Psychological Self-Help

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anything that is vaguely feminine, including feminine men. Religions
and other anti-gay groups picture gays as wanton sinners lusting to
seduce small boys. The truth is heterosexual males are, in general, far
more abusive towards young victims than homosexual males are. To
learn more about homophobia, read Blumenfeld (1992). About 2300
years ago, Plato wrote a defense of homosexuality, titled Symposium.
On certain topics we are slow learners. 
The real sins here are the vile, untrue accusations heaped on gays
and lesbians, and the misery and restrictions created for homosexuals
by our culture. Gays are openly insulted and demeaned as perverted,
sick, immoral, and less than human. So, when a young person
experiences some homosexual urge, it is hard to avoid self-hatred and
guilt. A 1989 government report states that gay teens are two to six
times more likely to attempt suicide than straights their age. Learning
to hide and handle your strong homoerotic feelings is a very difficult,
scary situation for a gay or lesbian teenager who may be bewildered
by what is happening to him/her. Fortunately, there are several good
books for understanding homosexuality which also give advice
to gays and lesbians and their parents. Berzon (1988; 1992) and
Heron (1983) discuss establishing homosexual relationships, both
lesbian and gay. Clark (1987), Green (1987), Tessina (1989), and
Doyle (1989) focus on gay relationships and problems. Clunis & Green
(1988) deal with lesbian couples. "Coming out" to your family, to
straight spouses, to your children, to friends, and at work is a special
problem (Brans, 1987; Buxton, 1994; MacPike, 1993; Borhek, 1983;
Griffin, Wirth & Wirth, 1986). Parents are sometimes shocked but can
understand (Bernstein, 1999; Borhek, 1993; Griffin, et al, 1997).
These are not easy matters to deal with. 
A common misconception about male homosexuals is that they are
all cruising for a quick, impersonal sexual experience. Not true, in fact
75% of lesbians and 50% of gays are currently involved in on-going,
satisfying, committed love relationships--and others are looking for
meaningful love, just like straights. True, some homosexuals (mostly
males) do seek one-night stands, but so do heterosexuals. Lesbians
seem to develop an orientation towards females for love first, and then
sexual urges may follow. Gays seem to develop the sexual orientation
first, and then the love follows. 
Homosexuals simply have the genes, hormones, and/or early
childhood experiences that orient them towards their own sex for
affection and/or sexual gratification. There are many theories about
the causes of homosexuality. And, this needs to be understood better;
knowledge would help us give up the notion that it is vile. See Money
(1989) for a rather technical summary of the research about
homosexuality and unusual sex needs, called paraphilias. I suspect our
bodies are built to instinctively respond with interest to almost any
kind of sexual activity. Powerful social training is probably necessary to
teach us to avoid certain kinds of harmless sexual activity, such as
masturbation, and to scorn other activities, such as sex play with our
own sex. (Note: we seem to have little interest in theorizing about why
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