The various methods used, in an attempt to change one person from being a homosexual, to becoming heterosexual.



The meaning is to alter one's sexual orientation, through various methods, which is based on the theory that homosexuality is not born, but acquired from various environmental factors.

The assumption is that one is not born homosexual, therefore they can be re-orientated to the natural order, through different methods, or combination of different methods.

Many who subscribe to this theory, consider it to be a mind over matter issue, rather than a physical attribute pre-determined by one's genes.


Noted sexologist expert, Krafft-Ebing, first listed homosexuality as being possible inherited, in 1866.

Sigmund Freud was not exactly clear on his concept of what caused homosexual tendencies in people, though he was very clear on how he felt about it being a perversion. He referred to it as an 'inversion' rather than a 'perversion'.

Basically he stated that it was not something to be ashamed of, or of being detrimental to one's social well being, and that it was most definitely not an act of someone with a mental disorder.

Despite this clear indication, the American Psychiatric Associations first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-1) listed homosexuality as a mental disorder.


Methods used to alter one's homosexuality, included surgical means, chemical methods, and various mental techniques, or procedures.

Surgical methods involved surgery such as hysterectomies, vasectomies, castration, and even lobotomies.

Other surgical procedures were also used.

Chemical treatments usually involved hormone replacements, or additions, along with treatment with sexual stimulants and depressant drugs.

Chemical shock treatments, were also employed, in an effort to change a person's homosexual tendencies.

Other methods prescribed included simply hypnosis, group therapy sessions, and psychoanalyses treatments, but also used more extreme methods such as 'aversion therapy or anti heterosexual aversion treatments, as well as electroshock treatments

Practice (Associated Acts):

Practitioners of 'conversion therapy' have been noted to use masturbation re-education techniques, along with social skills retraining.

Aversion therapy was more extreme, in that it included visualization along with electroshock treatments in various forms..

Today milder forms are used which involves attaching electrodes to the male genitals. Upon arousal to a same sex image, a shock was administered to the penis or scrotum, along with the flashing of gross images, such as a bowl of feces.

Electronic measuring devices were also used, in conjunction with shock electrodes. These measured the sexual arousal state, so that a shock could be administered if the arousal was based on same sex images.

The concept was to train the mind to associate vile images, with being aroused by feelings for a person of the same gender.

Aversion therapy, is no longer sanctioned by the APA.


Conversion therapy, despite the removal of Homosexuality as being a mental disorder in 1973, has been used and is being used today.

In 1992, it was found that the Phoenix Memorial Hospital was using 'conversion therapy' techniques on children as young as ten years of age.

Many today, still consider that the findings indicating that homosexuality was genetic, or pre-determined before birth cite how a child is raised, in what environment they are raised, as well as how they relate to their parents.

Lack of a male figurehead, or closeness to the mother, is used as explanations for the child developing homosexual tendencies.

One of the founders of NARTH (National Association for Research and Treatment of Homosexuality) asserts that reparative treatment is important, and that it must include:

Participate in sports

Avoid activities that are considered attractions to homosexuals, such as art museums, opera, and symphonies.

Stay away from women other than for romantic pursuits.

Marry a woman and have children.

Increase association with heterosexual males, to properly learn how to act, talk, and appear heterosexual.

Attend Church and church groups.

Become more assertive when flirting or dating women

Engage in only heterosexual sex

Attend proper reparative therapy group sessions.

Other groups, while not totally disassociating themselves from the main steps of NARTH feel that some form of 'reparative therapy' is necessary to complete the transition from homosexuality, back to normal heterosexual tendencies.

Most groups that associate homosexuality with being a choice, and discount the medical definition of it being natural, are religious based. This includes many evangelical groups, such as Focus on the Family, as well as the Catholic Church.

Other meanings

Reparative Therapy is based on the concept that homosexuality is a result of a failed father son relationship, in that the homosexual son is attempting to seek a bonding with another male, that was missing as a child.

While mostly discredited, there are many who still use this model, as an explanation for some being homosexual. It is also based on the concept that homosexuality is not natural, or a result of birth, therefore is able to be 'repaired' as only heterosexuality is considered 'normal'.

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