‘Ex-Gay’ Men Insist They're Not Gay

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    Feb 12, 2014 1:33 AM GMT
    For most of his life, Blake Smith said, “every inch of my body craved male sexual contact.” Mr. Smith, 58, who says he believes homosexual behavior is wrong on religious grounds, tried to tough it out. He spent 17 years in a doomed marriage while battling his urges all day, he said, and dreaming about them all night.

    But in recent years, as he probed his childhood in counseling and at men’s weekend retreats with names like People Can Change and Journey Into Manhood, “my homosexual feelings have nearly vanished,” Mr. Smith said in an interview at the house in Bakersfield, Calif., he shares with his second wife, who married him eight years ago knowing his history. “In my 50s, for the first time, I can look at a woman and say ‘she’s really hot.’ ”

    Mr. Smith is one of thousands of men across the country, often known as “ex-gay,” who believe they have changed their most basic sexual desires through some combination of therapy and prayer — something most scientists say has never been proved possible and is likely an illusion.

    Ex-gay men are often closeted, fearing ridicule from gay advocates who accuse them of self-deception and, at the same time, fearing rejection by their church communities as tainted oddities. Here in California, their sense of siege grew more intense in September when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law banning use of widely discredited sexual “conversion therapies” for minors — an assault on their own validity, some ex-gay men feel.

    But many ex-gays have continued to seek help from such therapists and men’s retreats, saying their own experience is proof enough that the treatment can work.

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    Feb 12, 2014 1:45 AM GMT
    Either way his ship has sailed. I wish him the best.
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    Feb 12, 2014 1:58 AM GMT
    I dated a guy for about 8 months in Seattle. He was one of the developers of Windows NT, aged 36. He lived alone in a huge new house. He approached me at a private gay party because I had arrived on my motorcycle, and he had one, too, but not running.

    First time I visited his place I got his bike running, and afterwards we started taking rides together. Then we camped in my RV together, and I stayed overnight at his house a number of times, as well as doing other stuff.

    But I had this feeling something wasn't right, that he seemed troubled, uneasy. He didn't see me for a few weeks, then one day he emailed me to say he had sold his house and all his possessions and was moving to California. Like - WUT???

    He wrote me his family had pressured him to enter a gay reparative therapy commune. He was gone before I could say goodbye in person. He just walked away from his Microsoft career.

    He emailed me a few times from the commune, but said it was difficult, because they restricted his email. He could only go off the grounds with a chaperone, to make sure he wouldn't fall into "temptation". His daily job was to write software for them, that he said they marketed, and be their IT guy, how he was able to sneak some emails out.

    Other mutual friends who knew him confirmed this story, who were getting similar emails. And then the emails stopped without explanation, and I haven't heard from him in 15 years. icon_sad.gif
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    Feb 12, 2014 2:02 AM GMT
    They have to insist or else they'd have to admit that they really are gay and it will not go away. If the guy is happy or found his place, good for him. As for being gay, if he was, he still is!
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    Feb 12, 2014 2:21 AM GMT
    woodsmen said^ Wow! What did they do to him, wonder?

    I don't know. What he described was essentially house arrest, with close monitoring. One possibility is that they caught him emailing, a violation. He said he was forbidden any contact with his "former bad friends" (like me) who were an evil influence. So they may have cut him off from all Internet contact. He said he couldn't use the voice phone, except to his family, with the calls monitored.

    And maybe the therapy (or brainwashing) worked, insofar as he didn't want to be gay anymore. He was a self-admission, after all, a legal adult even if he was being pressured by his family. Nor was it a court action, like allegedly happened to "Brother Boy" in Sordid Lives.

    I suppose if you aren't happy being gay you can try to make yourself happier being something else. Even if it really doesn't change you, at least you learn how to live with it, to satisfy family and society.