Monday, June 13, 2011

Dr. Nicolosi Book Review

Dr. Nicolosi discusses how men who as children (and often still as adults)
were made to feel responsible for the emotional well-being of their mothers,
and must be the inauthentic "good little boy" for her, usually find it hard
to relate to women from their authentic masculine selves. Instead they find
themselves being the "good little boy - nice guy" obliged to please the
woman. Two passages may be helpful for men seeking to reduce their SSA and
relate as authentic men with women.

The book is "Shame and Attachment Loss: The Practical Work of Reparative
Therapy" by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi

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From Chapter 18: Relationships with women


The client who attempts to emulate the heterosexual man's way of relating
to women trying to fit in to the dating scene with its romantic-sexual
intrigue may be setting himself up for failure. The ever-straight man's
pathway is different from the ex-gay man's. Ever-straight men are typically
sexually attracted to the woman first, and only later get to know her as a

For ex-gay men, the sequence moves in the opposite direction: friendship,
affection and then sexuality. Here is how it works:

1. The man first comes to know the woman as a friend, someone with whom he
enjoys common interests and activities.

2. He allows that friendship to develop into a growing and natural
affection. Physical touch and holding will feel pleasant and good.

3. After establishing and maintaining a trustful friendship that growing
affection will naturally begin to express itself sexually.

This three-step sequence is reassuring to the client who has made the
mistake of pressuring himself to feel sexual excitement in order to prove to
himself that he has successfully changed.

Some men may sustain a friendship with a woman for years before they
become serious about her, not marrying until then. Many of these men report
very satisfactory emotional and sexual relationships. As they slowly grow
in their heterosexual response, they usually describe their arousal toward
their wives as less visually based, however, and lower-key and more tactile
than sex with men.

Interestingly, married ex-gay men often report little sexual attraction
to other women. This strange contradiction may be difficult for a
heterosexual man to understand, but is good news for the wife!


Reparative therapy has been criticized by gay-affirmative therapists as
"nothing more than behavior modification." According to this view,
treatment only succeeds in suppressing homosexual feelings. Indeed, most
married ex-gay men report that their sexual experiences with their wives are
not as intense and exciting as their earlier homosexual experiences.

Homosexually oriented men feel more comfortable relating to women than to
men. They "split" women and think about them only from the waist up, with
female friends viewed as sexless, genderless beings.

But as the shame is slowly diminished in therapy and the SSA man grows in
self-awareness and self-assertion, he should gradually begin to find within
himself a natural heterosexual response. However because gay sex was driven
by a profound deficit - an attempt to satisfy deep unmet needs of belonging
and attachment - as a temporary stabilizer of affective disequilibrium, it
offered a powerful erotic "zap" that temporarily lifted the depression and
bridged the masculine disconnection. This zap, or electric charge, bridging
emotional disconnection with (momentary) connection, will never be as
powerful with a woman, partly because women are not "exotic"; they are in
some ways too well known.

Another powerful charge in gay sex was its forbidden quality and its
frequently impersonal nature, with strangers, and a sense of danger often
added into the mix. This added further erotic intensity, which can feel
much more exciting in the moment than sex with one's married partner.

However, the one-dimensional consideration of erotic intensity is an
incomplete assessment of the ex-gay married man's sexual satisfaction.
While ex-gay men report a qualitatively less intense experience, they do
report a richer, fuller and more emotionally satisfying experience,
accompanied by a deep sense of well-being. They describe a feeling of
natural compatibility, rightness and oneness. One now-married man said,
"When I look back on my homosexual experiences, it seems like we were two
little boys playing in the sandbox."

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