Tuesday, June 17, 2014
So Why Are You Gay?
There are as many reasons to be gay as to be straight except one; and that is just a maybe. Much recent research points out the fact that stress in the womb alters the stress hormone levels and that can change the testosterone levels and that can lead to homosexuality; if, certain conditions are there. First of all, we don’t always know if and how much sex hormones have been altered. We don’t always know if changing hormones leads to being gay. Except we know this” if you give female animal male hormones they display “male” behavior including mounting males.
And they play more rough and tumble with their cohorts.
So why can’t it be that stress to a carrying mother can change her hormones and her baby’s? Now for the second step—need. A child needs parental care and loving. If that is absent he will go elsewhere. Sometimes my patients, a number of them, will wear dresses and walk the streets that way. That is the way he feels close to a mother who showed no love. I have written about a mother who left early and came home late from work; a single mother. The boy lacked a mother’s love, but he found a substitute, her clothes and her smell. It became a lifelong ritual. Something he was never aware of it. He just thought it was a quirk, a neurotic act. But need drove and it and it should not be stopped because it is a signal of desperate need that was fulfilled in the only way possible.
Or the case of a stressed mother who, in the middle of pregnancy found herself bereft of her husband who found a young girlfriend. That stress is transmitted to the fetus. If the stress reaction goes on it gets stamped in, engraved as a memory that can change his hormones. He may be feminine very early in life. Now add a missing father and a distraught mother who is devastated and unloving. The boy can later gravitate to male love. Not always, but it is a factor in some of the gay men I have treated, over one hundred. The boy, somewhat feminized, seeks out male love over female love partly due to his hormone shift. No different from the young animals who seek out males to play with rather than someone of their own gender. Their interest has been altered, and by hormones. I am not setting down unalterable rules but rather elements to explain some behaviors. In the cases of homosexuality I have treated there has nearly always been that first-line deep and early trauma. Perhaps I am treating a selected group and my perspective is biased, but I could be right, as well. If we never posit these factors we will never know.
This change in testosterone is prevalent in all primate mothers; and it is largely due to the stress of the mother which becomes imprinted into the baby. The patients come to me and say, “I don’t know why but I have been attracted to men nearly all of my life. I knew at six years that something was different.” So one thing we need to do is a comparative study of stressed and unstressed mothers, and look at any differences. Is it possible that being gay is epigenetic (due to experience) and not totally genetic? We need to avoid political correctness and defensiveness and do what is correct scientifically.
Oddly, let’s look at one group of primates, the bonobos. They are gentle and loving and settle most problems with sex. Not so with chimps, who organize groups to go on raids and kill other chimps.
Bonobos are high in testosterone, male and female, much higher than chimps, Chimps develop their levels later after puberty. Up until them the bonobos are quite high. And they play tough with their pals but rarely violent as chimps. This is only to say that hormones matter, a lot. And that hormones are radically affected by experience, especially very early experience when hormones are beginning their life and are vulnerable to trauma that can change levels.
Does that mean it is a neurosis? Could be but no more than a man who wears dresses every day. It means that early in life there were experiences that change things. Those experience for the mother can means she drinks, smokes, takes drugs, is anxious or depressed, and so on.
Now the important point: can we or should we treat the hormones? Yes but only after we know if experience and early trauma changed them permanently. No different from those who have chronic hypothyroid. Shouldn’t we see what may have caused it? I am of the view that most of us would be born normal if we were not made abnormal by early trauma and neglect. Yes, we need to treat such afflictions as very low thyroid but let us never forget that for every symptom there can be an ultimate cause. Why do we consistently neglect that fact?
So why am I not gay? I had all the elements for it happening. A psychotic/anxious mother and tyrannical unloving father. But when I was sexually vulnerable at age thirteen, I was in the back of a car necking with a girl whose name I have preserved in memory. Those hugs and kisses sank in and changed everything. It made me feel that I could get love from a female. Having never been kissed she taught me how to kiss and hug. It was the first love I ever knew and it was critical. So thank you, Liz.
Review of "Beyond Belief"
This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
Beyond Belief begins with a lucid explanation of belief systems that, writes Janov, “are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively.” While belief systems are not presented as inherently bad, the author concentrates not just on why people adopt belief systems, but why “alienated individuals” in particular seek out “belief systems on the fringes.” The result is a book that is both illuminating and sobering. It explores, for example, how a strongly-held belief can lead radical Islamist jihadists to murder others in suicide acts. Janov writes, “I believe if people had more love in this life, they would not be so anxious to end it in favor of some imaginary existence.”
One of the most compelling aspects of Beyond Belief is the author’s liberal use of case studies, most of which are related in the first person by individuals whose lives were dramatically affected by their involvement in cults. These stories offer an exceptional perspective on the manner in which belief systems can take hold and shape one’s experiences. Joan’s tale, for instance, both engaging and disturbing, describes what it was like to join the Hare Krishnas. Even though she left the sect, observing that participants “are stunted in spiritual awareness,” Joan considers returning someday because “there’s a certain protection there.”
Janov’s great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were “rejected and unloved,” because “only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.” This is just one reason why Beyond Belief is such a thought-provoking, important book.”
Barry Silverstein, Freelance Writer
Quotes for "Life Before Birth"
“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine
Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University
Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University
In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System
A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University
"I am enthralled.
Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any "New Age" pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche."
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH
His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Baby's born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.