My name is John. I pursued therapy with Dr. Nicolosi because my sexual life needed special attention and I wanted the best I could find. I am now 40 years old and was in Reparative Therapy® for just over two years.
I grew up in a good family with loving parents who were dedicated to me. Both my parents were very hyper-focused on me, and unfortunately, not exactly in the right way for what I needed. This story is not a rejection of them, because they did the best they knew how; it is an attempt to explain my understanding of them from an adult perspective.
My mom is a great person. She is a high-energy salesperson at a real estate office, and she is super-ambitious, but she kind of projected her insecurities onto me and drew me into a lot of her own activities and ventures without checking in to see if they really suited me or if I wanted to do them. She just decided for me, putting me in all types of crazy things-- gymnastics, soccer, swimming; this, that and moving around from one thing to another. She would get me really excited about things she wanted me to do; it was so hyper-stimulating and confusing and disorienting. It was easy to deal with my mom if you just went along with her.
My dad is an accountant and he is less emotional. He let it all happen, however, and didn’t intervene. He thought he was being empowering to my mother but really he was just enabling her. It was always hard to connect with him. When I’d try to talk to him, try to have a conversation with him, I’d feel a little unnerved; it just wouldn’t feel natural. There was never any emotional connection; I don’t know how to describe it better than that. It was not until I started talking to my therapist (Nicolosi) that I found out what it is supposed to feel like when men connect and you can actually feel understood. I never had that with my dad.
Assertion was always a huge issue for me. We did the the whole Body Work thing that taught me to go to my body, understand what it was telling me, and to trust my emotions and to be in touch with them. Before then I don’t know how much I was actually in touch with my emotions.
What Nicolosi said about assertion and shame, I guess deep down I knew intuitively. It made sense. I’ve learned to know when you’re feeling good and confident and to recognize those feelings bestowed upon you by other male figures in your life. I’ve grown to trust that I can feel that, and to pursue that.
I also learned that my older brother, who is bipolar, played an important part in the creation of my SSA. In some ways he was emotionally abusive to me because he wouldn’t want me to have a girlfriend or go out and play team sports. It was his way of self-preservation because he couldn’t do those things himself. Unfortunately, my parents just let it happen.
Body Work, EMDR, all that stuff worked for me, but mostly, just talking in a way that I never could do with my father. Nicolosi was what they call “an attuned therapist.” He understood what I about to say before I said it and that just reaffirmed everything that I felt.
Before therapy my same-sex attractions were a significant problem in my life, because I never wanted to act on them or identify myself as gay. I was never sexually active in the lifestyle but there were always these lingering thoughts and fantasies and some exposure to pornography.
I was cautions about therapy at first but I soon felt like Nicolosi “got” me, he understood me and so I trusted him with my baggage. He had a plan and I just needed a plan. I trusted him to give it to me and he did that.
Today, I would say it’s actually hard work to get back into that mental state of homosexuality. I see the checkpoints that I have to deal with, such as shame moments and those “I’m not good enough” statements, but I can’t get into the SSA feelings now because I’ve identified what puts me there.
I always had heterosexual fantasies, too, but this gay thing got in the way and I couldn’t come to grips with it. Today, I feel more secure in my opposite-sex attractions. My heterosexuality has definitely increased. As a kid I was attracted to girls, but also to guys, and that was just so confusing to me. But the therapy has helped me understand what I really want from both genders. I need acceptance from my male peers, but I do want females in my life in a different way, and I think girls are beautiful.
One time I made a move on a male friend because I was thinking that he might have some latent homosexuality but he didn’t. I felt terrible but I learned about self-forgiveness and unloading my shame. It was difficult, but we spoke about it later and eventually he was O.K. with what I had done. The second incident was when I was just in a hard place, in between jobs, frustrated, and there’s a guy here drinking and we didn’t have sex but we kind of just rolled around in bed a little bit. But through that I learned that I didn’t even want that, and that that it didn’t work for me. I couldn’t even get aroused after a certain point. Well, I’m done with that now. So now, if I even think of a gay fantasy, I remember that it won’t give me what I deep-down want from men.
Because of the enmeshment with my mom, I was closed off to females-- self-protective--and I wouldn’t let myself be vulnerable to them. I learned that first I have to be open and vulnerable to them before I can feel sexual toward them. What built up my OSA was work on photos of girls, none of them were pornographic, in fact, most of them were fully-clothed women. But that was good enough to get the good feeling going. From doing EMDR and Body Work on these girl images I learned that I am subconsciously hard-wired the right way and if I’m able to be emotionally open, then I’ll be vulnerable, and that will eventually lead to sexual feelings.
I learned that those OSA feelings come from a completely different place in my body and my psyche than the sexual feelings that I had for guys. It is a totally different place physiologically. When I was attracted to guys, it was a booming box rather than a natural pleasure. The attraction was first generated by a tightness in the chest, a constriction, a feeling of restlessness and emptiness rather than an openness, a joy and a true attraction such as one feels toward women.
I have a lot of hope for my future because I feel now I have the tools to succeed. I probably won’t be perfect in having all the feelings I want to have just in the way I want to have them, but it doesn’t matter, and I certainly don’t have to live my life as gay. I’ve learned to trust in other people in a deeper way – men and women. I’ve begun to open up and be vulnerable with people, and you just have to do it and move on and trust that other people will help you repair yourself.
I have the confidence that I will someday get married. There’s this girl that works with me and I enjoy her presence and she makes me feel good about myself, not just as a person, but as a guy. When I think of her I feel uplifted like I can spread my shoulders wider, but I only feel that when she “gets” me, if we’re on the same page emotionally, and then I can really do things and say things to her because then I trust her. At times like that I can feel sexual feelings for her, and that is exciting.
To anyone who is thinking about therapy, I would just say “do it.” I would say at least with me, I ignored the media message that if you have gay feelings, you must claim them and act on them, and instead I really deep-down trusted my true intuition and I think if you do that, then it will help guide you in the right way.