Can people change their sexual orientation?

I grew up hearing a lot of people say that sexual orientation was a choice, but I don’t believe that. It is absolutely clear to me that there are genetic components that make up our sexuality, and that those things typically cannot be altered. I openly admit that I am heterosexual, and I don’t think there’s any amount of therapy that could make me be anything else.

In the 70’s I was at a university that reportedly did research where men watched movies of gay men having sex–electroshock aversion therapy. If they became aroused, they were given electrical shocks –a sort of sick “Clockwork Orange” experiment.

I guess I just want to say that I love my friends and relatives who are gay, and I accept them for the warm, funny, wonderful people that they are.


10 responses to “Can people change their sexual orientation?

  1. It seems to me that the people who say it’s reversible seem to think it’s somehow contagious, and are afraid of catching it, if people don’t cure themselves of this disease. The lady in Portland who had the student teacher fired for admitting his sexual orientation and even complained about his manner of dress is just an ignorant person who thinks her own offspring might catch it. Sad for her, if one of her kids turns out to be gay. I mean, sad for the kid.

    I read a study once about exposure to different kinds of plastics, and it suggested that boys whose mothers were exposed to high levels of pliable plastics, like saran wrap, baggies, grocery bags, food wrap, etc., had some measurable difference in their genitalia. It didn’t further discuss the orientation of those children, but just the fact that there’s something suggests to me that our modern lifestyle could certainly alter the way humans are made. We keep finding things that cause cancer, so why shouldn’t there be things that cause gender identity differences?

    That’s not to say that I believe it’s how gay people are made, just that it’s possible we are responsible. It’s also not to say that I think being gay is being broken (I don’t really ever liken it to cancer). I just think, wouldn’t it be ironic if some of those people who rant about gayness as an abomination, or unnatural, or whatever, were sort of responsible for their kids being gay?

    • There are clearly environmental influences that affect us. Girl fetuses that are virilized in the womb, for example, have a very high possibility of being gay when they are adults. I haven’t read anything about exposure to plastic–interesting. My biggest concern, though, is treating everyone with respect, and not trying to claim that someone can just decide to change his or her sexual preferences. I think that is bogus.

  2. Amen to that. No one can possibly know what it’s like to be another human. It kind of reminds me when people suggest, as a cure for depression, to just be happier!

  3. Oh, how often people forget the golden rule, eh?

  4. From what I’ve read, sexuality is somewhat fluid–which is to say, most of us are somewhat attracted to both genders, but the level of attraction to one gender or the other can change with time. So, if you imagine sexuality lying along a line, with 0 being completely heterosexual and 10 being completely homosexual, most of us would have values somewhere between 1 and 9. That value can change through time, but not wildly–if you start out a seven, you might be able to stretch yourself to a four or five, but you’ll never be a one or two, if that makes any sense. My brother (who I’d guess is a 7 or 8) gets pretty annoyed when people who are in the 5 range or lower try to tell him he can change–no he can’t. Not that far, anyway. He likes boys, and while he can appreciate that women are attractive, he just doesn’t like them that way.

    I admit, it’s taken me a long time to accept his sexuality isn’t a choice. For years I kept hoping the “right girl” would come along who he would love and find sexually attractive. He loves a lot of women–as friends. He hasn’t had a crush on a girl since kindergarten, though, and he’s had lots of crushes on men.

  5. Huh, I’m not sure why 8 translated into :), but okay.

  6. treating other people with respect just feel so good to me. and it’s contagious!

  7. the name of this blog says it all.

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