Starvation cures gluttony!

Arthur Silber offers some astute comments on this story, which is a revisitation of the "reparative therapy" issue:

Certainly adults have the right to pursue any kind of therapy they wish, to whatever end. I don't think anybody ever seriously said otherwise.

It does sound to me, however, as if the reservations expressed in the article about precisely what this study proves are important ones -- and ultimately, I'm not sure that this new research shows much of anything, except that some people who want to change their sexual orientation a lot may ultimately be able to do so, at least to some extent (and depending on what you mean by "change"). But then, I never doubted that in the first place.

Words of wisdom, Arthur.

I have a serious problem with looking for any single cause for something as complicated as sexual desire. Each person is turned on by different types of stimuli, and in order to ascertain why such anyone might find something or some type of person attractive, you'd really have to conduct a detailed medical, psychological, maybe prenatal, and genetic study of that individual.

Why would anyone want to do that? It defies logic to assert that there is any single "cause" of something as varied as the number of people who might share it. While there may be genetic or prenatal factors which could make someone attracted to members of his own sex, there might also be strong psychological factors. Then again there might be freely chosen sexual conduct, in order to make money, advance a career, avoid being killed in prison, or simply casual kicks (for the hell of it). How causation can be ascribed to any of this escapes me. And of course Arthur is correct that adults have the right to pursue any kind of therapy they wish. A right to do something, if it means anything at all, means the right not to do it, or to stop doing it. What I dislike about some of these "conversion" movements is that they are often little more than attempts at inducing shame, and the "cures" they offer are based on religion. Still, any individual should have the right to shame himself, through religion, without government interference. I might not understand why anyone would do that, but it is none of my business.

Reading the article, I am even more baffled by this particular study, and not merely because it is based on results from religious "cures." It seems that some of the "cured" people have not become heterosexual at all!

"It also depends on what is meant by change. Some may not be able to go as far as experiencing heterosexual arousal"
What the hell does that mean? If they are not experiencing heterosexual arousal, then they are not changed. These people have not gone from homosexual to heterosexual. Indeed, they are not even bisexual. Have they, possibly, achieved a state of zero sexual desire? And that is reported as a cure? I take serious issue with that, because it sounds merely like religious based abstinence (aka religious celibacy) rather than a cure. While I know religious celibacy is possible, my cynical and practical side causes me to doubt its long term effectiveness in most people.

Above all, I have a serious problem with the labeling and grouping of people based on the content of their orgasms, -- something I have complained about many times in this blog. But, assuming that someone is unhappy because of an inability to engage in heterosexual sexual relations, it would seem to me that the "treatment" ought to consist of teaching him or her how to have sex with a member of the opposite sex, as well as overcoming barriers or mental blockage preventing that. This would require the services of a trained professional, who would utilize a sexual surrogate the way they do in cases of impotence or sexual dysfunction.

If it worked, the patient could then function heterosexually, or bisexually, and could then be said to have "changed."

I just don't think the religious cure advocates are all that interested in teaching the finer arts of penile-vaginal intercourse.

Or hiring sexual surrogates.

The religious approach to treatment of sexual dysfunction (assuming arguendo that homosexuality is that) would not seem to be the most medically sound, even assuming that a patient had a sincere desire to alter his or her sexual preference. At its core, religious treatment is predicated on the notion that homosexuality is bad, and thus the primary goal of "treatment" is an acknowledgment by the patient of his moral evil. In a religiously inclined patient, this might be partially effective, but it strikes me as logically absurd to imagine that heterosexual arousal will automatically flow from submitting to the religious conviction that homosexuality is bad.

Let us analogize to the "sin" of gluttony. Convincing an overweight patient that he is evil for stuffing his face might be easier for those of a religious bent, but this is not likely to create lifelong dietary changes.

"Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. " - Proverbs 23:2

Hey, I just found out that I am a glutton! Apparently it is not about being overweight but it involves preferences:

If your toast must be a specific shade of brown and buttered just so, you're a glutton: you devote too much mental energy to your food rather than to matters of the spirit.
I am very picky about my toast. (Whether therapy can help I am not sure....)

In other gluttony news, a group of French chefs is trying to remove gluttony from the sin list.

Damn these liberal activists! May they end up in the Glutton's Hell where they belong!

Can religious-based anorexia defeat the dark forces of gluttony?

De gustibus non est disputandum.

posted by Eric on 10.05.03 at 09:45 PM


I'm very picky about my toast too. I guess I'm going to hell.The upside is that with all that hellfire I'll be able to toast my bread exactly the way I like it!

"Can religious-based anorexia defeat the dark forces of gluttony?"

I don't think so. Perhaps like anorexia-nervosa it can suppress the 'behaviour' but not the 'drive'.

"The cure for Gluttony lies in deliberately reducing our use of pleasurable things, not in eliminating them. When eating, quit before feeling stuffed. When snacking, don't just keep stuffing, but quit after a while. With people, allow some quiet time together, and also get some time alone. Of course, if time alone is very pleasurable, get out more often. And if the toast is a bit too brown, eat it anyway."

...Blah blah blah. Where have I heard all this before? That's right. It's the gospel of the dieting mindset and industry. Diets don't work.

Life is short. Choose gluttony!

La Gourmande   ·  October 7, 2003 6:16 AM

I enjoy your spirit of defiance.

(Remember the Diet of Worms! Wasn't that also an act of defiance?)

Eric Scheie   ·  October 8, 2003 1:21 PM

I'm against this _radical_ movement to eradicate homosexuality, this movement to _change_ homosexuals into heterosexuals (or asexuals). It is part of the movement to _change_ us all into asexuals, and as a Conservative, I oppose _change_. This "therapy" ["therapist" = "the rapist"] is exactly the same thing as Communist brainwashing, as Politically Correct "sensitivity [servility] training". I'm against it.
As a Conservative, I want to _conserve_ homosexuality, heterosexuality, androsexuality, gynosexuality, sexuality as such, to conserve ancient, eternal, holy values, and, yes, above all, Lesbianism, Sapphism, tribadism. Up with Beauty!

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  October 9, 2003 7:49 AM

I am against living in a world and a time that has no advance in science enough to turn those who refuse to be homosexuals or lesbians(they didn't choose it so logically they don't want it)into heterosexuals or spacificaly into a dad or a mom with lots of children... with a family to turn to, to care for, to spent time with when his or her parents become no longer available.. TO HAVE A LIFE FOR GODS SAKE!

manar   ·  December 11, 2003 5:32 AM

I am against living in a world and a time that has no advance in science enough to turn all those gays and lesbians who refuse being so into...dads and moms with lots and lots of children.. with a family to care for to turn to when there becomes no one else to turn to. TO HAVE A LIFE FOR GODS SAKE!

Anonymous   ·  December 11, 2003 5:38 AM

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