Changing Sexuality?

swimmerguy's picture

So, for a record of my weekend, you could probably just go to Hannah's recent journal about Inception yesterday. That, and having a soccer game and a big cheap horror film marathon today were all that happened.
Oh, and I feel so old now, because at soccer practice I slammed my hip into a hot boy (Accidentally, of course) and it hurt for a while pretty bad, but got better. Then, at the game, the damp weather and running made it start hurting again, so now I have a bad hip. I feel so old.

So, I had a very interesting conversation with a coach on Friday. He was talking about this one guy, I forget who, who was really smart but ruthless, who believed in electroshock therapy.

I once read a good book about this, the Terminal Man, by Michael Chrichton. The theory is, say you have a fat man in a room with a blood pressure cuff and a bell. You tell the fat guy that if he can lower his blood pressure the bell will ring. And he'll get ice cream, or a blowjob, or something else he wants, I dunno.
But anyway, even though he will think it impossible at first, eventually his brain will get him to lower his blood pressure. Then the bell rings, and he gets his reward.
Then his brain will do it again, but faster this time.
And again, and again, and again, but faster and faster every time.
Because his brain, and him, are learning that doing this brings pleasure, so it'll learn how to do it, and it will get better at it over time.

So the same theory applies. If you have a smoker, and you put electrodes in his brain for pain and pleasure, and every time he puts a cigarette to his mouth you zap the pain electrode, he'll put the cigarette down. Then you zap the pleasure electrode.
Eventually, after getting zapped enough times, the smoker and his brain will learn that not smoking brings pleasure, and he won't want a cigarette again.

So, if you took a gay guy, and put electrodes in his brain, could you not achieve the same result, by zapping him every time he does a gay thing, and giving him pleasure when he does a straight thing?
Or, you could simply put him on an island of all females, and people are always attracted to available partners, given no other choice, so wouldn't that change his sexuality?

Now, nobody bust a gut about this, I'm not advocating electroshock therapy or anything like that. I just mean, I believe it would be possible, if you could do it in the right way, just from the brain learning to go towards the pleasure and away from the pain. It is the simplest animalistic concept of our beings.
And, here's another question, if you're a doctor, and someone comes into your office and says I'm gay, I don't want to be, make me better, would you be obligated to try to change his sexuality?


Dracofangxxx's picture

Dude, that is mind-boggling

You always bring up awesome subjects to think about.

Technically, I don't think the island thing would make him "Not gay", he would just pick the most attractive of the unappealing females to be attracted to. I think. It's like, if you absolutely hate vanilla ice cream that has extras mixed in (Think carmel swirls, chocolate chips, nuts, etc.) but, you could ONLY eat them, you were forced to... Sure, you might hate them all. But you'd find one you hated just a bit less.
Eh, I dunno though, considering I'm Bi-licious, I can only answer that to the best of my ability.
You are beautiful, in every single way <3

MacAvity's picture

What an interesting

What an interesting thought...

Of course it raises all sorts of ethical questions that basically lead to the conclusion 'don't do it'...although one hypothetical case in which it seems like it might actually be a good idea would be if somebody were, say, homosexual but hetero-romantic (I have no idea if this actually happens...) and wanted to be able to feel love and lust for the same person. Weird thought. Anyway...

But if homosexuality isn't something that is learned, it probably couldn't be permanently un-learned.... Smoking is a learned behavior, certainly, and blood pressure might have some learned factors to it as well... I don't know.

625539's picture

homosexual but hetero-romantic

That would be interesting...

nothing is permitted. everything is allowed.

ferrets's picture


this is really playing with fire cahddy. this is exacly what anti gay activists want ppl to belive. since i belive homsexaulity is inborn, i think it couldnt be permanantly erased. and furthermore, if "punished" someone for doing something on a sexaul plain, i think instead of seaulity shifting, it would just make the indiaul unable to have sexaul, dew to mentaly association of pain with arousal.
in my opinen, a good way to make somene a unick, but not much for cahnging sexaul prefrence.

More people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. That, my friends, that is true perversion.
-Harvey Milk

Uncertain's picture

Reparative therapy...

I guess it's a bit like if you shock that guy for getting a blowjob (from preferred gender) and promise him ice cream but never actually give it to him...

In other words, you hardwire something almost innate to someone with pain, but they also don't get much reward for it... I think that will probably fuck you up.

swimmerguy's picture

I'll explain something

The Terminal Man, great book, is about a guy, I forget his name, that has a pshycological problem where he descends into blackouts, and then in those blackouts kills people and does various crimes.
So, he's brought to a hospital to do a groundbreaking surgery where they plant a bunch of electrodes into his brain, and then they set a computer attatched to the electrodes in his shoulder.
So whenever the computer senses he's about to go into a blackout rage, it stimulates the electrodes to stop the attack.
But, the problem is, the stimulations are extremely pleasurable (equivalent to 10 orgasms!) so his brain learns to trigger attacks to get the intense pleasure, so the stimulations start getting closer and closer together, until the stimulation is constant, and pushes him over into a blackout rage from overstimulation.
Well, and in the middle of this he escapes the hospital and goes on a crime spree.

So, his attacks weren't voluntary, like sexuality, but his brain learned that when he went into them he got pleasure. So, if you get pleasure from liking the opposite sex and pain from liking the same, your brain will learn to get you to learn how to like the opposite sex more and more until you like them permanently...

No one escapes from life alive

ferrets's picture


fictional book, or truthfully based?

anyway, im pretty sure that all this would do is kill your ability to be sexaul aroused at all. and if it did work, it would just make you a total slut for the opposite gender, you couldnt have a healthy relationship, you would just fuck every chance you get.

any way, the ppl the actauly did this to were permenently scared, adn non had their sexuality shifted, just destroyed.

furthermore, if you read about the mormon experiments, both electo shock, and inducing vomiting when when viewing homosexaul , and injecting (insert name of pleaurable drug) when veiwingheterosexaul activitey, both failed misrabley, and left the patients scarred and suicidal.

its nothin but something extremest religois ppl would like to work, but will in truth just fry your brians out.

More people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. That, my friends, that is true perversion.
-Harvey Milk

Riku's picture

Dude. A Clockwork Orange, go


A Clockwork Orange, go read or watch it. Now. (But don't tell your 'rents I recommended it too you. It's extremely... Um.. Not child friendly. )

What you're talking about wouldn't work by the way, to change sexuality. Otherwise those ex-gay camps wouldn't be so damaging right? (And plus what Ferrets said.) You can change someone's behaviour but you can't change their sexuality. So the gay would continue to be gay internally, but they would act as a straight person... Which isn't healthy.

It's like if you beat into someone that they're a gorilla, and you tell them that they're a gorilla and punish them when they deny it and treat them when they agree, eventually they'll break down and 'be a gorilla' for you, but they're still a human.

swimmerguy's picture

Good point

I still disagree, but yeah, I forgot about A Clockwork Orange.
GREAT movie, but the multiple rape scenes are a bit over the top.

No one escapes from life alive

elph's picture

Oh Boy...

I made about 3 attempts to watch A Clockwork Orange. I don't remember how far I got... maybe 20 minutes. But the gratuitous, senseless mayhem was more than I could stand... literally. It may be good drama... but I have a very low threshold when I see impending danger... physical or emotional.


Riku's picture

What makes you disagree? I'm

What makes you disagree? I'm curious.

And I dunno if I'd call it over the top. In a movie like that there isn't a single frame that isn't there for a reason. It's a part of the story telling.