My name is Elliott and I am seventeen. I was in therapy with Dr. Nicolosi for a little over one year.
When I was fifteen, I came out to my parents; I guess you could say I “came out of the closet.” But even though I felt like I might be gay, I didn’t want to feel that way and my parents were happy that I didn’t want to feel that way either, so they were more than willing to find the best therapist possible and to give it all and everything.
I thought that guys were very attractive and everything, and I felt that I was different from them. But after therapy and just everything that I’ve learned and gone through, now I can look at a guy and think “Oh, he’s handsome” but I don’t find that sexual attraction. Sometimes an erotic image comes briefly through my head and I just try to get rid of it as soon as possible because it’s not something that I want, and it’s just distracting.
The therapy changed my whole mentality for the better. When I started therapy I saw myself as lower than other people, especially when it came to guys. I learned how to get rid of many fears through EMDR and other different forms of psychology. These things helped me practice new ways of relating with other guys. I learned to get the affirmation from them that I needed to feel that I am not less than other men.
But even thought I told my parents that I wanted to change, when I started out I really wasn’t so sure I wanted to change; my feelings were too mixed up to know where I wanted to go with them. Then about six months after I started therapy I decided I actually wanted to change. Back then, I still wasn’t too strong in my faith but that changed, too. Recently I would say I’ve become very strong in my faith. I’m Evangelical Christian.
I really don’t know why I changed my mind. I just decided that I don’t want to be gay for the rest of my life. I want to make this change for myself because I know that it’s not scientifically proven that people are born gay. People might say it is, or suggest that it is, but no homosexual gene has been found in the human body. I don’t believe that people are born that way. I believe that everyone is born asexual in a way and that just through occurrences that happen throughout life, depending on the situations that occur, things can happen which can make people go one way or the other. That’s what happened to me.
When I was four years old, I was molested by my neighbor and then the same year I was molested by my cousin. I don’t remember the first time so much, but the second time I do remember the specifics. I was spending the night at my aunt’s house and my cousin woke me up and I just remember the next thing I knew he was performing oral sex on me. I always remembered it. It made a huge impression on me, and on how I thought of myself.
Before I started therapy I thought molestation was the cause of my SSA, but then I realized it was also because I would always hide myself from guys. I wouldn’t want to reach out to them or become friends with them or participate in activities with them because I was afraid that they would think less of me. That made me feel a lot lower than them. There was anticipatory shame, and I would just think that as I would approach these people, they were going to judge me and they probably were going to reject me. So guys seemed very exciting to me, very different and it was hard to see myself as one of them, and easy to see them in a sexual way instead. But I haven’t thought like that in a long time.
At this point I don’t really feel attracted to girls yet. I learned in therapy not to force it on myself, just to let it occur naturally by gaining the male affirmation and doing well with the guys. At first I wanted to jump-start that attraction through sexual stimulation, like looking at pictures. But then I realized, no, that’s going to develop an unhealthy attraction. Now I don’t feel any pressures. I haven’t even thought much about attractions with girls. When I see guys now I don’t imagine sexual things. I just see them as my friends and people who are the same as me and that takes away the sexual attraction.
We did a lot of EMDR. It was confusing but it somehow worked in getting rid of the fears like the molestations. I haven’t talked to those people who hurt me in a long time but I’ve forgiven them for everything that they’ve done. I don’t want to carry the pain of holding a grudge about that for the rest of my life, but the molestations definitely started a lot of confusion for me about how to connect in a healthy way with guys.
I definitely think what really helped me was the relationship with Dr. Nicolosi. He helped a lot because he was a guy that I could talk to and trust with these things that I couldn’t talk to anybody else about, and because he is educated in the field and he could give me the advice I needed. That was probably what most changed me through the therapy.
There is now this law in California regarding minors that is about to start, that would have made it illegal for me, as someone under 18, to get help. I think it’s ridiculous. It’s just like saying Alcohol Anonymous should be cancelled, all the rehabilitation programs in the United States should be stopped. In this new law, they say that getting help to understand the SSA feelings I had, which started through bad experiences in my childhood, does harm to me. But through therapy, I was healed from those memories and the harm they caused.