from Clinical/Therapeutic Issues
|Q.||My daughter says she is attracted to women, but she would like to marry and have a normal family life. She also feels some attraction to men, but every time she dates a man, she misses the deep "soul mate" bond she has with females. Why does she feel this way, and what can she do to change?|
|A.||First, there is every reason to be hopeful because your
daughter does experience attraction to men, and hopes to marry.
Usually it is possible to identify an area of emotional pain or conflict which causes the same-sex attractions.
In women, the most common factor influencing homosexual attractions is a mistrust of male love. This lack of trust or safe feeling with those of the opposite sex usually results from hurts with the father or with other important males, or from observing the father mistreat the mother.
Since trust is necessary for complete selfgiving, it would be important to determine whether your daughter becomes fearful in a dating relationship, and then reacts by retreating into female relationships in which she feels safer.
The second most common cause of same-sex attractions in women is a weak feminine identity. This can originate from a lack of warmth in the mother relationship, rejection by female peers when young, or a negative body image.
Both mistrust of male love and a weak feminine identity can be treated successfully. I would suggest that you explore these issues with her and recommend that she pursue therapy.
|Q.||My daughter went away to a women's college seeming to
be just like any other girl. But when she came home
after the first year, she had become a militant feminist and
a lesbian. Now I've found out that there is a large
lesbian contingent at this school.
At my request, Mary saw a psychologist, and he told me that in the process of "consolidating their feminine identities," many women go through a lesbian stage, which he thinks is perfectly legitimate. Is lesbianism a normal and legitimate step toward heterosexuality?
|A.||I agree that supporting homosexual behavior in a
young woman in college is not in her best interest.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the significant emotional difficulties of those in the homosexual lifestyle including widespread promiscuity, substance abuse disorders, depression and hopelessness, and an inability to maintain commitment in a relationship. These studies are well documented in Straight and Narrow by Thomas Schmidt (Intervarsity Press, 1995) which I would recommend she read.
Homosexual attractions and behaviors arise in most individuals from a number of emotional conflicts. Your description of your daughter as a militant feminist and lesbian would raise the clinical issue of the possible role of anger in her life. Emotional hurts regularly give rise to both sadness and anger, and the anger can emerge strongly in a person's life even many years after a particular trauma.
I would suggest that you explore with a therapist first, and later with your daughter, any hurts and anger which she may have with men who may have disappointed her in a major way including her father, male relatives and peers, and with women also.
|Q.||My 11-year-old son is different from other boys---more social, more sensitive, and more serious. We seem to have the same nature, and we've always been close. His father could never quite figure out how to relate to him, although he tried. I can see that my son has trouble making friendships with other boys, and he is often left out. My heart breaks for my son, but as a mother, what can I do? Will he be homosexual?|
|A.||Boys who are teased and rejected by their peers need
special attention and help to cope with this pain,
especially from their fathers. Peer ridicule leads to
the development of loneliness, sadness, anger, and a
weak masculine identity. The lack of eyehand
coordination which interferes with the ability to play sports, is
one of the major reasons for peer rejection of boys in
childhood. Since many fathers bond with their sons
mainly through sports, fathers such as your husband
regularly struggle with how best to relate to such boys.
Your son will not necessarily develop same-sex attractions later in his life. However, most males with homosexual attractions report peer rejection and isolation when young, and many did not feel close to their fathers.
I recommend that your husband seek ways to bond with your son other than through sports, and that he try to find areas of common interest with him. Also, he should regularly affirm his masculine identity and minimize the role of sports in masculinity.
Also, you and your husband should consider therapy to help strengthen the fatherson relationship, to improve your son's masculine identity, and to help him cope with the pain of peer rejection.