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Ex-Gay Leader Explains Bizarre Interpretation Of Gay Porn

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"Ex-Gay Leader Explains Bizarre Interpretation Of Gay Porn"

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There was much in-fighting within the ex-gay movement last year after Exodus International, a religious umbrella group for ex-gay ministries, said it would no longer try to “cure” homosexuality. A revelation as a result of that “rift” was evidence that Joseph Nicolosi, founder of NARTH, uses pornography in his “therapy” to supposedly help clients “imagine” having different attractions, despite his claims to the contrary. Last week, NARTH posted an article by Nicolosi about “overcoming gay pornography” that reveals just how warped the organization’s understanding of pornography and sexuality truly is.

According to Nicolosi, gay men are drawn to gay porn because it fulfills three “emotional needs” that result from the compromised masculinity he believes is causing them to be gay. The first is apparently body envy, in which the client feels inadequate in comparison to the porn actors’ “muscularity, body hair, large build, and the archetypal image of masculinity, a large penis.”  The second is assertive attitude, in which men are drawn to the “directness, non-inhibition, and bold aggression” of the porn actors. Lastly, Nicolosi identifies “vulnerable sharing,” in which clients are attracted to the “open sharing of emotions” portrayed when two men are together.

In other words, Nicolosi believes gay men are weak, body-conscious cowards who are desperate for loving attention from other men. And his solution? Make some friends:

As the client comes to identify how he projects onto the porn image his unmet needs and more importantly, as he fulfills those needs in real male friendships, the compelling power of the porn image diminishes. Clinical reports tell us that the client may eventually find such images not only uninteresting and non-arousing, but repulsive and disgusting in the same way that such images are experienced by heterosexual men.

Whether or not Nicolosi uses gay or straight porn in his therapy doesn’t change how distorted his understanding of how it intersects with sexuality. Straight men don’t generally look at women in porn because they have body envy, so it’s bogus to draw such conclusions about gay men. Maybe gay men look at gay porn because they’re sexually attracted to what they see and want to experience the same kind of affection with other men. No “friendship” is going to replace the desire for intimacy almost everybody shares, let alone diminish the attractions anybody has.

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