuddle conversion, wrote in his book “Coming Out Straight,” “It is natural for us to feel stimulation when we are intimate with either someone of the same or opposite sex.” He also warns, “Do not become hooked on holding,” because “this technique can be addictive.”
Um…no. You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but Cuddle Conversion has been linked to sexual abuse. No, not counseling and treatment for sexual abuse victims, but actual sexual abusing itself.
It was revealed in the mid-’80s that Colin Cook, founder of Homosexuals Anonymous, was giving clients naked massages … to combat their gayness. He told the Los Angeles Times, “I allowed myself to hug and hold my counselees thinking I was helping them. But I needed it more than they did.” Then, in the mid-’90s after restarting his practice, he was outed again for using massages, hugs and mutual masturbation with his young male clients to “desensitize” them to their same-sex desires. Allan Downing, a therapist at Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality, was accused by two clients of having them take off their clothes and masturbate in front of him as part of the healing process. There are other cases, but you get the point.
Here’s some old-timey Daily Show with more:
Here’s the thing, self-hating homos: You’re gay. And it’s kind of the best. No accidental baby-making, no long hairs clogging the shower (Sorry lesbians faced with double long hair clogging the shower), and you double your wardrobe every time you start a new serious relationship. Also, there is blueberry vodka at every gay bar in the country. These are nothing to scoff at. Get over yourself. Get into yourself. Because you’re great. And you’re gay. And a lifetime spent trying to pray, cuddle, or talk your way out of it isn’t going to change it.
The entire piece over at Salon is well worth a read. Bizarre, and a total crock of shit, but well worth a read.