Dr. Joseph Nicolosi often tells his audiences that, in essence, homosexuality in males derives from lack of bonding with the father. In this YouTube video, he describes several factors which he believes could be important in the development of male homosexuality, including a masculine, sports-minded older brother, peer rejection and sexual abuse. However, referring to these hypothetical factors, Nicolosi says
…but none of these are as important as the early relationship with the father, because if he has a solid relationship with the father, then he’s not going to be too damaged by his older brother, he’s not going to be too damaged by his peers, he’s not even going to be damaged by same-sex abuse from an older man, if he has a solid relationship with his father.
Last year, at a London conference, Nicolosi said,
I advise fathers, ‘if you don’t hug your sons, some other man will.’
Thus, fathering is the lynchpin of the reparative theory of male homosexuality. Most older studies of parenting examining sexual orientation find modest differences between gay and straight groups. However, there is often much overlap between the two groups, meaning that many gay males recall warm, accepting relationships with their fathers and many straights recall distant, unaccepting fathers.
Given that detachment from the father is theorized to occur before age 5, the potent experience is difficult to test directly. Researchers try to get at this indirectly via surveys of how gay males recall the relationship with the father. A finding that gay males and straight males recalled their fathers similarly would be evidence against the theory.
Thus, I was surprised recently to find a review of a Finnish study of sexual orientation, parental relationships and gender atypical behavior reviewed on the NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) website. Reviewed by Robert Vazzo, the study also provides evidence which addresses NARTH’s view of homosexuality and pathology. I summarized this report last year when it came out, but I want to provide another look in light of Vazzo’s review. First, the abstract (after the break):