Journal of Human Sexuality

The Journal of Human Sexuality, the official publication of the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity (ATCSI), is a scholarly journal dedicated to the dissemination of information in the field of human sexuality with a particular emphasis on sexual orientation and gender.  The chief aim of the journal is to publish thought-provoking scholarship by researchers, clinicians, and other like-minded scholars.  In keeping with the ATCSI’s mission, the journal particularly seeks articles relevant to the understanding and care of persons who experience unwanted same-sex attractions and/or gender dysphoria and the clinicians who provide this care.  Reasoned perspectives and theoretical approaches that may be unwelcome for political and ideological reasons within mainstream psychology are encouraged.  The journal welcomes empirical research (both quantitative and qualitative), theoretical and conceptual articles, in-depth reviews of the research and literature, clinical case studies, book reviews, and letters to the editor.  The journal is published annually, provided free to ATCSI partners, and is accessible one year after publication through the ProQuest databases and the journal’s web site.

Journal of Human Sexuality, Volume 12

Feature Articles

 

Peter S. Sprigg – Searching for Evidence of Harm: 79 Key Studies Do Not Demonstrate That Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) Are More Harmful Than Other Counseling 

Critics of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), which is sometimes referred to as “conversion therapy,” make two principal assertions—that such therapy is ineffective, and that it is harmful. This article addresses the latter assertion, evaluating the scientific evidence of SOCE harms. A recent book (Doyle, 2019) included an appendix labeled “Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles and Academic Books on ‘Conversion Therapy’ Outcomes that Include Measures of Harm.” I undertook a literature review of the 79 sources cited in this document. Some of these studies do not contain any assertion or even discussion of the possibility of “harm” to individual clients resulting from SOCE. Others do assert or suggest that SOCE may be harmful but feature no study subjects. Only a minority of the sources include studies or case reports on individuals who have undertaken SOCE. Just six studies (reported on in 11 of the sources) involved sample sizes of 50 or more SOCE clients. These six are described in detail. Most of the studies suffer from significant methodological weaknesses. Several are explicitly “qualitative” rather than quantitative. The two strongest studies methodologically show the most positive outcomes and the fewest reports of harm. While these 79 studies do provide anecdotal evidence that some SOCE experiences were harmful to some clients, they do not demonstrate scientifically that SOCE is more harmful than other forms of therapy, more harmful than other courses of action for those with SSA, or more likely to be harmful than helpful for the average client.

 

Flavio Junior – Nature and Nurture: Proposing a Reconciliation

This article addresses an historically controversial topic: the question of whether the same-sex attraction (SSA) in men is innate or acquired. Several studies in the field of genetics have shown that there is a possible genetic influence on SSA. On the other hand, psychology debated contributions from psychoanalysis on this subject, such as the perspective of the absent, abusive father as well as traumas caused by other members of the same gender leading to defensive detachment. Presently, there appears to be a consensus that same-sex sexuality develops from both biological and environmental influences. But how? In this article, I posite a possible route for such interaction. I raise the hypothesis that biological factors involved in the homosexual tendency would manifest themselves in the high sensitivity of some children, since this trait would predispose boys to defensive detachment as well as to gender wounds caused by other men. This hypothesis suggests a possible way to integrate the various published studies which show that the causes of the origin of SSA in men could be both genetic and environmental.

 

Christopher H. Rosik – Researching Against the Cultural Tide: An Interview with Walter R. Schumm and D. Paul Sullins

There are many challenges to doing research in a controversial and contentious arena, particularly when one is finding and interpreting results that may go against the tide of “conventional wisdom,” not to mention the policy interests of powerful mental health organizations, advocacy groups, and government agencies. The study of sexual orientation and gender certainly constitutes a supreme example of where such challenges are to be found. Yet there are a few researchers who have had the courage and statistical acumen to enter into this fray. In this article, I interview two preeminent researchers who have sometimes challenged the “scientific consensus” of the field in this arena. Walter R. Schumm, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Applied Family Science in the Kansas State University Department of Applied Human Sciences, has conducted research on gender identity, sexual identity, sexual attraction, and same-sex relationships and parenting since 1999. D. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., is with the Leo Initiative for Social Research, Catholic University, and the Ruth Institute, Lake Charles, LA. In this interview, Drs. Schumm and Sullins reflect on how they became researchers, changes they have seen in the field over the years, challenges and hopeful signs within this area of research, and some suggestions for others who may be thinking about doing controversial research.

 

Original Research

 

Carolyn Pela & Philip Sutton – Sexual Attraction Fluidity and Well-Being in Men: A Therapeutic Outcome Study

Recent legislative efforts initiated by politicians and activists have limited or threatened to limit the autonomy and self-determination of individuals desiring sexual attraction fluidity exploration in therapy (SAFE-T), claiming that SAFE-T is ineffective and harmful. The American Psychological Association has claimed that there is not enough rigorous research to draw conclusions about the efficacy or beneficence and nonmaleficence of SAFE-T. The present longitudinal study examined the sexual attraction fluidity (SAF) and wellbeing of psychotherapy clients while participating in SAFE-T. Participants were 75 adult male psychotherapy clients reporting both same-sex attraction experiences (SSAE) and the desire to participate in SAFE-T to achieve SAF. Well-being was measured with the OQ-45.2, SSAE, and opposite-sex attraction experiences (OSAE) with a Likert scale, and sexual attraction identity (SAI) with a Likert-type item. Results of t-tests of the means of baseline and final well-being measures revealed a clinically and statistically significant improvement in well-being. A linear mixed model was used to analyze the SSAE, OSAE, and SAI data obtained at baseline, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months, with results showing.

 

Gary Bondy – Subjective Experiences in Sexual Orientation Change Efforts: A Mixed-Method Analysis

Sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) are practices that individuals go through to modify any nonheterosexual orientation toward a heterosexual orientation. Despite the American Psychiatric Association’s renouncing of homosexuality as a mental disorder, there are still a minority of individuals who seek SOCE. Such people may have complex and contemplative attitudes towards their own same-sex attractions (SSA). Little is known about the identities, attitudes, and experiences of those who have engaged in SOCE. A convenience sample of 156 participants who have engaged in SOCE completed a mixed-method online survey assessing attitudes toward their SOCE, SSA-identity congruence, shame about attractions, external motivations for SOCE, and a variety of other quantitative variables for exploratory purposes. Responses to open-ended questions about SSA etiological opinions and both positive and negative experiences/outcomes from SOCE were coded. A multiple regression analysis suggested that believing changing SSA to be immoral, extrinsic motivations(i.e., other than intrinsic motivations to participate), current Kinsey attraction, and SSA-identity congruence predicted negative attitudes toward their SOCE experience. A multivariate analysis of variance revealed significant differences in these variables for those who engaged in certain types of SOCE. Common themes from SSA etiological beliefs were Familial, Cognitive, Social, and others. Negative experiences in SOCE had themes of Emotionally-Related, None, Social-Related, and others. Finally, the themes most commonly reported for positive experiences in change efforts were Personal Growth, Relationship Development, and Therapeutic. Implications for practices and limitations are discussed.

 

Walter R. Schumm & Duane W. Crawford – Sexual Orientation Differences Between Children of Same-Sex Parents and Children of Heterosexual Parents: A Brief Report Using a Meta-Analysis

While it has been debated whether parental and children’s sexual orientations are associated, no meta-analyses have yet been reported, using data with older children, comparison groups of heterosexual families, and larger samples. The apparent scientific consensus has been that parental and children’s sexual orientations are unrelated. In contrast to previous research, here six studies are analyzed through three meta-analyses, with the result found that children from same-sex parent families are significantly more likely to be nonheterosexual (gay, lesbian, or bisexual; questioning; to engage in same-sex sexual relationships, or report same-sex sexual attraction) than are children from heterosexual parent families. Further research and more detailed social science theories are needed to explain possible pathways from parental sexual orientation to the development of sexual orientations in children.

 

Walter R. Schumm & Duane W. Crawford – Differences Between Acceptance of Sexual Diversity and Nonheterosexual Sexual Orientation Among Children of Same-Sex Parents

The possible effects of same-sex parenting on children’s sexual attitudes and sexual orientation have been controversial. Some scholars have argued that parental influence might be greater for their children’s sexual attitudes, such as greater acceptance of sexual diversity, than for their children’s sexual orientations. Our review of the literature yielded nine studies of the children of same-sex parents in which both types of measures were included in measurable formats. We compared the reported percentages of both factors, using weighted and unweighted data, as well as by the use of meta-analysis. Both types of measures were positively associated (r > .85) across the studies while a significantly higher percentage of children reported greater acceptance of sexual diversity than they did for their own nonheterosexual sexual orientation. Effect sizes were substantial (> 3.0). Future research should test whether greater acceptance of sexual diversity or nontraditional gender role orientations may predispose children, especially adolescents and emerging adults, with same-sex parents, to consider, experiment with, or identify with nonheterosexual sexual orientations. Same-sex parenting may influence acceptance of sexual diversity more than sexual orientation among the children of lesbian, gay, or bisexual parents, even though the two factors were strongly correlated across our studies. More complex theories about same-sex parenting need to be developed and tested in future research.

Sheri L. Golden – The Relationship Between Father Involvement and Father-Role Confidence for Fathers of Gay Sons

 

This nonexperimental quantitative study of 70 participants explored how father involvement during their gay sons’ childhood and adolescence was impacted by their levels of father-role confidence (FRC) and past father involvement experiences (PFIE). As hypothesized, the results indicated that participants’ past involvement with their fathers, and reported levels of father-role confidence, predicted father-gay son involvement (FGSI). Participants in this study predominately exhibited indirect, non-nurturing, or low-engagement types of father involvement activities with their gay sons rather than direct, nurturing, or high-engagement activities. Implications from the results of this study may be used to inform existing therapeutic approaches for fathers of gay sons, increase father-gay son engagement, and promote relationship reconciliation efforts between adult gay men and their fathers.

Book and Movie Reviews

 

Keith Vennum – A Brief Review of Homosexuality, Aids, and the CDC By The Millennium First Initiative

 

Sheri Golden – Review of Maria Keffler’s Desist, Detrans, & Detox: Getting Your Child Out of the Gender

 

Anne Paulk – A Review of the Documentary Pray Away

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